Newsletter : 5fax0414.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
April 14, 1995, V3, #69
All the News the Big Guys Missed
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Security Preparations in Effect for Passover
By Patricia Golan (Jerusalem)
Agents from the FBI are working with Palestinian and Israeli
authorities to investigate Sunday's suicide bombings in the Gaza
Strip. An American citizen was killed in one of the blasts, as
well as seven Israeli soldiers. Today, there is a high security
alert in major Israeli cities as the Jewish holiday of Passover
As Jews in Israel start the week-long Passover holiday tonight, the
Israeli army and police have stepped up security amid warnings of
possible terrorist attacks.
Israel has also imposed a blanket closure on the Gaza Strip and
West Bank for three days as Passover begins, preventing
Palestinians from entering Israel. Strict restrictions imposed
in the last few months following suicide bombings have already
radically reduced the number of Palestinian workers allowed into
In the Gaza Strip, Palestinian police have been continuing their
roundup of supporters of the Islamic opposition organizations
Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, groups responsible for a string of
deadly attacks against Israeli targets.
Palestinian officials say about 300 Islamists have been detained
so far. Authorities in the PLO controlled Palestinian self-rule
area also announced plans to confiscate weapons from militants. A
Hamas spokesman says the organization will not comply with the
order to hand in weapons. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
says it is too early to judge the success of the Palestinian
Authority in combatting extremist elements in Gaza and Jericho, the
areas under its control.
"It looks like they have taken certain steps, but we know that the
struggle against the most lunatic terror organizations, the
suicidal terror missions, is very difficult to cope with it, we
know it from our experience."
The prime minster pointed out that suicide bombings were carried
out over the last year in several places in Israel by Palestinians
who were residents of the West Bank, which is still under Israeli
Meanwhile, FBI agents have joined the investigation into the latest
suicide bombings, which killed a 20-year-old woman student who was
an American citizen. A US law passed in the wake of hostage-taking
of Americans in the Middle East, gives the United States authority
to prosecute suspects in terrorist attacks abroad on American
Syrians Cancel Israeli Talks
By Edward Yerainian (Beirut)
Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara told reporters in Beirut
Thursday afternoon that Syrian and Israeli military chiefs of staff
would not be meeting in Washington because security arrangements
Following a brief courtesy call on the Lebanese president Syria's
foreign minister declared bluntly that military advisors of Israel
and Syria would not be meeting any time soon.
Speaking briefly al-Shara dashed any hopes that ambassadorial level
talks in Washington with Israel would be upgraded.
Last week U.S. Ambassador Dennis Ross visited the Middle East in
an attempt to reconcile Syrian and Israeli positions.
Negotiations remained deadlocked over Syrian demands that Israeli
and Syrian demilitarized zones in the Golan Heights be of equal
size following a hypothetical Israeli pullback.
Syria's official government press has repeatedly poured cold water
on optimistic Israeli assessments of the chances of an imminent
Veteran Arab journalists say that Syrian President Hafez al-Assad
would lose face in the Arab world if he accepted an agreement
with Israel that Arabs perceived as unfair.
Despite official Syrian pessimism, diplomatic observers in Beirut
say today's developments must be taken in perspective.
From Syria's point of view, they say, any optimistic assessment
would be seen as a concession to Israel.
By Dagmar Breitenbach (Bonn)
Four German men have been sentenced to several years in prison for
firebombing a synagogue last year in the northern German city of
Luebeck. It was the first major incident of its kind in Germany
since the Nazi rampage against Jews in 1938 that led to the
The court sentenced the four men to jail terms of between
two-and-a-half and four-and-a-half years for hurling gasoline bombs
into the Luebeck synagogue.
The convicted arsonists are between 20 and 25 years of age. The
judge rejected the prosecutor's call for an attempted murder
conviction. While no one was hurt in the firebombing, there were
five people asleep in rooms above the synagogue at the time of
the attack. Awakened by the sound of breaking glass, they managed
The attack drew worldwide attention. In Luebeck, thousands of
demonstrators marched through the streets and held a candlelight
vigil at the synagogue the following night. The firebombing was
the most serious attack against a German synagogue since World War
II, although there had been several cases of attempted arson.
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