Newsletter : 7fax0113.txt
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>JN Jan. 13, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 7
TI King Hussein Offers West Bank Compromise
Will Arafat Now Demand Jerusalem?
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Jordan's King Hussein is making a dramatic bid to end the deadlock
in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks with an unscheduled, late-night
visit Sunday to Tel Aviv to meet Israel's prime minister. The comes
after the king spent several hours in Gaza with the Palestinian
leader, Yasir Arafat.
Officials say King Hussein flew into Tel Aviv carrying a new
compromise proposal already discussed with Arafat, as well as
Egyptian and US leaders. After weeks of deadlock culminating
Sunday in the announcement that the chief US mediator would leave
the region, King Hussein said in Gaza Sunday evening the talks are
"moving very, very well" and that he hopes for "a happy
The king met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the
Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, and they were expected to be joined
later by the chief Palestinian negotiator and the US mediator,
Dennis Ross, who postponed his departure.
Officials say Israel and the Palestinians have reached agreement
on the details of the long-delayed withdrawal of Israeli troops
from most of Hebron. But the talks stalled over when Israel will
make promised further withdrawals from other parts of the West
Bank. US efforts to forge a compromise have so far been
unsuccessful. But a Palestinian official says the king is offering
a "new formula."
Palestinian Airways Up, Up and Away
By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)
"Palestinian Airways" flew its maiden flight Friday, taking Muslim
pilgrims from Port Said in Egypt to Saudi Arabia. The airline now
consists of two Fokker-50 (twin turboprop) aircraft. Flights to
Gaza and the West Bank are still on hold until an agreement is
reached between Israel and the Palestinians on managing an airport
The pilot of the first airliner to take off described the historic
flight as a "dream come true." The passengers on board felt the
The two 50-seater airplanes of the new fleet have "Palestinian
Airways" painted on the side, along with the red, green and black
stripes of the Palestinian flag.
The two planes will make five more flights between Port Said and
Jeddah during the next few days to carry Muslim pilgrims on their
way to the holy city of Mecca.
Fayez Zaidan, who is in charge of the airline, had hoped the
inaugural flight would be from Cairo to Gaza's international
airport. The airport is still under construction and should be
finished by April.
But the agreement between Israel and the Palestinians on the
management and security of the airport is still under negotiation.
Zaidan has been involved with the negotiations since the start and
says a key stumbling block has been Israeli insistence on running
the airport and its security. Zaidan says the Palestinians must run
the airport, but they are willing to set up a liaison committee to
let Israel monitor security.
Businessmen in Gaza say the airport would let them get around
Israel's frequent closures of the Palestinian self-rule areas and
the bureaucratic delays of shipping products through Israel's
Pope to Apologize for Anti-Semitism
Vatican officials say the pope has instructed a new historical
theological commission to examine the persecution and torture of
Jews by the Inquisition in 15th-century Spain and to tackle the
issue of the sometimes ambivalent attitude of Catholics toward the
Nazi elimination of Jewish populations in occupied Europe during
the Second World War.
Mgr. Rino Fisichella, vice chairman of the new commission, said it
would hold two international symposiums on anti-Semitism in the
fall. The meetings, to be held in the Vatican, would involve
clergy, lay people and academic experts, and would confront the
often painful issues of Jewish- Catholic relations "without
preconceptions". The aim was for the church to seek pardon for past
But many Jewish leaders remain dissatisfied with Vatican statements
on the Holocaust. They also want a clear Vatican condemnation of
the failure of Pope Pius XII to denounce Nazi atrocities or to
speak out against the deportation of Jews from Rome itself during
the German wartime occupation.
Bomb Explosions Remain Unsolved
The police have no clue as to who planted two bombs at the old
Tel Aviv Central Bus Station last week. The explosions injured 12
people. A police-artist sketch of a suspect has been circulated,
but it has not turned up any results.
The police are concentrating on two principle question marks of the
case: Why the bombs were detonated in an area that was practically
empty; and, if they were planted by Arab terrorists, why they did
not use much more powerful bombs, which they have proven in the
past that they can easily assemble. Each one of the two bombs was
relatively small -- about one-pound of explosives.
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