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>JN March 27. 1997. Vol. 5. Number 54
Ross Returns to Revive Peace Process
By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)
For the sixth day in a row, Palestinians have clashed with Israeli
soldiers near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Meanwhile, the US
special envoy to the Middle East, Dennis Ross, is returning to
Israel and the Palestinian territories in an effort to quell the
fighting and revive the peace process.
Ross enters a heated environment when he returns Friday and he may
be facing his most difficult mission yet in trying to calm the
violence that is rapidly eroding the peace process.
There were fresh outbreaks of stone throwing near Bethlehem again
Wednesday. Palestinian students burned Israeli and US flags.
Israeli officials are insisting that Palestinian Authority head
Yasir Arafat stop the rioting and rein-in Islamic militants. The
Palestinians are demanding a halt to Israeli settlement building in
The Israeli government is accusing the Palestinian leadership of
inciting the rioters. Meir Dagan, head of the Israeli government
committee on counter-terrorism, says the Palestinian Authority is
obliged to cooperate with the Israelis under the peace agreement.
The Palestinians say Israel has violated the peace accords by
sending in bulldozers to the Jewish-owned area in east Jerusalem
the Palestinians claim as the capital of their future state. The
Israelis say there can be no political talks until the Palestinian
leadership takes steps to prevent a recurrence of last Friday's
suicide bombing in a Tel Aviv cafe.
Nabil Shaath, a minister in the Palestinian Authority and a top
negotiator, denies Israeli charges that Arafat gave a green light
to the radical groups to carry out terror attacks. He says
Palestinians will work to contain violence but will not accept
At the moment, there's no sign either side is willing to reach an
accommodation. Violent disturbances have become something of a
daily routine -- thought they haven't descended into fire-fights,
as happened in September. But both sides seem to be saying to
Ross that it's up to the Americans again.
Arafat Before Trade Center Bombing: "Either Americans Talk to
Me, or Else "Bombs"
Deputy Education Minister Moshe Peled told Arutz-7 that Israeli
intelligence has evidence Yasir Arafat was involved in the planning
of the World Trade Center bombing in New York in February 1993.
Peled said that Arafat helped plan the attack during a visit to
Khartoum, capital of Sudan.
Arab affairs commentator Yehoshua Meiri said that, according to
Israeli intelligence officials, Arafat met several days before the
bombing with the chairman of the Islamic Front in Sudan, Hassan
al-Tourabi, head of an international terrorist network. Arafat
said at the meeting, "It'll be good for the Americans to understand
that if they don't talk with me, they'll talk with bombs."
Shabtai Shavit, Mossad chief at the time, would not confirm or deny
Israel has such information. Arutz-7 News Service reported on Feb.
3 of this year that the official Iranian government newspaper
Keyhan hinted at Arafat's responsibility for the World Trade Center
bombing. Commentator Meiri said then that Arafat helped organize
the attack as a reaction to the American suspension of talks with
him at the time.
The Jerusalem Post Wednesday reported that Yonah Alexander, a
Pentagon consultant on terrorism, said, "Arafat continues to
maintain a training base in Sudan where the Fatah people work
closely with the regime and with Iran. If there hadn't been an
agreement with Israel, then Fatah would definitely have been on the
U.S. list of terror organizations."
The FBI later arrested two Sudanese diplomats in connection with
planning the attack. Six people were killed in the World Trade
Center blast; thousands of people were in the building when the
bomb shook the supporting beams of the 104-story structure.
Nazis Sold More Than $7 Billion in Gold -- Documents
Nazi Germany sold more than $700 million of looted gold--worth
about $7 billion at 1997 prices--to the neutral nations of Europe
during World War II, according to an analysis of wartime documents.
An internal memorandum prepared by the World Jewish Congress, based
on British and American documents, said Switzerland bought the most
gold from Germany followed by Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.
The memorandum said the five countries gave back less than 10
percent of the gold after the war.
Terror Warnings in Effect Friday and Sunday
The IDF Central Command has directed the security officers in
the communities of the West Bank not to allow Arab workers into the
communities this coming Friday and Sunday, for fear of terror
attacks. The security forces have received many warnings
concerning such attacks on Sunday, Land Day, traditionally a day
marked by relatively violent Arab demonstrations.
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