Newsletter : 6fax0801.txt
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Beilin Confirms Palestinian Deal
By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)
A former Israeli Cabinet minister says negotiators from Israel's
previous government reached an understanding last year with the PLO
on the establishment of a Palestinian state. The top policy adviser
to former Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Yossi Beilin, says he worked
out wide-reaching understandings with Palestinian negotiators in
secret talks, before the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak
Beilin was a key figure in the talks which led to the 1993
Israel-PLO interim agreement. Interviewed on Israeli radio and TV,
he said understandings were reached on some of the thorniest issues
in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the future of Jewish
settlements in the West Bank and millions of Palestinian refugees.
Beilin said that in exchange for Israeli recognition of a state,
the Palestinians agreed in principle that no settlements would be
dismantled, and they also dropped demands to establish the
Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem.
Details of the informal agreement emerged in an interview, in a
Jewish settler magazine, with Yair Hirshfeld, one of the Israeli
negotiators. Hirshfeld said the Palestinians agreed to key Israeli
demands, provided a Palestinian state is created, Palestinian
interests in jerusalem are respected, and that no Arab villages
would be annexed by Israel.
"And if we recognize those three very important Palestinian
demands, then an understanding is possible which is a win-win
situation for both sides."
Hirshfeld says there was agreement to recognize each other's
basic needs. For Israel, he says, this includes complete security,
allowing most of the Jewish settlements to remain, and retaining
Jerusalem as its capital. He said the Palestinians would agree to
Israel's annexation of about 10 percent of the West Bank, bringing
about 70 percent of the 140,000 Jewish settlers under Israeli
A senior official in the Palestinian Authority has confirmed most
of the details of the plan described by Hirshfeld and Beilin.
The proposed blueprint is an indication of the extent to which the
two sides were ready to compromise. But the agreement may be
irrelevant. Israel's hardline Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
has vowed to block the creation of a Palestinian state. His media
advisor David bar Illan calls the understandings merely "an
intellectual exercise" since neither side had formally endorsed
Both Israel and the Palestinians have been vague about their
positions regarding a final peace agreement. Bar-Illan says this is
"We feel that negotiations are negotiations, they're not preempted by
announcements beforehand or by either negotiating with the press
or with ourselves. And neither the Peres government or the present
government has ever said anything about what they expect the final
results to be."
A member of the Palestinian Council, Ziad abu Ziad, said he is
worried that the current government's reluctance so far to begin
final status negotiations could mean the transitional period could
"We accepted to start this process because it will lead to the end
of the occupation and will lead to a Palestinian state. If we end by
a self-autonomy under Israeli occupation, this is not what we
wanted from this peace process, and we don't want the Israelis to
continue to intervene in every single item of our life."
Shortly after Rabin was assassinated last November, Beilin showed
the proposed plan to Peres, suggesting that the two sides could
begin formal negotiations on the final status to reach an agreement
that could be taken to the Israeli voters in elections scheduled
for November 1996. But he said Peres rejected the idea and called
early elections, which he lost.
For his part, Beilin still believes that eventually the compromise
solution to a final Israeli-Palestinian settlement will be carried
Mubarak Warns of "Complications"
Egyptian President Mubarak, presently visiting in Washington, D.C.,
says that the paving of new highways in Judea and Samaria will
"complicate" the diplomatic process. Arutz Sheva's Arab Affairs
correspondent Yehoshua Meiri reports that the Secretary of the Arab
League plans to convene the League members in order to discuss the
Netanyahu government's development plans in Judea and Samaria.
Beersheva Targeted for Development
Deputy Minister of Housing Meir Porush has announced that the
Housing Ministry will invest 170 million shekels in the development
of Beersheva in the coming year. The combined efforts of the
Ministry of National Infrastructure and the Housing Ministry are
expected to turn Beersheva into Israel's fourth biggest city.
Porush has given instructions that 8,000 new housing units be sold
in Beersheva over the course of the next two years.
The Israel Electric Company has completed the construction of an
experimental wind turbine in Kibbutz Maaleh Gilboa. The production
capacity of the turbine is 500 kilowatts, and its cost was three
million shekels. The electricity-production potential from wind in
Israel is 500 megawatts.
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