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>Israel Faxx
>JN May 7, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 86

Israel's Vanunu to Appeal Parole Decision

Israel Faxx Staff Report

Israel's nuclear spy Mordechai Vanunu will appeal against a parole board ruling that he should remain in jail, one of his lawyers said Tuesday. "We are going to appeal to the Beersheva District Court later this week," lawyer Ronit Robinson said. Vanunu, 43, was found guilty of espionage in 1986 after telling Britain's Sunday Times newspaper that Israel was secretly building atomic bombs. The parole board ruled the former nuclear technician, who has served two-thirds of his 18-year sentence, should complete his term.

Gingrich: Clinton Administration "Pro-Arafat"

By Deborah Tate (VOA-White House)

President Clinton is defending US efforts to try to move the Middle East peace process forward. This, amid criticism from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of Congress that the US is trying to dictate the terms. Clinton denies he is trying to pressure Israel. He says his goal is to get the Israelis and Palestinians to final status negotiations as soon as possible.

"I don't believe Israel or any other country should accept the dictates of the United States in a peace process. We cannot and should not impose a peace on parties because they have to live with the consequences. What we have tried to do for a good year now is to listen to both parties, look at the situation on the ground, understand their respective concerns and come forward with a set of ideas that we believe are most likely to get the parties to final status talks."

Speaking at a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, Clinton noted it was Netanyahu who first proposed a stepped-up timetable toward a final agreement. He expressed hope the Israeli leader would accept his invitation to come to Washington Monday.

The president invited Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat to Washington to launch talks on a final settlement -- but only on condition that Israel accept a US plan to withdraw from 13 percent of the West Bank.

The Israeli prime minister says he is prepared to make the visit, but says he does not want to be pressured into agreeing to what he calls 'certain conditions' that are unacceptable to Israel.

US lawmakers are also taking issue with the administration's conditional offer. A bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives signed a letter to Clinton expressing its concern.

House Speaker Newt Gingrich spoke to reporters about the issue. "The Clinton administration continues to be pro-Arafat, continues to prop up the Palestinian position, and has now moved in a public way, to deliver an ultimatum -- decide by next week or else. You can only come to Washington if you do what the Clinton administration dictates. Now that is precisely the opposite of what was promised. What was promised was the United States would convene meetings at which the two parties would negotiate. Now it has become the Clinton administration and Arafat against Israel."

Palestinians Pessimistic

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

A senior Palestinian official has expressed concern that the United States might wrestle a new withdrawal commitment from Israel, only to see it go unfulfilled and lead to a new crisis.

Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo says he spoke to the palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, after Tuesday's talks and that there are concerns in his delegation that even if Israel accepts the US plan, there could still be serious problems ahead.

Abed Rabbo says Palestinian officials have no faith in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and are worried that any agreement signed in Washington Monday, might not be fully implemented because of disputes that arise later -- as has happened with previous accords.

Israeli spokesman David bar Illan seemed to raise that possibility Wednesday, saying any actual Israeli troop movements would depend on the Palestinians first fulfilling their commitments on fighting militants and other issues.

Landau Calls for Defense Cooperation

By IINS News Service

Likud MK Uzi Landau, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee, called for strengthened strategic cooperation with countries such as Ethiopia, Eritrea and India as a means of countering military build-up of Iran and Iraq.

He told 200 Hadassah International Convention delegates, meeting in Jerusalem, that Iran is already developing a missile with attack range of 780 miles, and would like to extend that threat to 1,500 miles, which would include Europe, and perhaps even 6,000 miles, which would bring the US eastern coastline into range.

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