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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                     April  6, 1995, V3, #63
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Mubarak Discusses his Israeli Problem

By Deborah Tate (White House)

Egypt says it is not ready to support the indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty until Israel makes a commitment to abandon its nuclear program. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, following a meeting with President Clinton at the White House, says he hopes the issue can be resolved soon.

Mubarak says Egypt remains among the most enthusiastic supporters of the treaty, noting that his country was among those nations that helped draft the accord.

But Mubarak was not prepared to say Egypt would support the indefinite extension of the treaty when it comes up for review at a conference in New York later this month.

Egypt wants a commitment from Israel that it will abandon its nuclear program.

Israel is not a signatory to the NPT, and says it will not support the pact until it is sure that countries such as Iran and Iraq are not trying to produce nuclear weapons.

But Mubarak said with peace efforts making progress in the region, there will be no reason for Israel to continue that position. "There will be peace in the whole area. So I don't think that Israel will be in need of nuclear weapons in the future."

Gaza Bomb Factory Investigation Continues

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

Palestinian police have arrested several activists of the extremist group Hamas in the wake of an explosion Sunday at what is believed to have been a Hamas office in Gaza City. The arrests were made Wednesday, shortly before the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, made a speech criticizing hamas for storing dangerous materials in a residential area. Arafat said it is his responsibility to protect the people of Palestinian areas from such dangerous installations.

The explosion on Sunday is believed to have happened in some sort of Hamas facility in an apartment in a crowded neighborhood. There are conflicting reports about exactly how many people died and exactly what caused the explosion.

Arafat's Palestinian police say it was an accident at a bomb-making factory. But Hamas says the blast was a sabotage operation by Israeli or Palestinian agents.

Israeli news reports say the incident could be linked to the discovery of a truck full of explosives inside Israel last month. The driver of the truck has been under interrogation in Israeli custody for the past two weeks.

It is difficult to sort rumor from fact in this case, and the Palestinian police are saying little officially. In fact, among those arrested wednesday was a Palestinian journalist reportedly accused of trying to prove the Hamas version of events and misquoting the Gaza police chief. The explosion has raised speculation that Arafat might respond by cracking down on Hamas, something he has been reluctant to do, partly because the radical group has considerable support among the Palestinian people.

Arafat spoke harshly against the group on Wednesday, and there were the few arrests. But a Palestinian analyst says Palestinian guerrilla groups, including Arafat's own Fatah faction, always have stored dangerous materials in residential areas. And the analyst says conflicting reports about the cause of Sunday's explosion have left public opinion divided, making a crackdown on Hamas as politically difficult as ever.

Human Rights Group Tells Germany Loosen Up on Nazi Crackdown

By Kyle King (Washington)

A US-based human rights group says the German government may have gone too far in its crackdown on neo-Nazis. The new report illustrates the difficulty the Germans face in combating racial hatred.

The Human Rights Watch Report expresses support for Germany's recent efforts to crack down on violence against foreigners.

But spokeswoman Holly Cartner says German restrictions on free speech may have the unwanted effect of driving neo-Nazi groups further underground. "There is a real question whether these laws are effective in the long run. In fact there has been discussion in Germany about whether by banning groups you don't actually force them to go underground and to make connections to each other that in the long term will make them more dangerous and more organized and perhaps more effective in pursuing their goals."

The latest criticism of the German government was prompted by more restrictive laws that strengthen the ban on the display of Nazi symbols and the denial of the Holocaust. The laws were tightened last year in response to the wave of racist attacks.

While acknowledging the German government is walking a fine line in its effort to halt racist violence and neo-Nazism, the Human Rights Watch spokeswoman says Germany could have taken other less controversial measure. "I don't think it is appropriate for the German government to use what is in effect a popular and rather simple means of dealing with violence by banning a group as a substitute for what it should have been doing all along, which was effective police enforcement and moral leadership from the federal authorities themselves on the issue of xenophobia in the country.

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