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>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
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
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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