Newsletter : 6fax0502.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
May 2, 1996 V4, #80
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Clinton and Arafat Meet Privately
By David Borgida (VOA-White House)
President Clinton and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat held a
private meeting at the White House Wednesday to discuss the Middle
East peace process. Their meeting comes in advance of the final
phase of talks scheduled for Sunday between Israel and the
Palestinian Authority on the future of the West Bank and Gaza.
On Arafat's first trip to Washington since his election in January
as president of the Palestinian Authority, it was clear the Clinton
administration chose to reward him for his helpful role in
promoting peace. For the first time, he met for one-on-one talks
with Clinton in the White House Oval Office.
The session lasted 45 minutes. It was a warm meeting, according to
Clinton spokesman David Johnson, a sharp contrast in tone and
character when compared to the US view of Arafat not too long ago.
Clinton praised a clean-shaven Arafat for the Palestinian National
Council vote April 24 to renounce its traditional call for the
destruction of Israel.
He said before the meeting the United States will let the parties
in the Middle East make their own decisions. But the president
said there will be US support to those who take risks for peace.
"I do not believe the United States can serve any useful purpose by
getting in the middle of decisions which have to be resolved by
the parties themselves. Our purpose is to try to speed the peace
process along, and to help those, like Chairman Arafat, who take
risks for peace. When people take risks for peace we want to
minimize those risks and we want to do what we can to help improve
life for ordinary people in the region."
The two leaders discussed what the United States can do to continue
to promote more economic progress for Palestinians. The Clinton
administration has already provided them $156 million in economic
aid and $500 million has been committed over five years.
Arafat Pleads for Foreign Aid
By Art Chimes (VOA-Washington)
Palestinian President Yasir Arafat has appealed for aid which has
been promised to his new self-rule authority but has not yet been
paid. He told journalists at the National Press Club in Washington
the money is needed to help rebuild an economy devastated by years
of Israeli occupation.
After meeting President Clinton at the White House, Arafat told
reporters the Palestinians continue to suffer economically at the
hands of Israel. He said Israel's closure of the West Bank and
Gaza Strip, is costing the Palestinian economy $6 million a day,
and has resulted in the loss of 120,000 jobs. Speaking through an
interpreter, he said the problems of the closure come on top of
Israel's recently ended quarter-century long occupation of
"Israeli prolonged military occupation destroyed the infrastructure
of Palestine. And we are starting from below zero. Every aspect
of our life is affected: water that we drink, schools, hospitals,
roads, telecommunications -- everything."
Arafat says the Palestinian Authority has not received most of the
aid payments he is supposed to have gotten, including more than
$400 million so far this year.
Arafat's meeting with Clinton came soon after the Palestinian
National Council changed provisions in the PLO Charter that had for
years called for the destruction of the State of Israel. He said
convincing the members of the new parliament was difficult and took
200-hours of negotiations. He refused to answer questions about
how the Israeli elections later this month will affect the peace
process, or about whether his people have ended their dream of
someday controlling all of Palestine -- that one he called an
One question he did answer was, "Do you miss Yitzhak Rabin." About
the slain Israeli leader Arafat said: "I lost a friend... and I
lost my partner."
Hebron Rabbi Stabbed in Shouk
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
An elderly rabbi was stabbed in the West Bank city of Hebron
Wednesday, as the Israeli parliament was convening to debate the
planned withdrawal of the Israeli army from most of the town this
The rabbi was in Hebron's vegetable market when he was stabbed in
the back. Israeli military medics treated him on the scene and
rushed him to a hospital in Jerusalem. Angry Jews overturned
vegetable stands in the market and pelted Palestinians with
This type of incident happens from time to time in Hebron, which
is home to 95,000 Palestinians and 450 Jews, with many militants on
both sides. It is the only West Bank city still occupied by
Mail Bomb Explodes at JNF's Calgary Office
A mail bomb partially detonated Monday at the Jewish National
Fund's offices in Calgary, Canada. An employee of the Calgary
Jewish Federation, the location of the JNF's office, said the
package partially exploded when a secretary tried to open it. The
secretary was not physically injured but was brought to the
hospital for shock.
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