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>Israel Faxx
>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 personal."

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 disputes.
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 Saturday.

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 peace.

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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