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>Israel Faxx
>JN May 12, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 89

A Criticism of Netanyahu

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

(Editor's Note: This piece, while not labeled an editorial by VOA, is written as an editorial)

Israel is standing firm in its opposition to a US compromise proposal on the next handover of West Bank land to the Palestinians. The Israeli decision led to cancellation of the planned signing ceremony Monday at the White House, and to an apparent deepening of the crisis in the peace process.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is the one who can make peace. Ever since his election two years ago, and even before, he has said that among Israeli politicians, he is in the best position to make peace because he personally is committed to doing so... And that because he comes from the right side of the political spectrum, any agreement he reaches would receive wide support.

Now that assertion is being put to the test. And so far, Netanyahu has not demonstrated that he can do what he has always said he could do. After more than a year of deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians, the United States finally, reluctantly, put forward a compromise proposal -- a 13 percent further Israeli withdrawal (from West Bank territory). The Palestinians accepted it, even though it is much less than they had wanted.

But Netanyahu refused, saying such a withdrawal would endanger
Israeli security.  He offered  not  more than 11 percent.  At the
same time, right-wing members of his coalition threaten to bring
down his government if he makes any further withdrawal at all. If Netanyahu and his government are not able, or not willing, to accept a sharply reduced Palestinian demand -- as endorsed by the generally pro-Israel mediator, the United States -- it would appear to throw into question the prime minister's claim to be the best potential peacemaker in Israel. That would be bad news for the Palestinians. As unhappy as they are with Netanyahu's negotiating stance, Palestinian officials fear if they cannot get any agreement at all -- or only one giving them less than what they say is their absolute minimum -- the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority and the moderate approach it represents would come into question. That is an opening for radicalism that would appear to work against the interests of all those involved in the peace process.

Palestinians Mourn 1948 'Catastrophe'

Israel Faxx Staff Report

Carrying black flags of mourning, Palestinians marched through a West Bank refugee camp Monday to mark what they call the "great catastrophe" of Israel's creation 50 years ago. The demonstration, attended by about 3,000 people, kicked off a series of protests leading up to a planned 1 million-person march throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip Thursday, the date 50 years ago when Israel declared independence.

Bank's Gold from Nazi Victims' Teeth

Israel Faxx Staff Report

About 1,320 pounds of gold bars held by Germany's largest commercial bank, Deutsche Bank AG, during World War 2 probably came from melted-down teeth fillings of Holocaust victims, a German researcher said Monday.

Independent researcher Hersch Fischler said it was doubtful that the management of the bank knew where the gold came from because the pre-war Reichsbank central bank, from which Deutsche Bank acquired the gold, kept the origins of these ingots top secret.

Arabs Attack Two Jewish Girls in Hebron

By Arutz-7 News Service

Two Jewish girls from Hebron, 12 and 13, were attacked Sunday night by a group of Arab youths. The girls were on their way from Admot Yeshai (Tel Rumeida) to their homes when they were attacked by the club-wielding Arabs.

One of the girls was treated at the Kiryat Arba Medical Center, and returned later to her home. This is third time in the past week that Arabs have attacked Jewish children in the same area. Hebron representatives demanded that security in the city be bolstered.

Settler Arrested for 'Naked' Rabin Pictures

Israel Faxx Staff Report

A Jewish settler was remanded in police custody Sunday in connection with a photomontage depicting slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in the nude. Itimar Ben Gvir, a known member of the outlawed extremist right-wing Kach movement, was alleged to have created the photomontage and posted it up at a Jewish playground last week.

Israeli media said his fingerprints were on the doctored pictures and court spokesman Moshe Gorali said he was remanded for three days. Police said last week eight pictures of Rabin were glued to a closet at the entrance of a playground of the Dor Shalom peace movement.

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