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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       April 26, 1996 V4, #76
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Labor Party Won't Oppose Palestinian State

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's Labor party has approved a platform for next month's elections which does not include the traditional stance against the creation of a Palestinian state. The move comes with talks on possible Palestinian statehood set to begin a week from Saturday.

Labor party leaders approved the platform at a meeting in Tel Aviv Thursday, less than 24 hours after the Palestine National Council approved a resolution to amend its charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel. The two moves were not officially related. But some Palestinian officials had expressed the hope the Labor Party would reciprocate for their vote Wednesday night.

Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres portrayed his party's decision as an effort to keep options open for the coming final round of talks with the Palestinians, which is to include such sensitive issues as statehood, Jerusalem, refugees, and Israeli settlements. Peres has promised that if he is re-elected next month, he will submit the results of those negotiations to a public referendum.

The new Labor Party platform also does not refer to the Golan Heights as necessary for Israel's security. Rather, it says the area has political importance. Peres has indicated he might be willing to return the Heights to Syria under the right conditions, but their negotiations have been stalled over details for more than a year.

Israel Will Get Access to US Spy Satellite Data

By David Gollust (VOA-Pentagon)

Defense Secretary William Perry says the United States is working on a plan to give Israel more access to US spy satellite data. The issue is expected to be among those discussed when Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres visits Washington this weekend.

Peres, who is also Defense Minister in the Israeli government, meets Perry at the Pentagon Sunday for talks on increased military cooperation. The meeting comes amid continued fighting in Lebanon spawned by rocket attacks on northern Israel by Hizbullah terrorists. And Perry told reporters here Israel may soon be getting increased missile-launch data from US spy satellites:

"We have in the past on a selected basis provided early-warning information from our satellites on missile launches. And we are looking at a way of making this more systematic and more detailed -- a more systematic way of providing this information."

The United States is already heavily underwriting Israel's "Arrow" anti-ballistic missile program. Officials here say Peres is likely to propose joint development of a US designed high-energy laser weapon -- called Nautilus -- that could be capable of neutralizing the Katyusha rockets that have rained down on northern Israel.

Arab Terrorist Dies During Bomb Preparation

JERUSALEM--The charred, decapitated remains of the man wearing an Israeli army uniform and carrying a small copy of the Islamic holy book, the Koran, were found Thursday in a soccer field outside the Arab east Jerusalem village of Uum Tuba.

Officials say the explosion was the result of a botched plan to carry out a suicide terror attack.

"It looks like we have a suicide bomber here who carried relatively large explosives," Jerusalem Police Chief Arieh Amit said. "Considering the location, I assume he was on his way to a soldier's bus stop or to commit suicide on a bus."

Authorities estimate the man was loaded with some 22 pounds of explosives when the bomb went off. Police said signs of the explosion around the body resemble those from recent suicide bombings.

Israel was rocked by a spate of suicide attacks in February and March that killed more than 60 people. Islamic extremist groups opposed to peace with Israel claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The blast is the third such explosion in the past two weeks to be detonated in the Jerusalem area without harming bystanders.

A British citizen was injured earlier this month in an explosion at an East Jerusalem hotel where he was staying. An Israeli court has imposed a news blackout on details of that incident.

A small explosive device was set off outside the interior ministry office in east Jerusalem as Israel celebrated independence day Wednesday, but no injuries were reported.

Earlier this month a mysterious blast ripped through an east Jerusalem hotel room, critically wounding a man police say was preparing a bomb for a suicide attack.

Police requested a publication ban on the man's identity in wake of the blast and a Jerusalem court this week extended the prohibition on the release of details about the explosion.

The Observer newspaper in London reported the suspected bomber was carrying a British passport in the name of Andrew Newman, 26. Hadassah hospital spokesman Yossi Shuval said the man lost both eyes, legs and part of his right arm in the massive blast, but is able to hear and communicate with the people around him.

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