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                             ISRAEL
                              FAXX

Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       July 19, 1996 V4, #131
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Second Anniversary of Buenos Aires JCC Bombing

By Dawn Makinson (VOA-La Mantza, Argentina)

Argentina's Jewish community is observing a sad anniversary this week. On July 18, 1994, a terrorist attack on a Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires claimed the lives of 86 people. The government of Argentina has been investigating the attack, but has been unable to get enough evidence to charge anyone with the crime. Recently, 12 members of the Buenos Aires police force were arrested in connection with the bombing.

The community refuses to give up hope their loved ones will avenged. For the second time, hundreds of their friends and family have gathered in their communities largest cemetery in La Mantza.

International investigators from the United States and Israel, along with the Argentine government, say the attack was carried out by Iran backed Hizbullah terrorists, intent on slowing down the Middle East peace process of 1994. But investigators also say the terrorists needed a support group in Argentina to put their plan into action. That's been a crucial element of the investigation of the Argentine government, but not one which has gained them a foothold in solving the crime.

Numerous arrests have been made by the team of Argentine Judge Juan Jose Galeano. All but one have fizzled out before charges were laid. The failure to make progress has made Argentine Jews resolute.

Earlier this week, more than a dozen Argentine police were detained for questioning by authorities. The Argentine government says that may have been part of the crucial local connection for the terrorists, by supplying them with the van used to bomb the Amia Center. Leaders of the local Jewish community were cautious in their reaction to the news, coming as it did so close to the visit of Argentine President Carlos Menem to the United States. Critics say Menem may have been looking to smooth the way for a meeting with President Bill Clinton.

As their memorial service finishes, this community says a prayer together. The sound of their voices another affirmation of their unity in the face of danger. Two years before the Amia Center was blown up, killing 86 and injuring hundreds, the Israeli Embassy in Argentina was a target. Twenty nine died, scores more were injured. Terrorists are suspected in that attack as well, but whoever they may be, they remain free.

Bibi Says He'll Fulfill Existing Agreements

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says he is more relaxed now he has talked with Israel's new prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to hear first-hand his position on the peace process.

There were no major changes of positions on either side, but Mubarak says the get-acquainted session was important to hear first-hand Netanyahu's attitude toward the peace process. He describes the talks as candid and open-minded.

"I am very relaxed. I understand his conceptions. And I have great hopes the peace process will continue." Mubarak stresses the peace process cannot restart from a vacuum, but must build on what has been done already.

Netanyahu says he will fulfill existing commitments under treaties and agreements already signed. He says he is ready to talk to Syria. But he differs over the interpretation of land for peace as the basis for negotiations.

"There are differing interpretations on that principle and the way to apply that principle and the best way to proceed with negotiations is to go to the last agreed-upon framework and that is Madrid and we adhere to Madrid."

It was the Madrid conference that launched the current peace process five years ago. Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa says Netanyahu's words are a positive step.

"The prime minister has assured the president that he is committed to the peace process in accordance with the framework of Madrid and to implement the Oslo agreement. This is a step forward in the right direction, because saying that we are committed to peace in general terms is not enough."

Netanyahu says another 10-thousand Palestinians will be permitted to return to their jobs in Israel. An earlier easing let about 25,000 Palestinians return during the past few weeks.

Netanyahu says more trucks and ambulances would also be allowed to travel into Israel. "Our intention is to make life easy and to make an open economy, and open relations rather than a closed one. And this will accompany our talks with the view of creating good will and the view that we are progressing first of all a fulfillment of the existing commitments, and then down the line, of course, a negotiation for a successful final settlement."

Both leaders expressed guarded optimism the peace talks could get back on track, but neither one would say when. Netanyahu reminded a news conference his government has only been in power for three weeks.


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