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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       July 30, 1996 V4, #138
All the News the Big Guys Missed


The July 29 headline relating to the Jonathan Pollard story was incorrect. Esther Pollard is Pollard's wife.

Palestinian-Israeli Border Reopened

By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel Monday is again allowing Palestinians to enter Israel from the West Bank and Gaza. The area was closed last week after a drive-by shooting left three people dead. Before the shooting, Israel had been relaxing a strict closure imposed for about five months after a series of suicide bombings.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians once worked in Israel, usually in low-paid construction and agriculture jobs. Three years ago Israel began imposing closures on the West Bank and Gaza in response to terror attacks inside Israel, including suicide bus bombings. The ban prevented Palestinians from entering Israel. Following a wave of such bombings early this year by Muslim extremists, Israel imposed the most stringent blockade ever.

During the last few weeks, the new government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began lifting those restrictions, allowing about 35,000 Palestinian workers into Israel. But the ban was reimposed on the Friday after Arab gunmen killed three members of an Israeli family by opening fire on their car. The attackers apparently fled towards the West Bank.

On Monday, Israel eased the restrictions again, allowing an additional 10,000 Palestinians into Israel to work. Authorities also announced that more Palestinian workers would be allowed to go to their jobs in the industrial zone on the Israel-Gaza border, and ambulances and other medical-related vehicles will be allowed to transport patients to hospitals in Israel.

But a member of the Palestinian self-rule council, Ziad abu Ziad, says that talk of easing the closure is misleading public opinion in Israel and abroad. Abu Ziad complains that most Palestinians are still barred from entering Jerusalem, including east Jerusalem, where many Palestinian institutions are located.

Israel annexed east Jerusalem after the 1967 war, declaring both sides of the city as its undivided capital. Palestinians view east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. Palestinians say the long closures, which have devastated the West Bank and Gazan economies, are a form of collective punishment, and want open access to jobs inside Israel until there are alternative jobs in the Palestinian territories.

Mubarak Will Meet Clinton Today

By David Gollust (VOA-Washington)

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has begun a three-day visit to Washington with talks with Secretary of State Warren Christopher. The two sides will continue a review of how to proceed with the peace process following the election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel.

The Egyptian leader met for an hour with Christopher as a prelude to his White House talks with Clinton today. The visit comes amid reports Egypt is uneasy over the administration's commitment to press the new Israeli government toward compromise -- and troubled by its opposition to a second term as UN Secretary General for Egypt's Boutros Boutros-Ghali. However, State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns downplayed reports of strain in the relationship, and called Egypt a keystone for Middle East stability.

Burns said the two sides have discussed Egypt's recent acquisition of Scud missile hardware from North Korea and that the administration is examining whether the deal violates US or international non-proliferation law.

Navon Committee Conclusions "Disappointing" for Ethiopians by Arutz-7 Radio

The Navon Commission, appointed six months ago to investigate the Ethiopian blood donation affair, reports there were "many shortcomings in the decision-making process" of the Health Ministry and Magen David Adom. The committee did not, however, recommend the dismissal of anyone involved.

The United Ethiopian Immigrants Organization reacted with rage and disappointment to the report, calling its conclusions "ineffective and superficial." It declared it would hold an emergency meeting of communal leaders to demand that the government establish a state inquiry commission into the whole gamut of issues related to the aliyah and absorption of Ethiopian Jewry.

Former Israeli president Yitzhak Navon, who chaired the six-member committee, declared at a press conference "no racism was involved" in the decision to discard blood donated by all Ethiopian immigrants because of the relatively high rate of HIV in the community. "The [officials] were not evil. They worried about stigmatizing the community," Navon said, "although after the fact, we believe they should have told the immigrants the truth [when they came to donate blood]."

Health Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said the ministry will implement the recommendations of the Navon Commission, and will accept Ethiopian blood donations on a case-by-case basis.

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