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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       Jan. 17, 1996 V4, #8
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Militants May Disrupt Palestinian Elections

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli police are preparing to block reported plans by some militant right-wing Jewish groups to disrupt Palestinian voting Saturday in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem's police commander told Israel Radio Tuesday he believes many Jewish settlers from the West Bank are planning to spend Saturday in Jerusalem in order to disrupt voting in five post offices in the city's mainly-Arab eastern sector.

The commander's spokesman, Shmuel Ben-Rubi, says 3,000 police officers will be deployed in Jerusalem Saturday to make sure that does not happen. But he also says the post offices will remain open for regular business.

"Everyone who wants to go into the postal offices can do it. But if somebody tries to make any provocations in the post office, we will not let him. We have some reports extreme groups want to make some provocations in east Jerusalem. But, as I told you, we are not going to let them do it."

Leaders of the organization of Israeli settlers in the West Bank and Gaza acknowledge thousands of their members are planning to come to Jerusalem Friday, and to stay through Saturday. They will hold a demonstration late Saturday to protest the expansion of Palestinian autonomy.

But settler spokeswoman Yehudit Tayar denies any disruption of the Palestinian voting is planned. "What we do have planned is, of course, to strengthen the tie that we have with Jerusalem as our capital and as one of our most holy places. And since we do see that there are really illegal elections going on there and we do have a planned demonstration, we do have many hundreds of families who will be residing over Shabbat in Jerusalem. I do not anticipate any kind of visitation to post offices. This would violate the Sabbath."

Israel is keeping the post offices open to emphasize its contention the voting is being done on an absentee basis. Technically, the 5,000 Palestinians who will vote in the Jerusalem post offices will be mailing their ballots to the Palestinian authority.

The system was devised as a compromise in last year's Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Israel was concerned allowing Jerusalem Palestinians to vote, or to run for office, would lend credence to Palestinian claims over the city. Most of the 50,000 registered Palestinian voters in Jerusalem will vote at polling stations just outside the city, or in their home villages farther away.

Negotiations about Jerusalem's future and other sensitive Israeli-Palestinian issues are scheduled to begin in May, and are expected to last several years.

German Parliamentarians Listen to Weizman in Astonishment

By Kyle King (VOA-Bonn)

Israeli President Ezer Weizman has appealed to German leaders to do everything in their power to oppose neo-Nazism. The president's appeal came in a rare address to the German parliament.

Speaking in Hebrew to members of the upper and lower houses of the parliament, Weizman said it was not easy for him to visit Germany.

During his visit, which began Sunday, he said he heard the voices of the victims of the Holocaust. He said as president of Israel he mourned for the 6 Million Jews killed by the Nazis in World War II, but he said he could not forgive.

In an appeal to the German parliament, Weizman urged the deputies, who he called his friends, to use their knowledge of the past to look into the future and to smash every stirring of racism and neo-Nazism. He said these extremist elements must be torn up by the roots.

Many of the deputies appeared subdued as they filed out of the chamber following the address. One unnamed member is quoted as saying he had never heard such a speech in the parliament before.

Israel Offers Foreign Aid to America

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Vice President Al Gore canceled plans to visit Tunisia Tuesday in order to fly directly home from Israel in time for an important meeting today on the budget crisis. The schedule change and the budget crisis prompted a light moment at Gore's news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres.

Gore said his schedule change will not affect Tunisia's plans to establish low-level relations with Israel in the near future. He said he wanted to stop in Tunis to discuss the issue, but the budget crisis forced him to change his plan, and Peres offered a lighthearted suggestion of how Israel might help.

Gore: You know our government runs out of money again on the 26th of this month. It is embarrassing for me.

Peres: You need some foreign aid? (Laughter)

Gore: Write that down, would you please. On the 27th I may be on the phone to you.

Peres' offer of aid got a big laugh from the Israeli and US officials and reporters in the room partly because the US government provides aid to participants in the Middle East peace process, including $3 billion a year for Israel. In recent months, some of the aid has been delayed by the budget crisis.

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