Newsletter : 5fax0320.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
March 20, 1995, V3, #50
All the News the Big Guys Missed
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Arabs Attack Hebron Israeli Bus
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
At least two Israeli settlers were killed and five more injured
Sunday evening near the West Bank town of Hebron when the bus on
which they were riding was fired upon.
Officials say the bus was near an intersection just outside of
Hebron when the gunfire started. Most Israelis consider the area
too dangerous even to drive through. But settlers who live there
travel the roads daily by car and by public buses, such as the one
hit on Sunday, which runs between Jerusalem and the large Israeli
settlement of Kiryat Arba, which borders Hebron.
Kiryat Arba is home to many extremist Jews who consider themselves
to be at war with all Palestinians for control of the Holy Land.
Hebron is home to a large number of extremist Palestinians, who are
determined to oust the settlers and to take over all of Israel.
This is the first serious attack on Israelis since a bombing near
Tel Aviv in January. Since then, the government has re-doubled
its efforts to provide security inside Israel's pre-1967 borders by
preventing most Palestinians from crossing army checkpoints.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is committed to also provide security
for the approximately 120,000 settlers who live among nearly 3
million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. But he has made
clear that protecting what he calls "sovereign Israel" is his main
The government is now working on a plan to further strengthen
separation between predominantly-Jewish and predominantly
Palestinian areas. But that would not prevent attacks such as
Sunday's near Hebron. In fact, settlers say, the government's
policy puts them significantly more at risk.
Still, Sunday's attack did not have the hallmarks of the
well-planned, generally successful suicide attacks in the heart
of Israel that have plagued the country in recent months. This
incident is more in the pattern of other drive-by shootings in
Gaza and the West Bank. Such shootings usually involve settlers
in their cars, but this time the attackers chose a larger target.
Rabin Government Receives Plan to Prevent Terrorism
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
Israel's police minister has presented a plan to the prime minister
for security arrangements designed to separate Israelis and
Palestinians and prevent terrorism. This controversial plan is
related to the next phase of Palestinian autonomy now under
When Israel first captured the West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 war,
many Israelis looked forward to absorbing the new territory and its
Palestinian inhabitants. Some Israelis still hold such dreams, but
the current government believes that view has become a minority
opinion and it is committed to giving up most of the occupied
territory to the Palestinian autonomy authority, in return for an
end to terrorism.
Violent extremists on both sides oppose the decision, and the
result has been a wave of terrorism -- mostly carried out by
So to stop the terror, and to prepare for the expansion of
Palestinian autonomy, Israeli officials developed a policy called
"separation." The prime minister asked the minister of the police,
the chief of the "secret police" and other officials to draw up a
plan to create a secure dividing line between Israel and the
Palestinian areas. There is already a series of checkpoints, but
officials admit that in addition to tens of thousands of
permit-holders legally crossing into Israel every day, thousands of
Palestinians sneak through illegally on back roads and footpaths.
The plan presented to the prime minister is aimed at stopping that.
He approved it, and a final version is expected to be ready for
debate by the full Cabinet within two weeks.
This approach to controlling terrorism and preparing for
Palestinian autonomy has drawn criticism from both Israelis and
Palestinians. Some Israelis believe that the price of a network
of fences, electronic monitoring devices and more checkpoints is
too high, at about $400 million. Other Israelis are angry because
they believe such a secure line would prevent them from fulfilling
their dream for Jewish control of all of biblical Palestine.
For exactly that reason, some Palestinians welcome the plan. But
others are concerned that by building the secure line Israel would
be unilaterally determining the future border of the Palestinian
The final border and the final status of the Palestinian entity
are to be determined in talks scheduled to start next year. An
interim stage of Palestinian autonomy is to be determined in talks
now under way, with a July 1 deadline. In addition, Palestinians
are concerned that such a secure line would make it even easier for
Israel to seal off the Palestinian areas for security or other
reasons, which has a devastating effect on their economy.
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres has called the
Israeli-Palestinian peace accord something like a marriage. He
says they have had the ceremony, and now they have the daily
life, which is not so easy. Asked how this separation plan
fits in with his marriage analogy, Peres says maybe it is a
"modern marriage," with political separation and economic
cooperation. Not all Palestinians, or Israelis, would likely
agree with that benign description of the separation policy, but
after last week's meeting it appears separation is on the way,
perhaps within the next several months.
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