Newsletter : 6fax0124.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
Jan. 24, 1996 V4, #13
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Rabin Assassin Wanted to Paralyze Him
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
The confessed assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin,
said in court Tuesday he carried out the shooting for the glory of
God, and claimed he intended only to wound Rabin to force him from
office. The defendant, Yigal Amir, stood calmly in the courtroom,
responding to each charge read by a judge.
Amir admitted shooting the prime minister Nov. 4, but said his goal
was to end Rabin's tenure in office by disabling him. He said his
intent was to kill Rabin only if he had to.
He told the court he shot Rabin "for the glory of God and said he
has no regrets." Amir, a religious Jew, earlier said he wanted to
put an end to Rabin's policy of expanding Palestinian autonomy.
It was not clear whether the court would consider his statements
a plea of guilty or not guilty to charges of murder and conspiracy.
If he is found guilty of premeditated murder, Amir faces life in
prison. The maximum sentence for murder without intent is
A videotape made by a spectator and broadcast last month clearly
shows Amir thrusting a gun into Rabin's side and firing three
times. The defendant said Tuesday if he had intended to kill
Rabin he would have aimed for his head.
After testimony by two police officers, the trial was recessed
Syrian/Israeli Peace Talks Resume in Maryland
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israeli and Syrian negotiators resume peace talks today at a
secluded conference center near Washington, with security issues
high on the agenda. Israel is looking for some progress, as
officials decide whether to call early elections. The Israel-Syria
peace talks have had many ups and downs during the past several
years. At the moment, things appear to be going relatively well --
with praise from both sides for the talks and optimistic statements
about the potential to reach a peace agreement this year.
Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres is reluctant to do anything to
stall the peace process with Syria, which a call for early
elections would be expected to do. But Israeli commentators
speculate if the government believes the talks are not fruitful
anyway, particularly on the security issue, Peres might not mind
disrupting them with elections.
Peres said again Tuesday the Syria talks and the election issue are
not linked, but many followers of the Israeli political scene do
not believe him. The prime minister is caught in a political
crunch. His party's popularity is slowly declining since sharp
rise after the November assassination of his predecessor, Yitzhak
Rabin. Many members are pressing for early elections, and while
Peres has said he prefers to have the voting as scheduled in
October, he has not ruled out moving up the date.
So this round of the Israel-Syria meetings has taken on added
significance in Israel, as reflected in comments Tuesday by
Israeli government Minister Yossi Beilin, who is very close to
Peres. Beilin said the key issues of borders, security
arrangements, and the extent of peaceful relations must be
"If in that round which begins (today), there is no breakthrough,
if President Assad is not ready to compromise on these three or
four issues which I referred to, I do not believe that we are going
to have peace with Syria in '96."
Israel wants to maintain early warning stations on the Golan
Heights after a withdrawal, or to station a peacekeeping force of
foreigners there to ensure the high ground is never again used to
launch an attack. Israel also wants extensive peacetime relations
in an effort to give Syria an economic stake in maintaining the
peace, as well as an end to Syrian support for violent anti-Israel
groups. Syria has not yet agreed to any of those conditions.
Syria wants Israel to withdraw to the line of control which existed
when the 1967 war broke out, but Israel is only willing to withdraw
to the official international border, which is to its advantage in
The first round of the talks near Washington, which ended early
this month, was devoted mainly to improving the atmosphere and
building trust. Israel's chief negotiator, Uri Savir, says Israel
wants to see some progress on substance this time. "I hope a deeper
understanding, mainly in the field of security. We need security
arrangements so both sides will have a sense of security, will have
objective security, and actually there will be more security
between us and in the region, following a possible Syrian-Israeli
If the Israeli government is not satisfied with the results of
these talks, analysts believe Peres could well launch an election
campaign. Although Peres says the talks could continue, many
officials say a campaign would actually put them on hold, and could
bring to power a conservative government which would not be willing
to talk about giving up the Golan Heights.
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