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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       May 16, 1996 V4, #90
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Palestinian Authority Negotiator Nabil Sha'ath on Intifada

"As long as Israel goes forward [with the peace process], there are no problems, which is why we observe the agreements of peace and non-violence. But if and when they say, `That's it, we won't talk about Jerusalem, we won't return refugees, we won't dismantle settlements, and we won't retreat from borders,' then all acts of violence will return. Except this time we'll have 30,000 armed Palestinian soldiers who will operate in areas in which we have unprecedented elements of freedom."

Labor Campaigner Shot by Likud Campaigner

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

A man working for the election campaign of Israel's ruling Labor Party was shot twice in the leg Wednesday by a worker from the opposition Likud Party.

The injured man was putting up campaign posters for the Labor Party before dawn Wednesday in the wealthy Tel Aviv suburb, Herzliya. He and his co-workers say four men riding in a Likud party car told them to stop, and when they refused, one of the men drew a gun and shot at them. The wounded man, a recent immigrant from Russia, was treated at a local hospital.

A Likud spokesman says the assailant was not a party activist, but rather was a worker hired to put up posters for the campaign. The spokesman said the incident was not part of any organized effort to intimidate Labor Party workers. There have been clashes between supporters of the two parties in previous campaigns.

The heads of both Labor and Likud condemned the incident. Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu called it "very grave," and the Labor Party leader, Prime Minister Shimon Peres, called it "dangerous and terrible." Peres said he did not want to make any wholesale accusations, but he called on all Israelis to avoid creating the kind of hostile atmosphere which resulted in last November's assassination of his predecessor, Yitzhak Rabin.

Jewish Agency Fears Upsurge in Russian Anti-Semitism

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's quasi-governmental Jewish Agency, which coordinates immigration to Israel, has expressed concern about recent developments in Russia, including a Foreign Ministry statement Tuesday, which Agency officials fear could result in limitations on their activities in Russia.
The Jewish Agency's chairman, Avraham Burg, held a midnight consultation with Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, and then canceled plans to travel to the United States. All this to deal with what he calls a crisis with an hour-to-hour timeframe. He also held meetings well into the wee hours of Wednesday morning, working on strategy and advising Agency employees in Russia on how to respond if their operations are directly threatened.

The flurry of activity resulted from a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Tuesday, saying the Jewish Agency's office in Moscow had violated Russian law. The spokesman said the problem could be resolved if the Agency is ready to abide by the law, but officials in Jerusalem are concerned anyway.

Burg says he hopes the issue is simply a matter of complying with a new Russian law, which the Agency began to do Wednesday by formally submitting an application for a new permit to operate in Russia. But he says the Agency also wants to be prepared with a campaign of international pressure in case the Russian government's actions are "a cover for something else."

"We are ready for every contingency. At this level we are concerned, I might even say that we are very concerned. But so far the policy is a policy of no action. We are ready with political, diplomatic, persuasive means and ways of reacting, if, God forbid, worse comes to worst."

Burg and other Jewish Agency officials note that a series of incidents in recent weeks has sparked fears Russia might want to limit the annual flow of about 65,000 Russian Jews to Israel. In April, the Agency's accreditation was canceled under the new law, the Russian Justice Ministry notified local authorities to stop its activities around the country, and security officers closed Agency centers in two places and broke up a meeting with local Jewish residents in the city of Pyatigorsk.

The Agency also says there has been in increase in anti-Semitic incidents in Russia in recent months, including a small bomb which exploded in a Jewish community center (in Yeroslavl). Burg also said he assumes there is some connection between these events and the current Russian election campaign, in which reformist President Boris Yeltsin is facing challenges from communist and nationalist parties which have a less sympathetic attitude toward Jewish emigration. Nearly 700,000 Jews have emigrated from the former USSR to Israel since 1989. Many of them are well-educated, causing concern about a brain drain.

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