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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       April 25, 1996 V4, #75
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Full Palestinian Charter Revision in Six Months

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

The Palestine National Council has voted to revoke the clauses in the Palestinian Charter which contradict the peace process; apparently paving the way for that process to continue. But it is not clear whether the changes take effect immediately, or whether the resolution only expressed an intent to revoke the offending clauses as part of the process of drafting a new charter.

The PNC resolution says members have decided to cancel all the clauses in the charter which contradict the letters of mutual recognition exchanged by Israel and the PLO three years ago. It creates a committee to draft what it calls "a new national program" -- a process Palestinian officials say will take six months or more.

A senior Palestinian official says this was the most that could be achieved at this time, with a closure imposed by Israel still in effect for the Palestinian territories and with Israel bombing villages and Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

Israeli government spokesman Uri Dromi says the Palestinians made good on a basic and important promise. "It's a good news to us because it's a fundamental issue. The whole peace process was based on this promise. And it shows that they are serious in keeping their promises."

Dromi says the vote paves the way for opening talks on Palestinian statehood and other sensitive issues in the final stage of the peace process, due to begin by the end of next week.

Christopher Motorcades to Lebanon

By Ron Pemstein (VOA-Shtoura, Lebanon)

Secretary of State Warren Christopher has discussed the US ceasefire plan for south Lebanon with Syrian President Hafez al Assad, and then in eastern Lebanon with Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

He drove 55 minutes in a motorcade from Damascus where he met Assad for 4-1/2 hours of talks about the US ceasefire proposal.

Christopher went to the Park Hotel to meet Hariri and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri to win their support for the one-page statement he is negotiating. US officials say Lebanon must be a full partner with Syria and Israel in endorsing the ceasefire document.

The determined Secretary of State was able to rebound from his disappointment Tuesday when he did not meet the Syrian president in Damascus, and was discouraged by the US military from traveling to Beirut by air. The Secretary said earlier in Damascus -- this is the time for a conclusion in the negotiations for a ceasefire in Lebanon.

Egyptian Peace Called Superficial

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)

Arab anger continues to simmer over Israel's offensive in Lebanon -- even in Egypt, which has been at peace with Israel for 17 years. Officially, the neighbors are strengthening their ties, especially when it comes to the peace process. But on the streets of Cairo and in remote Egyptian villages, discontent with Israel now dominates any conversation about bilateral relations.

The Arab media runs scathing attacks and cynical cartoons hitting at Israel and editorials openly question the future of the peace process.

Sociologist Sa-ad Eddin Ibrahim explains that the average Egyptian citizen remembers all the anti-Israeli propaganda of the 1940s, 1950s and '60s, in which Israel was always rumored to desire military and political control of Egypt.

"Some of these things are exaggerated but for the man in the street, it rings true, once the Israelis commit one of their heavy-handed or overkill measures against the Palestinians, or against another country like Lebanon."

Ibrahim says school books in Egypt and Israel have not yet been adapted to reflect the peace process, and so still encourage children to hate and fear each other.

He says it will take at least another generation and a change in the way politicians, teachers and schoolbooks deal with peace in order to bridge the gap of hostility and distrust.

Gaddafi: Ron Brown Killed by US Intelligence

By Peyman Pejman (VOA-Tripoli)

It has been 10-years since the US air raid on Tripoli and Benghazi in Libya. The strike came after a series of allegations Libya was aiding terrorist groups. There were no public rallies in Libya to commemorate the anniversary, but the government invited a group of foreign journalists for a visit that included a news conference with the country's controversial leader, Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

Gaddafi also appears to view the world in conspiratorial terms. For instance, he says the death of US Commerce Secretary Ron Brown was a plot. "He was killed by the American intelligence because he was black and was against the sanctions imposed against Libya."

As for African-Americans, he says they will create an independent state. "All black military men will leave the white racist army and create the biggest black army on earth.

He charges that movement started last year at the Million-Man March by African-American men at the US Capitol. Gaddafi also says he is worried the CIA is out to kill president Clinton, as he claims it did with John Kennedy.

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