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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      April 26, 1995, V3, #25
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Passover Seder with Moslems and Buddhists:

A special vegetarian Passover Seder was held in Jerusalem this year with participants including Buddhists, Moslems, Christians, Hindus, Suffis and Jews. It was organized by the Culture and Education organization of the World Union of Progressive Judaism. Rabbis interpreted Jewish religious law to permit the participation in a seder of adherents of other faiths; there was immediate response from such guests to participate. All were invited to say a special prayer of identification and to eat matzos.

Arab Dies While in Israeli Police Custody

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

Israel's Justice Ministry has launched an investigation into Tuesday's death of a Palestinian who had been in police custody.

The man's family says he was arrested Friday night in good health at his home in the West Bank town of Hebron, and police took him to Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital the next day unconscious. The hospital confirms the death of 30-year-old Abdel-Samad Harizat, and confirms he was brought to the hospital by the police several days ago. But the hospital will not give the cause of death or any other details.

Harizat's brother says he saw him at the hospital on Sunday in a coma, and the family charges police with beating him to death. The police are not commenting on the case, pending the Justice Department's investigation. Human rights groups are also investigating. The Justice Department has asked for an autopsy, but the family objected on religious grounds. A court is to decide today.

Hebron is a center of support for radical Palestinian groups which oppose the peace process, and Harizat was known locally as a supporter of the extremist group Hamas. Israeli sources say Harizat was arrested for being a Hamas leader, but his family says he was not. In a leaflet distributed on Tuesday, Hamas said Harizat was assassinated and it vows to continue its attacks against Israelis.

Israel announced Tuesday it had recently arrested 14 extremists in Hebron on charges of planning such attacks.

Under Israeli law, the security services are limited to using what is called "moderate physical pressure" to get detainees to give them information. But the prime minister has relaxed the restriction in recent months to combat a wave of attacks by Hamas and other violent groups.

Hamas claims several prisoners have died as the result of the change. But the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem says this is the first death of a prisoner in custody in Israel since the interrogation rules were eased. The group says 20 other prisoners died in custody between 1988 and 1993.

Jordanians Not Comfortable with Israeli Peace

By Al Pessin (Tel Aviv)

Jordan's new Ambassador to Israel says most Jordanians are opposed to expanding peaceful relations with Israel -- at least until various issues related to the Palestinians are solved. Ambassador Marwan Muasher is an unassuming figure cruising the streets of Tel Aviv in his Jeep four-wheel drive vehicle. He says he feels "OK" in this sea-side Israeli metropolis, where some Arabs -- those without the diplomatic license plates he has on his Jeep -- are sometimes subject to identity checks and other forms of special police attention.

But Muasher says other Jordanians are not so comfortable with contacts with Israel, which began in earnest when their peace treaty was signed last October.

"Most Jordanian support is still luke warm and guarded, at best. They are in what we might call a "wait and see" attitude, waiting for political events to unfold and waiting for economic benefits to materialize. And in the meantime, such relations as in people-to-people relations really are still opposed by the majority of Jordanians."

There is ample evidence of that. While thousands of Israelis have been streaming across the newly opened border to visit tourist sites in Jordan, Jordanian groups are actively resisting the development of the kind of broad friendly relations the two governments want.

Jordan's 12 professional associations have barred their members from having any dealings with Israelis, except for emergency medical care. The Musicians Association took action against a singing group which visited Israel where it was greeted by large crowds and favorable press coverage.

And Jordan's 11 opposition political parties, including the large Islamic Action front, planned a conference for this month to work against normalization with Israel. The meeting was to have convened this week, but the Jordanian government refused to grant permission.

Muasher says so far, Israel-Jordan peace is mainly government-to-government, largely because the most important things Jordanians want from peace have not yet materialized -- economic benefits and progress in Israel's peace process with the Palestinians.

The Jordanian ambassador called on Israel to do more to bring about progress in its talks with the Palestinians, and with Syria, and he called on the international community to do more to help bring the economic benefits of peace to ordinary Jordanians. He said large-scale financing is needed for a variety of projects, as well as money to, in his words, "jump start" the debt-burdened Jordanian economy.

On political issues, he said it is particularly important for Jordanians that Israel and the Palestinians solve the issues of refugees, Israeli settlements in Palestinian areas and the future of Jerusalem -- issues not scheduled to even be discussed until a year from now.

Muasher says Jordan has some sharp disagreements with Israel about those issues, as demonstrated by his visit Tuesday to Palestinian offices in East Jerusalem. Israel opposes such visits by foreign officials. Muasher says the two countries must be honest about their differences, even as they try to build their peaceful relationship.

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