Newsletter : 8fax0428.txt
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>JN April 28, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 79
Broad U.S. Support for Israel
> By Arutz-7 News Service
A New York Times poll shows 57% of Americans have a generally
favorable opinion of Israel. Even more significantly, 58% - the
highest rate ever in a poll of this sort, and up 10% from last year
- said that they sympathized with Israel over the Palestinians. 13%
of the American public supported the Palestinians. Almost half -
49% - of the Americans polled said that they see Israel as a
On the issue of personalities in the Middle East, 77% had "no
opinion" of Benjamin Netanyahu, while the remaining 23% were evenly
divided between "favorable" and "unfavorable" opinions of him; 10%
viewed Yasir Arafat favorably, and 42% unfavorably. The New York
Times writes that its poll proves that support for Israel does not
stem only from the American Jewish population.
Israel Will Turn Over More Land -- Later
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he expects to turn
over more territory to the Palestinians in a final peace
settlement, but at this stage it is not safe for Israel to go
much beyond the further 9 percent of West Bank land he has already
offered. Netanyahu says he is being tough on territorial issues at
this stage on the advice of Israeli military commanders.
"They (military commanders) say up to 6 percent, we don't see a
problem. When we cross 7-or 8-percent, it becomes very, very
difficult. If you cross 9 percent, there are serious problems in
protecting, under the present arrangements, to protect the lives of
The Palestinians had wanted at least 30 percent more of the West
bank at this stage, and have rejected Israel's 9 percent interim
offer as an insult. A US compromise proposal is reported to be
13.1 percent. The Palestinians have accepted it, but Israel has
Israeli and Palestinian leaders are meeting with the senior Middle
East mediator, Dennis Ross, this week, and will meet with Secretary
of State Madeleine Albright in London Monday to try to find a
solution. With that perhaps in mind, Netanyahu told foreign
reporters that although 9 percent is his limit now, Israel could
give more land in a final peace agreement.
"What can be done in a final settlement is different. You can give
more land in a final settlement because you have the time and the
ability to invest billions of shekels -- that's hundreds of
millions of dollars -- and perhaps more in all sorts of defensive
arrangements in the relocation if (those kinds of) military
installations that we have -- in bypass roads, in bridges and
tunnels -- make the problem of security less acute. We don't have
that possibility now in an interim settlement."
Mediators are eager for a breakthrough on the interim arrangement
so talks on the next stage can begin. A final peace accord is
supposed to be finished by next May, a timeframe Netanyahu calls
"cramped, but possible."
In the midst of this delicate stage in the peace process, Israel
marks its 50th anniversary Thursday. On Monday, Netanyahu
indicated some willingness to acknowledge Israeli abuses against
Arabs during its War of Independence, as the Palestinians want, if
Arab countries will examine their attitude and behavior toward
Israel over the last 50 years.
"If the purpose is a healing process, then that should take place
across the board. Terrible wrongs were done not only to Jews but
to Arabs as well. The Palestinians in particular have suffered.
Our focus nevertheless should be on the present and on the future
and how to make the present developments give a better future and
heal the wounds for both Arabs and Jews. And I believe it's
Netanyahu called Israel "one of the miracles of the 20th century,"
and said the fact that the Jewish people went from
near-extermination in Europe to having a modern, prosperous,
democratic state should give hope to all people facing adversity.
President Clinton Now President/Doctor Clinton
By Deborah Tate (VOA-White House)
President Clinton Monday marked the 50th anniversary of the State
of israel with an appeal for further progress in the Middle East
peace process. Although Israel formally observes its independence
Thursday, Clinton chose to mark the observance three days early.
At a White House ceremony during which he received an honorary
degree from Hebrew University for efforts to promote Middle East
peace, Clinton said the US had one of its proudest moments when it
became the first country to recognize Israel. The president paid
tribute to the thriving democracy and advanced economy created
during the Jewish state's first half-century.
But he said the dream of Israel's founders would not be complete
without a just, secure and lasting peace in the Middle East, and he
issued this appeal: "Israel can fulfill its full promise by drawing
on the courage and vision of its founders to achieve peace with
security. Never has the opportunity been more real, and it must
not be lost."
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