Newsletter : 7fax0213.txt
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>PD Feb. 13, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 25
Netanyahu Meets Today with Clinton
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets President Clinton
and other US officials in Washington today, with the next steps in
the Middle East peace process at the top of the agenda.
Netanyahu left for Washington Wednesday with his ideas for the
future of the peace process ready to present to the president and
the new secretaries of state and defense.
According to Israeli government spokesman Moshe Fogel, the prime
minister wants to make clear to the key sponsor and mediator what
he is willing to do and what he is not willing to do. "It will be
a good opportunity for the prime minister to explain what has
occurred until now in the peace process and how he envisages
different initiatives for the future."
The Israeli-Palestinian peace process has taken on new life since
last month's Hebron accord, with the resumption of working
committee meetings and plans to resume talks on the next and
final stage of their peace process next month. But talks with
Syria remain stalled, and that also blocks any effort to forge an
So, Syria is expected to top the prime minister's agenda in
Washington. Syria is insisting that Netanyahu's government adopt
any offers made by the previous government, including territorial
concessions on the Golan Heights. Fogel says that will not happen.
"When we sit down it has to be clear that there are no prior
commitments by any party. And what we want to do is find a
formula, some kind of agreement, that says that we can sit down and
talk, exchange points of view, and see where we go from there. But
I think it's really impractical to assume that we can tell the
Syrians how the talks are going to end before they even begin."
Netanyahu has made clear that he would like to start making peace
with Syria by getting Syria to help create a more peaceful
situation in southern Lebanon, where Israel occupies a border strip
and is fighting Hizbullah terrorists backed by Syria and Iran.
Syria has shown little interest in that approach. But some Israeli
analysts believe Syria has less political room to maneuver now that
the Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking is back on track. And Israel
is trying to increase the pressure on Syria to return to the
Netanyahu visited southern Lebanon Tuesday and said he cannot make
peace with Syria as long as it is conducting an indirect war
against Israel through Hizbullah. Also on Tuesday, Israel bombed
Hizbullah positions in the part of Lebanon controlled by Syria,
with one raid reported to be just three miles from the Syrian
border. Israel's defense minister says the message to Syria is that
continued fighting in Lebanon can lead to escalation elsewhere.
Fogel puts Israel's message to Syria this way. "We're saying to the
Syrians that we're not looking for escalation. We don't want to
get into a conflict with Syria. But it's about time that they
remove their support and their active support for the Hizbullah."
Last month, Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy said Israel would
be ready to resume talks with Syria based on UN resolutions which
call for the return of occupied territory. There was some optimism
at the time that Syria might find that formula attractive.
But now, diplomats say Syria is looking for more, and Israel is
not willing to oblige. That will be the dispute Netanyahu will be
trying to work out in his talks in Washington.
Arab School Principal Under Fire for Comments on IDF Soldiers
The Director-General of the Ministry of Education said there is
no room in the educational network of the State of Israel for Anwar
Daud, school principal in the mixed Arab-Israeli community of Neveh
Daud was summoned to a hearing on Monday after he publicized an
announcement in a Beit Shemesh newspaper implying that he is not
willing to drive uniformed Jewish soldiers in his car. Following
the death last week of Tom Kitian, he wrote, "My condolences to the
family of Tom, a fine person and the only uniformed Jewish soldier
that I agreed to take in my car." The school in Neveh Shalom,
which is privately-run, was asked to consider whether Daud should
continue to serve as principal, and to publish an apology for
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