Newsletter : 6fax1014.txt
| Previous file
| Next file
Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
Oct. 14, 1996 V4, #186
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Peace Talks In Taba are Postponed
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
The next round of the emergency Israeli-Palestinian peace talks has
been postponed until Tuesday at the request of the US mediator.
Mediator Dennis Ross says Israeli and Palestinian officials have
been talking outside the framework of the formal negotiations, and
he wants such contacts to continue for another day. He says that
will create what he calls a "stronger basis" for the formal
negotiations to make progress.
The talks have been stalled over Israel's insistence on changes
in the existing plan for the deployment of the Palestinian police
in Hebron, and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from most of the
The negotiations, arranged at the Washington summit early this
month, were to have resumed today at the Egyptian resort of Taba
and then to move to the adjacent Israeli town of Eilat.
Palestinian officials say there has been no progress so far, and
that they will never accept changes in the existing agreement.
Israel says it will implement the existing accord, but only when
it is satisfied with the security arrangements. Ross, the mediator,
says the two sides need to better understand each other's
Is it a Wonderful Day in Israel's Neighborhood?
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel's four-month-old government is finding itself under
increasing criticism from its peace partners -- Egypt, Jordan and
the Palestinians -- even as it pursues US-sponsored talks aimed, in
part, at dispelling the notion that the new Israeli government is
not interested in pursuing peace. The government is not
particularly concerned about the deterioration in its relations
with its Arab partners because it believes they will soon see
that their impressions are wrong.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak refused to attend the recent
Washington summit, and during the past week one Egyptian newspaper
depicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a Nazi and
another has called for his murder.
Jordan's King Hussein has made some uncharacteristically
pessimistic comments, saying he is deeply disappointed in
Netanyahu and his policies. And the Palestinian leader, Yasir
Arafat, has predicted the current US-sponsored talks will fail
unless Israel changes its positions, something he says he does
not expect. He says uncontrollable violence could result.
For many Israeli and foreign analysts, that adds up to a crisis
in Israel's fledgling relations with its Arab neighbors. He says
the new government was forced to make some policy changes because
it was not possible to pursue peace while Israelis felt it was
endangering them. He says he understands how the changes created
tension and pessimism among Palestinians, and therefore among
Egyptians and Jordanians, for whom continuing progress on the
Palestinian track is important.
New Law Bans Female Circumcision
By Carolyn Weaver (VOA-Washington)
In a move that received no press attention until a New York Times
report Saturday, Congress has outlawed the custom of female genital
cutting practiced by immigrants from a number of countries in
Africa and Asia. The law also requires US representatives to the
World Bank and other international financial agencies to oppose
loans to countries that do not have active educational programs to
stamp out the practice -- which affects tens of millions of girls
and women worldwide.
The new law -- part of a spending bill passed two weeks ago [Sept.
30] -- bans genital cutting of girls under the age of 18 in the
United States. It also requires American officials to inform new
immigrants that parents who arrange for the cutting of their
daughters could be sent to prison for five years. American health
officials estimate that about 150,000 girls and women in the United
States could be at risk or already have been cut.
Female genital cutting, a procedure performed to stifle sexual
desire, is practiced in 28 countries in Africa and Asia, including
Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Indonesia. It involves the removal of
the clitoris and other external female genitalia, and sometimes
infibulation, the sewing together of the vaginal opening. Health
experts say the aftermath is often lifelong pain, infections and
inability to experience sexual pleasure.
Democratic Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada led the effort to pass the
measure in the Senate. He said it cannot be compared with male
circumcision, the removal of a male baby's foreskin.
"Painful, but the little kid is well in a day or two. With female
circumcision, what they do is so horrible it's almost beyond
description. It has not the effect of a day or two but a lifetime
of misery and pain, and leads many times, about 15 percent people
have very, very severe problems, and over 10 percent die."
The measure to make international loans contingent on action
against genital cutting takes effect in one year.
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)