Newsletter : 7fax0808.txt
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>JN Aug. 8, 1997, Vol. 5, Num. 145
Muslim Leader Justifies Terrorism Against Israel
According to an article in the August 4th issue of the Arab
newspaper Al Hiyat, one of the preeminent Muslim religious leaders
in Egypt, Sheikh Al-Azhar, said that the laws of Islam do not
permit the killing of children, the elderly, or the innocent. The
Sheikh pointed out, however, that the prohibition does not apply to
the recent suicide attacks - which, he asserted, are a form of
self-defense against stealing of land. Al-Azhar alleged that
Jewish religious leaders are fanning the flames of oppression of
Arafat Threatens Israel with Violence
By Douglas Roberts (VOA-Jerusalem)
Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat is warning there will be a new
explosion of violence in the West Bank and Gaza unless the Israeli
government ends the restrictions imposed on the Palestinians in the
wake of last week's suicide bombing in Jerusalem. Arafat's latest
diatribe came in an interview with the Israeli newspaper, Yediot
He called the Israeli crackdown on the Palestinians tantamount to
a declaration of war, comparing the situation to the 1982 Israeli
siege of PLO forces in Beirut. Since last week's terrorist attack,
the Israeli army has sealed off the West Bank and Gaza, and closed
the borders with Jordan and Egypt. Nearly 200 Palestinians have
been arrested by Israeli security forces, and the Israeli treasury
has blocked Palestinian customs and tax revenue.
Arafat said the Israeli measures violate previous agreements
between the two sides, and are intended to scuttle the peace
process. If this situation continues, he said, there will be a
giant explosion that no one will be able to stop.
Israeli officials called the remarks inflammatory, and they
repeated that the Israeli government has no intention of easing
the restrictions until the Palestinian Authority cracks down on
the Islamist militants that Israel blames for the suicide bombing.
Arafat again denied that the Palestinian Authority was in any way
responsible for the attack.
So far, the investigation has produced no conclusive evidence.
The two suicide bombers have not been identified, and there is
growing speculation that the terrorists came from abroad.
Israeli and Palestinian officials have cast doubt on the
authenticity of a communique that claimed responsibility for the
attack in the name of the Islamist group, Hamas. Palestinian
officials say the language of the statement was not typical of
Hamas, and they point out that it included a demand for the
release of a Lebanese extremist, kidnapped by Israeli forces in
southern Lebanon in 1989.
In Thursday's interview, Arafat repeated that the Palestinian
Authority is doing its best to combat terrorism. And he asserted
that the Israeli crackdown will only provoke more terror. The
Palestinian leader halted formal security cooperation with Israel
last spring, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government
began construction of a new Israeli housing project in east
Israel is demanding that the Palestinians renew security
cooperation, and that demand is supported by the United States.
It is expected to be the key issue when US envoy Dennis Ross
returns to the region this weekend for meetings with Israeli and
U.S. Criticizes Israeli and Palestinian Leaders
By David Swan (VOA-State Department)
The US government is criticizing both Israeli and Palestinian
leaders over their latest comments on the Middle East crisis. The
administration also denies suggestions of a shift toward Israel in
Despite Washington's repeated calls for partnership and restraint,
Israelis and Palestinians are keeping up their heated rhetoric.
The new State Department spokesman, James Rubin, took Palestinian
Chairman Yasir Arafat to task for urging his people to prepare for
battle due to Israel's economic blockade.
But the department also scolded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu. He has accused the Palestinian Authority of acting
like states that spread terrorism, including the regime of Muammar
Qadhafi in Libya. "It is hard to fathom how one could compare
Chairman Arafat to Col. Qadhafi. Chairman Arafat was on the
White House lawn with the president; he signed a peace agreement
with the Israelis. We regard him as a partner in our effort to
find peace in the Middle East. Col. Qadhafi is an international
Israel May Ask EU to Prohibit Hamas' Fund-Raising
By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel may ask European countries to shut down major fund-raising
operations in Europe run by the militant Islamic group Hamas. The
request comes in the wake of last week's market bombing in
Jerusalem that killed 15 and injured 157.
The Hamas organization, which allegedly claimed responsibility for
the double suicide bombings, funds a variety of welfare
institutions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. These include
clinics, schools, mosques, and pensions for wives of Palestinians
in Israeli prisons.
Israel estimates that Hamas spends about $70 million a year funding
such local social services -- most of which is raised abroad.
But Israel believes the welfare infrastructure is inseparable from
Hamas' military wing, which also receives manpower and funds. In
the past, Hamas has denied that its fund-raising activities abroad
went to anything other than social welfare institutions.
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