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>Israel Faxx
>JN July 29, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 137

Palestinians Could Have Capital in Metropolitan Jerusalem

By Middle East Digest

Israel would agree to the establishment of "an independent Palestinian political entity" and, under certain conditions, to allow its "administrative centre" be based in the Jerusalem metropolitan area, according to top secret documents prepared at the Prime Minister's office in advance of "final status" talks with the Palestinians, Ma'ariv reports.

However, PM Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman Shai Bazak, has denied the existence of any document at the PM's office which calls for the division of sovereignty in Jerusalem. The metropolitan area would include places outside of the city's municipal boundaries, such as Ram'Allah.

Peace Talks Will Reconvene

By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel-Palestinian peace talks, stalled since March, are to resume this week. The announcement was made after a meeting between Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy and Palestinian Planning Minister Nabil Shaath. The two ministers say the Israeli and Palestinian joint committees will reconvene later this week to try to resolve outstanding issues in the peace process.

High on the agenda are the issues of a safe passage route for Palestinians between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and establishing air and sea ports in the Gaza Strip.

Talks broke down in March when Israel began construction of a housing project for Jews in east Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as part of a future capital. And Palestinians have been angered anew by the announcement of another proposed Jewish housing project in east Jerusalem. But Monday, Israeli officials suspended the building permit granted to the US developer.

Levy says the Palestinian Authority has promised to act against Palestinian policemen suspected of involvement in acts of violence against Israeli civilians. Shaath says Israel is committed to carrying out another troop redeployment from the West Bank, to renew final status talks and to free Palestinian prisoners.

Iraq: All Arabs But Palestinians Can Be Citizens

By IINS News Service

The official Iraqi News Agency reported it will allow all Arabs except for Palestinians to apply for citizenship. The Arab League has long demanded that no Arab country grant citizenship to Palestinians, saying that Palestinians must return to their homeland.

"All Arabs, except Palestinians, are allowed to request from the Interior Ministry to be granted Iraqi citizenship," said a decree by Iraq's top government body, the Revolution Command Council. It wasn't clear why Iraq announced the decision to grant citizenship.

The decree said that applicants must be adults born to Arab parents who have lived continuously in the Arab world. "Those who are eligible for the citizenship will be granted Iraqi citizenship within three months of the date of application," the decree stated.

Excavations at the Western Wall are Complete

By Arutz 7

The archeological excavations at the Kings Valley project near the Western Wall of the Temple Mount have been completed. The excavations took three years at a cost of 55 million shekels. Among the discoveries at the site: Remnants of Herodian edifices towards the end of the Second Temple and from the period of the destruction of the Second Temple. In addition, drainage canals and ritual baths used by pilgrims to Jerusalem were also found.

The Antiquities Authority declared that the excavations at the King Valley site are among the most important ever conducted in Israel. The site will soon be opened to visitors, and it is estimated that a half a million tourists will visit it each year.

Islamic Leaders: No Prayer for Jews on Temple Mount

By Arutz 7

The Chairman of the Islamic Endowment in Jerusalem, Adnan Al Husseini, has warned that Islam will never, under any circumstances, agree to Jews praying on the Temple Mount.

In an interview with Voice of Palestine Radio, Husseini threatened to use violence against Jews if they attempt to pray on the Temple Mount. He accused the rabbis of Judea, Samaria and Gaza of being responsible for the attempts by Jews to pray on the Mount.

Additionally, the sheikh in the Al-Aqsa mosque attacked the decision by the Supreme Court to allow Yehuda Etzion to pray on the Temple Mount in last Friday's sermon. "We will not stand idly by," threatened the sheikh, "and we refuse to obey the decisions of this racist court. The rabbis will not enter the Al-Aqsa mosque, not over our dead bodies and shrouds." His speech was broadcast live on Voice of Palestine Radio.

The Muslim Waqf, responsible for the Temple Mount and Moslem affairs in the eastern part of the capital, says it will not pay a debt of millions of shekels to Israeli income tax authorities. Husseini has threatened that any attempt by the authorities to physically collect the debt will be met with a "violent" response. He claimed that Israel is a "conqueror," and he does not recognize its authority to collect taxes.

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