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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      March 17, 1995, V3, #49
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Sixth Fleet Drops Plans for Haifa Anchorage:

The evening business newspaper "Globes" reports that the U.S. Sixth Fleet has decided to drop plans to build anchorage in Haifa Bay for aircraft carriers. According to the report, only one senator supported the plan and the Navy opposed using part of the defense budget to cover the project.

Arab League is 50 Years Old

By Laurie Kassman (Cairo)

The Arab League celebrates its 50th birthday March 22. The league was established in March of 1945 amid increasing Arab protests against the French occupation of Syria, Lebanon and Algeria and international efforts toward establishing a Jewish state. The group has tried to be the voice of the Arab World but unity has eluded the members amid cross-border disputes and differing views of the Middle East peace process.

Since its creation, the Arab League has reflected more than 40 years of Arab-Israeli hostilities. The group ostracized Egypt after its peace treaty with Israel in 1979 and moved the headquarters temporarily from Cairo to Tunis. In 1986, the League issued a resolution condemning any attempt at direct talks with the Jewish state.

The organization deals with a wide range of other political, economic and social issues of concern to its 22 members. But Secretary-General Esmat Abdel-Meguid agrees the prospect of Mideast peace has altered the Arab League's strategy for the future.

Book Fair Opens in Yerushaliyim

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

Most of the attention paid to the Middle East peace process is focused on such things as negotiations, borders and security. But in a visit to the 17th biannual Jerusalem Book Fair, we found the peace process is extending beyond the realm of politics and diplomacy.

Stroll around the nearly 1,000 exhibits at the fair and you mostly hear conversations in Hebrew and English. But along one corridor the predominant language is Arabic, with publishers from Egypt and Morocco, and an Israeli-Arab company which imports books from Jordan.
Egyptian publisher Abed el-Rahman Hassanin, is on his first visit to the Jerusalem fair, even though his country has had peace with Israel for 17 years. Other Egyptian publishers have come to the fair in the past, but not recently. Now, progress toward peace with the Palestinians has apparently reopened the political door. And Hassanin says he has received a good response from Israelis.

"Many came to talk with us and want to print some books in Arabic in Egypt, and like that. Many, many, many people came to talk with me about printing the books and sending out their boxes to sell in Cairo."

Near the Arab publishers is a large exhibit from the Vatican, which established diplomatic relations with Israel after the Israeli-Palestinian peace accord was signed. The Vatican sent to the fair a collection of antique Hebrew manuscripts, some of them 700 years old. Not far away are publishers from other countries with new, or newly improved, relations with Israel, including Turkey, China and Vietnam.

The book fair's chairman, Zev Birger, says the new exhibitors are generating interest among the fair's customers. "According to the number of people that are there at the stalls of those countries, I think the interest is very high. I understand from some of the exhibitors from the Arab countries, the publishers from the Arab countries, that they made very interesting business arrangements here as well as deals in Jerusalem, with Israeli publishers and with foreign publishers, and that's what's important."

Birger says that while the peace process has created this new situation at the book fair, the fair itself represents an often under-appreciated aspect of peacemaking -- where the focus is generally on political-military concerns first and economic concerns second.

"Well, I think that sometimes cultural relations are more important than maybe economic relations, because cultural relations are based on real things, they are based on your heart. And when you read books of other people, when you understand their literature, their culture, and you exchange ideas, you become nearer. And this is very important. And I think books serve a very important factor in bringing people together."

Arafat Id al-Fitr Address: Allah Does Not Break His Promises (The following excerpt is from YasIr Arafat's address to the Palestinian people broadcast on Voice of Palestine Radio on March 2, 1995)

This is the first holiday which comes to us as we lay the first stones on the way towards achieving the dream for which we have sacrificed in the course of long years, for the liberation, independence, continuation of the peace process, the hope and the building of our independent Palestinian state, whose capital is Jerusalem....
The Palestinian problem is the principle element in the balance of forces in the Middle East region. At this opportunity, and from this place, I say to the spirits of the pure fallen: The promise is a promise, the oath is an oath, until the flag of Palestine flies on the minarets of the mosques of Jerusalem, on the walls of Jerusalem and the churches of Jerusalem and on every symbol of the symbols of our presence in the holy land, "and we will enter the mosque as we entered the first time." [Islamic holy writings]. Allah does not break his promises.

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