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                             ISRAEL
                              FAXX

                     Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
                      Sept. 12, 1995, V3, #167
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Israel Proposes New Plan for IDF Redeployment in Hebron

Israel is proposing a gradual redeployment of the IDF out of Hebron to be completed in 1997. In the first stage, Israel will redeploy its forces from less controversial areas. Israeli and the Palestinian delegates to the Interim Agreement negotiations believe it will be possible to sign an agreement by Rosh Hashanah.

Israel refuses Entrance to Gaza for Expelled Libyan-Palestinians

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

At least 45 Palestinians who have been expelled from Libya are stranded at the border between Egypt and the autonomous Gaza Strip because Israel, which controls the border, has refused to let them cross.

The senior Palestinian official at the Rafah crossing, Nazmi Mhanna, says the group of men, women, and children has been stranded on the Egyptian side of the crossing since last Wednesday. Mhanna says all of their papers are in order, and the Palestinian Authority is prepared to accept them. But Israeli officials have refused to let them cross.

Mhanna says the authority has not received any explanation from Israel, and is trying to convince Israeli officials to change their policy. He says the stranded Palestinians are being well cared for by their Egyptian hosts, and the Palestinian Authority is providing them with three meals a day. Mhanna says the authority is expecting many more Palestinians to try to enter Gaza after being expelled from Libya.

Israel controls all entrances to Gaza under the autonomy accord. Israel's Interior Ministry spokeswoman could not immediately explain why the Palestinians are not being allowed to cross into Gaza. But reports from Cairo say Israel has told Egypt it will accept only people with Gaza residence permits. The reports say Israel is refusing to allow Palestinians with visitors permits into Gaza because in the past, many such people have stayed permanently, and those expelled from Libya might not have anywhere else to go.

The Libyan leader, Muamar Gadhafi, announced in March that he would expel all 30,000 Palestinian workers in his country to protest the Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. But he actually expelled only a few hundred.

Then he renewed the threat in a speech on Sept. 1 And the expulsions began again. Many other Palestinians are stuck in camps on the Libyan side of the Egypt-Libya border because Egypt is only allowing people to cross who have documents which should enable them to enter Gaza.

Kosher Restaurant Opens in Amman

By Jennifer Griffin (VOA-Amman)

Entrepreneurs in Jordan are making their own peace with Israel. Recently, a Palestinian businessman whose family fled their home when Israel was created in 1948, opened Jordan's first kosher restaurant, but the restaurant is having a difficult time attracting the Israeli tourists its owners had hoped to serve.

The silverware arrives sealed in plastic, but the food looks the same as that served in any number of Lebanese or Jordanian restaurants throughout the city.

At the Istanbul restaurant in central Amman, an anxious waiter rushes over to ask the day's first and only customer whether she is from Israel. He looks down, as if disappointed, when she says she is from the United States.

The word "kosher" is written across the menus in large bold letters, followed by two exclamation points. But the only customers are those who visit out of curiosity and journalists who come to write about the latest Israeli-Jordanian joint venture.

Situated near three of Amman's largest tourist hotels and a block from the Israeli Embassy, the city's first kosher restaurant is set in a spacious, old house. Its courtyard is filled with white plastic furniture, water pipes, and the sound of Arabic music.

Last October when King Hussein made peace with Israel, Israeli tourists began pouring into Jordan for the first time in 46-years. The restaurant's accountant, Ali al-Azzeh, says at first the Israelis complained there were no kosher restaurants.

With the launch of the Istanbul Restaurant, al-Azzeh says the problem has been solved, but he says the Israelis still bring their own food.

Kosher laws require animals to be slaughtered in a specific way, and the meat must be salted and soaked to remove excess blood. For fish to be kosher they need scales and fins, and mixing meat and milk products is forbidden.

Before Istanbul opened in May, a rabbi traveled to Jordan to ensure the food preparation was kosher and to slaughter the meat.

The rabbi also trained the restaurant's cook, Janil Hassan al-Awadi, who says he will miss making mansaf, a traditional Jordanian dish which combines rice, lamb, and yogurt. It is off the menu because meat and dairy products cannot be mixed.

At a recent reception to introduce kosher food to Jordanian business leaders, some guests appeared confused when they approached the buffet table filled with various vegetable and fish dishes, including lentil salad, cherry tomato salsa, and Israeli sushi.

Despite many similarities between Jordanian and Israeli cuisine, Jordanian restaurant owners say it may take some time before people stop focusing on the differences.


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