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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
June 1, 1995, V3, #101
All the News the Big Guys Missed
For subscriptions or back issues, please contact POL management
Training Rifle for Color Bullets
A rifle resembling the M-16 model has been developed in Israel
which uses color-pellet bullets for training purposes, which
explode on contact, simulating real battle conditions.
Israeli Survey Indicates Flexibility on Jerusalem
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
A public opinion survey on the issue of Jerusalem's future
indicates more flexibility among Israeli and Palestinian
individuals than their leaders have so far indicated.
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and other Israeli leaders
frequently repeat their view -- that Jerusalem, east and west, is
and will remain a united city under Israeli sovereignty, and will
not also be the capital of any Palestinian entity. The Palestinian
leader, Yasir Arafat, states his view with equal frequency, that
east Jerusalem will be the capital of a future Palestinian state.
The two views appear to be irreconcilable, and the dispute
threatens to sabotage the effort to make peace between Israelis
and Palestinians. The claim by leaders on both sides -- that on
this issue they have the support of nearly 100 per cent of their
people -- makes the situation appear to be even more difficult.
But Gershon Baskin of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and
Information says his group's survey, published Wednesday, indicates
there is more flexibility among ordinary people than the leaders
"The so-called Israeli consensus, which has been fostered by the
politicians in Israel, in which more than 90 percent of the public
support the present status quo, exclusive Israeli sovereignty over
all the city, is not true. It think that's very significant.
Now, it is true that 65 percent of the public does support it, and
that's a rather large number. But a surprisingly large sector of
the Israeli population is willing to accept various models for
shared or divided sovereignty in Jerusalem, and this is before
negotiations have begun, this is before the public has been fully
exposed to various kinds of ideas."
In addition, Baskin says the vast majority (72%) of Israelis
believe that most Palestinians will never accept permanent Israeli
control of all of Jerusalem.
According to the survey, the Israelis are right about that. The
survey indicates that 91 percent of Palestinians are not willing
to accept continuing Israeli sovereignty over all of the city. Two
thirds of Palestinians want Palestinian sovereignty over east
Jerusalem, including the huge Jewish neighborhoods which have been
built since Israel captured the city from Jordan in 1967. But the
Palestinians (85%) also recognize that Israelis will never accept
So what is the solution to these seemingly diametrically opposed
views? Baskin says just as his survey indicates some potential
flexibility among Israelis, it shows the same for Palestinians.
"There is no clear, single proposal which Palestinians support.
It's very clear what they don't support, but the Palestinians are
open to all kinds of compromises of various different kinds which
allow for decision-makers and academics and others to come up with
creative options, which then have to be presented to the public
and talked about and educate the public about (them)."
The survey also indicates that Palestinians who live in or near
Jerusalem are more willing to compromise. Baskin says that is
because they have seen the reality of Jerusalem, with the old
border eradicated and Jewish neighborhoods on both sides of the
city fully integrated with each other. He says Palestinians
further away from Jerusalem, particularly those in Gaza, think of
the new Jewish neighborhoods as settlements separated from the
city, but he notes that is not the reality.
Baskin acknowledges that his survey confirms widely different
Israeli and Palestinian preferences for Jerusalem's future. But
he says it also suggests a way out.
"One potential impact of this study will be to show the policy
makers, particularly on the Israeli side, that there is a lot more
room for free thinking than they thought was possible."
So far, no leader on either side has shown any interest in such
"free thinking." But both Israeli and Palestinian peace activists
say that is what will be needed next year when talks on the
Jerusalem issue begin, in order to settle it in a way which will
satisfy people on both sides and really give peace a chance to
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