Newsletter : 5fax0516.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
May 16, 1995, V3, #90
All the News the Big Guys Missed
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Israel Freezes Land Confiscation
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
Israeli officials have expressed the hope that Sunday's
Cabinet decision to freeze future land confiscations in east
Jerusalem will satisfy countries involved in the UN Security
Council debate on the issue.
One Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, called
the Cabinet decision a compromise which opens a new era of Israeli
government attitudes toward Jerusalem. The official said the
decision that this government will not confiscate any more land
for housing in east Jerusalem is the first time any Israeli
government has agreed to limit its activities in any part of the
The official also predicted that the controversy over the latest
confiscation -- which the Cabinet decided not to change -- will
lead to greater attention to the needs of east Jerusalem's 160,000
Palestinian officials said the cabinet decision was not enough
and that Israel should reverse the confiscation of 134 acres,
announced last month, which sparked the current debate in the
Security Council. But Israeli officials say that will not
happen, and Foreign Ministry spokesman Daniel Shek says the
government hopes Sunday's decision will defuse the UN debate.
Some Israelis have criticized the Cabinet for limiting Jewish
settlement in east Jerusalem, but Palestinian leaders say only a
reversal of last month's confiscation would be a real show of
The spokesman for the Palestinian Authority's office in Jerusalem,
Nabih Uweidah, says the Authority wants Israel to take more steps
on land issues, and will wait to see exactly what the government
does in the wake of its announcement on Sunday. The Palestinians
want east Jerusalem to be the capital of a Palestinian state. The
issues of statehood and Jerusalem's future status are to be part of
negotiations scheduled to start next year.
United Nations May Denounce Israel
By Elaine Johanson (United Nations)
The United Nations Security Council is considering a draft
resolution denouncing Israeli plans to confiscate Arab land in east
Jerusalem -- which Israel seized in the 1967 war. A debate on the
issue opened late Friday, continued Monday and is expected to
resume later today.
A draft resolution submitted by Arab delegates would deplore
Israeli intentions to expropriate some 134 acres of land in east
Jerusalem. It would call on the government to rescind its
decision and put a stop to any such actions in the future.
The United States has already said it will not support the
resolution. It wants the issue resolved in bilateral talks between
the Israelis and the Palestinians.
However, the Clinton administration has also expressed its
frustration with the Israeli government, saying it is difficult
to see how taking more Arab land can be beneficial to the peace
process. Israel -- which considers all of Jerusalem its capital
-- says the land is for housing and a new police headquarters.
Other friends of Israel, including Canada and Australia, have
noted that the action would be contrary to the 1993
Palestinian/Israeli accord. Both sides agreed to start negotiating
the future status of Jerusalem next year.
Palestinians Jails Hamas Editor
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
The Palestinian Authority in Gaza has closed a newspaper operated by
the militant group, Hamas, a day after the new state security
court in Gaza sentenced the newspaper's editor to two years in jail
for writing seditious articles for the newspaper. A Palestinian
official says the newspaper, Al-Watan, was closed in part for
reprinting critical articles from the Western press.
One such article, from London's Daily Telegraph, compared the
Palestinian Autonomy Authority to the former Israeli occupation
force. Sources in Gaza say the Authority was also angered by an
Al-Watan article accusing the Palestinian police of kidnapping an
alleged witness to a bombing in Gaza City. The newspaper's
publisher (Amad Faluji) says he will appeal the closure order.
On Sunday, the new security court in gaza sentenced the newspaper's
chief editor, Sayid abu Musameh, to two years in prison for writing
articles the court said amounted to "incitement against the
Palestinian authority." Musameh had emerged recently as a senior
spokesman for Hamas.
The Palestinian security court was established two months ago in
part to address Israel's demand for a crackdown on violent
Palestinian groups. Musameh is the most senior Hamas official the
court has sentenced.
Human rights groups have criticized the court for ignoring the
rights of defendants through quick trials with virtually no
notice and no right of appeal.
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