Newsletter : 7fax0303.txt
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>JN March 3, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 36
Saddam Stockpiling Deadly Nerve Gas
UN investigators are warning of an Iraqi missile and nerve gas
program much more extensive than previously assumed. The UN
investigators are also concerned about Iraq's efforts to extend the
strike range of its SCUD missiles to 1,800 miles, giving them the
capability of reaching Moscow, Paris or London.
Arafat Meeting with Clinton
By Deborah Tate (VOA-White House)
President Clinton later today holds talks with Palestinian leader
Yasir Arafat, one of a series of meetings Clinton has planned with
Middle East leaders. An Israeli plan to build a new Jewish
neighborhood in Arab east Jerusalem is expected to be an issue on
The Israeli plans to build the neighborhood have been denounced by
Arafat and have prompted careful, diplomatic language from White
House spokesman Mike McCurry. "Clearly, there are aspects of this
recent decision that tend not to be helpful in building confidence.
We will certainly explore those issues, I am sure, with Chairman
Arafat, hear his views, and then comment appropriately, if comment
The spokesman says Clinton and Arafat are also expected to discuss
the implementation of the Hebron accord -- which calls for
redeployment of Israeli soldiers from the West Bank town, as well
as negotiations on the final status of the territories.
Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last
month. He is scheduled to hold separate meetings later this month
with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Hussein.
West Bank Withdrawals May be Delayed
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel is hinting its promised withdrawal from more areas of the
West Bank this week could be delayed. The withdrawal is supposed to
occur by Friday, and a tough debate in the Israeli Cabinet is
Right wingers and religious parties are likely to oppose almost
any withdrawal plan. A party led by former Soviet dissident
Natan Sharansky is demanding to know the scope of all withdrawals
planned during the next 18 months, before it will support the
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's senior spokesman, David bar
Illan, says the result could be a delay in the first phase of the
withdrawal for what he calls logistical reasons.
The prime minister made the commitment to the withdrawal schedule
in January's Hebron accord, and there have been indications the
first phase might be larger than originally planned. That
expectation has grown in recent days as Palestinians have
responded only peacefully to Israel's decision to build a new
neighborhood for Jews in east Jerusalem.
If the withdrawal is delayed, it will surely spark further
Palestinian anger, and also displeasure among US mediators. The
subject will likely figure prominently in Arafat's talks with
Jewish Graves in Hebron Desecrated
The ancient Jewish cemetery in Hebron was desecrated over the
weekend. Several tombstones were destroyed including that of
Rabbanit Menucha Rachel Schneerson Slonim, from the family of the
Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs Yigal Bibi visited the
cemetery Sunday and said, "This is a shocking criminal act. I am
appalled at what I see."
Hebron community leaders issued the following statement: "The Arabs
of Hebron are not content with terrorist attacks against the
living, but also see a need to eradicate Jewish past in Hebron, by
desecrating the graves of our holy ancestors. Our leaders should
not be blind and continue to ignore the obvious -- The Arabs are
simply not interested in peace."
Russia has decided to continue arming the Syrian army. A report
in Sunday's Ha'aretz reveals Russia will extend military aid to
Syria in three distinct areas: aerial defense and land and air
forces. In a related item, upon his visit next week to Moscow,
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to express Israel's
concern over ongoing cooperation between Teheran and the Russian
government in the field of nuclear weaponry.
PA Calls for Strike Against Jewish Housing
PA Chairman Yasir Arafat has threatened to declare a
Palestinian state, in response to Prime Minister Netanyahu's
decision to build Jewish housing in the Har Homa neighborhood of
the nation's capital. The Palestinian Legislative Council met in
Ramallah and decided to call a general strike throughout Judea and
Samaria today to protest the Israeli Cabinet decision. Cabinet
Secretary Danny Naveh said Israel will respond vigorously to any
attempt on the part of Arafat to declare Palestinian statehood.
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