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                             ISRAEL
                              FAXX

Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      Aug. 28, 1995, V3, #157
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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PLO/Israeli Signing Ceremony Staged

By Kim Reid (VOA-Cairo)

Israelis and Palestinians staged a showy signing ceremony in Cairo for the hand over of eight more areas of responsibility for West Bank civilian affairs to Palestinian rule. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators signed an accord giving Palestinians more responsibility in governing the West Bank, but the two sides have not yet reached agreement on wider, more controversial issues like Palestinian elections.

The Cairo Accord signed Sunday gives Palestinians control over eight, less controversial sectors including agriculture, fuel, statistics and the post office. Israeli negotiator Gen. Oren Shahor says these administrative responsibilities will be turned over in the coming weeks.

Despite the ceremony, one PLO official called this a minor milestone. The accord actually formalizes a deal struck by Palestinians and Israelis a month ago in Cairo. It was recently approved by the Israeli Cabinet.

PLO official Jamil Tarifi insists the Cairo signing is still important. "You know there are some obstacles, but as I said, it is very good that both sides are committed about what we agree and we signed it and that is it. It shows both sides are committed to the peace process."

Tarifi would not say whether negotiators will meet a September deadline on more troublesome issues like Palestinian elections, or what to do with the Jewish settlements in the middle of the troubled West Bank of Hebron.

US officials are pushing Israel and the PLO to resolve these issues in time for another White House accord signing, on the second anniversary of the PLO-Israel deal.

In a peace process more than a year behind schedule because of missed deadlines, political observers say they will be surprised if a full agreement is reached in time, even with pressure from the White House.

Israel Lifts West Bank Entry Ban

By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel has lifted the ban on Palestinians in the West Bank entering Israel. The ban was imposed following the suicide bus bombing last Monday in Jerusalem. Israeli troops have kept a cordon around the autonomous town of Jericho, demanding the Palestinian authorities turn over two wanted men. No one is being allowed to leave or enter the town.

Following the latest attack, Israel arrested dozens of suspected militants in the extremist Islamic organization, Hamas, and killed two men in a shootout Friday in hebron. Two men who fled to Jericho to evade capture by israeli security forces were arrested by Palestinian troops.

Israel says it has proof the two -- Abdel-Majid Dudin, and Rajid al-Khatib -- helped plan the suicide bus bombing that killed five people Monday in Jerusalem. Palestinian security officials admit at least one of the men was a member of a Hamas ring which planned Monday's attack and the July bus bombing near Tel Aviv.

Saturday, a Palestinian security court operating for the first time in Jericho tried and sentenced the two to prison for what is described as -- carrying out acts and activities that harm Palestinian general security and hurt the peace process.

Israel insists under the Israeli-PLO self-rule agreement, the PLO must surrender the men. The Palestinians point out the agreement gives the Palestinian authority the right to refuse extradition if the suspects are serving a sentence. Authorities in Jericho have refused to release the men to Israeli custody.

Muslim Militants Killed in Hebron

By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli undercover troops Friday killed two wanted Muslim militants in a shootout in Hebron. The raid is part of Israel's intensifying battle against the Islamic militant Hamas organization which claimed responsibility for two suicide bus bombings in the past month.

The clash in Hebron came two days after Israeli security services announced the capture of dozens of members of a West Bank Hamas network. The Shin Bet Secret Service said the ring was responsible for bus bombings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv which which killed 11 people.

Hamas has threatened more suicide attacks to try to derail the Israeli-PLO negotiations on expanding Palestinian self-rule.

The army says the two men killed in Hebron were not part of the captured Hamas cell, but were attached to a different unit. The Israeli commander of the West Bank says the two were on their way to kill Jews in Hebron. Both men had been imprisoned by Israel in the past and were on the army's wanted list.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin complained security agents trying to prevent attacks by Muslim militants are hampered by too many legal restrictions. His comments came after the disclosure that the mastermind of the latest attack was already in custody when a suicide bomber he had recruited blew himself up on a bus in Jerusalem.

The prime minister's remarks touched off a debate on whether the Secret Service should be allowed to use tougher methods in interrogating Muslim militants.


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