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>Israel Faxx
>JN Jan. 21, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 13

Israel Joins List of Developed Nations

In April, Israel will join the list of developed countries published by the International Monetary Fund, the Bank of Israel reported. The IMF reported that due to the rapid growth of the Israeli economy and the rise in GDP, Israel will be included in the list, which currently includes 23 countries. Joining Israel on the expanded list for the first time will be Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Prime Minister Responds to Arafat Speech

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Israel will not accept the establishment of a Palestinian state. He warned that if the Palestinian Authority unilaterally proclaims statehood, Israel's response would be "severe."

Concerning Yasir Arafat's speech in Hebron Sunday, the prime minister said that it had positive as well as negative overtones. "He knows that we will never allow Jerusalem to be divided again," Netanyahu said. However, he applauded Arafat's conciliatory words to the Jewish residents of Hebron, and he suggested that they and the Arab residents hold meetings that would help establish a peaceful co-existence.

In response to Arafat's call for an independent Palestinian state, Netanyahu told reporters, "Does he mean control of the airspace? Of course not. Does he mean that a Palestinian entity would have control over the water aquifers and determine whether Israel will have water to live with? Of course not. Does he mean that a Palestinian entity could make military pacts with Iraq or with Iran? Of course not. We view Palestinian self-government as the reasonable solution to the problem, but not to grant it those sovereign powers that can endanger the existence of Israel."

Concerning the Golan Heights, Netanyahu denied having said to a French newspaper that Israel will "not give up one inch in the Golan." The prime minister clarified that everything is open for negotiations with Syria. Netanyahu told a CNN reporter that he hoped to resume peace talks with Syria, but he indicated Israel would not change its stance on the disputed Golan Heights." We view the Golan as a territory of critical importance to our security," he said.

Joint Israeli-Palestinian Patrols in Hebron

A joint IDF and Palestinian police patrol began operating in Hebron Monday, three days after most of the West Bank city was given to the Palestinians. Palestinian Authority President Yasir Arafat's security chief said he would try to make the city safe for Jewish settlers. The joint patrols, part of the Hebron agreement, are aimed at ensuring peace and security for both Arabs and settlers in the city.

Arafat's security chief in the West Bank, Jibril Rajoub, said Islamic leaders who met with Arafat told the Palestinian president "they will respect the Palestinian Authority and its law and order."

The leaders included moderates from the Islamic group Hamas but it was unclear whether the they spoke for Hamas hard-liners.

Rajoub said he would make Hebron a safe place for all, including Jewish settlers, as long as they do not try to provoke and attack Palestinians. Many of the settlers have complained of harassment by them.

Jewish Hebron Settlers Vow to Remain

Jewish settlers in Hebron say "terror" has prevailed, but they vowed to remain in the West Bank city.

"My feeling is that terror has got a victory over the state of Israel," said Noam Arnon, spokesman for about 400 Jews who live amid more than 100,000 Palestinians in Hebron.

Anat Cohen said the situation was bad but her faith was keeping her in the holy town.

"The Jewish people went through the Holocaust...certainly we trust in God."

In an area where Jewish settlers live, Israeli soldiers forced Palestinian Girl Scouts to take a detour to avoid the Jewish settlers.

The 40 girls, between the ages of 7 and 10 and holding little Palestinian flags, made it past two Israeli checkpoints before soldiers intervened to head off a possible confrontation. The soldiers pointed the girls toward the market, away from the enclaves where armed Jews live.

In 1929, Arabs killed 67 Jews in Hebron, virtually ending the Jewish presence in the town until the 1967 Middle East war.

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