Newsletter : 7fax0528.txt
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>JN May 28, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 96
Husseini Warns of War
Feisal Husseini, in an interview with a London-based
Arabic-language newspaper, warns that if Israel continues its
current policies, the Palestinians will resort to war. He
threatened that the war could break out during the term of Prime
Minister Netanyahu, because "the Palestinians' patience is waning."
Egyptian-Israeli Summit at Sharm
By Al Pessin (VOA-Sharm al Sheikh)
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu agreed Tuesday that Egypt will play a new more
active role in trying to end the crisis in the Israeli-Palestinian
peace process. But they did not indicate how that might be
After their meeting at the former Israeli (and now Egyptian) resort
of Sharm al Sheikh, the two leaders refused to go into details
about issues on which they are known to disagree -- most
importantly Israel's refusal to freeze construction in east
Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Both described the meeting as a good beginning to a new Egyptian
mediation effort. Mubarak said he will consult with Palestinian
leader Yasir Arafat and hopes to meet with Netanyahu again soon,
perhaps in a three-way meeting with Arafat.
"We exchanged views concerning the problem of Palestinians
concerning...the settlements activity. We still have need of
discussion. We are still are going exchange much more views. We
need much more consultation and this will take time, and I hope we
will meet in the very near future, in a couple of days, so as to
find a solution or to put the key in the door to open it for the
process to move forward."
Mubarak's desire to move quickly is in keeping with statements by
Arafat that unless there is real progress soon there will be a
serious escalation of tensions. Israeli officials continue to
reject any kind of settlement freeze, but Netanyahu was more
circumspect after meeting with Mubarak.
"We can all make important and very forceful declarations. At this
stage I would prefer to make fewer declarations and more
conversation and I think this is what we are trying to do here. It
is evident to you that we had early detailed discussions and we are
seeking a way to resume the twin processes of peace and security.
I believe that we should continue to make those efforts God
Mubarak said he wants to bring the Israelis and Palestinians
together without using pressure, because he said pressure would not
work anyway. Egyptian officials who requested anonymity said
behind-the-scenes talks are very delicate and Mubarak is trying to
improve the atmosphere and narrow the policy gap so direct
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks can resume.
There have been several efforts to solve or go around the
Israeli-Palestinian dispute over settlements since it interrupted
the peace process two-months ago, most notably by the US mediation
team and by Israel's president. Now the Egyptian president is
trying his hand.
Without offering any concrete concessions Netanyahu expressed the
hope Mubarak may be able to succeed where the others have failed.
Smokers Choke at Rabbi's Rage
Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, formerly the Sephardic Chief Rabbi of
Israel, has come out with a scathing attack on those who
manufacture and sell cigarettes, and on smokers themselves. In a
lecture Saturday night, the rabbi, the spiritual leader of the Shas
party, said that the manufacturers "make a living at the expense of
Those who sell cigarettes should "stop being agents of the angel of
death," according to the rabbi. Concerning the smokers themselves,
he said that if there were biblical courts today, they would be
liable for lashes for violating the commandment to "guard
yourselves very much from danger."
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