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>PD OCT. 5, 1994 V2,#181

High Court Refuses to Review Demjanjuk Ruling

By Jane Berger (Washington)

Justice Department officials say they will continue to press for the deportation of accused Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk to his native Ukraine. The Supreme Court this week refused to review a lower court ruling which said the Justice Department fraudulently deceived the courts, Demjanjuk and his lawyers in original legal proceedings.

For the past 17 years, officials at the US Justice Department have been fighting to deport retired auto worker John Demjanjuk on grounds that he was a Nazi war criminal.

In 1986, Demjanjuk was stripped of his US citizenship and extradited to Israel on grounds that he was Ivan the Terrible -- a notoriously brutal Nazi guard at the Treblinka concentration camp during World War 2. Demjanjuk has always insisted he is innocent of the charges -- claiming he was a Red Army soldier who spent most of the war in a German prison camp.

After a long trial in Israel, Demjanjuk was sentenced to death in 1988 for crimes against humanity. Last year, the Israeli Supreme Court reversed the death sentence. The court said new evidence suggested that another man named Ivan Marchenko -- who has not been seen since the end of the war -- was actually Ivan the Terrible.

A US federal appeals court last September ordered the return of Demjanjuk to the United States. In a court ruling late last year, a panel of federal judges accused the Justice Department of misconduct -- saying prosecutors had fraudulently withheld evidence during the original deportation proceeding that could have helped Demjanjuk in his own defense. The Justice Department appealed that ruling to the Supreme Court, but lost its case.

Justice Department officials say there is firm evidence that Demjanjuk served as a Nazi guard at other death camps, including Sobibor, Flossenburg and Regensburg. Officials say they intend to continue pressing for Demjanjuk's deportation because -- in violation of US law -- he lied about his Nazi past on his original immigration papers.

Despite the statements of Justice Department officials, many legal experts believe the Supreme Court's decision to let the lower court ruling stand has effectively destroyed the government's campaign against Demjanjuk. Most experts say they believe the 74-year-old retired auto worker will now be allowed to permanently remain in the United States.

Supreme Court Oks Israel's Haiti Unit

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

Israel's Supreme Court has cleared the way for the dispatch of 30 Israeli police officers to join the international force in Haiti.

The ruling late Tuesday rejects a suit which claimed Israel's government does not have the power to send troops overseas, except in the direct defense of the country. Five justices, convened as a special panel, did not explain their ruling, but will do so in a formal opinion at a later date.

The government argued that it could send the officers to Haiti in part because it is operating under a United Nations resolution. Speaking before the court on Tuesday, the government attorney said Israel has benefitted from the creation of international forces in the past, and must now make its contribution to such efforts.

This will be the first time Israel is joining an international force. It has not done so before in part because other countries, particularly Arab countries, would have refused to participate if Israel did.

Speaking after the ruling was announced, the spokesman for the Israeli police said the 30 volunteers would be leaving soon, perhaps as early as today, to help with the training of a new Haitian police force.

Rabin Meets with Chinese VIP

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

Chinese Vice-Premier Zou Jiahua met with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv Tuesday for talks which officially covered mainly economic issues. There was no word of much discussion of some of the most interesting and contentious aspects of Israel-China relations.

The Chinese Vice-Premier is traveling with a delegation of economic officials and is planning to visit several Israeli factories, farms and corporate headquarters during his four-day visit. Officials say he is looking to expand economic relations with Israel in agriculture, transportation, telecommunications and the chemical industry.

Israel and China had civilian trade of $87 million last year -- which was their first full year of diplomatic relations. In addition, the two countries have long been reported to have substantial and secret military trade.

At the same time, they disagree over China's military relations with Iran and Iraq. China has been reported to have sold missiles to both countries -- which could pose a threat to Israel. China denies the reports. And Rabin's spokesman -- Oded Ben Ami -- says the question of Chinese missile sales did not come up specifically in Tuesday's meeting. But the spokesman says Rabin did mention to Zou what he sees as the most significant danger in the Middle East today, even as many of its nations pursue peace.

"Prime Minister Rabin said that in the Middle East, or in this region, as he said, there are two trends -- a trend for peace, but at the same time there is a trend of terrorism carried (out) by extreme Islamic fundamentalist organizations supported and inspired by Iran."

The prime minister's spokesman says Rabin also thanked China for its support of the peace process and for the Palestinian autonomy areas in Gaza and Jericho. The spokesman says Zou expressed satisfaction with the progress toward peace in the Middle East and pledged that China's support will continue.

Palestinian Talks Continue

By Peyman Pejman (Cairo)

Palestinian and Israeli negotiators continued their talks in Cairo Tuesday in hopes of agreeing on a timetable for elections in the Palestinian-held areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Talks between the Palestinian and Israeli teams are in their second day, but it is not yet clear how much success negotiators have had so far. The main point they are discussing is when to hold local elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Palestinians want them held by November 1, but Israel says that would be too soon.

The two sides also hold different views on the size and nature of the council which the Palestinians will have to elect. The Palestinian side wants the legislative council to include 100 members. Israel says the Declaration of Principles Agreement signed last September calls for a small cabinet-style administrative body.

Still in dispute is the timetable for Israel to finish withdrawing its troops from the West Bank. The Palestinians want a quick troop withdrawal. But Israel argues it will take a long time because there are more Jewish settlements in the West Bank that still need protection from Israeli security forces.

Symbolic Handshakes Continue with Tunisia

By Ron Pemstein (State Department)

Tunisia and Israel have publicly declared their willingness to work together for a comprehensive peace in the Middle East. The event was staged at the State Department where Secretary of State Warren Christopher is preparing his fifth trip to the Middle East since May.

This was another of those symbolic handshakes that have almost become routine since September of last year when Israel and the PLO made the first one. In the latest version Tuesday, Tunisia's Foreign Minister Habib Ben Yahia shook hands with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres at the State Department as they met with Christopher.

The Tunisian and Israeli ministers had already completed their business behind closed doors in New York on Saturday when they agreed to set up economic liaison offices in Tunis and Tel Aviv. The public handshake for reporters here in Washington was an acknowledgment that full diplomatic relations between them are not far away. Foreign Minister Ben Yahia says a new chapter has been opened.

"Today we look forward to a new chapter in the history of the region. It is our hope that this chapter will witness the establishment of a climate that fosters cooperation and mutual understanding in the whole region, promotes ties of trust and cooperation and leads to establishment of ties based on respect and dignity."

Tunisia has followed Morocco in building on the Israeli-Palestinian agreement to establish the beginning of diplomatic ties with Israel. On Friday, Saudi Arabia and five other Gulf states partially lifted their economic boycott against Israel. On Monday, Peres was at the White House with Jordan's Crown Prince Hassan to announce their intention to work toward a full peace treaty.

The next step is Syria. Christopher will meet Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al Shara here on Thursday before Christopher leaves for the Middle East on Saturday. He will visit Israel, Syria, Jordan and Egypt on his fifth trip to the Middle East since May.

Christopher says once again not to expect breakthroughs. "We'll be working to narrow the gaps. We'll be working to try to help the parties reach common ground. I don't want to create an expectation that would lead to disappointment if we just make steady progress. My whole goal in this is to help the parties make steady progress. In the last weeks and months I believe it's fair to say that we have been making good sequential progress but please don't get your expectations up too high."

US officials say there are real gaps between Israel and Syria on the basic issue of Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights. After achieving progress between Israel and the PLO and Israel and Jordan, the United States now sees more progress between Israel and Tunisia following the steps by the Gulf states last Friday weakening the boycott.

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