Newsletter : 6fax1230.txt
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>PD Dec. 30, 1996, Vol. 4, No. 236
Netanyahu: We Will Stay in Hebron "Forever--For All Time"
By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)
As Israeli and Palestinian negotiators continue talks in Jerusalem
on the much-delayed plan for Israeli troop redeployment in the
disputed West Bank city, Hebron -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu has declared Israel will remain in the city forever.
In their continued attempts to wrap up an agreement on Hebron,
Palestinian and Israeli negotiators have been meeting again.
Discussions are said to focus on both civil and security matters
that remain unresolved.
Palestinians are said to be demanding joint Israeli-Palestinian
patrols at the Cave of the Patriarchs -- known to Muslims as the
Ibrahimi Mosque. It is revered as the burial site of biblical
figures, including Abraham and Sara. But Netanyahu rejects any
shared control, insisting Israel alone will maintain security at
the holy site.
Sunday, the prime minister told a Jewish audience in Jerusalem
security arrangements in the Hebron accord will bring stability and
create better cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians.
"There is continual talk about redeploying from Hebron. No, we are
redeploying in Hebron. And, Hebron is going to be arranged in a
way where the Arab parts of the city -- roughly 80 percent -- are
going to be under the control of the Palestinian police and the
areas that include the Jewish Quarter, the Jewish residents and
"Mararat Hamachpela," the Cave of the Patriarchs, will remain under
Israeli security control complete Israeli security patrol."
The prime minister says the Israeli army will have no limitations
in those parts of Hebron where there are Jews and Jewish religious
sites. "But anyone that tells you that we are leaving Hebron is
telling you a lie. We are there and we are there to stay forever --
for all time."
The Israeli prime minister's comments were quickly denounced by
Palestinian officials, who say such statements negate the spirit
of peace. Other outstanding issues include the opening of a main
street closed to Palestinians and creation of buffer zones
separating the Jewish areas from the Palestinian Autonomy Zone.
Passions in Hebron remained high. Sunday, there was another
firebomb attack a building in the Jewish enclave. There were no
injuries. Israeli troops rounded up a number of Palestinian
Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai Sunday called on
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to use his influence on
Palestinian chief Yasir Arafat to close a deal on Hebron.
New Palestinian Demands in Hebron
By Arutz-7 Radio
New difficulties have arisen in the Hebron talks. Our correspondent
Haggai Huberman reports that the Palestinians are now saying that
they will not agree to the establishment of buffer zones around the
Jewish homes. They are further demanding that their paramilitary
police be freely armed with submachine guns. Israel has agreed to
the stationing of an Arab liaison officer in the Machpelah Cave.
Our reporter notes that IDF experts have assessed that Arafat's
decision to sign the Hebron redeployment agreement on this coming
Wednesday is purposeful. The choice of day stems from the fact that
the anniversary of the founding of the Palestine Liberation
Organization falls on Wednesday.
The Palestinians are demanding the release of additional
incarcerated terrorists as a precondition to the signing of the
agreement, beginning with the release of all female terrorists on
the day of the signing. U.S. envoy Dennis Ross will return today to
the region to mediate any last-minute problems before the planned
signing of the Hebron agreement.
Iran to Support Syria
The London-based paper Al Hayat reported from Iran that Iran
will support Syria if Israel attacks. The Syrian government is
confident of the support of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran as well as
nationalist and Moslem groups who would activate the Arab public
against Israel. The senior leadership of Tehran "promised to do
everything in its power to insure the ability of Syria to stand up
to difficulties" if it has them with Israel.
Meanwhile, Iran is pressuring the leadership of Hamas to return to
their former increased level of attacks against Israeli targets. In
addition, Iran is beginning to "urge" other Arab terrorist groups
to strike out against Israeli targets. This assessment was reported by
Hillary Mann of the Washington Institute of Middle East Affairs.
The report goes on to report of a cooperative effort between the
governments of Iran and Syria against the ongoing peace process.
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