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>Israel Faxx
>PD Dec. 23, 1996, Vol. 4, #232

Egypt Supplying Ammunition to Palestinians

Arutz-7 has learned that Egypt has been transferring large quantities of ammunition to the Palestinian Authority over the course of the last few days. The ammunition is first oiled by IDF soldiers, who then conduct ballistic tests and accordingly register each piece before handing them over to the Palestinians. According to the Oslo accords, the Palestinians are permitted to have 10,000 pieces of ammunition.

Israel May Accept Limited Palestinian State

David Bar-Illan, Director of Policy Planning and Communications in the Prime Minister's Office, says that, "A Palestinian state with strictly defined, limited sovereignty - including demilitarization - is something Israel may be able to accept."

In an interview published in the Jerusalem Post, Bar-Illan said, "In many ways, [the autonomy] is [already] a state. Minister Ariel Sharon keeps saying they really have a state already."

He said that if Israel is not absolutely vigilant about setting limits for Arafat, he is convinced the Palestinian leader would declare a holy war on Israel. He termed Arafat's current regime a "police state" and says Israel cannot keep "lying" about this, but must press the case of Palestinian violations of Oslo.

Bomb Explodes at IDF Bus Stop

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

A bomb went off at a bus stop frequented by Israeli soldiers near Bethlehem, Sunday morning, and Palestinians threw several firebombs at Israeli army patrols in Hebron. There were no injuries. Meanwhile, the chief US mediator arrived from Washington and met with the top Israeli and Palestinian leaders on the long-delayed Israeli withdrawal from Hebron.

Mediator Dennis Ross arrived Saturday evening and went right into a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. From there, he drove to Gaza for an after-midnight session with Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat.

A few hours later, explosives lashed to a gas canister and set with a timer exploded at a bus stop outside an Israeli settlement near Bethlehem. A witness told Israel Radio it was a "real miracle" there were no soldiers or young students at the bus stop at the moment the bomb went off.
Sunday mornings -- when Israeli soldiers are returning to their posts after weekend leave -- are a popular time for Palestinian militants to attack buses and bus stops. But Bethlehem is usually a quiet area and local officials are hoping problems in the peace process will not hurt this week's expected Christmas tourist business.

As the day went on, Palestinians threw several fire bombs at Israeli patrols in Hebron, causing small fires but no injuries. Palestinians and Israeli settlers clashed in Hebron Saturday, in a melee apparently started by a dispute between Israeli and Palestinian schoolgirls. Tension has been particularly high in the city as the withdrawal talks have dragged on.

Those talks continued amid Sunday's disturbances, with Palestinian and Israeli negotiators holding meetings and Ross sitting down with Israel's foreign and defense ministers. Ross says he does not expect any breakthrough on Hebron during his visit, which is expected to end today. Rather, he says his mission is to "energize" the peace process.

Still, Arafat was upbeat before dawn Sunday, at the end of his meeting with Ross. The Palestinian leader described the session as "fruitful, constructive and important." Earlier, Arafat had questioned Ross' impartiality.

Kissinger: U.S. Should Resolve Matter of a Palestinian State

By David Gollust (VOA-Washington)

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger says it may be time for a US/led diplomatic effort to resolve the question of whether there will be a Palestinian state. Otherwise, he suggests, haggling over secondary issues like Hebron may permanently stall the regional peace process.

Kissinger admits that as Secretary of State in the Nixon and Ford administrations, he himself pioneered a step-by-step approach to Middle East peace making. But he now says it may be time for the parties -- with US mediation -- to come to grips with the fundamental question of Palestinian statehood. Appearing on the "Fox News Sunday" interview program, Kissinger said the current impasse over Hebron shows that if such issues are dealt with one at a time, the result will be endless deadlock.

"The key issues are will there be a Palestinian state at the end of this process, and what are the borders of that state going to be? If those two issues can be solved, all the issue like how many troops there are in a city called Hebron will become secondary."

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