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PLEASE NOTE: Israel Faxx will not be published on 5/18 and 5/19/98

>Israel Faxx
>JN May 15, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 92

Netanyahu Tells Albright, There's No Hurry

By Ron Pemstein (VOA-State Department)

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright held her second meeting Thursday afternoon with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. There is little progress in the negotiations to resume Israeli-Palestinian talks, and the two sides see different messages in the Palestinian demonstrations.

For the State Department, the deaths of Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza is a clear message that the lack of progress in Washington has its own consequences for Israeli security. State Department spokesman James Rubin links the shooting of the Palestinians with the stalled negotiations.

As for Netanyahu, he is in no hurry. An agreement can happen in days or weeks, he says. As for the Gaza demonstrations, he accuses the Palestinians of fomenting the trouble. "We have concluded a day of riots, bloody riots fomented by the Palestinian Authority. I regret to say that yesterday, the Palestinian media carried speeches by the highest Palestinian leaders fomenting violence, inciting violence and the result was very short to follow."

The lesson of the Palestinian demonstrations for the prime minister is that Israel should control its own security and not accept American proposals that call for Israel to hand over another 13 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians. "We are the ones who

have to live with the consequences - and what we are discussing
here is  not  the price of beef,  not  the percentage of interest
rates.  We are not  discussing matters that relate to the survival
of the United States. Clearly, the United States is very interested in what happens in the Middle East but believe Israel is even more interested than the United States in what happens in the Middle East."

He dismisses the quarrel with the United States as just a family disagreement around the dinner table. He can take that attitude because a majority of the American Congress supports his position. He made that clear after meeting with senators and members of congress at the capitol.

The prime minister dismisses fears Israel may suffer if he does not agree with the American proposals for bridging the gaps. He believes a continuing disagreement will be covered by an elegant way of re-starting negotiations in another direction.

Palestinians Battle IDF, 8 Dead

By Al Pessin (VOA-Ramallah)

At least eight Palestinians have been killed and more than 100 injured in clashes with Israeli troops, during protests Thursday marking the 50 years since Israel was created. About 10 Israeli soldiers were also reported injured.

The occasion: today is known by the PA as Palestinian Catastrophe Day, as the state of Israel was established on this day -- May 14 - 50 years ago. The day started peacefully as groups of workers and students marched to rallies in the autonomous West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip.

In a gesture reminiscent of Israeli commemorations, sirens were sounded at noon for a moment of silence to honor Palestinians who have died fighting for their cause. Then the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, broadcast a speech to the crowds.

Arafat called for the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. He also said Palestinians only fight for peace, and for the right to live in their land and build their future without fear.

Once the official events were over, Palestinian youths headed for Israeli checkpoints outside the autonomous areas and continued the fight. Israeli police and soldiers fired on the Palestinian youths, who threw rocks at bottles at them. There were repeated clashes in Ramallah, Hebron and Bethlehem, in several parts of Gaza, and in Jerusalem. In some areas, Israeli military vehicles were set on fire. It was the worst fighting on the West Bank in nearly two years.

At the Ramallah protest, Lawyer Adnan Barakat said that with the peace process stalled, Palestinians want Israel and the world to know that while they want peace, they have other options as well. "We are here to show all the world that peace is not our only way. We have many changes and options such as intifada (uprising). We are ready to return to the intifada at any time. We are here. This is our land. This is not Benjamin Netanyahu's land or Israeli land. This is our land."

Palestinians made their statement with large peaceful crowds and smaller but very violent riots Thursday. A comprehensive count was not possible, but it appeared hundreds of thousands of people were involved throughout the West Bank and Gaza -- probably well short of the one-million people organizers had hoped for.

Moscow Synagogue Bombed
By Arutz-7 News Service

One pound of explosives made a six-foot-wide hole last night in an outer wall of the Chabad synagogue Marina Rosha, in Moscow, only minutes after 60 girls left the building. The same synagogue was bombed five years ago. Despite the bombing, the traditional Lag Ba'Omer parade was held Thursday in Moscow, under heavy police protection. The Israeli Embassy in Moscow condemned the bombing.

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