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>Israel Faxx
>PD Oct. 24, 1996 V4, #194

Hebron's Arabs Amassing Ammunition Against Jews

"We here in Hebron are preparing a lot of ammunition so that we will have it to use against the settlers... there will be a 'balagan,' we will have a big surprise for them. We - civilians, police, everybody - have about 800 pieces of ammunition. If they want to make a balagan for us, then we will also make one for them, and we will really get them. They shouldn't be here in Hebron - not the settlers and not the IDF."

These are the words of an Arab resident of Hebron, speaking to a Voice of Israel reporter. MK Rehavam (Gandi) Ze'evi of Moledet warned that the Arabs of Hebron are planning a repeat of the 1929 massacre there, and called upon the prime minister not to carry out any withdrawal from Hebron.

Arafat Looks Forward to EU Involvement

By Al Pessin (VOA-Ramallah)

Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat says there are still substantial disputes in the current talks with Israel on ending the occupation of most of the West Bank town of Hebron. He says once that is settled, he has many other issues he wants the negotiators to address, perhaps with the help of a European mediator. Israeli and Palestinian officials say an agreement on Hebron is near, but Arafat is not so optimistic.

Arafat says there are 35 outstanding issues he wants addressed in the US-sponsored talks, including more Israeli withdrawals on the West Bank, the release of prisoners, and building an airport in Gaza.

Arafat's guest Wednesday, French President Jacques Chirac, echoed that view, saying fulfillment of existing agreements is the only way to move forward in the peace process.

In the first speech to the Palestinian Council by a foreign head of state, Chirac drew an ovation from the Palestinian legislators when he said there can be no peace without agreement on the status of Jerusalem.

Chirac called on Israel to stop expanding Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem until the city's future is negotiated. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as their capital, but the new Israeli government does not want to discuss the issue.

Chirac also said despite of "their daily suffering, frustrations, and humiliations Palestinians should avoid the temptation of violence," which he said, could again stall the peace process. He praised Palestinian leaders for building democratic institutions.

Chirac also said a special European envoy to the peace process could help rebuild confidence among the various parties. Israel has rejected the idea, but Arafat embraced it. The Palestinians and Arab countries want a greater French role, believing France is more sympathetic to their views than the United States. Wednesday, Arafat and other Palestinian officials were lavish in their praise of Chirac, and Arafat thanked him in French.

Meanwhile, after canceling a plan to leave the region Monday, US mediator Dennis Ross is continuing his meetings with officials of both sides.

Israel Again Closes the Border

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

With Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at a sensitive stage, Israel has imposed a new closure on the Palestinian territories, a step which always angers Palestinian officials. Israel's army says the closure resulted from extensive warnings about possible suicide attacks during the next few days.

The announcement came after government officials reported receiving information about possible attacks planned to mark the first anniversary of the killing of Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shikaki. Israeli agents were widely suspected of carrying out the killing last year in Malta.

Police in Israel were put high alert, taking extra care to watch for suspicious persons or abandoned packages. Inspections were intensified at checkpoints between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza. Police even set up a rare roadblock on the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway, forcing traffic to a crawl so the passengers in each car could be checked.

A series of suicide bombings by Palestinian militants in February and March killed 63 people and nearly ended the peace process. A similar closure imposed after Palestinian riots four weeks ago had just been eased. Closures prevent tens of thousands of Palestinians from reaching their jobs and keep Palestinian goods from being exported. They also tend to increase frustration and decrease support for the peace process among many Palestinians.

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