Newsletter : 6fax0822.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
Aug. 22, 1996 V4, #155
All the News the Big Guys Missed
PA Almost Bankrupt
"The Palestinian Authority is on the verge of economic collapse,"
says Terje Larsen, the UN special coordinator with the PA. He
claims that the huge financial deficit could lead to political
instability. The PA owes almost 7 million shekels to Hadassah
Hospital in Jerusalem; the Israeli government refuses to pay the
hospital from funds it has agreed to pay the PA, because Hadassah
is a private institution.
Netanyahu and Peres At It Again
Sources within the Palestinian Authority are saying a meeting
between Arafat and Shimon Peres will likely take place this week in
Ramallah. The meeting has become the subject of controversy and
mutual attacks between Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu. The
Prime Minister has attacked Peres for "placing sticks in the wheels
of the negotiations. When I was in the opposition, I never deigned
to hold negotiations with Arab leaders."
Peres responded to the criticism by saying, "Netanyahu's memory is
a bit short. He met with King Hussein and with Crown Prince Hassan,
and no one said a word to him. I have no intention of representing
the government, but I represent at least half of the nation who
wants the peace process to continue."
Levy Messages Assad
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel's foreign minister has sent a message to Syria in an effort
to ease tensions which have built between the two countries during
the past few days.
Levy told Israel Radio the message is intended to clarify to Syrian
President Hafez al-Assad that Israel wants to resume peace talks,
and believes the rhetoric of recent days is counter-productive.
Early in the week, Israeli leaders vowed to respond forcefully to
any strike against Israeli forces, particularly in southern
Lebanon, where Syria has considerable influence.
Official Syrian newspapers responded by blasting Israeli leaders
for, in the Syrian view, abandoning the search for peace. In
addition, Syria recently tested a new, more-sophisticated version
of the SCUD missile, capable of reaching Israeli cities. And on
Tuesday, Israel conducted the first operational test of its new
The combination of rhetoric and missile tests, along with the
lack of peace talks, raised new fears in Israel of a possible
future war with Syria, although there was harsh Syrian rhetoric
even during peace talks with Israel's former government. Levy said
Wednesday the new government's top priority is to avoid war.
Syria: Israel Conducting Hysteria Campaign
By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)
Syria's official media accuses Israel of waging a campaign of
hysteria a day after Israel's foreign minister accused Syria of
undermining the peace process with its long-range SCUD missile
tests. Tensions are rising between two reluctant peace partners
The Baath party newspaper accuses Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu of fueling tensions to force Syria into a compromise on
the Golan Heights.
Syria wants israel to return all the strategic border area, which
is seized in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Netanyahu opposes the
principle of land for peace and wants Syria to first talk about
security in southern Lebanon.
Al Baath newspaper accuses Netanyahu of shutting the door on the
peace process and resorting to a policy of threats to escalate
tension to the maximum.
Al Baath Monday accused the Israeli prime minister of beating the
drums of war when he threatened to intensify the battle against
Hizbullah terrorists in south Lebanon.
Syria's official daily Tishreen went on the offensive, calling
Israel's nuclear facilities a threat to regional peace and calling
for their inspection.
Tensions have increased between Syria and Israel since the election
of a hardline Israeli government in May. Netanyahu rejects the
land for peace principle that has been the reference point of the
five year old peace process. Syria says there will be no peace
until it gets back all the Golan Heights.
Last month, Israel offered to resume peace talks with Syria, but
Netanyahu says he wants to talk about security in southern Lebanon
first. Syria and Lebanon refuse the Lebanon First proposal.
Syria reportedly tested SCUD missiles capable of reaching any point
in Israel. Syria recently carried out a test launch of SCUD-C
missiles, which have a range of approximately 375 miles and are
capable of reaching any location in Israel.
The test launch, together with recent military exercises of the
Syrian Army, have raised concern among Israeli defense officials.
The officials believe that the launch, which attempted to test an
ability to fire the missiles under operational circumstances, was
meant as a veiled threat toward Israel. Israel Radio quoted foreign
reports claiming that Syria possesses more than 300 ballistic
missiles. In addition to developing the improved SCUD-C rockets,
Syria is also working on a torpedo and has developed the most
advanced chemical weapons program in the Arab world.
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