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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      July 5, 1995, V3, #122
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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New Finds at Massada

Parts of clothing, baskets and inscriptions on clay in Hebrew and Latin have been found in new archeological excavations at Massada by the Dead Sea by a team from the Hebrew University's archeological institute. The dig continues for two years, under a project financed by the Ministry of Tourism and the National Parks Authority. Professor Ehud Netzer said the purpose is to complete the excavations started in the 1960s under the late Prof. Yigael Yadin.

Israel Will Withdraw on July 25

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

Israel and the Palestinian Autonomy Authority have agreed on most aspects of the expansion of Palestinian autonomy, and have set July 25 as the date for reaching full agreement.

Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres announced Tuesday they had settled most of the issues which have delayed Palestinian elections and an Israeli withdrawal from several West Bank cities for more than a year. After nearly three hours of talks, they said they still did not have a full agreement, but they had enough to instruct their lead negotiators to begin drafting a formal accord.

Peres told Israel television a full agreement is "somewhat close" and that he and Arafat agreed to commit themselves to have a complete, written agreement ready by July 25. Arafat called the meeting "very important" and said he hopes they can say they "achieved something concrete."

Neither man would go into details about what was agreed on, but Peres said Israel had not deviated from its demands on security, and that the Palestinians had accepted those demands. He said the Israeli army will begin its withdrawal from some West Bank cities after the agreement is signed, but he said there is no specific date yet for the start of troop movements.

The exact timing and extent of that withdrawal, some before Palestinian elections and some afterwards, were among the main sticking points in these talks. There was also a dispute over some terms of the election, and over the movement of Israeli troops and Palestinian police in West Bank territory controlled by the other side.

Israel is believed to have agreed to remove its troops from at least four West Bank cities before the elections, and to withdraw from other areas later. But the Palestinians wanted a broader withdrawal before the elections, and a guaranteed timetable.

Other talks are continuing aimed at transferring to the Palestinian authority responsibility for all civilian affairs throughout the West Bank, including areas where the Israeli army will retain control over security.

The interim agreement Israeli and Palestinian leaders hope to sign this month is already more than a year behind schedule and is to remain in effect until 1999, by which time a final settlement is to be negotiated.

Wild Fires Cause Light Injuries, $30 Million in Damage

Firefighters spread across the approaches to Jerusalem Monday to prevent fires from rekindling in the areas of Shoresh and Neve Ilan. Thirty-seven people were injured in Sunday's wild fires, most only lightly. Others treated at hospitals for smoke inhalation have been released.

More than $30 million in property damage was caused by the fires. The cause of the largest fire in Israel's history is still unknown. Police and fire authorities in Jerusalem are continuing to investigate.

The fires destroyed approximately 2 million trees over a 5,000 acres area in the Jerusalem corridor of the Judean Hills. Most residents of Shoresh, Sho'evah, and Neve Ilan have not yet returned home.

An emergency team of the Ministry of Tourism is working to re-open hostels at Shoresh and Neve Ilan closed by the fires. Three hundred tourists and vacationing Israelis were moved to hotels in Jerusalem.

Tourism Minister Uzi Baram announced that the ministry will aid in the refurbishment of the hostels and vacation sites.

Sunday was one of the hottest days in Israel in decades and in the forests leading to Jerusalem, temperatures reached 102 degrees Fahrenheit. In Tel Aviv, temperatures of 99 degrees Fahrenheit were recorded, breaking a 111-year old record for July.

Shahak Reports to Cabinet on Military Talks

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Amnon Shahak briefed the weekly cabinet meeting on last week's military talks with Syrian Army Chief of Staff Hikmat Shihabi.

Shahak said that Syria has proposed a 10:6 ratio for the demilitarized areas on either side of the peace border. For every kilometer demilitarized by Syria, Israel will demilitarize 600 meters.

Under this proposal, a demilitarization of the Golan Heights will require an Israeli demilitarization up to Safed. Shahak said Shihabi called the ratio an appropriate reflection of the territorial differences between Israel and Syria.

The talks also focused on the two sides' conceptions of early warning, Shahak said. Syria proposed that each country will monitor the other from its own territory, and each will receive satellite photography from the United States. The Chief of Staff said Israel favors mutual early-warning stations located on the other's territory.

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