Newsletter : 7fax0828.txt
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>JN Aug. 28, 1997, Vol. 5, No 158
Hamas Says Attacks will Continue
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
The militant Palestinian group Hamas says it will continue
attacks on Israelis, despite a request to stop issued last week by
the Palestinian Autonomy Authority. The Hamas communique, sent to
news organizations, says armed resistance has proven to be the most
effective way to fight Israel and that the group will continue to
The authenticity of the document could not be confirmed, but it
reflects recent statements made by Hamas leaders. It also echoes a
re-commitment to violence issued earlier this week by the other
major Palestinian militant group, Islamic Jihad.
The Hamas statement calls on the Authority, led by Yasir Arafat, to
abandon the peace process and join in armed struggle against
Israel. Last week, Arafat held a series of meetings with militant
leaders with the opposite goal in mind -- to unify all Palestinian
groups in support of the peace process.
The meetings drew severe criticism from Israel, and now the Hamas
and Islamic Jihad communiques appear to indicate Arafat's effort
Israel has ended the closure of Bethlehem imposed nearly one month
ago amid suspicions a leader of the militant group Hamas, who was
the alleged mastermind of the Jerusalem market bombing, was hiding
The army announced that residents of Bethlehem and surrounding
villages will be able to move freely into and out of the area, to
other parts of the West Bank. But like all Palestinians, they will
continue to be barred from entering Israel without special permits.
The northern side of autonomous Bethlehem borders Jerusalem.
The army did not give any reason for the policy change. But it
came amid growing international pressure based on the suffering
of the area's 60,000 residents and difficulties encountered by
Christian pilgrims in reaching the biblical town's religious sites.
There also have been daily demonstrations against the Bethlehem
closure, including one Wednesday in which Palestinian officials
and religious leaders got into a shoving match with Israeli troops
at a checkpoint.
Americans Against Israeli Dam
By Ron Pemstein (VOA-State Department)
The United States has agreed with Jordan that an Israeli dam
project on the Yarmuk river should not be built on land claimed by
Syria. Israel wants to dam the Yarmuk River where it passes through
an enclave between Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights
that are claimed by Syria. Jordan has agreed to the dam project on
the condition that it does not involve disputed territory.
The State Department takes no position on whether the dam will
eventually be built on disputed land. At the same time, spokesman
James Rubin agrees with Jordan that Middle East peace talks could
be complicated if it is.
Century of Zionism Marked in Switzerland
By IINS News Service
Celebrations marking the centenary of Zionism's founding in
Basel have opened with a call, by a harsh Israeli critic of
Switzerland's past Nazi links, for extra efforts on behalf of
Holocaust victims. But Avraham Burg, chairman of the World Zionist
Organization and the Jewish Agency, also acknowledged that progress
had been achieved.
"In the last two years, myself and the institutions that we
represent negotiating with the Swiss banks' association, with the
government and other financial institutions, achieved a lot in the
field of looted assets, Nazi gold," he said before the official
opening of ceremonies marking the founding of Zionism 100 years
ago, by Austrian Jewish journalist Theodor Herzl.
Some 1,200 police and 730 soldiers are watching over various
celebrations that culminate Sunday, in ceremonies marking the 100th
anniversary of the first Zionist Congress.
No incidents marred the start of a three-day symposium on Zionism,
its history and its future, despite fears of attacks by Arab
extremists or far-right violence. Burg said in a reference to
co-existence with the Palestinians, he believed that just as the
Zionism of the last 50 years "enabled us not to become again the
persecuted element of human history," Zionism and Jewish morality
would in the next century "help us ... from becoming persecutors."
The Zionist leader acknowledged that wrongs had been committed
against Palestinians chased off their land. "It takes more than a
hundred months of peace to overcome a hundred years of wars," he
The ceremony was held in the colonnaded hall where the pioneers of
Zionism met with Herzl from August 29-31, 1897.
Prime Minister Arrives in South Korea
By IINS News Service
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a dignitary's
welcome Wednesday in South Korea including a full honor guard.
Experts believe that Netanyahu will -- among other items on his
agenda --speak of North Korea's continued manufacturing and sale of
missiles to Syria. The Scud "C" missile, capable of carrying a
non-conventional warhead, has a range of about 300 miles, which
places all of Israel in range of a non-conventional missile attack by
Recent statements by Syrian military officials have made it clear
that Syria has not ruled out its military option, despite warnings
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