Newsletter : 6fax1121.txt
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>PD Nov. 22, 1996, V.4, Number 212
Arabs Caught Before the Act
In the Beit Guvrin area Wednesday morning, five Arabs armed
with axes, combat knives, and sharp instruments were apprehended by
security guards of Kibbutz Beit Ner and agents of the Antiquities
Authority as they attempted to cross the Green Line into pre-1967
Israel. Border Police who were called to the site arrested the
suspects. An investigation is underway.
Auditors Appointed to Hunt Swiss Holocaust Money
The independent panel probing allegations that Swiss banks are
sitting on unclaimed wealth of Holocaust victims has selected three
leading auditing firms to hunt for any missing assets. The
committee, formed in May by Jewish groups and Swiss bankers, said
the search of banks' old records and questioning of potential
witnesses could take until mid-1998. The accounting firms Arthur
Andersen, KPMG Peat Marwick and Price Waterhouse were selected by
the committee to conduct the search.
Hebron Readies for Israeli Withdrawal
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
While the Israeli-Palestinian talks on the future of Hebron
continue almost daily, there has been no progress on the key
issues for weeks. Meanwhile, Israel is rounding up suspected
Palestinian militants in the city, and restricting the movements of
some Jewish militants, as part of the preparations for an eventual
handover of most of the city to the Palestinian Autonomy Authority.
There is much action related to the Hebron withdrawal -- except the
Israeli troops have been making preparations -- setting up guard
towers, removing extra furniture and supplies, drilling troops
and coordinating plans with the Palestinian police. Israeli
settlers are protesting the government's plan to withdraw and
have hinted they might try to disrupt the withdrawal when it
happens. Palestinian officials are preparing to begin governing
the city, and have been trying to pressure Israel to speed up the
But with disputes continuing over the details of the withdrawal,
and perhaps more importantly what will come next in the peace
process, all the preparations have been for nothing, so far.
One of the more controversial moves in recent weeks has been a
series of arrests of alleged Palestinian militants by the Israeli
army. According to Ha'aretz, more than 30 have been arrested in
just the last two days. Israeli officials say they are trying to
forestall any terrorist attacks that could further delay the
withdrawal. One official warns of "a new kind of terrorism" with
direct international support through the providing of explosives,
intelligence and logistical assistance.
The Israeli authorities have also renewed house arrest orders for
some Jewish militants in and near Hebron, and placed one of them
in preventive detention.
But for all the preparations, and all the predictions it could
happen any day, the agreement on the withdrawal is not yet
ready. Experts on both sides are concerned that further delays
could lead to more violence, and then more delays and still more
violence and so on -- a return to conflict, instead of a resumption
of the peace process.
Israel Rejects Criticism of Settlement Policy
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel has rejected US criticism of its settlements policy. The
senior spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told
Israel Radio the criticism is "puzzling."
Spokesman David Bar Illan defended the new government's plans to
expand some settlements as a natural consequence of population
growth. And he said the US government did not object when the
settler population increased under the previous Labor-led
Israel's previous government permitted privately-funded housing
construction in the settlements. It limited the use of government
money to building public institutions, such as post offices and
The new government, has extensive plans to pay for new settlement
housing, expansion of settlement borders and possibly new
settlements. It views the settlements as important for Israel's
security and as an expression of Jewish nationalism.
Arafat Complains to World Bank
By Julian Mundy (VOA-Paris)
Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat has painted a pessimistic view of
the peace process, saying at a World Bank meeting in Paris that it
could go into reverse. He called at a World Bank donor countries'
meeting for the Palestinians' economic accord with Israel to be
Arafat said the peace process is at what he called "a crossroads"
and said he feared it might even "go into reverse" and create new
tensions and instability.
He accused Israel of violating the 1994 economic accord with the
Palestinians. He said the agreement was based on two principles --
that of maintaining a 90,000 person Palestinian workforce in Israel
and the freedom of movement for goods and people between Israel and
the West Bank.
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