Newsletter : 7fax0722.txt
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>July 22, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 132
Palestinian Police Uncover West Bank Bomb Lab
By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is sending his
senior adviser, Cabinet Secretary Danny Naveh, to Washington with
new proposals for ending the four-month-old peace-making crisis
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been frozen since March
when Netanyahu's government started building a Jewish
settlement in disputed east Jerusalem, triggering Palestinian
The United States, the principle backer of the 1993 interim
accord between the Israelis and Palestinians, has recently
significantly lowered its mediation profile. But Saturday,
top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said he understood the
United States is preparing a new package of measures to end the
As part of a European effort to get the process back on track,
Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy met top PLO negotiator
Nabil Shaath Sunday at the invitation of the EU Middle East
representative. Shaath says there is a serious effort to
break the impasse.
Egypt and Jordan -- the two Arab countries which have signed
peace treaties with Israel -- are also involved in efforts to
break the peacemaking deadlock. On Monday, Israeli opposition
leader Ehud Barak flew to Amman on a surprise visit at the
invitation of Jordan's King Hussein.
Palestinian police say they have uncovered a bomb
lab in a West Bank apartment they suspect belongs to Hamas, the
Islamic resistance movement opposed to peace deals with Israel.
They say they discovered ready-to-use explosives and disguises in
a village near Bethlehem.
The Bethlehem police chief said the discovery was apparently linked
to Hamas activist Issa Khalil Shouka, 41, who was killed last week
while making a bomb that blew up in his hands.
Wiesenthal Center: Mandela, Protect South African Jews
By Permission of the Middle East Digest
The Simon Wiesenthal Center has launched an urgent protest to South
African President Nelson Mandela in wake of a violent anti-Jewish
demonstration by Muslims in Cape Town and the firebombing of a
Jewish businessman's home.
The letter reads: "This past Saturday [July 12] a rally in downtown
Cape Town led by 'Muslims Against Global Oppression' was
accompanied by posters which said 'Hitler King of The Jews,' 'Free
our Country -- Kill the Jews,' 'Arabia for the Arabs; Germany for
the Germans; Palestine for the Palestinians; Gas Chambers for the
"The rhetoric of this rally was reminiscent of Nazi Germany. No one
should be surprised that this event was accompanied by the
firebombing of the home of a member of the Jewish community.
"Mr. President, no democracy can tolerate the targeting of a
minority which allows this kind of virulent hate and violence. This
past weekend's events were particularly painful because extremist
elements in the Muslim community have been using such rhetoric for
months. Such rhetoric and violence not only damages democratic
South Africa's good name, endangers the safety of law-abiding
citizens, but also calls into question whether your country can be
an appropriate home for future Olympic Games."
Meanwhile, an article in South Africa's Financial Mail (July 18)
ponders the possibility of a link between the firebombing, the
march on the Israeli Embassy, and a vigilante organization called
People Against Gangsterism & Drugs (Pagad) -- an ostensibly
community organization but one believed to contain fundamentalist
"When Pagad first came into the open, one of its then leaders
claimed the group could, if it wished, call on the fundamentalist
militias Hamas and Hizbullah for assistance. Subsequent splits
within Pagad leave open the question of whether its fundamentalist
orientation does, indeed, provide the leeway for extremists to
operate within its ranks.
"The fact remains that Pagad militants are on hand to display
weapons and discipline. And anti-gangster and anti-Israel feelings
do have one thing in common: hatred of the existing order.
Community and religious tensions may be converging in the minds of
at least some armed Islamic activists."
U.S. Urges Palestinians to Clean House
By Victor Beattie (VOA-Washington)
The United States is urging the Palestinian self-rule authority to
take "very seriously" allegations that Palestinian police planned
to attack Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu has told his Cabinet the plan is the most flagrant
violation yet of the Israeli-Palestinian peace accords.
State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns says Palestinian leader
Yasir Arafat has assured Washington he takes the allegation
seriously and is investigating. Sunday, Palestinian security
forces arrested several policemen in connection with the Israeli
claims. Burns says the allegations must be taken with what he calls
the highest degree of seriousness:
"There can be no place by the Palestinians, there can be no place
for anyone, anyone with any association with the Palestinian
Authority trying to take part in an act of terrorism."
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