Newsletter : 5fax0713.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
July 13, 1995, V3, #128
All the News the Big Guys Missed
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Peres: Jerusalem Never an Arab Capital
Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans has questioned Israel's
refusal to recognize Palestinian claims in Jerusalem, Israeli
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said: "Jerusalem has never been an
Arab capital, and the Jews have never had another capital. We have
a demographic majority in the city. We will never agree to a
solution of two capitals in the city, and there is no historical or
demographic justification for that."
Rabbis Tell IDF Soldiers to Disobey Orders
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
A group of Israeli rabbis has issued a ruling in effect urging
Israeli soldiers to disobey orders to withdraw from the West Bank.
The ruling issued Wednesday says it is a violation of Jewish law to
participate in the dismantling of Israeli army bases or settlements
from the West Bank, which religious Jews consider part of the
Jewish homeland. The ruling says Israeli military facilities
cannot be handed over to non-Jews because such a move would
endanger lives and the Jewish state.
According to the decree, there is no difference between the
evacuation of a base and the evacuation of a settlement. The
rabbis' announcement caused a political storm evoking condemnations
from politicians of all ideological persuasions.
Calling on all Israelis to reject the decree which was issued by
a group which does not represent the majority of rabbis in
Israel, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said, "It would be
inconceivable that we would turn Israel into a banana republic."
Knesset members from Likud, Tsomet, and Moledet all spoke out
against the decision. Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu said
Israel must protect the principle of military orders in the IDF
and there is no place for disobedience.
It is not clear just how big an impact the ruling will have.
There are no reliable statistics on how many soldiers are
religious, and there would be no way to know how many people
would follow the ruling.
But the ruling has thrown another potential obstacle in the way
of the Israeli government's plans to withdraw from large areas of
the West Bank during the next two years.
Israeli settlers in the West Bank have staged an increasing series
of protests aimed at blocking the withdrawal. Senior army officers
say any insubordination will be dealt with harshly, and they say
they can maintain discipline and carry out the government's orders.
Vanunu Appears in Court
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
One of Israel's most famous prisoners -- former nuclear technician
Mordechai Vanunu -- had another dramatic court appearance Tuesday
evening, but came away with only some of what he was asking for.
Police took extraordinary measures to try to prevent reporters from
even catching a glimpse of Vanunu, bringing him to court in a van
with painted windows and parking it just a few inches from the
building's entrance. But in spite of efforts by a policeman who
raised his arms and tried to block Vanunu's face with a mobile
telephone, photographers managed to snap his picture and he shouted
to reporters, "i will fight," before being ushered into the
Vanunu was asking for an easing of the conditions of his
confinement. On Tuesday, the court agreed to improve arrangements
for family visits and to allow him to have a computer and to make
two phone calls a month monitored by prison officials. But it
deferred judgement on his request for more contact with other
Israel's intelligence service kidnapped Vanunu in Rome in 1986
and brought him to Israel for a secret trial. He was sentenced
to 18 years in prison for giving information about Israel's
nuclear program to the London Times newspaper. Israel says he
must remain in prison, and his contacts must be strictly
controlled, because he still knows things which could harm the
Transfer of Power Agreement Reached
By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)
Israel and the Palestinian Authority have reached agreement on the
transfer of power in eight spheres of civilian administration
throughout the West Bank. Israel and the Palestinians are
continuing to transfer such powers although they have not yet
reached agreement on the withdrawal of Israeli forces or the
expansion of full autonomy.
The agreement was reported by Israeli and Palestinian newspapers,
and confirmed by the Israeli Foreign Ministry. The reports say the
accord covers local government, commerce and industry, labor
affairs, agriculture, postal service, statistics and fuel and
natural gas. Israel gave the Palestinians control of six other
areas nearly a year ago, including education, taxation and tourism.
One aspect of those talks is how the Palestinians will enforce
their civilian authority in areas where the Palestinian police do
not operate. Such issues are to be settled by July 25 in what
is called an interim agreement, which is to remain in effect
until 1999, by which time a permanent agreement is supposed to be
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