Newsletter : 5fax1213.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
Dec. 13, 1995, V3, #226
All the News the Big Guys Missed
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Is Christopher Carrying Golan Withdrawal Proposal?
By Ron Pemstein (VOA-Washington)
Secretary of State Warren Christopher leaves Washington early today
to see if there is substance in the Israeli-Syrian negotiations on
a Middle East peace. He will fly from Paris to Damascus and then to
Jerusalem to see if there are more than words behind the promising
language coming from both Syrian President Hafez al-Assad and
Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres.
The American secretary of state has been down that road before.
In March and June, he established a line of direct talks between
their ambassadors and then later between their military leaders.
However, those security talks in Washington broke down in late
June and were never resumed.
The State Department admits the last six months on the
Israeli-Syrian negotiations have been moribund. State Department
spokesman Nicholas Burns says the atmosphere has changed but
differences remain over the Golan Heights.
American mediator Dennis Ross has been in both Damascus and
Jerusalem over the last week and Peres has brought to Washington
unspecified proposals that Christopher will pass on to Assad.
The two sides have differed over the extent of the Israeli troop
withdrawal from the Golan Heights as well as early warning
systems, zones of separation and what kind of future relationship
Israel and Syria will have.
Peres Addresses Joint Session of Congress
By Paula Wolfson (VOA-Washington)
Israel's new prime minister says an historic opportunity now exists
for a comprehensive Middle East peace. Shimon Peres spoke those
words during an emotional speech to a joint meeting of Congress.
The booming voice of Yitzhak Rabin seemed to echo slightly in the
chamber of the House of Representatives as Peres made his way to
the podium. It was a whisper of remembrance. "It was but a year
ago that on this very podium there stood before you -- in a
partnership of hope -- King Hussein and Prime Minister Yitzhak
Rabin. And Rabin is no more."
Yitzhak Rabin may be gone, said his successor, but his dream of
peace is alive. "I stand before you with one overriding commitment:
to yield to no threat, to stop at no obstacle in negotiating the
hurdles ahead; in seeking security for our people, peace for our
land, tranquility for our region."
He said there was a message in the eyes of the mourners, in those
who lit candles for their slain leader, and in the tears of the
young. "I heard the appeal, nay the order, 'Carry on....carry on.'
This is my task."
Security was unusually tight in the House chamber as he spoke.
But Israel's new leader seemed undeterred by the risks he faces
in pursuing peace, and used his appearance before American
lawmakers to make a personal appeal to Syrian President Hafez
"Without forgetting the past, let us not look back. Let fingertips
touch a new untested hope. Let each party yield to the other, each
giving consideration to the respective needs of the other --
mutually so, he to us, we to him. Without illusion but with
resolve, we shall stand ready to make demanding decisions -- if you
Peres said the hurdles are many: mountains of suspicion, and chasms
of prejudice. But he said Israel is willing to try. "We shall try
to forge the peace with Syria and Lebanon expeditiously so that,
before the curtain of the 20th century shall fall, we shall see,
all of us, the emergence of a Middle East of peace."
Peres said Israel looks to the US for moral support. He recalled
the last moments of Rabin's life as he joined in a song of peace at
a rally in Tel Aviv. Speaking slowly, in careful English, the
Israeli prime minister said softly "The singer is not with us, the
Israel Withdraws from Nablus
By Al Pessin (VOA-Nablus)
Israel withdrew from the large West Bank city of Nablus overnight,
in keeping with the latest peace accord. The Israeli move left
local residents to celebrate and plan for a future under self rule.
The streets of Nablus were jammed Tuesday with people celebrating
the departure of the Israelis and the arrival of autonomy. Men
marched through the streets and people toured the central prison,
where Israel once held hundreds of Palestinians, many of them for
resisting the 28-year occupation.
Nablus is known for its activism, opposition to authority, and
armed gangs. But local officials and many local residents
interviewed Tuesday say the departure of the Israeli troops is
the most important element in changing that, and beginning to
bring the city's people together.
Nablus was the third West Bank city to gain autonomy under the
peace accord signed in September. Three more, and part of a
fourth, are to get autonomy by the end of this month, in time for
the start of the Palestinian election campaign.
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