Newsletter : 6fax0621.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
June 21, 1996 V4, #111
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Labor Party Wants Election Recount
By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel's opposition Labor Party is appealing the results of the May
29 election, in which Likud head Benjamin Netanyahu narrowly
defeated Labor Leader Shimon Peres. The Labor Party claims that it
has discovered many cases of voting irregularities and fraud.
Netanyahu beat Peres by less than 30,000 votes, or about 0.9
percent of the ballots.
According to the Labor Party, a random check of 57 polling stations
showed that ballots were cast by Israeli citizens who were actually
abroad on Election Day. Two ballots were cast by people listed as
dead. If these samples are representative of other places, argues
the party, then, by extrapolation, as many as 42,000 votes cast
On Wednesday, the Labor Party filed a request with the Jerusalem
District Court appealing the results of the election. The petition
asks the court to order Israel's Central Elections Committee to
re-examine the results at all polling stations. The court is to
study the petition Sunday.
Hamas Offers Bibi a Ceasefire, if...
By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)
The military wing of the Islamic Hamas movement has offered a
conditional ceasefire to Israel's newly installed right-wing
government. The offer was made two days after Benjamin Netanyahu
was sworn in as prime minister.
The statement issued Thursday by the "Isseldin al-Qassam Brigades"
and distributed in Jerusalem offers to suspend what it terms
"military actions" against Israelis. The military wing of Hamas
was behind the suicide bus bombings earlier this year that swayed
many Israelis to vote for hardliner Netanyahu.
The statement says it will stop attacks if Israel halts all actions
against its members, releases Hamas prisoners and lifts the
four-month-old closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Following
the suicide bombings, Israel imposed the strictest closure ever on
the Palestinian territories, a move which has devastated the
Meanwhile, Netanyahu has been meeting with top advisors to draw up
the new government's policies towards the Palestinians. High on
the agenda is the Israeli troop redeployment from Hebron in the
West Bank. Under the peace agreement, Israel was to have withdrawn
from most of the city in March, but former Prime Minister Shimon
Peres delayed the redeployment after the Hamas bombings, leaving
the decision to Netanyahu's government.
Palestinian leaders have said the Hebron issue will be the first
test of Netanyahu's promise to pursue peace.
Arab Summit Starts Saturday in Cairo
By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)
Arab leaders are meeting in Cairo this weekend to map out their
strategy on the peace process after the shift of Israel's new
government to a more hardline attitude. The summit will also
deal with reconciliation within the Arab community, which has
been plagued by quarrels about a variety of issues. Officials say
the Arab leaders want to reaffirm their commitment to the Middle
East peace process. That is, if it continues to be based on the
principle of land-for-peace.
Egyptian government spokesman Nabil Osman says the Arab leaders
will use the summit to send a strong message to Israel. "This
summit has a main target and a main thrust, and that's to
consolidate the peace process and make the Arab point of view very
clear, make it crystal clear to all partners."
But Egyptian political analyst Mohamed Sayed Sayed says the summit
leaders will have to put aside their own differences to forge a
united stand on the peace process.
Differences are apparent even within the context of the peace
process. Egypt has had what is called a "cold peace" with Israel
since 1979. Barely two years old, Jordan's peace with Israel
appears much warmer.
Syria wants to tighten the economic boycott against Israel's new
hardline government. But Oman and Qatar in the Gulf are not
waiting for a comprehensive peace to explore closer trade ties
with Israel. Neither are Tunisia or Morocco.
Syrian-Iranian Military Pact May be in Works
By Andre de Nesnera (VOA-London)
A pan-Arab newspaper based in london -- "al-Hayat" -- is reporting
Thursday a military agreement between Iran and Syria. The report
quotes diplomatic sources in Damascus as saying Iran has offered
Syria a military agreement similar to the one signed between Turkey
Kamran Karadaghi is al-Hayat's senior foreign affairs
correspondent. He says it is unclear what kind of accord Iran and
Syria have reached -- whether it is a broad military agreement or
a detailed military pact which would involve, for example, joint
training and maneuvers.
Karadaghi says what is clear, is both countries believe they are
threatened by the Turkish-Israeli military pact. Karadaghi says
there is always the possibility there is no pact and the idea was
simply leaked to the press to alarm neighboring countries. But if
indeed there is such an agreement between Tehran and Damascus,
Karadaghi says this will create a completely new situation in the
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