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                             ISRAEL
                              FAXX

Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      Sept. 5, 1996 V4, #164
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Israelis Line Up for Gas Masks

Despite repeated announcements that the hostilities are not expected to affect Israel, many hundreds of Israelis are not taking any chances: long lines formed at gas-mask distribution centers throughout the country, as citizens came to refresh their family gas-mask kits. Sales of room-sealing equipment, though, such as duct tape and plastic, were no brisker than usual.

The satellite Amos, which was launched three months ago and is circling the globe at a height of more than 24,000 miles, is able to transmit real-time information on the events in Iraq, something which was not available during the Gulf War six years ago.

Historic Netanyahu-Arafat Meeting

By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)

The long-awaited meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat has taken place at the "Erez crossing point" between Israel and the Gaza Strip. The meeting meant Netanyahu's formal acceptance as a peace partner of Arafat -- the Palestinian leader he had long shunned and reviled as a terrorist.

The historic meeting and subsequent news conference came after marathon diplomatic negotiations all week between Israel and Palestinian officials on an agreement over issues in dispute -- including the Israeli army redeployment in the West Bank city of Hebron, and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Since his election in May, Netanyahu has resisted meeting Arafat. At the beginning of their meeting, the two men shook hands across the table -- the cool but correct gesture was repeatedly shown on Israeli TV in slow-motion.

In his opening statement to the press, Netanyahu said that despite the comments by cynics, Israel does not want to stop the peace process.

"We want to advance the issues of concern to all of us. We want to do so in such a way as to facilitate negotiations on a final status. I also want to make clear that our position is not only to move on the peace process, but also improve the prosperity and the economic conditions of the Palestinian population. We think that prosperity and peace go hand and hand, and I believe that we can advance to achieve both goals for the benefit of both peoples."
Netanyahu said the objective of the peace talks which will now resume is to assure the "security and well-being of Israelis and Palestinians alike."

Arafat said the Palestinians want to work with Netanyahu and his government to fulfill the provisions of the accord signed with the previous Israeli government.

"I want to reiterate here once again...Our commitment to cooperation with Israel, in all aspects in accordance with the agreement signed...This cooperation in all fields will continue irrespective of our political differences."

The Palestinians want an undertaking from the new Israeli government that it intends to implement agreements already signed. Netanyahu refused to give any date for Israel's long-delayed troop redeployment from Hebron. His government would like to see amendments of the agreement on the Hebron redeployment. After their meeting, Netanyahu would only say the issue would be discussed in future negotiations with the Palestinians.

Clinton Ordered Cover-Up of Palestinian Assets

President Clinton ordered that the findings of an investigation into the assets of the Palestinian Authority be considered "classified information." British intelligence has evaluated Palestinian assets at approximately $8 billion. The donor countries are scheduled to meet today in Washington, and Jewish lobbyists are pressuring Congress to publicize the full report before discussions on further contributions to the PA.

Missionary Activity Among Ethiopians

Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs Yigal Bibi has asked the Attorney General to order a police investigation into missionary activity amongst Ethiopian immigrants.

Bibi said that he has learned that missionaries are attempting to convert the Ethiopian residents of the Carmel mobile-home community. He said that it is inconceivable that the Ethiopians, "who zealously guarded their Judaism in their land of exile, should come to Israel only to convert to another religion."


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