Newsletter : 5fax0814.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
Aug. 14, 1995, V3, #147
All the News the Big Guys Missed
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Partial Accord Reached with PLO
By Patricia Golan (Jerusalem)
The Israeli government has approved a partial accord with the
Palestine Liberation Organization on implementation of the
expansion of Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank. The
approval came as protests by Israeli settlers against the plan
The Cabinet vote followed a day-long debate on the agreement
reached Friday between Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PLO
Chairman Yasir Arafat. The two men worked out details on a series
of issues they had already agreed on in principle, including
release of Palestinian prisoners, tax collection and Israeli troop
withdrawal from major Arab cities in the West Bank. The agreement
specifies that troops will also withdraw from Palestine towns and
villages no later than July 1997.
Newly appointed Interior Minister Ehud Barak, the former chief of
staff, has complained publicly that Israel has agreed to pull
back too quickly. Israeli army generals are also known to be
unhappy with the accord.
But the one dissenting vote at the Cabinet meeting was from
Energy Minister Gohen Segev. He is worried that Israel is already
establishing new borders for the permanent settlement that are too
close to the lines before the 1967 Six Day War and he worries that
the Jewish settlers in the West Bank will not have sufficient
But the Police Minister Moshe Shahal says the critics' fears are
unfounded, that under the agreement Israel will have the overriding
responsibility for security in the West Bank.
Before Sunday's Cabinet vote, a 22-year-old Palestinian man was
killed apparently by Jewish settlers occupying a West Bank hilltop
together with about 100 Palestinians from a nearby village. The
Palestinians tore down and burned the settlers makeshift camp.
Palestinians say settlers opened fire, which the settlers deny.
The agreement reached last week made progress on the issue of
security. But it left huge gaps to be bridged between the two
sides before a full agreement can be reached, particularly the
issue of water-sharing on the West Bank and the question of how
to provide security for the city of Hebron, where 450 Israeli
settlers live among 800,000 Palestinians.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams are going ahead with
their talks on these difficult issues in the Israel Red Sea town
of Eilat. They begin two weeks of formal talks this week.
Two IAF Airmen Killed in F-15 Crash
The funerals for Air Force Navigator Yaron Viyontah, 22, of Givat
Olga and Pilot Ronen Lev were held Sunday. The IAF pilot and
navigator were killed late last week when their F-15 crashed during
training exercises in the Negev. According to the findings of an
initial investigation, it appears that a bird either collided with
the aircraft or was sucked into an engine, leading to a loss of
control and the subsequent crash of the F-15.
Israel and Vatican Establish Committee for the Year 2000
A joint Israel-Vatican committee composed of experts on pilgrimage
will be established in Jerusalem in preparation for the upcoming
2000-year anniversary of the birth of Jesus.
The pope believes the occasion will be an appropriate time to
promote talks between religions, and invited Jews and Muslims to
Last November, the pope announced that he would examine the
possibility of visiting holy sites in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and
Mt. Sinai in order to encourage a dialogue between Jews and
Time According to Assad by Zvi Barel, Ha'aretz
Lately, the giant portraits of Assad that hang everywhere in Syria
have a new caption: "Hero in war, hero in peace." There has indeed
been war, but what is heroism in peace? Syrian publicists explain
that the fundamental turning point came when Assad declared that he
had made a strategic decision to give up the military option, and
proceed on the path of dialogue with Israel.
"This was not a concession, but a change of worldview. The
difference is that a concession is a sign of weakness. Jordan made
concessions, the Palestinians made concessions, even Egypt made
concessions. But Syria does not make concessions. It has made a
decision that will allow the other side to make concessions, while
the entire Arab world benefits in exchange..."
The danger to his rule does not come from outside. It is to be
found inside Syria, and draws its power from the fact that Assad
represents the minority Alawite community that rules over the
majority Sunni. This is not merely a question of Syrian honor, but
of the regime's survival.
Sadat spoke in the name of the Egyptian people. King Hussein signed
a peace agreement only after the Palestinians took the first step,
and thus neutralized the Palestinian opposition which resides in
Jordan. Can the Alawite Assad speak for the Sunni population? The
answer to this is subjective, and therefore, cannot be given by
Assad continues to speak in the name of the entire Syrian nation,
but in the meantime, he has not done anything which would meet the
scrutiny of the country, even though he has granted himself the
title of "hero of peace."
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