Newsletter : 7fax0131.txt
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>JN Jan. 31, 1997, Vol. 5 Number 21
Hamas: Don't Extradite Abu Marzouk to Israel
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
A senior leader of the militant palestinian group Hamas has
threatened a violent response, possibly against US targets, if the
United States extradites Hamas official Mousa abu Marzouk to
Israel. Abu Marzouk was arrested in New York in 1995 and said
Wednesday he would stop fighting extradition.
Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud az-Zahar said the United States should
not extradite abu Marzouk to Israel unless, "It wants more
Az-Zahar told a news conference in Gaza the extradition would make
the United States what he called "an enemy of Islamic people
everywhere." He said abu Marzouk has many followers and "there is
no power which could stop the vengeance" if any harm comes to him.
Later, in a VOA interview, az-Zahar indicated the extradition of
abu Marzouk could change the Hamas policy of not attacking US
"Up to this moment we are not considering America as our enemy,
but at this moment it is not a moral thing to arrest Mousa abu
Marzouk and to send him to Israel to be tortured by the Israeli
Az-Zahar says the extradition would put the United States "in the
frontline against Hamas" and would "cause an explosion" in the
Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
"If anything will happen, this will actually destroy the state of
quiet in the area. I am now advising the American policy, American
authority, not to send him to Israel."
Abu Marzouk was arrested in New York in mid-1995. Prosecutors say
he was involved in the planning of at least one Hamas terrorist
attack, but abu Marzouk says he only handled political affairs. On
Wednesday his lawyer announced he would drop his fight against
being sent to Israel for trial. In response to that announcement
and previous Hamas threats, the US government urged its citizens
abroad to use extra caution.
On Thursday, an official Palestinian spokesman said Palestinian
leader Yasir Arafat has also asked the United States not to
extradite abu Marzouk to Israel. There have been suggestions
that he be turned over to Arafat's Autonomy Authority, but a US
official says that is not possible because there is no
US-Palestinian extradition treaty.
Hizbullah Bomb Kills Three Soldiers
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
A roadside bomb has killed three Israeli soldiers and wounded
another in the Israeli-occupied zone in southern Lebanon. The
Israeli army says the bomb went off just after midnight as the
soldiers passed by on a routine patrol. In Beirut, the terrorist
group Hizbullah took responsibility for the attack.
Hizbullah is engaged in a protracted guerrilla war against Israel
and its occupation of southern Lebanon. Israel says the occupation
is necessary to prevent their attacks against its northern towns.
Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Syria could show its
sincerity for resuming peace talks by reining in Hizbullah. He
called the attacks a Syrian "indirect war" on Israel. Experts say
Hizbullah is supplied by Iran and takes some direction from Iranian
leaders. But they also say Syria, with about 40,000 troops in
Lebanon, decides whether Hizbullah is actually able to carry out
Sharansky Visits His Soviet Prison Cell
By Elizabeth Arrott (VOA-Moscow)
Former Soviet dissident and now Israeli Trade Minister Natan
Sharansky has paid a nostalgic visit to the prison where he
was once held by the Soviet secret police, the KGB. Sharansky's
first visit to post-Soviet Russia has provided a stark reminder how
quickly and dramatically life has changed.
Sharansky returned to the infamous "Lefortovo" prison, but not, as
might be expected, with dread. "I was glad to get permission to
visit my KGB prison which is where I spent some of the most
interesting days of my life."
The feisty, former dissident smiles as he says this, but he is not
joking. Sharansky says that, strange as it might seem, those years
of imprisonment were, as he put it, "pure." "It was absolutely
clear," he says, "what was good and what was evil."
Seen by the former Soviet government as a pesky gadfly for his
human rights activism, especially in behalf of Jews wishing to
emigrate to Israel, Sharansky outlived the system that tried to
silence him. Released in 1986 to settle in Israel, he returned to
Moscow this week representing the people he so long championed.
The Israeli trade minister speaks with awe about the dramatic
changes he sees in the treatment of Russian Jews. Teachers once
jailed for giving Hebrew lessons, he points out, now run schools
overflowing with students. The only problems the teachers face
today, says Sharansky, are financial.
"Now the directors of the schools are complaining that they don't
have enough finances to work their programs. The very fact of
these complaints showed me more the great changes which happened
than anything else."
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