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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       July 12, 1996 V4, #126
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Dole Meets Bibi at New York Hotel

By Jim Malone (VOA-Washington)

Presumptive GOP candidate Bob Dole met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday in New York. Afterward, Dole told reporters that he would strengthen ties with Israel if he becomes president.

After their meeting, the two men answered questions. Netanyahu says his meeting with Dole, was a traditional gesture of courtesy extended by previous Israeli prime ministers who usually meet with both major candidates during a US presidential election year.

"I think the relationship between Israel and the United States is one that cuts across both parties in Israel, both parties in the United States. And it is a relationship between two peoples bonded in common values, common ideals and common interests. And this meeting, I think, is an expression of precisely that common bond that transcends politics."

Dole says the bond between the United States and Israel is strong but says he would make it even stronger in a Dole administration. "We have a strong relationship. It will continue. It will certainly continue in a Dole administration. We talked about missile defense. We talked about keeping Jerusalem an undivided city."

Arabs Upset Over Netanyahu's Congressional Speech

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo) & Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's talks with President Clinton in Washington this week dashed already fading hopes among Arab countries he might soften his approach to the peace process.

Netanyahu said his government would never agree to share Jerusalem with the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians are also angry at the members of Congress, who gave the statement a standing ovation.

The controversy was sparked by Netanyahu's statement: "There have been efforts to redivide the city by those who claim that peace can come through division, that it can be secured through multiple sovereignties, multiple laws, multiple police forces. This is a groundless and dangerous assumption, and it impels me to declare today, there will never be such a re-division of Jerusalem, never! (Applause)"

Palestinian President Yasir Arafat was the mildest in his reaction. Arafat offered these words of caution to the members of Congress and others who agree with Netanyahu. "They have to understand that peace is not only a Palestinian need. Peace is an Israeli need, an international need."

Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al Shara'a told El Hayat newspaper he is not surprised by Netanyahu's comments in Washington. He says Syria did not expect the Israeli leader to change his politics, which Shara'a describes as a clear refusal of the basis of the five-year-old peace process.

The official Baath Party newspaper in Damascus warns the United States will be held responsible for the failure of the peace process. Appeasing the aggressor and rewarding him for his crimes, the editorial says, exceeds the American bias to Israel. Netanyahu's rejection of the principle of land for peace has dashed hopes for a quick resumption of the Syrian-Israeli talks. Egypt's Ambassador to Israel says without the return of occupied lands, there will be no peace or stability in the region.

Netanyahu's opposition to a divided Jerusalem has angered Palestinians who want east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Arab League Secretary General Esmet Abdel-Meguid says simply Netanyahu is playing with fire.

Prime Minister Visits Most Populous Jewish City on Earth

By Barbara Schoetzau (VOA-New York)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be in New York through Saturday. Netanyahu is a familiar figure in New York, where he lived in the 1980s when he served as Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations. He was educated in the United States and speaks fluent English with an American accent.

The prime minister has a busy schedule, meeting with US politicians and influential American Jewish groups. Netanyahu is expected to face some tough questioning from these Jewish groups, several of which supported the peace process undertaken by the former Labor government of Shimon Peres.

Netanyahu's government wants to privatize much of Israel's state-controlled economy. He took a step in the direction of promoting investment in Israel during a luncheon with Wall Street business leaders.

Netanyahu Demands Pollard Pardon

During Tuesday's private conversation between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Clinton, Netanyahu demanded in firm and unambiguous terms that Jonathan Pollard be pardoned, and that America do all in its power to bring about the return of Israel's MIA's held captive in Arab countries.

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