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>Israel Faxx
>JN March 11, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 42

Cloning Forbidden

Chief Rabbi Lau said although there is no specific prohibition in Jewish Law to utilize artificial genetics to reproduce a human being, it is entirely against basic Jewish conceptions to do so. "The Torah gave a specific dispensation for doctors to use their knowledge to cure, and even to lengthen life, but the formation of new life goes way beyond that. We have no permission to enter the domain of the Creator on questions of life and death."

Mubarak Meets with Clinton

By David Borgida (VOA-White House)

President Clinton is meeting with visiting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at the White House -- with Israel's controversial plan to build a housing project in annexed east Jerusalem at the top of the agenda. Mubarak said in an interview Sunday the United States had lost some credibility in the Arab world when it vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel's plan.

But Monday, as the two leaders were preparing to meet at the White House, he told reporters Clinton's leadership in the Middle East peace process remains vital. "The president is a full partner in the peace process and without the United States it would be very difficult to continue the peace process. So it is very important to have his influence, his leadership."

Clinton said the veto of the UN resolution does not mean he sanctions Israel's plan.

Arafat Associate Abbas Resigns

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

The chief Palestinian negotiator has resigned in protest of Israeli policy and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat says there is a real crisis in the peace process.

The chief negotiator and number-two official in the Palestinian Autonomy Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, says he can no longer lead the Palestinian negotiating team. Abbas, who also is known as Abu Mazen, was one of the original Palestinian negotiators in the secret talks in Oslo, Norway, which led to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Now, he wants to leave his job as Palestinian officials are saying Israel has been "dictating" rather than negotiating in recent weeks, particularly regarding Jerusalem and the extent of the next Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. The Palestinians formally rejected the withdrawal plan Sunday and now it is not clear whether or when it will happen.

Arafat did not immediately comment on the resignation by Abbas, but said Israel is violating the peace accords and the Palestinians will not accept it. "No one can deceive or betray the Palestinian people. We had agreed upon for just, comprehensive, lasting, peaceful solution, not conspiracies and tricks."

The Israeli government says the peace accords give it the sole authority to determine the extent of this and other coming withdrawals, and it could not give more at this stage because of opposition from conservatives in the ruling coalition. A senior Israeli official accused the Palestinians of creating a crisis over this issue in an effort to gain more Israeli concessions.

Palestinian officials say if Arafat accepts Israel's offer of only 9 percent more of the West Bank at this stage, he will risk the position of the Palestinian Authority among the Palestinian people. They say that would create a political opening for militant groups and could spark violence that would further delay, or possibly destroy, the peace process.

Netanyahu Meets Russian Leaders

By Peter Heinlein (VOA-Moscow)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in Moscow for a 48-hour official visit. Netanyahu has a number of contentious issues on his agenda as he meets today with Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin and Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov. Among the most difficult questions is Russia's alleged sale of military technology to Iran.

The Los Angeles Times quoted senior Clinton administration officials as saying the Kremlin transferred to Iran instructions on how to build an SS-4 missile delivery system. The SS-4 is said to have a range almost three times greater than any missile currently in Iran's arsenal.

Russia denied the newspaper report, calling it rumor. Nevertheless, an Israeli spokesman Monday said Netanyahu would emphasize his country's concern about the transfer of advanced military technologies to both Iran and Syria.

Economic ties between the two countries are booming. Bilateral trade has jumped from almost nothing to about $500 million a year since diplomatic relations were reestablished in 1991.

During Netanyahu's visit, he will be looking into the possible purchase of Russian natural gas. On the eve of his departure, a spokesman said "Obviously, the energy issue is of tremendous interest" to Israel.

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