Newsletter : 6fax0423.txt
| Previous file
| Next file
Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
April 23, 1996 V4, #73
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Christopher Conveys Assad Position to Peres
By Ron Pemstein (VOA-Damascus)
Secretary of State Warren Christopher met Monday with Syrian
President Hafez al-Assad in Damascus. The president has been
considering US proposals for a ceasefire in southern Lebanon.
Christopher presented the US position on the ceasefire to Assad in
two separate sessions at the president's palace. State department
spokesman Nicholas Burns says the US proposal was drafted following
the first round of talks with the Syrian and Israeli leaders.
The plan was for the Secretary of State to return to Israel this
evening for the second time to convey Syria's position. The
United States wants Syria and Lebanon to use their influence with
the Hizbullah fighters in southern Lebanon to end attacks on
Israel says it will agree to a ceasefire so long as it is confident
the attacks will not resume.
Palestinians Consider Charter Revision
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
The Palestinian National Council was to convene in Gaza Monday
evening with the main item on its agenda the amendment of the
Palestinian Charter to remove its anti-Israel clauses.
The PLO made peace with Israel nearly three-years ago, with the
famous handshake between the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, and
the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. But the
organization's Charter was never changed to reflect the peace.
Indeed, making such a change was one of Arafat's original
commitments to Israel, and many Israelis are angry it was never
So in the latest Israeli-Palestinian agreement, a deadline was
set -- May 7. Israel agreed to allow hundreds of Council members
to enter Gaza to attend the meeting -- including many known
terrorists and other militants who are expected to vote against any
Palestinian researcher and analyst Ghassan al-Khatib says the
process of changing the Charter will not be easy. "This task seems
to be difficult because of the recent developments, especially in
Lebanon and before that here in the territories, meaning the
closure and the other Israeli measures. In addition to the fact
that Israel did not honor some of their commitments in the
agreement, like the redeployment from Hebron and the safe passages
and the release of some prisoners and other examples."
Still, al-Khatib believes Arafat will be able to use his prestige
and political know-how to get the changes approved. But he says
that will not necessarily reflect the views of the majority of the
Palestinian people, who tell his researchers they favor peace, but
are not satisfied with how this peace process is going.
"The majority is willing to accept a change that will recognize
Israel, in return for an Israeli recognition of a Palestinian
state. They are not getting that. That is why I think that a
resolution of the PNC that would change the Covenant without
anything in return that is equivalent to the subject under
discussion, in my view, will not reflect the view of the majority
of the public."
The Palestinian National Charter is filled with references to
destroying Israel, calls for armed struggle and criticism of
Zionism. For that reason, rather than try to amend nearly every
clause of the document, many observers expect the Council members
to write a new Charter. Israel says that would be acceptable as
long as the new document explicitly cancels the old one.
The Council members have given themselves three days to complete
their work, ending Wednesday, Israel's Independence Day. But
al-Khatib says the council members can vote to give themselves
more time if they need it.
Lebanese Mourn Their Dead
By Jennifer Griffin (VOA-Beirut)
Lebanon observed a day of mourning Monday to remember those who
have died since Israel launched Operation Grapes of Wrath 12 days
ago. Since the fighting began, at least 137 people, mostly
Lebanese civilians, have been killed.
Across the nation, storekeepers drew their shutters closed, placing
black flags outside their homes and shops in memory of the dead.
All activity halted at noon for a moment of silence for those who
have died in the 12-day offensive. Israel launched the operation
to destroy the Iranian-backed Hizbullah terrorists and halt their
rocket attacks on northern Israel.
Inside a large refugee tent at the UN base in the southern port
city, Tyre, mothers comforted their crying babies. The cries
were replaced by somber quiet for just a minute, while several
dozen children stood outside at attention holding burning candles
to observe the minute of silence.
Several kilometers up the road, refugees at another UN base were
not so lucky last Thursday when Israeli artillery shells slammed
into the UN base where they had taken refuge, killing nearly 100.
As a nation tries to recover, and UN diplomats meet in Syria and
Israel to try to broker an end to the fighting, the shells keep
landing on south Lebanon.
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)