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>Israel Faxx
>JN Sept. 22, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 173

Israelis Raid Nablus-Area and Arrest 40

By Mark Lavie (VOA-Jerusalem)

In the West Bank, Israeli security forces are rounding up Palestinians -- allegedly in connection with two suicide bombing attacks in Jerusalem during the past two months. Israeli forces closed off villages near the West Bank city of Nablus and made 40 arrests in a Sunday operation.

Israeli sources say the Palestinians are suspected members of Hamas, the extremist Islamic organization. The Israelis say Hamas was behind the two suicide bombing attacks in the center of Jerusalem. The attacks killed 25 people, including the five bombers.

The Israelis say they are sure the bombers came from the West Bank and Gaza, areas under the civilian control of Yasir Arafat's Palestinian Authority. Arafat says he is just as sure the attackers came from outside the areas.

The Israelis say they expect to make more arrests, and hope to identify the bodies of the suicide bombers soon. That identification would provide an answer to the important question -- who sent them on their bloody missions?

Arafat Collapses, Revived at Arab Summit

By Douglas Roberts (VOA-Cairo)

Arab foreign ministers are meeting in Cairo to discuss the continuing crisis in the Middle East peace process. The ministers are urging the United States to do more to get the peace talks back on track.

Addressing Saturday's opening session at the Arab League's Nile-side headquarters, Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat repeatedly blamed the Israeli government for the collapse the peace talks. Arafat and several of the Arab foreign ministers praised what they called the balanced US approach to the Middle East, articulated by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during her recent tour of the region. But they also urged Washington to persuade Israel to reaffirm its commitment to the basic principles of the negotiations, the land-for-peace formula enshrined in UN security council resolutions.

Arafat lost consciousness while attending the economic summit. He became enraged according to witnesses, and then passed out. When emergency medical personnel arrived, they succeeded in reviving the PA leader.
American intelligence officials say Arafat suffers from a muscular disease. Jibril Rajub, however, denies the reports and says that Arafat is a "strong and healthy horse." In any event, Fatah leaders continue to attempt to find a potential successor. Names that have been mentioned include Feisal Husseini, Abu Maazen, Farouk Kadoumi -- who objects to the Oslo agreements -- and Abu Alla.

There have been calls at the Cairo meeting for a pan-Arab boycott of an upcoming Middle East economic conference, to protest the lack of progress in the peace talks. But Egypt's foreign minister (Amr Moussa) says a final decision on whether to attend the conference will be left up to individual Arab governments.

Israelis and Palestinians will Meet in Washington

By Victor Beattie (VOA-Washington)

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators are reportedly preparing for parallel talks this week in Washington although a new Jewish settler presence in an Arab east Jerusalem neighborhood has heightened tension. Washington says it has been assured by the Israeli government the character of the neighborhood will not be changed.

The Palestinian delegation is expected to focus on Jewish settlement activity and Israeli troop withdrawals from occupied lands. For its part, the Israeli delegation, expected later in the week, will continue to press for Palestinian security cooperation including a crackdown on Islamic militant violence.

The latest irritant stems from an Israeli decision to maintain a Jewish presence in an Arab east Jerusalem neighborhood after settler families briefly occupied a house Sept. 14. State Department spokesman James Rubin (Friday) sought to allay Palestinian concerns saying Israel has assured Washington there will be no change in the character of the neighborhood.

Rubin says teams of Jewish caretakers will remain in the neighborhood in shifts, but not live in the house. He says the United States will work to make sure the assurances received from Israel will be implemented.

"I Thought the Bus was Carrying Jewish Tourists"

By IIIS News Service

CAIRO, - One of the men seized by Egyptian police after the petrol bomb attack on a tourist bus in Cairo that killed 10 people said he wanted revenge against Jews for anti-Muslim slurs, a government newspaper reported.

"I thought the bus was carrying Jewish tourists, I wanted to take revenge for the Israeli who attacked the prophet Mohammed and the Koran," Saber Abu al-Ola told police, the newspaper Al Akhbar said.

Nine German tourists and their Egyptian driver were killed in an inferno sparked by a bomb attack on their bus near the Egyptian Museum in central Cairo Thursday afternoon. Seven people were seriously wounded.

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