Newsletter : 6fax0722.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
July 22, 1996 V4, #132
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Israel Swaps Dead With Hizbullah
By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)
The remains of two Israeli soldiers captured a decade ago in
Lebanon have been repatriated following an agreement arranged by
German mediators with the Shiite-Muslim Hizbullah organization.
In exchange, Israel returned the bodies of Hizbullah terrorists and
freed prisoners held in south Lebanon.
Israeli soldiers Rahamim al-Sheikh and Yossi Fink were captured in
an ambush by the Iranian-backed Hizbullah in 1986. Wounded in the
clash, the men later died in captivity. They were among six
Israeli servicemen missing in south Lebanon between 1982 and 1986.
Only one of them, Airman Ron Arad, is believed to be alive. Until
now, Israel had always linked the return of the soldiers with
information about Arad.
The soldiers' remains were returned in a German military plane. As
soon as the plane touched down in Tel Aviv, the International Red
Cross transferred to the Hizbullah the bodies of more than 100 of
its men killed in clashes along the Lebanon-Israel border and
buried in northern Israel.
The exchange deal was the product of months of secret negotiations
conducted by German mediators headed by top security official Bernd
Schmidbauer. Schmidbauer has hinted more exchanges could follow in
the coming days.
This was Israel's largest prisoner swap with Hizbullah. It has
sparked hopes of a possible future agreement between Lebanon and
Israel's Likud-led government. In an official statement of thanks
to Germany, the Israeli government said it hopes the exchange is
the first step towards the return of other missing soldiers.
Weizman Pardons 2 Palestinian Prisoners Convicted of Murder
President Ezer Weizman decided to pardon two female Palestinian
prisoners to whom he had previously refused to grant clemency,
Ma'ariv reports. The decision paves the way for the release of 28
other female Palestinian prisoners slated for release under the
Interim Agreement, but who had refused until all female prisoners
Weizman also decided to lighten the sentences of four Jewish
prisoners -- Elan Goodman, Nachshon Wals, Nir Efroni, and Danny
Eizenman -- who were convicted of murdering Arabs. Some of them
are expected to be released shortly.
The two Palestinian prisoners pardoned by Weizman will be released
today or tomorrow. They will be released along with three
additional prisoners convicted of murdering Jews, who were pardoned
under an order of IDF Central Command Maj. Gen. Uzi Dayan. This
will be followed by a release of remaining Palestinian female
Right-wing figures criticized the President's decision. "Even the
Peres government did not dare to release prisoners with blood on
their hands," said Rechavam Ze'evi.
Two Israelis Among TWA dead
Although TWA has not clarified the nationality of all the victims
in the explosion of Flight 800, it is known that two Israeli
citizens -- Gadi Notes of Ra'anana and Avishai Meshulam of Arad --
were on the flight.
Peace May be Possible...But Business is Forever
By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)
Egypt and Israel signed a $1.2 billion deal Sunday for an oil
refinery that will provide both countries 30 percent each of the
end products, with the rest for sale in Europe and the Middle East.
The joint venture took nearly four-years to work out. But the deal
is done. The oil refinery will be built in the Egyptian
Mediterranean port of Alexandria.
Egypt's state oil company will provide the crude oil for refining.
Capacity at the facility is expected to total 100,000 barrels a
day. Israel and Egypt will each get 30 percent of the end
products. The remaining 40 percent will be sold to markets in
Europe and the Middle East.
Egyptian businessman Hussein Salem signed the deal with the Israel
Merhav group, which is owned by Yosef Maiman. Egypt's state oil
company will hold 20 percent of the equity. Several Arab states
have urged a slowdown in the normalization of relations with
Ma'ariv protests that, at Friday's opening ceremony for the Atlanta
Olympics, "the Palestinians succeeded in sneaking onto the list of
countries participating in the Olympics -- in contravention of the
Olympic charter -- not because they have sporting achievements, but
because they know how to appreciate a propaganda achievement."
The editors add that "the memory of the 11 Israeli athletes who
were murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the Munich Olympics was
not raised at the opening ceremony."
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