Newsletter : 6fax0619.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
June 19, 1996 V4, #109
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Bibi Takes Office as Peres Lashes Out.
Palestinians Call Policies 'Declaration of War'
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel's new government took office Tuesday, after a delay of
several hours caused by a rift in the ruling Likud Party. Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 46, presented his Cabinet and his
basic policies to the parliament in the afternoon, received a vote
of confidence five hours later, and took the oath of office.
Opposition leader Shimon Peres delivered an emotional and angry
speech. After three weeks of post-election civility and
cooperation, Peres lashed out at his rival, saying his policies
will not bring the peace he has promised. Peres said Netanyahu's
government program is full of mistakes and he should not try to
avoid the legal requirement his government live up to commitments
made by the previous one.
Peres became angry when defending peacemaking efforts with the
Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat. Angrily shaking his finger at
Netanyahu, Peres said he has no regrets about working with Arafat.
He told the prime minister he would have to do the same thing if he
really wants peace.
But this triumphant day in Netanyahu's career was marred by a
dispute within his own party, during which his chosen Foreign
Minister, David Levy, refused to allow his name to be submitted
to the parliament. Levy insisted that Netanyahu first settle his
differences with former Defense Minister Ariel Sharon.
After several hours of tense negotiations, Levy agreed to join the
government. Netanyahu reportedly offered Sharon a newly-created
post, Minister of Infrastructure, the details of which are still to
be worked out.
The basic policy Netanyahu presented to the parliament includes
tough positions on the Middle East peace process, prompting
Palestinian officials to call the policy "a declaration of war" and
to express fears of a crisis in the peace process.
After hearing the official policy guidelines of the new Israeli
government, Palestinian officials Tuesday expressed concern about
a possible crisis in the peace process.
The speaker of the Palestinian Council, Ahmed Qureia, says the new
Israeli government seems to want to start negotiations from the
beginning -- something he says the Palestinian side will never
accept. And he says several of Netanyahu's specific policies are
also unacceptable, including his stands against sharing Jerusalem,
creating a Palestinian state and the return of Palestinian
refugees. Most objectionable, Qureia says, is Netanyahu's
commitment to expand Jewish settlements in the territories.
"The settlements are the most dangerous issue for the peace
process. If they will start any kind of activities or expanding the
activities in the settlements, it means clearly, no doubt, that it
is a declaration of war. It's a war, it's a statement of war.
Therefore, this will not be acceptable."
Arabs Will Meet This Weekend
By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)
Arab foreign ministers are intensifying their consultations to map
out the agenda and draft documents for the Arab summit, which takes
place this weekend in Cairo. The Arab leaders are seeking a unified
stance toward the peace process and the new right-wing government
At a mini-summit in Damascus, the leaders of Syria, Egypt and Saudi
Arabia called on Turkey to reconsider its military training
agreement with Israel. Turkish officials have expressed surprise
over negative Arab reaction to the deal.
Now Turkey's state news agency says the foreign minister has sent
a letter to urge the Arab leaders not to use the summit to
protest against Turkey for its dispute with Syria over sharing
the water flow of the Euphrates River.
Syria Masses Troops on Turkish Border
By Amberin Zaman (VOA-Ankara)
Reports of bomb blasts, gunfire and massing troops are emerging
from the border area between Turkey and Syria. Syria's Vice
President, Abdul Khalim Khaddam, denied Tuesday that his country
was massing troops. In turn, he accused Ankara of a military build
up at the frontier. The focus of the quarrel concerns water and
In this predominantly Arab province bordering the Syrian plains,
fears of a military confrontation grow by the day. It is here the
animosity between Turkey and Syria is rooted.
Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the early 1920s,
Hatay was made part of Syria by French mandate. Hatay would have
remained part of Syria had the French not allowed the province
to join Turkey in 1939 in exchange for Turkish support in World
War 2 against Nazi Germany.
Syrian officials deny any territorial claims over the province.
They say their main problem with Turkey is over the sharing water
from the Euphrates River -- water for which Syrian agriculture
Syrian officials say a multi-billion dollar irrigation and electric
power program, which involves the building of several dams along
the Euphrates, threatens Syria's share of the river's waters.
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