Newsletter : 5fax0623.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
June 23, 1995, V3, #115
All the News the Big Guys Missed
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Palestinian Poll Reveals Dichotomy
A survey of Palestinian public opinion indicates a majority
supports the peace process and Yasir Arafat, but one-third support
continued suicide attacks against Israel. The survey indicates most
Palestinians want peace, but not necessarily on the terms being
offered, and they support Arafat, but they are not necessarily
satisfied with the job he is doing. The seemingly
self-contradictory results are in part a reflection of the
transition palestinian society is going through, and of the newness
of its year-old Autonomy Authority.
Muslim 'Apostate' Couple Not Afraid of Death
By Peyman Pejman (Cairo)
The wife of an Egyptian professor who was declared to be an
apostate by an Egyptian court says a Muslim fundamentalist death
threat against her husband is not likely to change their
The wife of Nasr abu Zeid, a professor of Arabic literature, said
that she and her husband are aware of the death threat by the
Islamic lawyers group but have not seen the group's statement.
The Islamic Lawyers Group, which is a part of the militant group
Islamic Jihad, said Thursday that abu Zeid's blood, in its words,
should be wasted. The statement was sent from Switzerland to the
London--based Arabic daily Al-Hayat.
An appeals court has ruled that abu Zeid's writings made him
an infidel and as such he could not remain married to his Muslim
wife. Both abu Zeids say they consider themselves to be good
Muslims and reject the idea that they must get divorced.
Asked whether her life might change because of the death threat,
she replied: "We will do nothing new."
Islamic Jihad Leader Killed in Gaza by al pessin (jerusalem)
A senior leader of the militant Palestinian group Islamic Jihad has
been killed in the Gaza Strip. The man was killed by masked gunmen
on a street near his home in a Gaza refugee camp Thursday morning.
Thirty-four year-old Mahmoud Khawaja was believed to be a leader
of Islamic Jihad and a key planner of the group's attacks on
Israelis. He had spent more than 10 years in Israeli prisons,
and has been detained twice in the last year by the new Palestinian
Islamic Jihad blamed Israeli agents for the killing, and vowed
revenge. Another leader of the group, Hani Abed, was killed in
Gaza in November. Islamic Jihad carried out three attacks to
avenge his death, including a suicide bombing near Tel Aviv in
January which killed 21 people.
The spokesman for Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, called
Thursday's killing "a terrorist and criminal act" and said Arafat
has ordered a full investigation.
Syria Toughens Bargaining Stance
By Laurie Kassman (Damascus)
Syria's bargaining position with Israel remains hardline. Less than
one week before Syrian and Israel military chiefs are due to meet
in Washington to talk about security arrangements for an eventual
peace treaty, Vice-President Abd Halim Khaddam told a group of
visiting journalists the gap between the two sides is still very
The Syrian official insists Israel must pull out from all of the
Golan Heights before there is any talk of a normalization in
Khaddam does not mince words when talking about what it will take
to have peace with Israel. "We want peace and we see that and we
understand that if Israel does not withdraw to the 4th of June line
1967, peace is impossible."
Israel seized the strategic Golan Heights in the 1967 Arab-Israeli
war and later annexed it. Syria wants it all back. But Israel
wants Syria's commitment to normalized relations first and has
talked about a phased pullout coinciding with a test period for
Khaddam says a phased pullout is not acceptable. He calls
that political maneuvering and says normalization cannot be
discussed as long as there is even one Israeli soldier remaining
on the Golan Heights. "They want peace and the land together and
this is not possible. Peace and keeping of any inch of Syrian land
do not go together. And peace and occupation is not possible."
The vice-president's tough language contradicts a mood of optimism
in US and Israeli circles just before Syrian and Israeli military
chiefs meet in Washington to discuss security arrangements for an
eventual peace treaty.
Khaddam insists that security arrangements, including the size of
a demilitarized zone on both sides of the border, must be based on
parity. Israel has suggested that could be amended to accommodate
its security concerns.
The Syrian official says differences remain on all aspects of their
peace talks and nothing specific has been resolved yet. He denies
recent reports of secret negotiations. Syria refuses direct talks
with Israel and relies instead on US mediation. Khaddam still
questions Israel's commitment to peace and says Israel's actions
contradict that message. He cites Israel's bombing attacks in
southern Lebanon and its refusal to sign the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty as examples.
The vice-president says there is no room for partial accords. In
his words, any peace agreement with Israel must be complete and
balanced. He points to the continuing problems in the
Palestinian-Israeli deal and warns that unbalanced agreements are
doomed to failure.
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