Newsletter : 5fax0720.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
July 20, 1995, V3, #131
All the News the Big Guys Missed
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Peres, Arafat and Mubarak Meet in Alexandria
By Laurie Kassman (Cairo)
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met with PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat
and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres (Wednesday) at the
presidential palace in Alexandria. They are trying to speed up
negotiations for an agreement about expanding Palestinian self-rule
in the West Bank. Both sides are suggesting a self-imposed target
date may be missed.
After several hours of discussions and talk of some progress, there
are few signs Palestinian and Israeli negotiators will meet their
next target date, only six days away. Mubarak has suggested it
could slide a few days. He says negotiations underway in northern
Israel will probably return to Cairo next week.
The two sides are already a year behind schedule for extending
Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and organizing Palestinian
elections. Key stumbling blocks include sharing water rights and
the logistics of re-deploying Israeli troops in the West Bank.
The meeting at Mubarak's summer palace in the Mediterranean port of
Alexandria marks his return to the peace process after escaping an
assassination attempt last month. Security around the meeting site
was unusually tight.
On the eve of the Egyptian meeting, a PLO spokesman had cautioned
the Alexandria talks would not put any finishing touches on an
agreement because serious differences still need to be resolved.
One Year Since Argentine JCC Bombing
By George Meek (Rio de Janeiro)
Argentina has marked the first anniversary of the bombing of a
Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires that killed 86 people. The
search for the terrorists responsible for the act continues.
Relatives lit one candle for each of the victims and observed a
moment of silence in front of the ruined hulk of the JCC. Thousands
of people -- Jews and non-Jews -- attended the somber observance.
The relatives of the victims say they are impatient for justice.
The only person under arrest is a man accused of selling the van
that was loaded with 660 pounds of explosive for the attack.
Argentina is awaiting extradition from Paraguay of six Lebanese
and a Brazilian who are suspected of having some link to the 1994
attack, and to one two years earlier that killed 28 people at the
Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires.
Argentina, Israel and the US have repeatedly blamed the two attacks
on Islamic fundamentalists linked to Iran. Argentina's supreme
court has ruled that there was no proof of Iran's involvement, but
Judge Juan Jose Galeano, who is in charge of the investigation,
said this week there is fresh evidence of an Iranian connection.
He did not give details.
A US rabbi who has been following the case, Avi Weiss, has accused
the Argentine government of not pursuing the case vigorously
because it might discover -- in his words -- involvement of persons
at the highest level of government.
This assertion is vehemently rejected by President Carlos Menem
and leaders of Argentina's Jewish community. Menem pledged to do
whatever it takes to punish what he calls the cowardly assassins
who are living in the shadows.
French President Admits Nation's Guilt
By Julian Nundy (Paris)
French Jewish leaders have expressed their gratitude for a weekend
statement by President Jacques Chirac that for the first time
acknowledged the role of the French state in the persecution of
Jews during World War 2.
Nobel Peace Prize-winner Elie Wiesel congratulated Chirac for
having -- what he called -- the courage of his convictions. Grand
Rabbi Joseph Sitruk said the president was clear and precise in
blaming the French state for the deportations of Jews during World
Chirac made the statement during a ceremony at the site of Paris'
former Veld'hiv stadium. About 12,000 Jews were taken there by
French police in July 1942. It was in French state-owned trucks,
Chirac said, they then left for the Nazi death camps. Several
times, the president spoke of the role of the French state or the
role of France.
French Jews have long campaigned for the French Republic to
recognize it was the state and not an illegal regime that sent
Jews to their death.
For the past 14-years, Francois Mitterrand, Chirac's socialist
predecessor, refused to do so. He described the Vichy regime that
collaborated with the Nazis as an aberration. In fact, Vichy was
ushered in by a legal vote in the French parliament.
Three-years ago, Mitterrand was jeered when he attended a similar
ceremony at the Veld'hiv. His relations with French Jews worsened
last year because of new disclosures about his own record.
Mitterrand was a civil servant under Vichy before he joined the
anti-Nazi resistance. After the war, Mitterrand befriended Rene
Bousquet, the Vichy police chief who organized the roundup of Paris
Mitterrand said he did not at first know of Bousquet's
participation and ended the friendship when legal proceedings were
started against Bousquet in 1983. A gunman killed Bousquet
two-years ago as he awaited trial for crimes against humanity.
Chirac said 450 French police officers rounded up thousands of Jews
in July 1942, and handed them over to their executioners.
A French historian who has tracked down several Nazi war criminals,
Serge Klarsfeld, was among Jewish leaders to thank the president.
He said Chirac had the courage to condemn Vichy in terms never
heard from his predecessor.
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