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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       April 3, 1996 V4, #61
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Hamas Threatens More Bombings

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

The military wing of the militant Palestinian group Hamas has issued a statement sharply critical of the Palestinian Autonomy Authority and threatens a new wave of attacks against Israel. The statement accuses the Palestinian Authority of adopting dictatorial and Nazi-like policies, and of torturing some of the nearly 1,000 Hamas activists who have been arrested in recent weeks.

The military wing says it will punish everyone who has acted against it in the current crackdown, especially those who have carried out the alleged torture.

The statement also rejects efforts to re-establish a dialogue between Hamas and the Authority until the crackdown ends, the prisoners are released, and all those responsible for the alleged torture are put on trial. The Hamas military wing says the best way to react to the alleged abuses by the Palestinian Authority is to resume the kind of suicide attacks in Israel which sparked the start of the crackdown a month ago. Four such attacks during one week killed 62 people.

Hamas has made similar threats before, sometimes carrying them out and sometimes not. This one comes at a time of particularly high tension between the militants and both the Palestinian Authority and Israel, and as Israelis are about to begin celebrating the week-long Passover holiday.

Arab Leaders Upset About Autonomy Border Closing

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)

Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat has asked the Arab League to support his call for a UN Security Council meeting on Israel's closure of the Palestinian self-rule areas. The Arab League will also take up reported leaks at Israel's nuclear facility in the Negev desert.

Arab League Secretary General Esmet Abdel-Meguid says Israel's continued closure of the West Bank and Gaza could destroy the peace process. The Arab League chief reflects a simmering anger among Arab states over the closure and its impact on the peace process.

"Who is paying the price? I think the Palestinians are paying the price and this will not help the peace process. On the contrary, it will backfire. It can destroy the peace process. So I hope that an end will come to this Israeli practice as quickly as possible."

Israel's nuclear facility is on the agenda for Arab League discussions this month. Abdel-Meguid confirms that an urgent meeting has been set for next week to discuss reported leaks at Israel's Dimona nuclear plant in the Negev desert.

Egypt has long complained that Israel should sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. But Israel has never officially acknowledged it has nuclear weapons. On Tuesday, Syrian newspapers urged the west to press Israel to abandon its nuclear program because it is a threat to the region.

Peres Meets Qatar Sheikh in Second Day of Gulf Visit

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel and the Persian Gulf State of Qatar have agreed to send each other permanent trade missions -- a possible early step toward diplomatic relations. The announcement was made Tuesday during the first visit to Qatar by an Israeli prime minister.

Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres met with Qatar's emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, at the emir's seafront residence in Qatar's capital, Doha. The two men discussed the Middle East peace process, as well as the developing Israeli-Qatari relationship.

Both Qatar and the neighboring Gulf State of Oman, which Peres visited Monday, hope to sell liquefied natural gas to Israel and to benefit from Israel's advanced technology in agriculture and other fields. The two countries are the first in the Gulf to improve their relations with Israel.

A public opinion poll published in a Qatari newspaper Tuesday indicated most Qataris still consider Israel an enemy and do not want diplomatic relations with it.

Chagall: The Man and His Windows

By Martin Bush (VOA-New York)

The Russian-born artist Marc Chagall lived 98 years, achieving fame and adulation seldom matched in the world of art. The works he painted during his middle and later years have often been the subject of exhibits here in the United States.

New York's Jewish Museum is presenting the first American exhibition ever mounted of early works by Chagall. Curator Susan Goodman points out that the period covered in the new exhibit -- 1907 to 1917, when Chagall was in his 20s -- was "one of the most seminal of Marc Chagall's life."

One of 10 children, Chagall was born in 1887 in Belarus. Despite the disapproval of his pious, Jewish family, he went on to become a world-renowned artist. Chagall has often been characterized as a naive painter, but Goodman disagrees with that evaluation.

"There was a neo-primitivism that he used in various aspects of his work. But he was incredibly knowledgeable and sophisticated and he was able to absorb aspects of these various movements."

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