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>Israel Faxx
>JN March 24, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 51

PA Claims Israelis Spread HIV

According to PLO Authority representative Nabil Ramlawi, during the years of the Intifada, Israeli infected 300 Arab children with the HIV virus. The claim was made to the 53rd Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights.

Israel May Suspend Talks with Palestinians

By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's Cabinet has been meeting in the wake of Friday's suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed three Israeli women. The militant Islamic group Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. There are reports Israel may suspend political talks with the Palestinians.

Israeli security forces have been on high alert, with troops stationed at shopping centers and parks where Israelis have been celebrating the festival of Purim. The military wing of Hamas has threatened more attacks if Israel continues building a new Jewish housing project in disputed east Jerusalem.

Israel has imposed a strict closure on the West Bank and Gaza, preventing thousands of Palestinians from entering Israel. In the West Bank city of Hebron, there were riots for a third day. Israeli troops fired tear gas to disperse Palestinian protesters hurling gasoline bombs.

Palestinian Preventive Security chief Jibril Rajoub was in Hebron to try to calm the situation. He warned it will be a mistake for Israel to suspend political talks. "The only solution is to respect and implement the peace treaty, the peace agreement and to continue in the peace process. This is the only way for the Israelis, otherwise I think that the situation is very difficult."

Rajoub met with Israeli Public Security Minister Avigdor Kahalani later in Jerusalem. The two promised to improve coordination between the Israeli and Palestinian security services.

Israeli military officials say the Palestinian Authority is conditioning cooperation in fighting terror on a change in the political situation. Maj. Gen. Moshe Yaalon, head of Israel's military intelligence, charges the PA is not cooperating with Israeli intelligence to foil terror actions. In a briefing to journalists, the general repeated the Israeli government accusation the Palestinian Authority headed by Yasir Arafat had given the green light to commit attacks against Israel.

Relations between Israel and the Palestinians have deteriorated dramatically in the past few weeks, following Israel's decision to proceed with a housing project on a hill in east Jerusalem. Last week's groundbreaking set off violent protests in Hebron and Bethlehem.

Israeli Chief of Staff Amnon Shahak says he believes the clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian protesters were encouraged by some Palestinian officials. "It is no secret the opposition groups in the territories, the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, understand that they are allowed, or even it might be welcomed by the Palestinian Authority to use terror attacks. This is totally unacceptable by us, we cannot continue a dialogue while terror attacks coming, and done, by Palestinians is part of the process."

Rajoub maintains the Palestinians are mobilized to control terror. "The Palestinian police and the Palestinian Authority, we are taking all the necessary measures in order to enable the leaders of both sides to continue the peace process."

Netanyahu Sees No Cause and Effect Relationship

By John Pitman (VOA-Washington)

Following Friday's suicide bomb attack on a cafe in Tel Aviv, the fate of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is, again, in question. The Israeli prime minister granted a number of interviews Sunday for US TV, in which he fended off questions that his government's decision to start work on a new Jewish housing project in east Jerusalem was directly responsible for sparking the recent violence.

Netanyahu dismissed any cause-and-effect relationship, saying if his government backed down each time Palestinians protested or warned of violence, there would be no future for the State of Israel.

He also defended the housing project, saying it is being constructed on land already owned by Jews, in a city Israel holds to be its eternal capital. "We have every right to build here, as the United States has to build in Washington, or Britain in London, or France in Paris ... or, for that matter, Arafat in Gaza."

Netanyahu said Friday's bombing shows Palestinian terrorist organizations are not willing to accept this. By placing the blame on what he called terrorist organizations, Netanyahu avoided directly criticizing Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. But later in the interview, he repeated his charge Arafat had personally given groups like Hamas a -- green light -- to use violence against Israelis.

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