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                             ISRAEL
                              FAXX

Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      Nov. 1, 1996 V4, #200
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Vienna stolen Jewish art sale exceeds hopes

A controversial auction of Austrian Jewish artwork looted by Nazi Germany raised more than four times catalogue estimates to be distributed to Holocaust victims. The two-day sale of over 8,000 items, organized by British auctioneers Christie's, had fetched $14 million by midday Wednesday. The collection had been valued at $3.5 million. Most of the original owners were killed in the Holocaust or fled the country.

U.S. Satellites Detect Unusual Movement of Syrian Units

American satellites have detected in recent weeks unusual movement of Syrian units which operate ground-to-ground Scud missiles. The U.S. is reportedly concerned by the movements and the pressure they might bring to bear on Israel.

Ha'aretz quoted an officer in the IDF Intelligence Branch as saying that there is no change in the Syrian deployment, and that the movements of the past few days are part of the Syrian army's regular exercises. The source said the Intelligence Branch has included the risk of war with Syria in its working assumption and is conducting daily analyses of Syrian military movements and monitoring statements in the Syrian media.

Arafat Blames Israelis for Intransigence

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)

Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat is in Madrid to mark the fifth anniversary of the start of the Middle East peace conference. Five years later, the process is at a critical stage with Palestinian-Israeli negotiations bogged down and the Syrian and Lebanese tracks still on hold. The Palestinian leader is blaming Israeli intransigence for the setbacks.

Arafat told the Arab-language daily El Hayat that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might resort to war to get himself out of his political predicament. The Palestinian leader does not elaborate, but he talks of the presence of Israeli tanks on the outskirts of Palestinian-controlled towns in the West Bank and along the Syrian and Lebanese fronts.

"Anyone who thinks I will accept an unjust agreement," Arafat told El Hayat, "is wrong and should learn who Yasir Arafat is."

Arafat says Israel's failure to implement the interim agreements and redeploy its troops on the West Bank will fuel more extremist violence on both sides. And, the continued occupation of Palestinian lands, he warns, will provoke "an explosion of the entire peace process across the region."

Hebronite: Jews, Arabs are Like Gasoline and Fire.

By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)

Tensions are increasing in the West Bank town of Hebron, as Israeli and Palestinian residents await the long-delayed withdrawal of Israeli troops from most of the city. Militant Jewish settlers are threatening to seize more buildings in the city, and Palestinians continue to demand that the settlers leave.

In Hebron, 450 Israeli Jews live in six heavily guarded enclaves, amid 100,000 Palestinian Arabs. Both communities feel bonded to Hebron by the massive stone structure Jews call the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Muslims call the Ibrahimi mosque. It is holy to both as the burial place of the biblical patriarch Abraham.

Israel's previous government had already agreed to pull its troops out of most of Hebron, leaving them only in and near the settler enclaves. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted on changes in the agreement, saying he wants better security arrangements for the settlers.

The Hebron settlers' spokesman, Noam Arnon, says under the agreement, the Palestinian Authority will have jurisdiction over property that belonged to Jews who were massacred by Arabs during a riot in Hebron in 1929.

Arnon says he fears that under the agreement, with 90 percent of the city controlled by armed Palestinian police, it will be impossible for the settlers to remain. "Like in 1929, when thousands of Arab mobs can just stream into the Jewish neighborhoods -- and I don't see the soldiers that will stand against these mobs of thousands and open fire or can stop it or will be able to stop it."

But standing in the central vegetable market in Hebron, Palestinian resident Ghassan Lutfi says it is the Palestinians who have reason to be afraid of the Israeli settlers in the city. "I'm angry, I'm frightened, I'm terrified. You see, because of just one settler here there are three, four, five, six soldiers following just to protect him from me. I don't have guns, I don't have weapons, I don't have anything. They are protecting him from me. Can you imagine?"

Reports in the Israeli media say the security services have prepared lists of Jewish extremists who will be placed under administrative detention to prevent them from trying to obstruct the redeployment when it happens.

Most Palestinians echo the beliefs of this elderly Hebronite -- the Jews and Arabs here, he says, are like gasoline and fire.

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