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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       July 31, 1996 V4, #139
All the News the Big Guys Missed

President Mubarak Meets President Clinton

By David Borgida (VOA White House)

President Clinton, following a White house meeting with visiting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, is reacting cautiously to reports Israel's new government plans to build two highways through the West Bank and two new bridges to the Golan Heights.

Mubarak, reflecting Arab concern the steps represent an effort to tighten Israel's links to the disputed territories, fears what he calls a complicated peace process.

Three weeks ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Clinton no peace agreement is possible that does not take Israeli security into account. Tuesday, Mubarak came to the White House looking for US reassurance that the land-for-peace formula, which has long guided the Middle East peace process, is not being abandoned.

Clinton sought to assure his latest guest Israel is, "bound to honor commitments," including the Oslo Accords that set the framework of the peace process. But he reacted cautiously to reports Israel's construction projects are moving ahead.

"I'm concerned about the reports I've read, but I don't know precisely what the plan is, and my understanding is that it has not yet been adopted by the government. And the government's commitment is to continue the peace process and not to do anything inconsistent with the commitments made by the Israeli government before it."

For his part, Mubarak cautioned all parties against actions he described as inconsistent with the spirit of peace. "It's going to complicate the whole process, this is my fear. We would like to maintain stability, we don't like to make new things in the occupied territories unless it is agreed upon by the two parties so as to help the process to move forward."

Mubarak was equally encouraged. "We are very pleased with the level of cooperation we have reached in various fields. Our relationship has never been more solid and stable."

With some in Congress calling for reduced levels of foreign aid, however, Mubarak said Egypt is preparing for that. He joked he would not be against any unilateral Israeli decision to accept a reduced level of US aid.

Bedouin Clash With Police in Omer

Tens of policemen were injured Tuesday in a violent clash with Bedouin residents of the Northern Negev, near the town of Omer. Members of the Bedouin tribe of Tarabin a-Sana have been waging an extended struggle against the expansion of Omer, claiming that the lands earmarked for the community's growth belong to them.

Tens of policemen required medical treatment in Soroka Hospital in Beersheva. Some 40 Bedouin protestors were arrested.

Labor Was Planning to Give Up Old-City Sovereignty

Dr. Yair Hirschfeld, one of the architects of the Oslo agreements, confirmed the Labor government had been prepared to make several major concessions on the issue of Jerusalem. In an interview in the upcoming issue of Nekudah Magazine, Hirschfeld said that during the preliminary negotiations that he, together with former Minister Yossi Beilin, conducted with Palestinian representatives, the following points were agreed upon:

Jerusalem; its permanent status would be discussed "later."

southeast of the Old City, and would bear the name Al-Kuds (the Arabic name for Jerusalem).

Palestinian state, while the remaining 10% would be annexed to Israel.

Reports of these talks were widely and repeatedly denied at the time by leaders of the Labor government. No West Bank communities were to be dismantled, but the exact relationship between them and the Palestinian Authority would be negotiated. Hirschfeld also said that Beilin did not succeed in convincing Shimon Peres in publicizing these talks before the elections, and that if he had, "I am sure that Labor would have won."

Arafat: Ayash Was "Holy"

The Arabic newspaper Al Chiyat al-Jadida, considered to be close to the Palestinian Authority, has confirmed Yasir Arafat has praised the actions of Yichye Ayash, known as "The Engineer."

The newspaper reported Arafat said, in a speech in Gaza last week, that Ayash is a "holy one who paved the way for the liberation of Jerusalem by the Palestinians."

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