Newsletter : 7fax1211.txt
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>JN Dec. 11, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 226
10th Anniversary of the Intifada
By Al Pessin (VOA-Gaza)
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the
Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza -- the intifada --
which ended four years ago when the peace process began.
In Gaza, nearly two years ago, Yasir Arafat was sworn in as
president of the Palestinian Autonomy Authority. A few words
spoken by the man who had already led the Palestinians for decades,
transformed the Palestinian movement from a liberation struggle
nearly into a government, and transformed Gaza from a battleground
into a place where life is still troubled but also in many ways
There is much speculation about whether a new intifada could break
out. Business leaders say the economy is too weak. Palestinian
political leaders say it would bring a new period of suffering to
people who were primed for a period of calm and prosperity. Still,
other Palestinians are ready to do it again, if necessary.
Upgrade of Palestinian U.N. Observer Status Postponed
By Elaine Johanson (VOA-United Nations)
The United Nations General Assembly has postponed indefinitely a
decision on upgrading the UN observer status of the Palestine
Liberation Organization. Arab and Islamic states -- facing strong
opposition from the United States and reservations in the European
Union -- decided not to put their resolution to a vote.
The PLO would have been upgraded almost to a state. It would have
had most of the rights of UN members -- except voting and running
its candidates for UN positions.
The European Union offered an amendment to the resolution that
would have postponed a decision until further study of the issue.
Unable to kill off the European proposal -- Arab and Islamic
states held brief behind-the-scenes consultations. After what
many believe was a quick tally of potential votes on the PLO
upgrade, they decided now is not the time to pursue it.
Palestinian Census Gets Under Way
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
The Palestinian Authority has launched a census in the West Bank
and Gaza, and Israel is taking steps to ensure it is not extended
to Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem. Israeli police in the
city are on the lookout for Palestinian census takers, and the
parliament is working on an emergency law to specifically ban such
Census takers fanned out across the West Bank and Gaza Wednesday,
armed with questionnaires seeking to determine the numbers, places
of origin and economic levels of more than two million
Palestinians. Some local residents were reluctant to provide
personal details to the Autonomy Authority, but most cooperated.
Banners displayed in some cities proclaimed the census the "first
step" in building a Palestinian state.
The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics estimates that nearly
half of the population is under the age of 15, that the population
is growing at a rate of more than 6 percent a year and that more
than half of Palestinian families have at least five children.
But the Palestinian census takers will apparently not be able
to count Palestinians in Jerusalem. Israel's government has been
saying for weeks it will bar the workers from doing their jobs in
the eastern part of the city, which Israel has annexed and says
it will never give up. The Palestinians want to make east
Jerusalem their capital.
East Jerusalem Palestinians were allowed to vote in last year's
Palestinian elections, but Israel says that is not a precedent
for other activities in the city by the Palestinian Authority.
Indeed, Israel points out that the peace agreements empower the
authority to act only in areas under its control, which do not
include Jerusalem. The city's status is to be negotiated in the
next phase of the peace process.
UBS Apologizes Over Shredded Documents
By IINS News Service
The Union Bank of Switzerland made a formal apology to a security
guard, who was dismissed from his position after he saved documents
pertaining to the Holocaust from the paper shredder. The documents
proved to be related to tracking down Holocaust victims.
Christoph Meili was fired from his job and subsequently fled to the
US, fearing for his life. He also came to Israel and was honored
for his actions on behalf of Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Meili
spoke on the phone to UBS Chief Executive Mathis Cabiallavetta, who
apologized to the security guard for the bank's actions.
Maryland Youth Ordered Held Without Bail
By IINS News Service
The Jerusalem District Court has ruled that a Maryland youth,
Samuel Sheinbein, wanted by US officials as a suspect in the
murder/dismemberment of another teen, will be held without bail
until a final decision is made regarding honoring the US
extradition request. The youth is wanted as the chief suspect in
The court must decide if he is indeed, an Israeli citizen as
stipulated by his lawyer, former Justice Minister Professor David
Libai, and therefore protected from extradition by Israeli law.
The attorney general has already submitted his opinion- that the
youth is not a citizen of Israel, clearing the way for honoring the
US extradition request.
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