Newsletter : 7fax0520.txt
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>JN May 20, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 91
Second Palestinian Murdered for Selling Land
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Palestinian police are investigating the second murder in recent
weeks of Palestinians who allegedly sold land to Israelis. The
killings have drawn the wrath of human rights groups, particularly
because they followed a proposal by the Palestinian justice
minister that such sales be made illegal and punishable by death.
The latest killing occurred during the weekend. The victim was a
building contractor found dead in the autonomous Palestinian city
of Ramallah, with four gunshot wounds in his head.
The man, 48-year-old Harbi abu Sara, had been arrested last year by
the Palestinian police for having allegedly brokered land sales
to Israelis and also for allegedly spying for Israel during the
seven-year Palestinian uprising, the Intifada. He was released two
The killing of such people, known to Palestinians as
"collaborators," is not unusual. But abu Sara's death came just
a week after another Palestinian land broker was murdered --
apparently for selling land to Israelis. And that killing came
just days after a Palestinian building in east Jerusalem passed
into the hands of Israelis -- and the Palestinian justice minister
announced he would make such sales illegal and punishable by death.
Israeli news reports allege that the killings were carried out by
the Palestinian security forces. And on Monday, Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the same charge. His spokesman
says the prime minister was speaking based on confidential sources
Palestinian Justice Minister Freih abu Medein says he doubts the
security services were involved in the killings. And in an
interview, he defended his proposal for the death penalty in land
sale cases. Abu Medein says such a tough law is a necessary tool to
fight Israeli efforts to take control of more West Bank land.
"We couldn't accept the brokers to smuggle this land illegally to
the Israeli side. It means that they will spread in the West Bank
like cancer by those brokers who are ready to sell the future of
the country, future of their people, by a cheap price.
"Officially we are against that, officially 100 percent. But on
another hand, it is very difficult for normal people to accept
traitors or collaborators who sell their future, their land, to
The Palestinian justice minister says the evidence of the public
attitude comes in the refusal of several Muslim cemeteries to bury
the first of the two men killed for allegedly selling land to
Conference Suggested for Disposition of Holocaust Victims' Gold
By Ron Pemstein (VOA-State Department)
The United States and Great Britain have decided to hold a
conference on how to distribute Nazi assets remaining from World
War 2. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has agreed with
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to hold an international
conference in London before the end of year. This conference would
resolve issues concerning remaining Nazi assets.
The Tripartite Gold Commission of the United States, Britain and
France is charged with distributing the remaining gold, some 5.6
metric tons, worth about $68 million. The State Department says
recent reports about the gold suggest the remaining assets should
benefit Holocaust victims or their descendants.
State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns says the London
conference should bring together interested governments. "This
would allow interested parties and governments to establish a
common understanding of the facts surrounding Nazi misappropriation
of assets during the Second World War."
The reports suggest the gold was stolen from individuals and
governments before and during World War 2.
Missionary Activity to be Banned
Recently proposed legislation takes the form of a far-reaching
extension of statutes against missionary activity. The proposal has
recently passed its first Knesset reading and is now before the Law
Committee of the 120-seat parliament.
An English translation of the proposed law states: "Whoever
possesses contrary to the law, or prints or copies or distributes
or shares or imports tracts, or advertises things in which there is
an inducement for religious conversion is liable for one-year
imprisonment." An amendment adds: "Any tract or advertisement in
which there is inducement to religious conversion will be
In response to Christian objections, Labor Party sponsor Nissim
Zvili pledged that "No one will be barred from possessing the New
Testament. If the law violates the Basic Law: Human Dignity and
Freedom, I will not support it."
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