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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      Sept. 19, 1996 V4, #174
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Chances for War with Syria Increase

Contrary to previous intelligence evaluations reporting a "very low probability" for war with Syria, more up-to-date appraisals have been submitted to the security services that confirm a possibility of a state of war with Syria, although not in the immediate future.

A senior military figure told Arutz-7 the latest reports are based on an analysis of the Syrian army and the economic situation in Syria. U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher told Israeli Ambassador Eliyahu Ben-Elissar that the tension between Israel and Syria is nearing a conclusion.

U.S. Criticizes Israel for Expanding Settlements

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

The chief US Middle East mediator, Dennis Ross, has criticized an Israeli decision to expand settlements in occupied territory.

Ross met with the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, in Gaza Wednesday and said afterwards that the Israeli decision on settlements "complicates the negotiating process." Arafat called the decision "another breach" of the peace agreements.

The Ross-Arafat meeting and comments came just a few hours before Arafat was to meet with the Israeli official who made the settlements decision, Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai. Mordechai has been put in charge of implementing the new government's plan to resume housing construction in the settlements.

On Wednesday it was announced he had approved the construction of nearly 2,000 homes in a settlement near the Israel/West Bank dividing line.

Mubarak Says Rabin Wanted to Return Golan

By Jennifer Griffin (VOA-Nicosia)

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has charged Iran helped train the terrorists who tried to kill him during a visit to Ethiopia last year. The Egyptian president made the comments in an interview with the Al-Hayat newspaper.

The interview with Mubarak touches on everything from Iran's role in trying to kill him last year to promises made by the late Israeli leader Yitzhak Rabin.

Mubarak's accusations against Iran are based on confessions from three men arrested for trying to kill the Egyptian president. Mubarak says Iran helped train the killers whose assassination plot was foiled.

Mubarak also says in the interview that Rabin assured his government and the United States that he planned to withdraw completely from the Golan Heights, a strategic piece of land captured from Syria in 1967.

Mubarak says Rabin wanted full normalization between Syria and Israel in exchange for the return of land. The new Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, says he will not be held to promises made by the former prime minister.

Syria wants the stalled peace negotiations with Israel to pick up where they left off prior to Netanyahu's election. But the Israeli leader wants to start new negotiations and says his country will never relinquish the strategic heights.

French Cabinet Officer to be Tried for Crimes Against Humanity

By Julian Nundy (VOA-Paris)

A French court has ordered a former Cabinet minister to stand trial for crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the deportation of French Jews to Nazi death camps during World War 2.

A court in the city of Bordeaux ended 15 years of legal procedure Wednesday by ordering Maurice Papon to stand trial for his alleged role in the deportation of nearly 1,700 Jews from the Bordeaux region during the Nazi occupation of France.

Papon, who is now 86 years old, was first indicted in 1981 and, even now, his lawyers say they will appeal against the decision to send him to trial. This move, however, will only delay matters a few months and he can be expected to go to trial within one year.

Papon, who was a conservative budget minister in the 1970s, is accused of signing the orders for the deportation of 1,690 Jews, more than 200 of them children. He is also accused of going further than the German occupiers requested, ordering roundups before the Nazis had asked for them.

Papon, if he does go to trial, will be the second Frenchman to face the charge of crimes against humanity in court. A former militiaman accused of executing Jews, Paul Touvier, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1994.

Touvier died in jail two months ago. Two other former officials of the Vichy collaborationist government died before they could go to trial. Yet another, Rene Bousquet, a former Vichy police chief, was assassinated at his Paris home in 1993, a few months before he was due to face trial.

In 1987, France held its first trial on the charge, that carries no statute of limitations, against the so called Nazi "Butcher of Lyon," Klaus Barbie. He was the Nazi police chief in the city during the war. Barbie too was sentenced to life imprisonment and died in jail five years ago. Altogether, 76,000 French jews were deported during the war and only 2,500 survived.

Lawyers for Papon say he will plead that he was not aware Jews from Bordeaux were being sent to camps in Germany. They say they will also show that he helped the French anti-Nazi resistance toward the end of the war.

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