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>Israel Faxx
>JN June 23, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 108

Holocaust Survivors' Lawyer Threatens Swiss Banks

Israel Faxx Staff Report

A New York lawyer representing 31,000 Holocaust victims and relatives suing Swiss banks threatened Monday to step up U.S. court action next month in the absence of a settlement. Ed Fagan repeated his rejection of an offer by three Swiss banks last week to settle Holocaust-era claims for $600 million. "The banks have a real hard time using the "b-word" -- billions."


Rabin Assassination Conspirators Appeal Verdict

Israel Faxx Staff Report

Yitzhak Rabin's assassin, his brother and a third religious Jew appealed to Israel's Supreme Court Monday against their convictions for conspiring to kill the prime minister.

Yigal Amir, who is serving a life term for pulling the trigger in the November 1995 murder, was sentenced to an additional five years in prison in the 1996 conspiracy trial. His brother Hagai was jailed for 12 years and Dror Adani was given a seven-year sentence. A Supreme Court spokesman said the court would render its decision at a later date which was not specified.


Jerusalem's Boundaries to be Extended

By Mark Lavie (VOA-Tel Aviv)

Israel's Cabinet approved a controversial plan to extend control of Jerusalem's city government to surrounding areas, including parts of the West Bank. The Israeli plan is to create an umbrella municipality, to include Jerusalem and its suburbs, including two large Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Palestinians charge this is a thinly-disguised Israeli scheme to annex parts of the West Bank to Israel. Palestinian leader Abu Ala warns that it could lead to violence.

He said, there is no doubt this plan by the Israeli Cabinet will have great influence on the cycle of violence. He warned it will kill the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

The State Department called the plan provocative, and warned it could undermine negotiations. The Israelis say it is just an administrative step to improve services to Jerusalem's residents, both Jews and Arabs.

The Israeli officials say the idea is to co-ordinate transportation and other services, as well as area planning. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the Palestinian objections to the Jerusalem plan -- "ridiculous."

The Palestinians point to the part of the plan that calls for regional planning and construction. They say this is a way to add more Jewish neighborhoods to the area in the West Bank around east Jerusalem, where Palestinians live. The Palestinians want to create their own state, with east Jerusalem as its capital. A plan Israel's government strongly opposes.

The Israelis point to another clause in the agreements which declares Jerusalem is not part of the interim accords. Therefore, the Israelis say they have the right to maintain and develop their capital.

Jerusalem is one of the toughest issues to be tackled by Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. Israel claims the whole city as its capital, including the part where the Palestinians live that was captured by Israel in the 1967 war. No other country has recognized Israel's annexation of east Jerusalem, including the walled Old City, a site holy to Muslims, Jews and Christians.

With peace negotiations stalemated for nearly a year and one-half, Palestinians suspect any step the Israeli government takes in Jerusalem is meant to erode the basis for an eventual Palestinian presence there.

Some Israelis also object to the plan. These Israelis -- who live in suburbs outside Jerusalem, in Israel proper -- demonstrated against the plan to annex their cities and towns to Jerusalem, no matter how Israel's leaders explain it.


Practical Joke in Bus Alerts Police

By IsraelWire

Students riding in a bus last week alarmed motorists and alerted police with a sign which they thought was a practical joke. In the window of the bus they hung a sign reading, "Help. We have been kidnapped." As the bus was making its way with the ninth graders from Tel-Aviv to a Beersheva school, police acted to apprehend the "kidnappers."

On the road between Yavne and Ashdod, a taxi driver saw the sign, and he immediately notified police. Police believed it may have been a bus hijacked by terrorists.

Tens of police units began heading towards the bus as elite units were activated to deal with what was believed to be a hostage situation. A police helicopter was also ordered to take off and standby.

Waving their weapons, police ordered the driver of the bus to pull over. The driver, not understanding what was taking place, immediately complied with the large police force.

Several minutes later, it was realized that it was not a kidnapping, but just some kids who thought they were having a good time. Police failed to see the humor in the event, and the occupants of the bus were questioned by police in the Rechovot station. A criminal file was opened against he youth who made the sign.


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