Newsletter : 7fax0812.txt
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>JN Aug. 12, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 147
Palestinians Meet with Israelis
By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)
President Clinton's special Middle East envoy, Dennis Ross, is
continuing his talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials.
Restoring security cooperation between the two sides is of
paramount concern for Ross following the July 30 terrorist attack
Palestinian Authority head Yasir Arafat and Israeli security
officials met after midnight in the West Bank city of Ramallah --
a significant achievement, since it was the first time Arafat had
met with any Israeli figures following the marketplace bombing two
Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians entered a crisis
stage following construction of a Jewish settlement in disputed
east Jerusalem in March. Then, after the Jerusalem bombing,
relations hit a new low. Netanyahu suspended peace talks and
sealed off the West Bank and Gaza.
A Palestinian security official said after Monday's early morning
meeting that there are signs of improvement. But Israeli
officials say Arafat has still not agreed to try to crack down
on the infrastructure of militant Islamic factions, which Israel
blames for last month's market bombings.
Israel has eased some of the restrictions on Palestinian areas,
but most remain. Thousands of demonstrators in Gaza and the West
Bank protested Monday against the continuing closures and the
jailing of Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
Palestinian Legislature Weighs Draft
The Palestinian legislature voted unanimously to begin drafting
a military conscription law, Council Speaker Ahmed Korei said. The
decision was taken against the background of heightened tensions
with Israel over the killing by two Islamic suicide bombers
of 15 people in a Jerusalem market July 30.
Legislator Azmi Shoaibi said he had initiated the proposal, under
which Palestinian university graduates would be inducted into
military and public service for a six months to a year. He also
said youths would receive training to enable them to defend the
Another Piece in the 'Eastern Front' Puzzle?
PLO chairman Yasir Arafat is trying to set up a summit
involving Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the Jerusalem Post
reports. "The purpose of such a summit would be to form an
anti-Israeli coalition, and bring Syria and Iraq into the same
camp. Syria and Iran have already made progress in forging ties
between them, and Syria recently relaxed border controls with
But the Post said the entire plan may just be a rhetorical bluff to
scare Israel -- given that Egypt would be likely to oppose it,
making it unlikely.
As Arab-Muslim diplomatic manoeuvering continues apace, however,
the scenario of a united "eastern front" against Israel does not
appear that far-fetched. The Egyptian newspaper Al-Sha'b reported
last month that Syria had proposed to Iran and Egypt that the three
countries form the nucleus of a new regional military and economic
"The alliance is aimed at confronting the Zionist-US-Turkish
capitulation plan that Washington is attempting to impose on the
region through the process of normalization of ties with Israel,
which is militarily backed to serve the interests of the Zionist-US
alliance," the report said.
For Arafat's part, besides his approaches towards the Iraqis, he
has sought too to improve bilateral relations with Iran (he issued
a gushing statement of congratulation to the newly-appointed
Iranian president Mohammed Khatami); and with Syria (he has applied
for an invitation to visit to Damascus for talks with Hafez
The fact Iran, Iraq and Syria are on the US State Department's list
of terror-sponsoring states does not appear to have given Arafat
pause, despite the PA's reliance on Washington for financial and
High Court Reverses Rabbinical Court Decision
By IINS News Service
The High Court of Justice reversed the decision of a Jerusalem
Rabbinical Court concerning four children living in a Jewish
community in Gaza. The four children, ages 6-13, are living with
their mother in a Gaza community for the past 5 years, since
leaving the United States. The mother, who took the children away
from their father felt by moving to Gaza, the Hague Treaty which
applies to children's rights is not applicable.
The mother, who wanted to further strengthen her claim to the
children, went to the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court for a ruling. They
ruled the children will remain with the mother in Gaza.
The High Court now ruled the children must be returned to the
United States and a New York court will enter a final verdict
regarding the children. The High Court stated the Hague Treaty does
extend to Gaza and in addition, they would not permit a community
in Gaza to become a place of refuge for the kidnapper of children.
Nathan's of Coney Island Dogs Coming to Israel
For those old timers who are looking for a Coney Island hot
dog, the Nathan's frankfurter chain will be arriving in Israel.
Nathan's was started in 1916 by a Jewish immigrant from Poland. The
frankfurter empire earned $116 million last year. The planned
branches in Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and Netanya will be the fast
food chain's first venture outside of the United States. The new
Israeli chains will be kosher.
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