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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      Oct. 16, 1996 V4, #188
All the News the Big Guys Missed

PM Moot on Secret Arafat Recording

Prime Minister Netanyahu refused to confirm or deny reports about a secret Arafat recording in the possession of the security services. Arafat is allegedly heard in the recording, taped during the recent Palestinian hostilities, commanding his Force-17 fighters to open fire on IDF soldiers. Netanyahu told Arutz-7's Yehoshua Mor-Yosef he has no knowledge of an Arafat order to begin firing, but he does know that Arafat ordered the cessation of the shooting.

Arafat Calls for GIs to Patrol Hebron

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jericho)

Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat has called for the formation of an international force, including US troops, to solve the dispute over security in Hebron. Arafat hosted Jordan's King Hussein Tuesday in Jericho.

Arafat says the use of foreign forces, and particularly US troops, would put an end to Israeli concerns about the security of Jewish settlers in Hebron after the withdrawal of most Israeli forces.

"The Israeli negotiators are repeating every day, 'security, security, security, security' in Hebron. I told them: Ok, if you don't trust the joint mobile units and you don't trust your soldiers or our soldiers, Ok, why not call for an international presence with the participation of the American Army?"

Arafat says he made the proposal to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu.  But  Arafat did  not  say whether he had cleared the
idea with President Clinton. The chief spokesman for Netanyahu,
David bar Illan, says the idea of using foreign troops is "not conducive to peace." "It's quite amazing that a suggestion like this could even come up because it contradicts everything that, presumably, the peace process stands for. To insert the possibility of a foreign army into this situation is to make a mockery of these agreements and obviously it is a non-starter." Bar Illan says barring unforeseen problems, there should be an agreement on the Hebron withdrawal very soon. But he says Arafat could block an agreement if he insists on his proposal for foreign troops. There already is an unarmed foreign observer group in Hebron, but it does not include any US members. The comments from Arafat came at a news conference with Jordan's King Hussein, who Tuesday made his first visit to the West Bank since he lost the region to Israel in the 1967 war. Defense Secretary William Perry says the Clinton administration is not considering sending US troops to the Middle East to help enforce a solution to the problem of Hebron. King Hussein said he was very happy to be on what he called his "first visit to Palestine." He said he hopes the Israeli-Palestinian talks will succeed, but he has not yet seen the "surprise" Netanyahu promised him two weeks ago at the Washington summit. "We hope that we will have some good news soon. And there has been no surprise that I am aware of, but we hope that the promised surprise will be a real commitment and a real determination by all of us to continue today because what is at stake is the future of all of our peoples in this region."

Second Italian Trial for Priebke

By Peggy Polk (VOA-Rome) Italy's highest appeals court has ordered a retrial for a former Nazi SS officer accused of complicity in the World War 2 reprisal killing of 335 men and boys in Rome. The appellate court annulled a controversial ruling by a military court in favor of the defendant, Erich Priebke. The 83-year-old defendant admitted during his trial that he had shot two people to death and checked off the names of other victims as they were led into the Ardeatine Caves near the catacombs. But his lawyers argued that he would have been killed himself if he had not followed orders. The massacre was in reprisal for a partisan bombing that took the lives of 33 German soldiers marching through Nazi-occupied Rome in 1944. Priebke, extradited from Argentina last year, went on trial in a military court in Rome in may on charges of multiple homicide. During the trial the prosecution and lawyers for relatives of the victims sought dismissal of the presiding judge, Agostino Quistelli, on grounds that he was biased in favor of the defendant. The appeal was rejected, and the three-judge court voted 2-1 Aug. 1 to find Priebke guilty of involvement in the massacre but to acquit him of acting with premeditation and cruelty. This meant he would be freed under Italy's 10-year statute of limitation on murder. There was an immediate outcry in Italy and abroad, and Priebke was rearrested hours later when Germany said it would extradite him for war crimes there. Now, however, a new trial in Italy will take precedence.
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