Newsletter : 8fax0708.txt
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>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
Rubin also chided the 124 countries that voted in favor of the
resolution, saying they chose a measure that feels good but does
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
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
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
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
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
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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