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>Israel Faxx
>JN Aug. 6, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 143

Israel Spurns Arafat Offer to Fight "Terror"

Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had rejected an offer from Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat to join together "in fighting terror. Erekat said "Mr. Netanyahu, instead of accepting President Arafat's offer to join him in fighting terror and the enemies of peace, he declared a series of collective punishment measures against the Palestinian people."

Levy Flies to Cairo to Defend Israeli Actions

By Douglas Roberts (VOA-Cairo)

The crisis in the Middle East has sparked a flurry of consultations among Arab and Israeli leaders. Last week's suicide bombings in Jerusalem and the subsequent Israeli crackdown on the Palestinians have sparked fears that the peace process could collapse.

Israel's Foreign Minister David Levy flew in for a day of talks with Egyptian leaders, and immediately found himself on the defensive in the face of growing Arab anger over his government's crackdown on the Palestinians.

President Hosni Mubarak told the Israeli official that Egypt condemns terrorism like last week's suicide bombings in Jerusalem. But he went on to say Cairo is equally opposed to what he termed the Israeli siege of the Palestinian people.

"We are against the shedding of innocent blood," said the Egyptian leader, "and we are also against making people go hungry" -- a reference to the near total blockade of the Palestinian self-rule areas imposed by Israeli security forces.

As Mubarak conferred with Levy, Arab diplomats were discussing the situation across town at the Nile-side headquarters of the Arab League. They later issued a sharply worded statement denouncing the Israeli crackdown and blaming the violence on the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The statement says that by failing to honor previous agreements with the Palestinians, the Israeli government has poisoned the atmosphere and must take responsibility for the consequences.

In his remarks to reporters, Levy defended the Israeli response to last week's suicide bombings. He said the Israeli measures are designed to make Palestinian leaders aware that they must cooperate in efforts to curtail terrorism.

But a visibly angry Yasir Arafat charged Tuesday that the Israeli crackdown is aimed at humiliating the Palestinians and wrecking the peace process. After talks with Jordanian leaders, Arafat said the bombers who struck in Jerusalem last week did not come from the Palestinian territories, adding that Israeli security authorities are fully aware of this. Israeli officials say they have not yet been able to identify the bombers.

Vatican Bank Dealt with Reichsbank in War-Document

New documents have been found in the National Archives implicating the Vatican's bank in possibly illegal transactions with Nazi Germany and its Axis partners during World War 2. Intelligence documents said the Vatican bank used Swiss banking middlemen in at least three cases to obtain money from the German Reichsbank or to transfer funds to a bank blacklisted by the Allies for its dealings with Nazi Germany.

Two weeks ago a storm erupted over a postwar intelligence report claiming the Vatican stored $130 million in gold coins and cash taken by the Croatian Nazis from Serbs and Jews.

Syria's Assad Renews No-Compromise Vow on Golan

Syrian President Hafez al-Assad reiterated after a visit to Iran that he would never compromise on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the Iranian news agency IRNA said. Assad made his comments during talks with Iran's President-elect Mohammad Khatami. Assad said the Golan Heights is an "integral part of Syria and no matter how strong the enemy or his supporters are, Syria will not bend to any pressure and will continue pursuing its objectives decisively." He said U.S. support for Israel demonstrates it pays little significance to the Arabs or the Moslems.

Arab Teenage Bomb Victim Close to Death

By IINS News Service

Fifteen-year-old Said Khadr was on his third day selling mangoes when bombs ripped through Jerusalem's produce market - mangling his left leg so badly it had to be amputated at the knee and burning his face so severely that his own brother could not recognize him. He was among the injured in last Wednesday's suicide bomb attack in Jerusalem's Machane Yehuda marketplace.

For five days, the teenager has lain unconscious in an intensive care unit at a Jerusalem hospital, burns covering 90 per cent of his body.

Israel's closure imposed on residents of PA autonomous areas in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, in response to the bombings, have kept Said's own father from visiting the wounded boy's bedside - compounding the family's suffering in what is widely believed to be a Hamas attack.

"I am so angry. This is my most cherished son. He is my spirit," Said's mother, Nahla Khadr, said at Hadassah Ein-Karem hospital. Bombings by Islamic militants, she said, are "not good for peace and we pay the price."

The teenager is not improving and his chances of surviving are "not very good," intensive care director Charles Sprung told the mother.

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