Newsletter : 5fax1220.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
Dec. 20, 1995, V3, #231
All the News the Big Guys Missed
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Assassination Trial Starts in Tel Aviv
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
The trial of the confessed assassin of Israeli Prime Minister
Yitzhak Rabin began Tuesday, but the proceedings were recessed
until Jan. 23 so defense attorneys could review the evidence. The
brief court session came on the same morning that Israel's
largest-circulation newspaper published the only known pictures
of the killing for the first time.
The former law student, Yigal Amir, walked into a Tel Aviv
courtroom Tuesday, appearing relaxed, smiling and waving to his
parents. He faces life in prison if convicted of killing Rabin
Nov. 4, as he left a peace rally.
The defendant has confessed to the killing, and to stalking Rabin
for months, hoping his death would end the policy of expanding
Palestinian autonomy. That process has continued under Israel's
As Tuesday's court session began, Amir's lawyers told the three
judge panel they had not yet been given copies of the evidence
and had not met with their client in three-and-a-half weeks. The
court granted their request for a lengthy recess to prepare their
case. It is not known how they plan to defend their client, who
was captured at the scene. He is expected to enter a formal plea
when the case resumes next month. The defendant also faces a
separate trial on charges of conspiracy and various weapons
violations, together with his brother Hagai and their friend Dror
As the trial started, Israel's leading newspaper, Yediot Aharonot,
published pictures taken from a videotape of the killing. The
pictures show the defendant waiting in the parking area near
Rabin's car, then approaching the prime minister as he walked
toward the car. The student is seen reaching for his gun and then
thrusting it toward Rabin's back. A flash from the gun signals the
moment the gunman fired the first of three shots. In the next
frame, Rabin turns in surprise. A moment later he is seen lying on
The videotape was recorded by a local resident watching the rally
from a nearby balcony. The man, Roni Kempler, gave the tape to the
state commission investigating the assassination a month ago, but
only sold the media rights Monday, for a reported $400,000.
Palestinian Poll Shows Arafat Winning Presidency
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
A public opinion survey published Tuesday indicates the Palestinian
leader, Yasir Arafat, will win a landslide victory in elections
next month, and his party could win an outright majority of seats
in the new Palestinian Council, without needing a coalition
partner. The survey also shows increased support for the peace
process, decreased support for militant groups, and a transition in
Palestinian society away from issues of occupation and toward the
kind of every-day concerns seen in polls everywhere.
The survey published by the well-respected Nablus-based Center for
Palestine Research and Studies says if the Palestinian elections
were held today, Arafat would receive 68 percent of the vote, with
the rest widely split among several possible challengers.
Arafat's Fatah Party receives the support of 55 percent of those
surveyed in the West Bank and Gaza, with the militant Islamic group
Hamas a distant second at just under 10 percent. A year ago, Hamas
scored 20 percent or more in similar surveys.
The poll also shows a considerable amount of support for the peace
process which is resulting in widespread Palestinian autonomy and
the elections themselves. Eighty-four percent of those surveyed
said they would vote for candidates based on their support for the
peace process. According to the survey Palestinian voters will
also look at each candidate's involvement in the Palestinian
movement, his or her education and level of religious commitment,
and, to a lesser extent, party affiliation.
The survey indicates 71 percent of Palestinians will vote in the
Jan. 20 elections, even if Hamas calls for a boycott. In addition,
68 percent believe the elections will be free and fair, and 70
percent believe the new council will play a real role in
determining the future of Palestinians. And intraditionally
male-dominated Palestinian society, 67 percent say they expect to
vote for at least one woman running in their district.
Among the most interesting results of the survey is that when asked
to name the most important issue facing Palestinian society today,
the number one answer among Palestinians is unemployment, followed by
the decline of religion, poverty and limits on free speech.
This survey of 1,200 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza is the
21st done by the research center. Early surveys showed hope for
the peace process, while later ones showed disillusionment and
distrust as the negotiations dragged on.
The latest survey shows a strengthening of support for the peace
process, now that the expansion of autonomy is being implemented
and the election process has begun through the registration of
voters and the nomination of candidates. The campaign is scheduled
to begin a week from Saturday.
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