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>Israel Faxx
>JN March 21, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 50

Rock Throwing and Fire Bombs at Rachel's Tomb

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

The tension -- and deadlock -- in the Israel-Palestinian peace process continued thursday, with Palestinian officials rejecting a new Israeli proposal, and Palestinian youths clashing with Israeli troops near Bethlehem.

A protest march by several hundred Palestinians turned violent in autonomous Bethlehem Thursday when demonstrators broke through Palestinian police lines and hurled stones and firebombs at Israeli soldiers guarding the tomb of the biblical matriarch "Rachel." The soldiers responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. No serious injuries were reported.

The incident was just a few kilometers from the east Jerusalem construction site where Israel's building of a new Jewish neighborhood has sparked a crisis in the peace process.

Meanwhile, Israeli-Palestinian relations remained deadlocked, with the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, saying he can not be responsible for the consequences of what he called Israel's destruction of the peace process. Arafat was responding to a proposal by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to skip several planned West Bank withdrawals and try to speed up talks on a permanent settlement. The Palestinians say, why not do both? But for now, the two sides can not agree on either talks or withdrawals.

Israel Police Chief Warns of Attacks Over Settlement

Israel's police chief said the construction of a new Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem had harmed security cooperation with the PLO and raised the likelihood of terrorist attacks.

His assessment came as Israeli bulldozers ripped into the pine-covered hill, angering Palestinians and drawing international condemnation. Israel plans to build 6,500 homes for Jews on the land. Palestinian officials said they were doing all they could to prevent violence but warned an angry outburst was inevitable.

U.S. to Netanyahu: Speak with Arafat

By Ron Pemstein (VOA-State Department)

The United States has urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to share his ideas about peace negotiations with the Palestinians directly. The State Department has given the prime minister's suggestion of skipping additional Israeli troop withdrawals from the West Bank in favor of going directly to final status peace talks a lukewarm response.

State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns says the prime minister should make his proposals in a negotiating session with the Palestinians rather than sending messages through Jordan's King Hussein. "If one party to a negotiation has a proposal to make, it ought to make it but it ought to make it to the other party in a negotiating forum. That's what the Israelis and Palestinians must do."

The Palestinians have already rejected the proposal to try to negotiate a final peace in the next six months. In return, Israel reportedly wants to avoid the parallel troop withdrawals from the West Bank. The size of the first stage was criticized by the Palestinians earlier this month as disappointingly small. The State Department expressed hope Israeli troop withdrawals would be bigger in the second and third stages.

Sperm Bank for Fish

Kibbutz Ma'agan Michael on the Mediterranean coast in central Israel has demonstrated a new project. It set up a sperm bank for fishes. The initiative was presented to the national kibbutz industrial association to help find investments.

The sperm bank is being developed in technological workshops in various kibbutzim. It is designed to enrich the quality of the various fish by importing superior sperm from abroad to fertilize female fish in the ponds in Israel. At first, it is being used for aquarium fish, but will soon be used for edible fish through distributing the sperm to kibbutzim with ponds for raising fish.

You Can't Judge the Contents by the Box

A Kiryat Ata resident did not tell his wife that he had hidden $30,000 in an old shoe box. While cleaning the house, the wife found the box. Not suspecting that there was anything out of the ordinary in the box, she threw it into the garbage. Fortunately the husband very quickly discovered the mistake.

He immediately contacted the garbage company which in turn located the garbage truck before it dumped that day's load. The truck emptied in an empty spot and the husband commenced to wade through 13 tons of compressed garbage. Lo and behold! Many dirty hours later the shoe box was actually found with the money intact.

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