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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                     April 25, 1995, V3, #76
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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The Burdens of Authority

In February 1995 the Palestinian Authority in Gaza took delivery of 10 new Pontiac Grand Prix cars for its leaders, at the same time it is begging for money throughout the world for its destitute people.

Borders are Partially Reopened

By Patricia Golan (Jerusalem)

Israel has ended the border closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip it imposed during the Passover holiday. More than 26,000 Palestinian workers have been allowed into Israel.

The closure, imposed as a security measure, was in effect for 10 days throughout the Jewish holiday of Passover. It banned all Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip from entering Israel.

But, only married people over 30 years old who worked in Israel before the closure, are being allowed to cross back into Israel to get to jobs. Still in place is a partial, long term closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, imposed in January after 22 Israelis were killed in a suicide bombing by Muslim militants.

Before the January entry ban, about 60,000 Arabs from the West Bank and Gaza worked in Israel, mainly in construction and agricultural jobs. Palestinians have condemned the restrictions as collective punishment. Many of their jobs have since been taken by workers recruited by Israel from Romania and Thailand.

Abba Eban: Don't Abandon Peace Movement

By Daud Khan Majlis (Washington)

A veteran Israeli leader and former foreign minister says the movement for peace in the Middle East is very strong and should not be abandoned. Abba Eban said he hopes the United States will be more active and have more input to make the peace process a reality.

Eban said the major obstacle on the road to a lasting Middle East peace now is the lack of a solution to the security problem. The main concern of the Israeli authorities, he said, is how well Chairman Arafat can control the Hamas terrorists who have killed more than 65 Israelis so far this year.

The former foreign minister, however, said what is really encouraging is that even the Israeli authorities believe that Arafat and his colleagues are more effective now than they were before in preventing these attacks by enemies of the peace process.

Speaking at a (weekend) conference at George Washington University, in Washington, Eban said despite the obstacles, the peace process in the Middle East is a success story. He said in three years there has been an Egyptian-Israeli agreement, an Egyptian-Jordanian treaty, a Declaration of Principles between the PLO and the Israeli government, Israeli missions in Morocco and Tunisia, and concrete discussions about projects of regional cooperation.

Eban noted there is a serious discussion going on in Israel about whether Israel should opt for separation from the rest of the region by building barbed wire fences, instituting rigorous border checks and staying alone or create a community of states in the region with free movement across the frontiers. Most Israelis, Eban reiterated, are in favor of the second option.

Remembering Eli Cohen -- Israel's Greatest Spy

In January 1965, Syrian radio announced the capture of an Israeli spy in Damascus -- Eli Cohen, an Israeli citizen born in Egypt -- thus revealing one of the most daring spy episodes in Israel's history.

Cohen was born in Alexandria in 1924. After Israel's 1956 campaign against Arab terror bases in Egyptian-controlled Sinai and Gaza, Egypt deported most of its Jewish community and Eli came to Israel, where he was recruited into Israel's Intelligence service.

In 1961 Eli was sent to Argentina to mingle with Syrian emigrants in Buenos Aires. From then on he was known as Kamal Amin Tabot, a businessman from Syria and a Syrian patriot. He quickly absorbed into the Syrian community of Buenos Aires and impressed all who met him. It was there that he made the contacts that were to become so valuable in the future. There he befriended General Amin El-Hafez, who later became President of Syria, as well as prominent Syrian radio announcer Salim Sayif.

In 1962 Eli was sent to Syria where he continued to act as a rich and generous businessman and Syrian patriot. After the Baath party took control in Syria, Eli's position grew in importance due to his earlier contacts with leading party members. He threw lavish parties for Baath VIPs and gave them presents and favors. He befriended the colonel in charge of the Golan Heights and several times visited Syrian fortifications there, the only civilian allowed to do so.

Because of his contacts, Eli was able to pass on to Israel a wealth of information. After his visits on the Golan Heights he transmitted the Syrian fortification plans to Israel, information which proved vital in the Six-Day War of 1967. He obtained the Syrian defense and attack plans, details of their material and maneuvers, and information on army movements and the type and number of personnel.

Even at the end of 1964 when the Syrian regime began to suspect that there was a spy in Damascus, Eli kept delivering information about various changes in the army and about plans to establish Palestinian terrorist groups including El-Fatah under Syrian auspices. Then Eli was caught and suffered terrible torture without telling his interrogators what they wanted to know.

Thirty years ago, Eli Cohen -- Israel's greatest spy -- was hanged in Damascus on May 18, 1965 in Damascus. The Syrians refused to transfer his body to Israel. He died as he had lived -- a Jewish hero and an Israeli patriot.

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