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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       April 1, 1996 V4, #59
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Arab-Americans Claim FBI Harassment

By Phil Kurata (VOA-Washington)

Arab American leaders say the Clinton administration's strong support of Israel's attempts to crush Palestinian terrorism is undermining the chances for peace in the Middle East. Arab American leaders also are complaining about what they call heavy handed attempts by the US to uncover supporters of Palestinian terrorism.

Arab American leaders say the recent wave of suicide bombings and Israel's subsequent security crackdown have put the chances for peace in jeopardy.

James Zogby, the president of the Arab American Institute, says all the participants at the Arab American Leadership Conference are opposed to terrorism regardless of who commits it.

"Terrorism, whether committed by Israelis or Palestinians, is to be condemned, its perpetrators and organizers brought to justice. It is imperative that such anti-terror campaigns, whether implemented by Israel, by the Palestinian Authority, or here in the United States, be respectful of internationally recognized norms of human rights and the rule of law. Additionally, we believe that Israel's use of collective punishment, which violates international norms of human rights and law, is counterproductive and threatens the peace process as much as terrorism."

The Arab American leaders have gathered in Washington from around the United States at a time the US State Department is hosting a conference on promoting peace in the Middle East. They say Israel's closure of the West Bank and Gaza is causing suffering and hardship to the Palestinians, and that, in turn, is sowing the seeds of more terrorism.

Zogby says the Arab Americans are urging the Clinton administration to raise $100 million to create jobs for Palestinians. "We urge active and visible US leadership in marshalling $100 million in emergency funds to provide immediate short-term public works employment for the 100,000 Palestinians who are currently unemployed as a result of the closure."

Zogby says funds are available from the UN Relief and Works Administration and other international and domestic sources. He says the Clinton administration also should pressure Israel to ease its blockade of the occupied territories and allow unhindered travel from the Palestinian areas to Egypt and Jordan.

Israel has intensified its security measures in response to suicide bomb attacks by Palestinian terrorists, who have killed 62 people since February.

The United States backs Israel's efforts to strengthen its security. In recent months, the FBI has been looking for supporters of Palestinian terrorism in the Arab American community. Arab Americans are reported to be a source of funding for the Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, which has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombings.

Abdurahman Alamoudi of the American Muslim Council says the FBI activities have not violated any civil rights, but their tactics have been heavy-handed and they have had a chilling effect. "Sometimes they would go and harass people. Last week they called somebody and said, look, we can come to your home. We can talk to you. We can talk to your boss. We can do that. Another one, they called on him at 6 a.m, And they said they had a report that a plane from Chicago had a bomb on it, and his name was given for that with no evidence at all."

Arab American leaders say the FBI has a duty to fight crime, but when it questions people about their political and religious beliefs, the bureau is infringing on their civil rights.

Arafat May be Called as Witness for the Defense

By Breck Ardery (VOA-New York)

A federal judge in New York heard arguments Friday over whether top PLO officials may be called as witnesses in the case of Mousa abu Marzuk, a senior leader of the militant palestinian group Hamas.

Stanley Cohen, Marzuk's lawyer, told the court that Palestinian President Yasir Arafat and former PLO spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi can both testify that Marzuk has no involvement in terrorism. Prosecutors argued that any testimony by the Palestinian leaders would be irrelevant and has nothing to do with the case.

Marzuk has been detained in the United States since last July after his name appeared on a list of suspected terrorists. The government of Israel then asked for his extradition. Marzuk, who heads Hamas's political bureau, denies responsibility for any terrorism.

A federal judge is now considering what witnesses and what evidence may be presented at a formal hearing on Israel's extradition request.

In a development out of court, Cohen told reporters the government of Egypt has sent a formal request to the United States urging that Marzuk not be extradited to Israel. Cohen claimed the request was made in a letter from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry to the US State Department.

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