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>Israel Faxx
>JN June 4, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 101

PKK to hit Turkish tourism, U.S., Israeli targets

The Kurdistan Workers Party has threatened worldwide attacks against Israeli and U.S. targets if the two countries continued to "support Turkish massacres against Kurds." PKK central committee member Halil Atas, who said a campaign against Kurds was carried out under a strategic deal between the three countries, told reporters in Beirut that attacks against tourist centers in Turkey, and U.S. and Israeli "non-civilian" targets were planned.

Labor Elects Barak to Replace Peres

Israel's former military chief, Ehud Barak, has been elected the new leader of Israel's opposition Labor Party, replacing former Prime Minister Shimon Peres.

Barak's selection Tuesday was widely expected, and exist polls also projected him as the winner by a wide margin. Barak becomes the main opposition to Benjamin Netanyahu's conservative government.

Israeli television projected Barak the winner at 10 p.m. (Israel time). The projection said Barak would get 57 percent of the vote, compared to 28 percent for Yossi Beilin, who advocates the peace process. The actual vote count is expected to be completed early today.

Rabin's widow, Leah, who endorsed Barak in the Labor race, was ecstatic when results of the exit polls were announced. "I trust him and I know he will lead the way so that the message will be clearly heard that we are heading towards peace, period. No zigzags, no detours, no excuses."

For the first time, Israel's two main parties will be headed by native Israelis who grew up in the Jewish state, rather than overseas.

And the defeat marks the end of Peres' five-decade political and military career, in which he helped build Israel's defenses, and served as defense minister, foreign minister and twice as prime minister.

"I congratulated Ehud on his victory...Now we must move forward," said Peres.

Netanyahu beat Peres in an upset election victory in May 1996, in part by characterizing the Nobel peace laureate as soft on security. "I wish all the (Labor) candidates success and hope Labor voters pick an opposition leader who will remain such for many years," Netanyahu said earlier Tuesday.

The leadership vote marked an historic passing of Labor's political torch to a younger generation from Peres, 73, and his assassinated predecessor Yitzhak Rabin, whose rival camps divided the party for nearly 25 years.

Barak, 55, presents himself in the warrior-turned-peacemaker mold of slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. "I see myself as (Rabin's) follower and the one to continue his legacy," Barak said at a news conference.

Barak, who once served as Prime Minister Benjamin Metanyahu's commander in an elite military unit -- was confident he could topple Peres' attempt to retain the party's leadership.

During a 1973 commando raid against Palestinian terrorists in Beirut, Barak disguised himself as a woman. "I believe I can bring Labor back to power," he said.

Opinion polls have shown Barak and Netanyahu, 47, in a near dead heat with elections scheduled for 2000. However, elections could come sooner if Netanyahu's coalition government collapses.

Barak said Labor was "committed to take calculated risks in the Middle East in order to achieve peace."

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