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                             ISRAEL
                              FAXX

Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       Oct. 4, 1996 V4, #180
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Reactions to the Summit

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli reactions Thursday to the Washington summit varied according to political viewpoint, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned home.

The leader of the left-wing opposition "Meretz" party, former peace negotiator Yossi Sarid, said Netanyahu's tough stance in Washington was a "wild gamble." Sarid said no one knows how many people will have to pay with their lives for that gamble.

But among more conservative Israelis, Netanyahu returned a hero. Israeli Zvi Brunner was in a small crowd waiting at the entrance to Jerusalem to cheer for the prime minister's motorcade.

"I'm very proud of my prime minister. It's the first time in a long time that our prime minister cares about us, about the nation of Israel, about the land of Israel, and not about Arafat and what he's going to do and what he thinks and what he wants to do."

Still, Netanyahu has committed his government to intensive talks starting Sunday aimed at granting at least some Palestinian demands -- as long as Israeli security can be protected. Just how to do that is complex, at best. Netanyahu has summoned his Cabinet for a meeting today, and warned ministers to expect a long one.

There were a few, small anti-Israel and anti-US demonstrations on the West Bank Thursday after the Washington summit, but the area was generally quiet. Many people say they are waiting to see whether the new negotiation plan brings any results before deciding whether to take to the streets again.

In West Bank towns, people were not satisfied with the results of the summit. They say the plan for intensive negotiations amounts to more talk, and what they want is action. They say they want an end to the nearly town-by-town closure of the West Bank, a withdrawal of Israeli troops from Hebron, and the closing of the controversial archeological tunnel Israel opened in Jerusalem's Old City.

Still, most people encountered in Ramallah and Al-Bireh said the negotiators should be given a chance to work before there are any more disturbances.

Christopher Says There Were No Winners

By Ron Pemstein (VOA-State Department)

Secretary of State Warren Christopher says the United States needs to see results from the Israeli-Palestinian talks that are scheduled to begin Sunday on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Christopher has dismissed suggestions that the Israelis won at the White House summit meeting by making no concessions and that the Palestinians lost for the same reason.


Speaking before a meeting with Tunisia's foreign minister here at the State Department, Christopher insists there were no winners and losers at the summit.

"If you think back to a week ago today, we had the bloodiest day on the West Bank within anybody's memory. Things are somewhat better now. I think the conversation that took place, the re-commitment to a non-violent future, the commitment to have intensive and, indeed, continuous negotiation is a step forward. In that sense, everyone comes out a winner."

The secretary says the United States needs to see results flowing from what he expects to be difficult Israeli-Palestinian talks. Christopher says he will be prepared to join the talks whenever the parties feel he can be helpful.

Peres Praises Clinton for Arranging Summit

By Alan Silverman (VOA-Los Angeles)

Israeli and Palestinian leaders left their Washington meeting with only an agreement to hold more discussions. Former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres calls that a "window of opportunity" that must not be wasted. The Labor Party leader spoke Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

Peres, who helped negotiate the historic Oslo peace agreement, contends Palestinian President Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu sat down in Washington with positions that were too far apart: "I think the Palestinians hoped that while they were meeting in Washington they could reach an agreement and the Israelis thought that the time is too short and Washington is too far away to reach an agreement."

But the Israeli opposition leader, who lost a hard-fought election to Netanyahu, praises President Clinton for what the two days of talks did achieve: an agreement to keep talking.

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