Newsletter : 6fax0724.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
July 24, 1996 V4, #134
All the News the Big Guys Missed
German In-Between Believes Ron Arad is Alive
By Kyle King (VOA-Bonn)
The German intelligence official who helped broker an exchange
between Israel and the pro-Iranian Hizbullah, says he believes
missing Israeli airman Ron Arad is alive.
The German government's intelligence coordinator, Bernd
Schmidbauer, says he has indications that would justify the
impression Ron Arad is still alive. The Israeli air force navigator
has been missing since 1986 when his plane was shot down over
In an interview with the newspaper Bild, Schmidbauer says the
missing flyer's daughter is now 10 years old and she should get
her father back. Israel, which believes the missing airman is still
alive, has asked Schmidbauer if he would look into the case.
Sunday, a deal brokered by Schmidbauer resulted in the return of
the remains of two Israeli soldiers in exchange for the remains of
more than 100 Hizbullah fighters and 45 prisoners held by the
Israeli-backed south Lebanon army militia.
In the interview, Schmidbauer again defended his government's
controversial policy of maintaining friendly relations with Iran.
The United States, which has sought to isolate Iran because of its
support for terrorists, has been critical of the German policy.
Arafat Meets With Foreign Minister David Levy
By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)
Palestinian President Yasir Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister
David Levy have held talks in the first meeting between the
Palestinian leader and a minister of Israel's new right-wing
Israeli government. The two men agreed on further Israel-PLO
contacts, in hopes of continuing the peace process.
Peace talks between Israel and the PLO have been suspended since
the May 29th elections. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's
hard-line Likud party opposes the self-rule agreement with the
Palestinians signed by the previous Labor-led government, but last
week, the Israeli prime minister said Israel would implement
The chief importance of the meeting between Levy and Arafat was
that it took place. Although Netanyahu has said that if the need
arises he would meet Arafat, he has so far refused to hold talks
with the Palestinian leader. The snub has been a source of anger
and humiliation among the Palestinians.
The meeting between Levy and Arafat was historic from the point of
view of Netanyahu's Likud party, which has consistently rejected
Arafat's PLO's bid to represent the Palestinian people. Several of
Netanyahu's Cabinet ministers have rejected any contact with
Arafat. Before the elections, Ariel Sharon -- now the
"infrastructure" minister -- called him a war criminal.
Agriculture Minister Rafael Eitan said no one higher than border
guard should meet with Arafat.
But judging from the meeting at the Erez border crossing between
Israel and the Gaza Strip, the rhetoric of the Likud-Netanyahu
election campaign is being overtaken by necessarily more
At a news conference following the meeting, Arafat said the two men
had agreed to continue the dialogue between Israel and the
Palestinians at all levels, and to find solutions to all
outstanding problems. He said he expected the remaining elements
of the autonomy agreement, including a partial Israeli troops
withdrawal from the West Bank town of Hebron, to be carried out
Levy said they had reached an understanding to set up a framework
for discussing problems, and said he encountered a profound desire
for cooperation to continue negotiations on the peaceful relations
that both sides seek.
Both sides have long lists of broken promises. The Israelis say
Arafat's Palestinian Authority is operating illegally in Jerusalem
and has failed to extradite to Israel Palestinian fugitives taking
refuge in the Palestinian autonomous areas.
Arafat reportedly presented Levy with four central demands --
Hebron redeployment and the commitment to an additional West Bank
withdrawal, renewed final status talks, Israeli commitment to
terminate settlements, and the preservation of Palestinian
institutions in east Jerusalem.
Though no details of the meeting have emerged, clearly it
represents the revival of contacts with the Palestinian Authority
and the Israelis ... and analysts say it may pave the way to a
meeting with Netanyahu.
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