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>JN March 12, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 43
Knesset to Discuss Cloning
The Knesset Science and Technology Committee will hold a
hearing today on the topic of genetic cloning. Rabbis,
philosophers and doctors will be asked to express their views on
the issue and its ramifications for the human race. Knesset Member
Haggai Merom (Labor) has proposed a bill which would forbid cloning
of human beings.
Assembly Begins Debating Israeli Building
The 185-nation General Assembly will begin a debate Wednesday
on Israel's decision to build a new Jewish neighborhood in mostly
Arab East Jerusalem, the United Nations said Monday. A U.N.
official said the meeting was requested by Qatar's Nasser bin Hamad
al-Khalifa. Al-Khalifa said Friday the Assembly would be asked to
take up the issue after the United States vetoed a resolution in
the Security Council calling on Israel to abandon plans to build
6,500 homes on a hill between east Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Israel, Jordan Clash over Buildings
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
The leaders of Jordan and Israel have exchanged sharply worded
messages over the current Israeli-Palestinian dispute. According to
the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv, King Hussein accuses Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of "destroying the peace process."
The newspaper "Yediot Aharonot" quotes the king's private letter
as warning of "an explosion in the peace process" unless Israel
changes its plan to build a new neighborhood for Jews in east
Jerusalem. The newspaper describes the letter as "hostile and
Yediot says Netanyahu replied to the king that the construction
plan will proceed, and that he does not want Israel-Jordan
relations to be "held hostage" by the status of relations between
Israel and the Palestinians. The prime minister is also reported
to have said he does not want to engage in what he calls an
exchange of "personal remarks" with the king.
In Moscow Tuesday, Netanyahu said there is no place for the
king's criticism, and certainly not for his tone. In remarks
broadcast on Israel Radio, the prime minister said he hopes
Israel's partners in the peace process would not automatically
take the Palestinian position when there are Israeli-Palestinian
On Tuesday, King Hussein said only that the full picture of what
has happened will become clear very soon, but his prime minister
Abdul Karim Kabariti sharply criticized Israel in a speech to
parliament and later, speaking with reporters. "If we are not to
talk about justice and if we are not to talk about confidence and
trust, then I don't think there is a need for the peace process."
Both the prime minister and King Hussein met Tuesday with Israeli
Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai, who said he understands how
Jordanians feel. But Mordechai said Israeli and Jordanian leaders
have a responsibility to continue to work together to solve today's
problems and build Israel-Jordan relations for the future.
Meanwhile, Palestinian newspapers report Palestinian leader Yasir
Arafat has rejected the resignation of his deputy and chief
negotiator, Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas resigned Sunday to protest what
the Palestinians see as an inadequate offer by Israel to withdraw
from an additional nine percent of West Bank land at this stage.
Arafat has summoned diplomats representing countries involved in
the peace process to a meeting at his headquarters in Gaza
Netanyahu Defends Housing to Yeltsin
By Elizabeth Arrott (VOA-Moscow)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended his
controversial housing policy, but he says the issue should not
disrupt the Middle East peace process. Netanyahu blamed his critics
for any disruption that might occur to the peace process. He
called their attitude histrionic and not conducive to Middle East
The Israeli leader was defending his government's plans to build
thousands of Jewish housing units in east Jerusalem. The decision
has brought condemnation from Palestinians, their Arab allies, and
even the United States, usually a staunch supporter of Israel.
Following a meeting between Netanyahu and Russian President Boris
Yeltsin in Moscow, the Kremlin also expressed concern over the
move. Speaking at a Moscow news conference, Netanyahu tried to
downplay the international chorus of criticism. "We have
disagreements. It is natural. But we cannot at every step of
disagreements engage in cataclysmic predictions and talk of crises
and talk of violence."
The Israeli prime minister is in Russia in a bid to strengthen
political and economic links. He predicted the two nations have
a great future together. When he met Netanyahu, Yeltsin proclaimed
an end to what he called the period of biased attitudes.
Moscow reestablished ties with the Jewish state in 1991, and in
recent years, hundreds of thousands of Jews from the former Soviet
Union have settled in Israel.
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