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>PD OCT.4, 1994 V2, #180
Rabin Castigates Golan Settlers
By Patricia Golan (Jerusalem)
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin says settlers in the Golan
Heights must not stand in the way of a chance for real peace with
Syria. Rabin spoke to a stormy opening session of parliament in
Jerusalem, where he was repeatedly heckled by opposition members
who accused him of abandoning Zionist ideals.
Rabin's remarks caused an uproar in the Knesset, Israel's
parliament, which on Monday began its winter session. Addressing
Israelis sent to live on the Golan Heights, Rabin asked, "If there
is now a chance to end the wars, mustn't we take it?" But he added
that only satisfactory security arrangements will allow Israel to
take the chance of withdrawing.
He promised again that any significant change on the Golan would
be presented to the public on a referendum. Public opinion polls
show Israelis are almost evenly split over whether Israel should
withdraw from the heights.
From the start of his speech, Rabin was heckled by opposition
members who accused him of selling out the nation. One right-wing
opposition member used a portable stereo system to play a recording
of a speech Rabin made two years earlier, when he pledged that
Israel would not relinquish the Golan Heights. The member was
The prime minister declared that the new year may be a year of
peace with the Palestinians and Israel's Arab neighbors. He
said: in his words, "The telephone is ringing from Gaza, from
Jericho, from Amman, from Damascus and Beirut. There is someone
on the other end who is ready to talk peace. We were the most
determined warriors in battle," Rabin declared, "Now we must
prove to be the best at making peace. "
Opposition Likud head Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Rabin's
speech by saying that Israel's military presence on the Golan
Heights is what has prevented war with Syria. He accused the
ruling Labor Party of abandoning the principles which had led to
the creation of the state. At that point, Rabin and other
top ministers then walked out of the chamber, although they later
Rabin had originally planned to turn his speech and the opening of
parliament into a vote of confidence for his government, but as a
result of internal Labor Party disputes he dropped the proposal.
Peres and Hassan Meet in Washington
By David Borgida (Washington)
Israel and Jordan -- with the help of the United States -- have
announced new agreements on joint ventures as they continue to work
toward completion of a full peace treaty. The agreements were
announced Monday following a White House meeting.
Jordanian Crown Prince Hassan, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon
Peres and President Clinton met for about an hour Monday, and
afterward, they announced a series of Jordanian-Israeli joint
ventures on the economy, the environment and on tourism.
Clinton said the new agreements represent what he called the
building blocks for the future. "Promoting trade, development and
cooperation rather than restraining and hindering normal economic
relations should be the hallmark of the new Middle East -- and
Jordan and Israel are leading the way."
Just two months ago, in another White House ceremony, Jordan's
King Hussein and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin proclaimed
an end to more than 40 years of war between the two countries.
The two countries are still negotiating a full peace treaty, and
though there was some speculation it was near completion, talks
still remain, with completion believed to be months away. Still,
senior US officials say the agreements announced Monday "exceeded
These US officials sought to assure reporters after Monday's
announcement negotiators seeking this Israeli-Jordanian peace
treaty are continuing the process of normalization of relations.
And they said the two sides are seeking not just a treaty of
peace, a political peace, but a treaty of friendship and
Included in the agreements announced Monday are an opening for a
new northern border crossing for third party nationals, and the
convening of a conference on a possible canal project between the
Red Sea and the Dead Sea.
The United States, according to senior officials here, will provide
some financial help for these and other projects -- aid that will
amount to thousands, not millions, of dollars.
Negotiators Discuss Palestinian Timetable
By Peyman Pejman (Cairo)
Palestinian and Israeli negotiators met in Cairo to discuss a
timetable for elections in Palestinian-controlled areas of the West
Bank and Gaza Strip. The timing of local elections in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip was the main topic on the agenda for the Cairo
Last month, the Palestinian National Authority said it wanted
elections held by November. It also authorized Saeb Erakat, who
heads the Palestinian team to the Cairo talks, to open nine
But, Israel is opposed to elections at that time. The Israeli
government says the date is too soon, and accused the Palestinian
authority of trying to pressure Israel on the issue.
Israel says it is against the idea because it believes the
Palestinian Authority is still unable to properly administer the
area, and control the Muslim fundamentalist Hamas group -- which
has been attacking Israelis from self-rule areas.
The two negotiating teams also discussed a plan for Israel to
complete the withdrawal of its troops from the West Bank. Israel
says completing the pull-out from the West Bank will take a long
time. It says the task is more difficult than withdrawing from the
Gaza Strip and Jericho, because there are more Jewish settlements
in the West Bank that need protection from Israeli security forces.
Iraqi Defectors Now in Israel
By Patricia Golan (Jerusalem)
At least 35 former Iraqi soldiers who defected from the Iraqi army
in the last two years wound up in Israel, where they were
imprisoned as infiltrators. Now, Israel's Supreme Court has issued
a temporary injunction preventing the state from deporting the men,
and requiring the authorities to prove why they should not be
granted political asylum.
All of the Iraqis arrived in Israel via Jordan. In each of the
cases, the men were picked up by Israeli troops as they were
crossing the border and then were thrown into jail. The Israeli
Interior Ministry issued deportation orders to all the men,
maintaining that an unnamed Arab country is willing to take them
The Iraqis petitioned the Supreme Court two months ago, asking to
be granted the status of refugees, and given political asylum.
They are being represented by the Association of Civil Rights in
Israel, which was asked to help them by the United Nations high
commissioner for refugees.
Zvi Rish is the lawyer representing the men in court. He says
that as signatory to the International Convention on Refugees
Israel is obligated to help the men, although it is unclear
whether the state is required to grant them permanent refuge.
Rish argues that, at the very least, Israel should grant them
temporary shelter and allow them to work, until a country is
found which will take them in, and where their lives will not
be in danger.
The names of the former Iraqi soldiers have not been published
to protect relatives still in Iraq. Many of the men have managed to
learn Hebrew while in prison. One man, interviewed on Israel Radio,
explained why he and his fellow defectors fled to Israel.
"Everyone knows we have had 13 years of war in Iraq and what it is
like living there," he says. "I only want to live in a good place
-- nothing else -- we are not thieves, we have not traded in
drugs, so why are we sitting in prison?"
On Monday, the Supreme Court ordered the state to explain within
30 days why it should not prevent the expulsion of the Iraqis,
whose deportation orders say they must leave the country by 1995.
Syria Says No to Golan Heights Compromise
By Elaine Johanson (United Nations)
Syria says it will not compromise on the Golan Heights. In remarks
to the United Nations General Assembly Monday, Foreign Minister
Farouk al-Shara ignored an Israeli appeal last week for direct
high-level meetings -- with the Golan issue still the
sticking-point in the peace effort.
The Syrian foreign minister says his government wants peace. But
he says it will accept no delays or compromises on the return of
the Golan Heights, which Israel captured during the 1967 Middle
East war. In his speech at the UN, al-Shara warned the peace
process will be endangered if Israel demands too much.
Israel has indicated it might agree to a partial, phased withdrawal
from the Golan. Syria wants it done immediately and completely
before it would even discuss the possibility of normalizing
relations. Syria also wants Israel to withdraw from south Lebanon,
where Israel patrols the border to ward off attacks on its northern
The Syrian foreign minister also criticized Jordan and the
Palestine Liberation Organization, both of whom achieved partial
accords with Israel. He said neither the PLO nor Jordan -- by
making separate deals -- has been able to contribute toward a
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