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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       July 16, 1996 V4, #128
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Prosecutor Seeks Life Sentence for Former Nazi

The prosecution at the war crimes trial of former SS Captain Erich Priebke is asking an Italian military court in Rome to sentence the 82-year-old defendant to life in prison. Priebke is accused of being one of the main organizers of the SS massacre of 335 men and boys at the Ardeatine Caves in March 1944, during the Nazi occupation of Rome.

Islamic Professor Supports Jewish Rights on Temple Mount

"There is nothing in Islam that negates Israeli and Jewish sovereignty over the Temple Mount," according to Professor Abdul Hadi Falatchi, head of the Islamic Institute in Rome. Falatchi was participating in an international seminar on Jewish Law, organized by the Ministry of Justice.

He also attacked the Arab objections to Jewish aliyah, saying that it has nothing to do with Zionism, but that "the Bible commands Jews to live in the Holy Land." Falatchi said that he is not afraid to make these remarks publicly, and that most Moslem religious leaders in Italy agree with him.

Day-Long Nationwide Strike Planned

The leadership of the Histadrut union has decided on a 10-hour nation-wide strike Wednesday. Histadrut Chairman Amir Peretz informed Minister of Finance Dan Meridor that the strike, which the Histadrut hopes will encompass up to 600,000 workers in the public sector, was called because of the economic "decrees" and cutbacks which will primarily affect the lower classes.

The strike was originally planned to be for 24 hours, in accordance with the wishes of the large workers' committees, but Peretz - claiming that he had to weigh various interests - shortened it, from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Day care centers, El Al, sick-fund offices, Bezek, Israel Railways, ports and government offices will be closed; nurseries, hospitals, radio, television, transportation, and other services will be affected to varying degrees.

Arafat: Let's Wait and See

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)

Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat says he is taking a wait and see attitude toward Israel's new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Arafat consulted with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak before Mubarak's meeting with the new Israeli leader. Arafat told reporters in Gaza he and Mubarak talked about ways to get the peace process back on track ahead of Mubarak's first meeting Thursday with Netanyahu.

Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians were stalled by the elections in Israel and by Netanyahu's hardline approach to the negotiating process.

The new Israeli leader has rejected the idea of an independent Palestinian state or a divided Jerusalem. He has also opposed continuing negotiations with the Palestinians, Syria and Lebanon on the basis of land for peace. Arab states have expressed their concern and anger over the tough stand.

Arafat says he will wait and see what Israel does to implement earlier agreements, in order to gauge its commitment to continuing the peace process. Israel has been committed to redeploying its troops from Hebron on the West Bank. Israeli officials say they are examining the situation carefully before making any decisions.

Palestinian Constitution is on the Way

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)

Palestinian lawmakers expect to wrap up debate on a Constitution by the end of the month. Details of the latest draft -- published in the Arab daily Sharq al Awsat --calls for the creation of an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital. That idea has been rejected by Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

The draft says Islam will be the official religion and Arabic the official language of the Palestinian Authority. The Constitution, which is known as the Basic Law for the Palestinian National Authority in the Transitional Period, also calls for an independent state with its capital in east Jerusalem.

The draft provides the framework for a democratic government to guaranty basic economic, political and civil rights of the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian Constitution also includes a clause calling for a council to monitor human rights. The addition is seen as a positive step following the arrest and detention of a leading human rights activist in Gaza after disagreements with Arafat.

The Constitution is sure to provoke criticism inside Israel. Netanyahu rejects the idea of an independent Palestinian state. He also opposes dividing Jerusalem, which Israel re-seized in the 1967 Six Day war.

First Ethiopian Israeli Diplomat to Serve in Chicago

Belaynesh Zevadia will become the first Israeli diplomat of Ethiopian origin when she begins next month as Consul for Information in Chicago.
Zevadia, 30, immigrated to Israel in 1984, shortly before Operation Moses brought several thousand Ethiopian Jews to Israel. "I am proud to be Ethiopian, and in any case, whoever sees me immediately knows where I am from," Zevadia said.

Zevadia said her professional dream is to serve as an Israeli diplomat at the U.N., and then as Israel's Ambassador to Ethiopia.

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