Newsletter : 5fax0606.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
June 6, 1995, V3, #104
All the News the Big Guys Missed
For subscriptions or back issues, please contact POL management
This month American Express issues credit cards in Israel. In their
market research, American Express found that Israelis are frequent
credit card users, especially for travel and shopping services. The
company believes the peace process is providing great potential for
economic growth. The American Express cards will be issued through
Arafat Confers with Mubarak
By Kim Reid (Cairo)
PLO Chief Yasir Arafat has flown to Cairo for another surprise
meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The PLO leader has
come to Cairo for his sixth visit in recent months to get advice on
how to keep the peace talks with the Israelis moving.
The Egyptian President has expressed his concern that peace talks
are nearing another breakdown over the issue of Palestinian
elections, and Israeli troop withdrawal from Palestinian territory.
One Egyptian diplomat says his government thinks Israel is moving
too slowly to meet the July 1 negotiating deadline for these two
issues. The official blames what he described as Israel's slow
movement as Israel's way of appeasing its own population, which is
unhappy about how little peace the Palestinian peace deal has
produced thus far. But the official says the slow pace is making it
harder for Arafat to maintain support among his people, and
The Egyptians and Palestinians say they hope US Secretary of State
Warren Christopher will press Israel to pick up the negotiating
pace, and even grant a few concessions to the Palestinians.
One Western diplomat says Christopher does realize the importance
of meeting the July 1 deadline on elections and Israeli troop
withdrawal, a point Christopher will emphasize in his meetings with
Israelis. But the official says the main thrust of Christopher's
visit will be to keep up the momentum on the Syrian-Israeli talks.
The Egyptian official warns, however, unless there is more movement
on the Palestinian front, his government believes it will be
difficult for Syria's President Hafez al Assad to speed up his
talks with Israel.
Hamas Jerusalem Cell Crushed; Planned Terrorist Attacks
By Patricia Golan (Jerusalem)
Israeli security forces say they have uncovered a wide-scale
organization of Palestinians belonging to the outlawed Islamic
resistance movement Hamas in the Jerusalem area. Hamas opposes the
peace accord between the Palestine Liberation Organization and
Some 45 members of cells belonging to the military wing of Hamas
are said to have been arrested over the weekend. According to
Israeli security sources the men had been planning serious
terrorist attacks, including planting car bombs in Jerusalem and
carrying out other attacks on soldiers and civilians. All 45
suspects are said to come from Jerusalem or villages near Jerusalem
and to have received training in the Gaza Strip.
Military sources say the man behind the Jerusalem area network
was a resident of the Gaza Strip, and was responsible for planning
the kidnaping and killing of an Israeli soldier last year.
This is the second Israeli round-up of Hamas activists in less
than a week. On Friday, in a rocket attack on a house in the West
Bank town of Hebron, Israeli troops killed a senior Hamas leader
held responsible for killing at least six Israelis in a series of
Meanwhile, the Israeli army has announced it will start work on
infrastructure for its redeployment in the West Bank. Under the
accord with the PLO, the Israeli army is to withdraw from
population centers so the Palestinians can hold elections.
Israelis seem determined to crack down on militant Islamic groups
in the period before the elections.
Israelis, Germans and Jordanians Meet on an Island
By Al Pessin (Baqoura, Jordan)
The leaders of Germany, Jordan and Israel joined in symbolic
salute to the Middle East peace process Monday, meeting on a small
island, Baqoura Island, where the Jordan and Yarmouk rivers come
together. Israel returned the island to Jordan as part of
their peace accord.
Baqoura Island is no prize. It is little more than a sandy hill
between two narrow streams, less than .62 mile in size. But for
decades it has been a focal point of the Israel-Jordan conflict and
of efforts to solve it.
Israel's control of the island was long an irritant to Jordan.
That problem was solved in peace negotiations last year, when the
island was returned to Jordanian sovereignty and Israelis were
given the right to cultivate part of it. But the island was also
the site of secret talks between Jordanian and Israeli officials
during past years. Those talks, mainly about water-sharing issues,
served as a point of contact for the two countries through the long
years of conflict.
Monday, the Israeli and Jordanian leaders met in an air-conditioned
tent on the island, along with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Any
substantive issues discussed in their half-hour meeting were kept
secret. But they emerged praising each other's efforts for peace,
and pledging to continue the process.
Israel's Ambassador to Jordan Shimon Shamir acknowledged the
event was mainly symbolic, but he said such symbolism can be
important. The Israeli, Jordanian and German leaders are working
projects designed to increase the fresh water output of the
Jordan and Yarmouk rivers, and the nearby Sea of Galilee.
Kohl pledged to continue supporting European Union funding for the
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin called for Arab countries to
respect the peace which has been made along these rivers and to
support it. King Hussein said the region's water should be shared by
all its people, and it is his dream the Jordan River
valley will become truly a valley of peace.
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