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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      June 19, 1995, V3, #111
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Rabin Criticizes Disinformation Campaign Against PLO

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin criticized Israelis conducting a campaign of disinformation in the US alleging continued PLO participation in terrorist acts. Rabin, who spoke recently during a video conference to the Council of American Jewish organizations, said that the purpose of this disinformation is to convince the US government to halt aid to the Palestinians. He said the Hamas and Islamic Jihad are the organizations committing the terrorists acts, while Israel and the LO are working to prevent these activities.

PLO says 5,000 Palestinian Prisoners on Hunger Strike

By Susan Sappir (Jerusalem)

Thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have begun a hunger strike. The prisoners are demanding their freedom as part of Israeli-Palestinian peace moves. Taking part in the mass hunger strike are more than 5,000 Palestinians, according to Palestinian sources. But Israeli officials say only a few hundred prisoners are refusing food.

PLO leader Yasir Arafat joined in the prisoner fast. He said the release of all political prisoners -- including those who are against his peace plan with Israel -- is a vital step toward the success of that peace.

Palestinian Authority member Saeb Erakat says the hunger strike is meant to send a message to the Israeli government to honor its side of the agreement to extend Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank.

Israel and the PLO have set July 1 as the target date for an agreement on the second phase of their 1993 peace accord, but Israeli officials have said the date will probably have to be moved back.

Arab-Americans Face Violence in U.S.

By Valonda Bruinton (Washington)

A national research institute has released a detailed report about violence plaguing Arab-American store owners in Cleveland. The study by the Washington headquartered Arab-American Institute analyzes the causes and offers solutions to the situation.

Since late 1990, 12 Arab-American shopkeepers have been murdered in Cleveland. Robbery and random violence have become so common that many frightened merchants have kept weapons behind their counters or have carried them in their cars to and from work.

The president of the Arab-American Institute, James Zogby, says Cleveland has been the focal point of the study because the level of violence is so significant. But he says there are steps the city can take to stop what he calls a destructive cycle of reactionary violence and conflict.

"Cleveland needs -- and other cities need -- to bring recent ethnic immigrants into the political mainstream more rapidly than they have in the past. There is a need for someone who is Arabic speaking to translate the concerns of that community to city government."

The report says a misunderstanding and miscommunication between Arab-Americans and blacks in Cleveland have also worsened the situation.

Zogby says African-Americans feel threatened by immigrants who have come into the community and opened stores and made enough money to move up the economic ladder -- out of the city and into the suburbs. He explains, economic growth could help alleviate the decaying relationship between the two communities. "There is a need to focus programs on the crisis. Short term summer employment for African-American youth and possibly partnering those jobs in Arab-American stores would be a critical way of establishing ties between communities."

The report offers other solutions to reduce tension in the city. They include increased funding to municipal youth centers and sensitivity training for police and heath inspectors.

European Union Wants Law to Ban Racism and Anti-Semitism

By John Frasier (Brussels)

European Union Social Affairs Commissioner Padraig Flynn is proposing a new Europe-wide law to stamp out racism. Flynn has announced that he wants European leaders to agree to the anti-racism law in next year's EU conference, which is being set up to revise Europe's Maastricht Treaty.

Flynn says racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism are evils that have no place in a civilized society. But he says that, like it or not, European politicians have to face up to the fact that these evils are present today right across the European Union.

Flynn gave several examples of how racism is widespread and deeply rooted in Europe: there is a computer game in circulation, where the aim is to murder more Jews, more efficiently, in concentration camps; Turkish women and girls have been attacked and burnt to death in Germany; black youths have been shot dead by extremists in France; and four gypsies have been killed by a bomb in Austria. He also said there is orchestrated racial football hooliganism in many parts of Europe.

Flynn says Europe's leaders have to educate people against such racism. They have to promote integration, and they have to fight discrimination at all levels. That is why, he said, there must be European legislation against racism.

However, some EU governments -- in particular, the British --- are expected to resist such legislation, saying that the subject is best dealt with by national laws, rather than by European Union legislation.

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