Newsletter : 6fax1015.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
Oct. 15, 1996 V4, #187
All the News the Big Guys Missed
Netanyahu May Meet With Arafat Within 24 Hours
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Jordan's King Hussein has telephoned Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu and offered his help in the current
Israel-Palestinian negotiations aimed at avoiding another
outbreak of violence. The king made the call after meeting in
Amman with Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat.
According to a statement from Netanyahu's office, during the phone
call King Hussein described the Israeli-Palestinian talks as
"serious." The statement says the prime minister did not take
the king up on his offer of help, but instead predicted Israel and
the Palestinians will reach an agreement, if there is good will on
Speaking before the king's call, Netanyahu said Israel is under
pressure to make concessions in the talks with the Palestinians,
but he declared that his government will stand firm in its
positions, particularly on security issues. He said he might meet
with Arafat when an agreement is near, but he said there is so far
no plan for such a meeting.
[CNN reports Netanyahu and Arafat are expected to possibly meet
within the next 24 hours to announce an agreement on the withdrawal
of Israeli troops from Hebron, Israeli television said.
In a 1995 agreement signed in Washington, Israel agreed to begin
the withdrawal in March. The deployment was delayed by former Prime
Minister Shimon Peres because of security concerns after Hamas
suicide terrorist bombings that killed 59 people in Israel in March
King Hussein will meet with Arafat in Jericho Tuesday, his first
trip to Palestinian territory.
The king will arrive in Jericho by helicopter for a continuation of
the talks held Monday in Amman between Arafat and the king.]
In Amman, Arafat said Monday he had visited the king to explain to
him that there is no agreement on any of the issues in the talks,
which he blamed on what he called Israeli "intransigence,"
"procrastination" and lack of readiness to overcome difficulties.
But speaking in the Israeli parliament Monday, Foreign Minister
David Levy said an agreement is only days away.
The key issue is the long-delayed Israeli withdrawal from the West
Bank town of Hebron. One Palestinian official, and some Israeli
news reports, say agreement is close on security issues. But Israel
is also reported to be asking for changes in the plan to give full
administrative control of Hebron to the Palestinians.
Israeli newspapers say the new government wants to retain control
of construction permits, and several other powers. Israel Radio
says Israeli and Palestinian officials toured the city Monday in an
effort to better understand the issues before them.
Israeli government spokesman Moshe Fogel acknowledges there are
significant differences in the peace talks, but he believes there
will be an agreement. "I understand that there is some pessimism,
but I think if you look carefully at the entire process, there is
hope and sufficient mutual interest on all sides I believe to make
it work in the end."
Mubarak Warns of Violence and Disaster
By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)
Israeli President Ezer Weizman met Monday in Cairo with President
Hosni Mubarak in an effort to ease tensions and smooth soured
relations between Israel and Egypt. Arab leaders are warning of
disaster if Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not
quickly implement interim agreements already signed between Israel
and the Palestinians.
Mubarak has complained Netanyahu is not honoring Israel's
agreements with the Palestinians. Weizman says he assured Mubarak
that Israel is committed to the peace process. "Therefore the
government is not going back. The government perhaps has slowed
down to some people's liking. But I'm sure, as I've said to
President Mubarak, that the Government of Israel will continue to
do all its best to achieve peace between us and the Palestinians."
But Mubarak says he is not willing to meet Netanyahu again before
Israeli troops are redeployed from Hebron as required by the
interim agreement. "The problem is the redeployment of Hebron.
Whenever they reach a solution for that, I am ready to meet with
him, and I told him that in my last contact with him by phone."
Mubarak has been critical of Israel's slowdown of the peace
process. Now Jordan's King Hussein is, too. Both leaders echo
Arab warnings of disaster and more violence, if Netanyahu and
Arafat do not work out their differences.
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