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>Israel Faxx
>JN July 8, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 119

U.N. Votes to Upgrade Palestinians' Observer Status

By Rick Nunez (VOA-Washington) & Max Ruston (United Nations)

US officials are disappointed with Tuesday's vote by the UN General Assembly to upgrade the status of the body's Palestinian observer mission. The State Department fears the action could jeopardize the already fragile Mideast peace process:

Spokesman James Rubin calls the vote a mistake that sets an unfavorable precedent in Israeli -- Palestinian talks: "It may be a symbolic victory for some, but it makes it harder to prevent the two sides from not taking unilateral actions that can harm the peace process."

Rubin also chided the 124 countries that voted in favor of the resolution, saying they chose a measure that feels good but does no good.

He said US diplomats had urged Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat not to seek the enhanced status for his delegation. Washington believes the matter should be reserved for final status talks between Israel and the Palestine Authority. Those negotiations would also address the future of Jerusalem, border demarcation and other contentious issues.

Rubin dismissed charges that Israel had brought the UN Palestinian vote on itself by stalling during the peace talks. The State Department spokesman says now is not the time to resort to name-calling, given the delicate state of the Mideast dialogue.

Addressing the status of those talks, Rubin said US diplomats are working extremely hard to bridge remaining gaps. But he cautioned that the United States will not be able to achieve a peace objective unless Israel and the Palestinians reach a deal soon.

The resolution was passed with 124 votes in favor, four opposed and 10 abstentions. It gives the Palestine Liberation Organization many of the rights at the United Nations given only to full member nations, despite the PLO's continued status as an observer mission. It gives the PLO the right to participate in debates of the General Assembly and to co-sponsor resolutions. But it does not give it the right to vote or seek election to UN posts.

Wiesenthal Center Provides Croatia with Vital Information

By IsraelWire

The Wiesenthal Center has presented the Croatian government with the evidence against World War 2 concentration camp commander Dinko Sakic, who is scheduled to stand trial for his war crimes. Ephraim Zuroff of the Wiesenthal Center met Foreign Minister Mate Granic and Deputy Justice Minister Snjezana Bagic in Zagreb. He reported having submitted documentation pertaining to Sakic's wife, Esperanza, implicating her in war crimes as well.

Sakic was a commander of Stara Gradiska camp and a deputy commander of Jasenovac from 1942 to 1944, both camps which were run by the brutal Nazi-backed Ustashe regime. The Ustashe regime was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies. Jasenovac was known as the "Auschwitz of the Balkans." About 85,000 people were killed in the camp.

In June 1985, Sakic was extradited from Argentina where he was living for the last 50-years.

The Wiesenthal Center said evidence from camp survivors in 1945-46 in Yugoslavia proved Sakic's wife Esperanza was a guard at Stara Gradiska from the age of 16.

IDF Soldier Claims He Wants to Kill Arabs

By IsraelWire

An unidentified IDF soldier was admitted to the Shalvata Psychiatric Facility after telling his commanders he wanted a gun to kill Arabs. According to a radio report, the soldier, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, began his IDF service Sunday.

He told his commanders that he wanted a gun to kill Arabs. He also told them that he was sent by God to kill the Arabs and he needed to do this. He was referred to members of the IDF Medical Corps and then to psychiatric specialists who ordered he be committed for observation.

The soldier was interviewed by Reshet Bet Radio, and told them he was mentally sound but just made the statements to get out of the army. He said that his friends told him what to say, and it would get him released from the army as it did for them. The soldier stated he was too "fragile" and unaccustomed to the army life and had to get out.

Neo-Nazis Victorious in a Boston Court

By IsraelWire

A federal court judge ruled that the city of Boston violated the Freedom of Speech rights of white supremacists (neo-Nazis), when it rejected a request to hold a march in 1994.

Judge George O'Toole struck down the city's parade permit ordinance, saying it violated the constitutional rights of Richard Barrett and his Mississippi-based Nationalist Movement.

The judge stated the city ordinance gave the city too much authority to deny permits based on the political affiliation of the persons requesting a permit. The Boston municipality was ordered to pay Barrett damages close to $80,000.

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