Newsletter : 7fax1209.txt
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>JN Dec. 9, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 224
Israel's Peres for Palestinian State, Golan Pullout
Former Prime Minister Shimon Peres has urged Israel to accept
a Palestinian state and to give up the Golan Heights if it wants
peace with Syrian President Hafez al-Assad. Speaking to his Labor
Party, Peres said: "A state or no state? It must be heard in a
clear voice - a state, because we cannot take on our shoulders the
economic and social responsibility of 3 million Arabs."
Islamic Summit Opens in Iran
By Douglas Roberts (VOA-Tehran)
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Sayed ali Khamenei, opens an
Islamic summit conference in Tehran Tuesday -- the largest
international event to be staged in the Iranian capital since the
1979 Islamic revolution. More than 20 heads of state and
government arrived in Tehran on the eve of the meeting, and all 55
members of the "Islamic Conference Organization" are expected to
The summit is due to get underway at 1:30 a.m. EST in a lavish new
conference center, specially constructed for the occasion.
Hanging over the main hall is an ornate drapery from the door of
the "Kaaba" -- Islam's most sacred shrine in the holy city of
Mecca. It was presented to the summit by Saudi Arabia's King Fahd,
and it seems an apt symbol of the emerging rapprochement between
Iran and its Arab neighbors on the other side of the Persian Gulf.
Arab leaders -- once vilified by Iran's revolutionary government
-- have now been welcomed to Tehran by the country's moderate new
president, Mohammed Khattami.
Iranian officials say they want the meeting to help clear-up
misunderstandings and misperceptions among Muslim states, and
enhance the unity and solidarity of the Islamic world.
Turkey Ties to Israel No Threat to Syria
By Amberin Zaman (VOA-Ankara)
Israeli Defense Minister Yitzak Mordechai arrived in Ankara Monday
for meetings with senior Turkish officials, including Turkish Prime
Minister Mesut Yilmaz. The visit marks deepening ties between
Muslim Turkey and the Jewish state -- ties which have upset
Ankara's Arab neighbors and Iran.
Speaking to reporters before meeting with his Turkish counterpart
Ismet Sezgin, the Israeli Defense Minister stressed that
cooperation with Turkey did not constitute a threat to third
countries. Mordechai described ties between his nation and
Turkey as a strategic partnership aimed at strengthening
His visit coincides with Tuesday's summit of Islamic Conference
Organization countries in Iran, during which Syria condemned
Turkey's military links with Israel. Syria is especially worried by
a military cooperation agreement signed last year between Israel
and Turkey which allows Israeli air force pilots to train in
Turkish skies. Damascus fears the agreement also allows Israel to
use Turkish territory to spy on, and eventually launch an attack
against, Syria -- claims that are vigorously denied by both Ankara
and Israeli officials.
Israel is now set to become one of Turkey's largest arms suppliers.
Unlike the United States and Europe, Israel does not make arms
sales conditional on Turkey's human rights performance.
Israel's Mossad Spy Agency Suffers Blow
Israel's secret services have suffered a blow with the charge
an Israeli Mossad agent fabricated spy reports on Syria, experts
said. A judge lifted censorship Saturday, enabling newspapers to
report on Yehuda Gil, 63, a veteran Mossad officer at the heart of
the latest scandal.
Israeli media had published leaks for days about the case. An
indictment alleges Gil had fed false information for years. News
reports said it may have skewed Israeli assessments of Syria's
leanings towards war or peace. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
said the value of the information had been "wildly exaggerated."
Swiss Threaten U.S. with Economic Retaliation
By Barbara Schoetzau (VOA-New York)
In New York Monday, representatives of Switzerland, the United
States and the World Jewish Congress urged American state and local
financial officials to give diplomacy more time before imposing any
economic sanctions on Swiss banks. The private banks have been
accused of delaying efforts to make restitution to survivors of the
Nazi Holocaust from dormant accounts.
Representatives from 20 US states were among the 200 financial
officers attending the day-long conference.
Israel Singer, secretary general of the WJC, recommended a 90-day
moratorium on economic boycotts, saying he believes the issue may
be settled by the end of March. As a condition to a final
settlement, Singer said Swiss officials must condemn anti-Semitism
Thomas Borer, the head of the Swiss task force responsible for
coordinating all Swiss efforts relating to the issue said the Swiss
people are committed to cooperating. But warned that sanctions
could go two ways, noting that Switzerland ranks among the top
seven investors in the United States and Swiss companies provide
jobs for some 300,000 Americans.
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