Newsletter : 7fax0522.txt
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>JN May 22, 1997, Vol. 5. No. 93
Yediot Interviews Arafat
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat says he thinks Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may be trying to incite violence by
Palestinian extremists in order to sabotage the peace accords.
Arafat also says the peace process will die if the United States
reduces its role. Arafat made the comments in an interview with an
Arafat says Netanyahu's policies are pushing extremist groups
toward violence, and he says maybe that is what Netanyahu wants in
order to bury the peace process permanently.
That is one of the strongest Palestinian condemnations yet of
Netanyahu's policies, which Arafat says are systematically
destroying the entire Middle East peace process and have put the
region on the verge of what Arafat calls "severe riots." Israeli
officials deny such charges and say they are working within the
peace agreements while the Palestinians are not.
In the interview in Yediot Aharonot, Arafat says only pressure from
the United States can change Netanyahu's policies. But he also
indicates the prime minister has ignored US pressure on several
issues, including the start of construction of a new east Jerusalem
neighborhood which sparked the current crisis.
In the interview Wednesday, Arafat says if that signals any coming
reduction in US involvement, it could lead to "chaos" and the loss
of the chance to make peace for a very long time. Arafat indicates
the US role is particularly important now because there is no
longer any trust between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, a
point US mediators have also made.
Jewish Assets in Jordan
The Jewish National Fund owns 10,000 dunams (6 square miles) of
land in Jordan, some 18 miles northwest of Amman. The land was
bought in the 1920s by Jewish philanthropists, via a JNF
representative in London.
Until now, the JNF has chosen to keep a low profile on this matter,
in order to avoid a worsening of relations with Jordan. However,
Chaim Cohen, chairman of Himanuta, a daughter company of the JNF,
now says, "If the Palestinians want to begin a war of
land-ownership, as evidenced by the recent murder of two land
dealers, then we will start activating our deeds of ownership on
lands under their control." He said that the JNF owns hundreds of
dunams of land that is presently in Area A (under total Palestinian
control) and thousands of dunams in Area B (Israeli security
control). "We have solid evidence of the Jewish ownership of these
thousands of dunams."
Palestinians Arrest TV Journalist
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
An award-winning Palestinian journalist is being held by the
Palestinian police, apparently because of a television service he
operates that broadcasts sessions of the Palestinian Council, which
are often critical of the Palestinian Authority led by Yasir
According to his family, journalist Daoud Kuttab was summoned late
Tuesday from his home in Jerusalem to the Palestinian police
headquarters in Ramallah. When he arrived, he was detained and
In a phone call to his brother Jonathan several hours later, Kuttab
said he was being well treated but was not allowed to leave, and
police had questioned him about the educational television service
Jonathan Kuttab says his brother's service is licensed by the
Palestinian Authority to broadcast the legislative council sessions
live. Council members frequently criticize the Authority in those
sessions and Jonathan Kuttab says the Authority's television
station sometimes jams the broadcasts.
Kuttab, who is a lawyer and human rights activist, says his
brother's arrest says a lot about the state of Palestinian society.
"It says that we are a new society and that the struggle for
freedom and democracy is an ongoing struggle, we can never rest
assured, we do not have sufficient guarantees. We have to do
what needs to be done, and we have to sacrifice, if need be, in
order to obtain freedom and democracy within our society. The
price of democracy is a constant vigil to safeguard these
freedoms against those who still try to abuse it or still try to
There have been several cases of apparent human rights abuses by
the Palestinian Authority and its security services, including at
least 10 people who were arrested and apparently tortured to death.
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