Newsletter : 0fax0616.txt
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>JN June 16, 2000, Vol. 8, No. 103
Jordanians Complete Hebrew Course
Twenty Jordanian academics and intellectuals completed a Hebrew
course last week in the Jordanian capital, HaTzofe reported. The
course, consisting of 40 academic hours of basic Hebrew
instruction, was initiated by the Israeli embassy in Jordan and was
designed to ease psychological barriers between Jordanians and
Israelis. Course participants expressed the desire to continue
their study of Hebrew at more advanced levels.
Arafat and Clinton Schmooze for 3+ hours
By David Gollust (VOA-White House)
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat met President Clinton
Thursday to urge a more forceful U.S. role in troubled
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, though the Clinton administration
says it is not in a position to pressure either side.
The meeting lasted more than three hours, twice as long as
expected. And Arafat emerged to appeal publicly for a stronger
American role in the negotiating process, accusing Israeli Prime
Minister Ehud Barak of lacking the desire to move toward a
comprehensive peace deal with the Palestinians.
Expert-level negotiations between the sides resumed this week at
two Washington-area airbases but have made no apparent headway, and
were marked Wednesday by a Palestinian walkout over alleged Israeli
bad-faith on prisoner releases.
Arafat has been calling for U.S. intervention to advance the talks
and -- heard through an interpreter -- he made the point again in
a session with reporters after meeting Clinton: "At this difficult
time, and in the face of the obstacles, we are facing in the
negotiations, we really do need the assistance and help of
White House spokesman P.J. Crowley, who briefed reporters on what
he called a "very serious" meeting with Arafat, said the
administration stands ready, as always, to help the sides narrow
the gaps on the final status issues, which include Palestinian
statehood and the status of Jerusalem. However, he insisted there
will be no U.S. pressure tactics against either side.
"We are not in a position to pressure them. We are actually in a
position to help one as always understand the needs of the other,
to help them define where the real issues are, and in many cases
act at the right time to provide a bridge that can help them toward
a resolution. So this is not about pressure that we are putting on
either the Palestinians or Israel."
Crowley said Clinton, who spoke by telephone with Barak late
Wednesday, believes the sides need to make more progress on the
issues before it would be advisable to convene a Camp David-style
three-way summit to try to nail down an agreement.
Israel Radio says the Barak government, once resistant to the
summit idea, is now the one pushing hardest for it -- believing
that at least a framework of the final accord should be concluded
though a summit before Israel undertakes a new phase of troop
pullbacks in the West Bank.
Arafat, in his talk with reporters here, said he is duty-bound to
declare Palestinian statehood Sept. 13th, with or without a final
status deal with the Israelis -- his comment drawing a renewed
White House admonition against unilateral actions.
Israel Fires on United Nations Mapmakers
By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israeli soldiers have fired warning shots near a United Nations
team trying to map the tense border with southern Lebanon. The
incident forced the suspension of UN efforts to establish the
Israeli soldiers manning an observation post on the Lebanese border
fired warning shots at the ground and over the heads of members of
a United Nations team mapping the international border.
The incident occurred near the Lebanese border village of
Abbassiyeh, when the UN peacekeepers, Lebanese army officers and a
group of journalists approached a gate facing the Israeli village
of Misgav-Am. There were no reports of injuries, and the Israeli
army is investigating the incident.
The mapping team suspended efforts to inspect the border, and UN
officials say they will seek security guarantees before resuming
their work. The UN mapmakers have almost completed drawing the
international border to determine whether Israel's withdrawal from
south Lebanon last month complies with UN resolutions.
The United Nations is planning to deploy more soldiers along the
border, but only after UN inspectors verify the withdrawal is
Handicapped Man Kills Self: Places Wheelchair on Train Tracks
A 41-year-old Netanya resident took his own life on Monday by
placing himself in his wheelchair on train tracks. The train
arrived at the crossing at the entrance to Hadera early in the
morning, on schedule, striking Nathan Manshrov.
According to a taxi driver who was passing the area, he saw
Manshrov move himself onto the tracks and then sit there, waiting
for the train to arrive.
The train's motorman saw the man in his wheelchair as the train
headed northbound and immediately sounded the horn while trying to
stop but it was too late. Police did not indicate if a note was
left by the deceased but based on the eyewitness report; they do
believe the death was a suicide.
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