Newsletter : 5fax1012.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
Oct. 12, 1995, V3, #184
All the News the Big Guys Missed
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200,000 March in Jerusalem Parade
Jerusalem 3000 celebrations reached a peak Wednesday as hundreds of
thousands of people participated in the Priestly Blessings at the
Western Wall and the Jerusalem parade. Approximately 200,000
marchers from 69 countries took part in the Jerusalem parade that
started at Teddy Kollek Stadium. The parade concluded in a
ceremony outside the Israel Museum which was attended by President
Ezer Weizman, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and Jerusalem Mayor
Pull-out Continues; Prisoners Released
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel closed three more occupation authority offices in the West
Bank Wednesday, continuing the first steps of its extensive
withdrawal from the West Bank under the new peace agreement. But
disputes continued over Israel's release of Palestinian prisoners.
Mobile cranes lifted concrete barriers and portable guard houses
onto trucks in a field near the West Bank city of Hebron on
Wednesday, and soldiers drove away what had been a regional office
of Israel's occupation authority. The land was returned to the
Palestinian farmer from whom it was taken when the office was
Israel also closed two other occupation offices Wednesday, turning
over the buildings to the Palestinian Autonomy Authority. Israel
began this process on Tuesday, and it is to continue next month
when the larger-scale troop withdrawals begin.
Meanwhile, Israeli officials announced they had freed 882
Palestinian prisoners Tuesday, in spite of a series of delays.
About 500 had been jailed for activities against the occupation and
the rest for ordinary criminal offenses. Officials say the release
of 84 others has been postponed by a dispute with the Palestinian
In addition, 21 women are still refusing to leave prison to protest
Israel's decision not to release four women convicted of murder.
The prisoner releases are mandated by the peace agreement. They
are designed as a symbol that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is
ending and as a concrete step to spur Palestinian public support
for the peace process. The problems in the releases have somewhat
muted those effects.
Also on Wednesday, israel announced Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
had granted permission for three former Palestinian terrorist
leaders to return from abroad to become the governors of West
Bank cities which are to become autonomous during the next two
months. The three men are believed to have been among the main
PLO military commanders and to have masterminded many attacks
on Israel and Israelis before the first peace accord was signed
The decision to allow them to join the Autonomy Administration
sparked angry responses from right wing Israeli groups which fear
the Palestinian Authority could turn to terrorism at any moment.
But Palestinian officials say the men have the stature to control
the various Palestinian factions, and to fight effectively against
groups which have not ended their armed struggles against Israel.
One of those groups, Hamas, issued a statement Wednesday saying
it has not given up its right to conduct attacks against
Israelis, even though it is discussing terms for possible
participation in next year's Palestinian elections.
Officials of the Autonomy Authority say that to do so, Hamas
would have to accept the peace accords and stop launching attacks
from autonomous territory. An official close to Palestinian
leader Yasir Arafat said Hamas was close to doing that last week.
But on Wednesday, Israel Radio quoted Israel's military governor
of the territories as saying there is no feeling in the
government that Hamas is ready to give up violence for politics.
Skeletons May Not be the Romanovs' by Peter Heinlein (VOA-Moscow)
The Russian Orthodox Church has expressed doubts about the findings
of a commission that announced it had conclusively identified the
remains of the last czar. The church's doubts could upset plans to
stage a grand reburial ceremony for the slain monarch.
When a government commission announced last month that bones found
in 1991 were definitely those of Czar Nicholas II, it seemed one of
the most painful chapters in Russian history might finally come to
a close. The czar and his family were killed by the Bolsheviks in
1918, but the whereabouts of their remains had been a mystery that
troubled the national conscience for more than 70 years.
Commission members said their conclusion that the remains were
authentic was based on independent studies by four separate groups
of experts. The studies included genetic tests on relatives of the
czar's family, including Britain's Prince Philip.
But skeptics got a boost this week when none other than the ruling
synod of the Russian Orthodox Church postponed a decision on
whether to recognize the government commission's conclusions.
Church leaders called for the formation of another international
group of experts to re-examine the evidence.
The government commission is scheduled to meet again this month
to consider its options. But with church leaders demanding another
study, the clock appears to be working against the hoped for
February ceremony that would lay to rest the haunting ghost of
Russia's last czar.
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