Newsletter : 7fax0403.txt
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>JN April 3, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 59
Molotov Cocktail Injures Several Israelis
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
A firebomb hit an Israeli military bus on the West Bank Wednesday,
causing it to swerve off the road into a ravine, roll over, and
burst into flames, with several soldiers injured.
The bus was near a Palestinian refugee camp near Ramallah when the
firebomb hit it. Witnesses say the bus came to rest on its side,
burning, at the bottom of a ditch. Several ambulances rushed to
the scene to take away wounded soldiers, and the driver, who was
among the most seriously injured.
Earlier, in another part of the West Bank, an Israeli baby was
injured when a stone thrown by Palestinian protesters hit a window
of the car in which she was riding.
The continuing protests follow two abortive suicide bombings in
Gaza Tuesday, and nearly two weeks of stone and firebomb throwing,
and sometimes fatal clashes between Palestinian protesters and
Israeli soldiers. Palestinians are angry about Israel's decision
to build a new neighborhood for Jews in east Jerusalem.
Israeli and Palestinian leaders blame each other for the violence,
and for the accompanying breakdown in the peace process. But there
are also efforts underway to end the crisis, including plans for
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet with President
Clinton in Washington Monday.
Netanyahu will Meet with Clinton
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to explain his
positions when he meets with President Clinton in Washington
Monday. But an Israeli government spokesman says Netanyahu will
not make any concessions under the threat of violence from angry
Israeli government spokesman Moshe Fogel says Netanyahu decided to
make a quick trip to the United States in spite of the continuing
violence in Gaza and the West Bank. He says Netanyahu wants to make
his views clear to Clinton and to the American people. But the
prime minister has also made clear he will not change the
decision to build a new Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem,
which sparked the violence.
And Fogel says no one should expect any other dramatic
concessions from Netanyahu at this stage. "What we're not going
to do -- we're not going to reward terror. We're not going to
reward violence, and we're not going to allow Chairman Arafat or
the Palestinian Authority to blackmail us into concessions. We're
not going to buckle under pressure."
Fogel says Israel is ready to move forward in the peace process.
But he says the Palestinian Authority must renounce violence.
King Hussein Meets with Albright
By Nick Simeone (VOA-State Department)
Jordan's King Hussein has met with Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright to discuss how to get the Middle East peace process back
on track. The king says he would like to see the United States
take a more active role in mediating stalled talks between Israel
and the Palestinians. And Albright is stepping up contacts with the
parties in the region.
With the Clinton administration silent on when Albright might make
her first trip to the Middle East, key leaders in the region are
instead coming to Washington to try to repair a peace process that
the State Department now says is in dire straits.
Albright met with Jordan's King Hussein Wednesday, a day after the
visiting monarch discussed with Clinton how to get Israel and the
Palestinians to resume talks. Just hours before her visit with the
king, the secretary spoke twice by phone with Palestinian leader
Yasir Arafat -- as well as with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu, who is due in Washington next week.
With violence in the region continuing, the Clinton administration
is not willing to specify how it believes this current impasse in
the Middle East peace process can be overcome, other than to say it
has some ideas of its own.
Albright has said she is ready to make her first trip to the Middle
East when the time is right. But for the moment it appears the
United States wants to see concrete signs of interest in a
resumption of talks by both sides before it would be willing to
commit to such a high level visit.
In the meantime, the administration has been careful to spread
blame for the breakdown in the peace process -- saying the
Palestinian Authority needs to do more to stop violence and
terrorism, while calling Israel's decision to break ground for
Jewish homes on the southern edge of east Jerusalem regretful.
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