Newsletter : 6fax0422.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
April 22, 1996 V4, #72
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Arafat Promises Palestinian covenant Will be Amended Today:
Yasir Arafat told Prime Minister Shimon Peres the Palestinian
Covenant will be changed today. According to press reports, a draft
of the proposed changes in the covenant was transferred to Israel
several days ago.
No Lebanese Ceasefire in Sight
By Ron Pemstein (VOA-Damascus)
Secretary of State Warren Christopher shuttled between Damascus and
Jerusalem Sunday, ending the day back in Damascus where he started,
however, hope has disappeared for an immediate ceasefire on the
Christopher started his shuttle mission with the hope of achieving
an immediate ceasefire in the first stage and later negotiating a
written understanding of the 1993 verbal agreement that prevented
attacks on civilians on both sides of the border.
After Christopher's first set of talks with Syrian President
Hafez al-Assad and Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, that view
has changed. A senior American official says everyone calls for
a ceasefire but there is no ceasefire. Therefore, the United
States has to deal with what it does have, a mutual desire for a
written understanding among Syria, Lebanon and Israel that will
make a truce on the border permanent.
Christopher did not meet Assad when he returned from Jerusalem
Sunday night but he will meet the Syrian leader again early this
The Secretary told reporters in Jerusalem about his changed
approach to a quick ceasefire on the border. "I think we should try
to not only get a ceasefire but an enduring set of understandings
which permits the parties in the region to prevent a recurrence of
this kind of event. That's what we're working for, not just a
ceasefire but an enduring set of understandings that prevents a
recurrence of this."
A senior American official says the written understandings will
be more precise than the verbal agreement of 1993 but they will
not be a substitute for a comprehensive peace agreement. That
means no agreement now about the Israeli army's presence in
south Lebanon or about Syria's responsibility in providing the
Hizbullah fighters with Katyusha rockets from Iran.
U.S. Cautions Against Travel to Israel
By Victor Beattie (VOA-Washington)
US officials are looking into reports that an American citizen in
Israel has been abducted by an Islamic group and taken to
Palestinian-controlled territory. The US Embassy is seeking to
verify the kidnapping while cautioning Americans traveling abroad
about new threats because of current Mideast tensions.
US State Department spokesman Glyn Davies says the US Embassy in
Tel Aviv received a telephone call indicating that the American had
been abducted. He declined to name the source of that telephone
Davies also says another report indicates the American was to be
killed unless Israel announced its immediate withdrawal from south
Lebanon. He says the appropriate Israeli and Palestinian law
enforcement authorities have been contacted.
The effort comes as the State Department issues new cautions to
Americans travelling abroad. Spokeswoman Julie Reside says renewed
threats against American interests have been made by Hizbullah and
other extremist groups: "We cannot discount the possibility of
random acts of anti-American violence."
The Iranian-backed Hizbullah, the object of more than one week of
Israeli reprisals for its rocket attacks on northern Israel, has
renewed its long-standing threat against Israeli and American
Farrakhan Reveals Possible Jewish Roots
Minister Louis Farrakhan, the controversial Nation of Islam leader
who has often been accused of anti-Semitism, says he may be part
In an interview in the New Yorker today, Farrakhan revealed that he
thinks his father's ancestors may have been Portuguese Jews.
Farrakhan was born Louis Eugene Walcott, the son of immigrants from
Barbados and Jamaica. His father was light-skinned and had straight
hair. Farrakhan's mother told him that his father's father was a
"I'm going to tell you something," Farrakhan said. "You really want
to know what I think? I think they were members of the Jewish
Orlando Patterson, a historical sociologist at Harvard who has
studied West Indian migration patterns, told the New Yorker that
nearly all persons of Iberian origin in Barbados and Jamaica are of
Sephardic Jewish ancestry.
Farrakhan professes to admire Jews, but, also said he believed
there was a group of Jews who plan the nation's course. "I believe
that there are very, very wise Jews who plan good, and there are
very wise Jews who plan evil."
He adds, "I am not hateful. I am deeply respectful of the Jewish
people, man. I know they are great but I also know some scoundrels
among them. And those scoundrels have to be condemned by them, And
if they don't condemn the scoundrels, that's all right, I will."
In the interview, Farrakhan admits, "I would prefer that this whole
conflict would go away, in truth. But it's like I'm locked now in
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