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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       May 10, 1995, V3, #86
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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AIPAC: The Iran Threat

By Ed Warner (Washington)

At the annual meeting of AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), the threat from Iran was a major topic. Uri Lubrani, a former Israeli ambassador to Iran, said the world too soon forgets all the trouble caused by Iran. He recalled many instances of terrorism for his audience at the conference:

"They should serve us all as a poignant reminder of the evil, pernicious, dangerous nature of this regime. Try to remember the nightmare of atomic bombs in the hands of fanatic, utterly irresponsible, unpredictable and unscrupulous lot in Tehran. Believe me, they are capable of anything. Attempts to engage in dialogue must be over. The only way to deal with this evil phenomenon is through condemnation, isolation and effective international sanctions."

Other speakers suggested Iran is not quite so dangerous, given its economic problems. Martin Kramer, professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv university, said Iran is not able to spend as much as it would like on followers abroad because of so many problems at home:

"Because the clerics have more or less capped funding for all Islamic causes, they're always looking for ways to maximize the impact of the money that they do spend. As a rule, Iranian funds move away from movements which are defeated or domesticated and move toward those groups and organizations which are pursuing active jihad, which would be defined by many of us as straightforward terrorism. Hence, the paradox: Iran is not expanding its support for Islamic movements, but the money it does spend is systematically reinvested in conflict wherever it is most acute."

For example, said Kramer, Iran has switched funds from Hizbullah in Israeli-occupied southern Lebanon to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the West Bank.

Rabin Discusses Iran

By Daud Majlis (Washington)

Israel's prime minister says as the strongest nation in the Middle East his country can take calculated risks for peace which is being constantly threatened by the extremist groups like the Islamic Jihad and the Hamas.
Rabin categorically stated that no Israeli was killed by the people who are under the authority of Chairman Yasir Arafat since the Declaration of Principles was signed in Washington between the PLO and Israel in 1993. The Israeli leader said there is no terror without a political purpose. The Palestinian Authority, he noted, is now beginning to realize that it has to cope with terrorism conducted by these extremists.

"We also look to the threats to the region. The threats are by extreme, ugly, fundamentalistic Islamic terror wave that I call Khomeinism without Khomeini. It covers the whole Middle East. It is not a problem to us. If there is a danger to stability, tranquility and peace in the region it is not only in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict."

The Israeli leader said Iran is a danger not only to Israel but to the stability and tranquility of a region in which rest of the world is involved.

Aipac: Gingrich on Jerusalem;

Iran May Nuke Chicago or Atlanta

By Ed Warner (Washington)

One of the main objectives of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a project involved in considerable controversy. At a luncheon during the annual AIPAC conference in Washington, Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich offered his support for the transfer.

Gingrich said if the Russians wanted to move the U.S. Embassy from Moscow to St. Petersburg or the Germans wanted to shift it from Bonn to Berlin, the United States would have to say these countries can choose their own capital. The same thing, he said, applies to Israel: "Now I am told that if we were to set the embassy up there tomorrow that this would cause enormous unrest among those of their neighbors who would like to destroy Israel. Well, I'm frankly not very sympathetic to that. And part of my reaction is they ought to grow up. Israel is a sovereign nation. The dominant power on the planet, the leader of the world is committed unequivocally to the survival of Israel, and we will take those steps that are necessary, working with the free people of Israel, to assure their survival."

Gingrich pledged to pass legislation in the House of Representatives that will move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Yet reports indicate the Israeli government is not happy about the move, fearing it would jeopardize the already endangered peace process. Muslims, too, lay claim to Jerusalem and vehemently object to putting the Israeli capital there.

According to the Israeli press, an official who accompanied Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to Washington said the move may be a plot by the opposition Likud party to derail the peace process.

Palestinians also object to the continuing Israeli expropriation of land around Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank. The New York Times writes: "To many palestinians, who regard Jerusalem's eastern precincts as the capital of their hoped for state, there will be little land left to negotiate if Israel is allowed to keep building on it."

In his speech, Gingrich said more is involved than just Israel, which is the front line defense against Islamic terrorism: "If you want to imagine a catastrophic future, imagine Turkey and Egypt becoming dominated in the manner of Iran. There is an immediate, direct national security, interest in finding a way to deal with Iran and either moderate that government or guarantee that it never gets nuclear weapons that will allow it to establish blackmail and a strangle hold on the oil supply of the world and be in a position in the short run to annihilate Tel Aviv and in the long run to annihilate Chicago or Atlanta."

Gingrich proposed establishing a joint Israeli-Jordanian free trade zone that would demonstrate the value of cooperation among ethnic groups and perhaps temper the world's many ethnic conflicts.

Israel: 62 Percent of Expropriated Land is Jewish-Owned

By Patricia Golan (Jerusalem)

Several countries have protested Israel's plans to expropriate land in east Jerusalem. Jordan and Morocco say their relations with Israel could be damaged if Israel goes ahead with the confiscations, and the PLO has threatened to go to the UN Security Council over the issue.

The heated debate erupted last month when Israel announced its decision to confiscate about 130 acres of land in mainly Arab east Jerusalem to build new Jewish neighborhoods. Israel captured the eastern sector of Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967, and immediately annexed it into its capital. Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as their future capital.

While the city's status is to be discussed in later negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel continues to build and expand the city.

In a personal message to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, King Hassan of Morocco warned that the move could prove a bombshell for the Middle East peace process. And Jordan's ambassador to Israel told the foreign ministry that if Israel does not reverse its decision, Jordan will be forced to take measures that will harm bilateral relations.

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres says it is a distortion to say Arab land is being confiscated for Jewish housing. Rather, he says it is more a matter of re-zoning land for housing, some of which will be constructed for Arab residents of the city. Peres concedes authorities should have been more sensitive about the way in which the expropriation was announced, but says the decision must stand so Israel will not appear to be retreating on the issue of Jerusalem.

Peres says 62 percent of the land being confiscated at this time belongs to Jews, and all landowners -- Jews and Arabs -- will be compensated. Palestinians dispute the government figures, saying a majority of the land is Arab-owned. Israel's claim to Jerusalem has received a boost from the US Senate leader Bob Dole, who is introducing legislation to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Many countries have embassies in Tel Aviv.

The Clinton administration says the move would be provocative, but Dole disagrees, saying that Israel is the only country which is being denied the right to decide its own capital city.

Israeli government officials refuse to comment on the proposed embassy move, saying it is an internal American matter. They know that the transfer of the US Embassy, even to west Jerusalem as is planned, will further anger the Palestinians.

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