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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       May 2, 1995, V3, #80
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Jordan Trade Agreement Ready to be Signed

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

Israel's Foreign Ministry says a Jordan-Israel trade agreement is in the final drafting stage, and will contain special trade benefits for Jordan. The announcement came as Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was on a one-day visit to Jordan.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman says the two countries settled most of their disagreements over aspects of the trade agreement at a long meeting Sunday in northern Israel.

The spokesman, Daniel Shek, says the accord will lower or remove tariffs on most goods passing between Israel and Jordan. But he says unlike most trade agreements, the benefits will not be entirely equal because Israel's economy is so much stronger than Jordan's.

Shek says the Israel-Jordan trade agreement could be ready for signature by the end of this month. He says agreements on energy, agriculture, transportation, and the environment are also close to being ready. Negotiations toward those accords were mandated by the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, signed last October.

The announcement came as Rabin was on a one-day visit to Jordan. The prime minister was to tour the ancient ruins at Petra, in southern Jordan, and then meet with King Hussein at the southern port of Aqaba. The two men were scheduled to record an unprecedented joint interview for Israel television, to be broadcast on Thursday, Israel's Independence Day.

A Day in the Life of the Palestinian Police

By Patricia Golan (Gaza)

Israel and the United States are demanding that PLO leader Yasir Arafat get control of violent fundamentalist groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which have carried out bloody attacks against Israeli targets and jeopardized the peace process. Arafat's Palestinian police have arrested some 200 supporters of Islamic groups in recent weeks, and a special tribunal has sentenced six Palestinians linked to attacks on Israelis. But can the Palestinian police do what they are being asked, or is the mission impossible?

The Israeli-PLO agreement specifies a force of 9,000 during the interim autonomous period. There are already 16,000 troops in the tiny West Bank enclave of Jericho and the Gaza Strip, with only 900,000 residents. This excess of recruits is largely to provide employment.

In addition to 4,000 regular police, there are another 12,000 armed fighters -- regular soldiers or those who serve in one of the security branches. Most of the soldiers were brought in from former PLO military training camps in Arab countries.

One such man is Captain Fayez Mamlouk, who for nearly 30 years served in the Palestine Liberation Army in battles against the Israelis in the West Bank and Lebanon, against the Jordanian army in Jordan, and against dissident Palestinian groups in Lebanon.

One of his sons was injured by an Israeli bomb in lebanon. A daughter was killed and another son blinded by a US-made bomb in Iraq. Captain Fayez looks 15 years older than his 44 years. His body is scarred, one eye is blind, and he has lost most of his teeth.

But he has been rewarded for his sacrifices by being put in charge of a unit in "Force-17," the hand-picked police who protect Arafat.

The old soldier sees the irony of having to deal with a new enemy-- fellow Palestinians who belong to Islamic militant groups. He defends Arafat's crackdown on the radicals, saying there must be order in Gaza.

Mohammed Dahlan is head of the police intelligence branch known as "Preventive Security." He was deported in 1986 after spending years in Israeli prisons as a PLO activist, and for ordering the killings of collaborators. Handsome and well-built, Colonel Dahlan sweeps into his office surrounded by armed bodyguards.

The Palestinian Authority has ordered the handing in of unauthorized weapons with few results. Security Chief Dahlan says weapons are being collected from Islamic militants, but admits the police are wary of a confrontation with people regarded by many here as heroes. But can the Palestinian police really carry out what the Israelis and the Americans are demanding?

We're convinced politically. Personally, I do this kind of work not under the pressure of Arafat or Israel or the US. This is to have calm, to have this place as calm as we can so we can get to

the West Bank. The role of the (Palestinian Authority) control is
to have one authority,  not  more than one.  We do  not want to
have the experience of Lebanon here again."

Dahlan believes the Palestinian public understands that the Palestinians, themselves, have been greatly harmed by the bombings, that the situation has only become worse. He says he does not want to give the Israelis any more excuses to delay implementation of the self-rule agreement. And he believes his men have enough training to do what needs to be done. We learned from the experts, he says, smiling, in Israeli prisons.

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