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>PD OCTOBER 20, 1994 V2, #192

Terrorist Attack Kills 22, Injures 48 in Central Tel Aviv

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem) and Deborah Tate (White House)

Jewish demonstrators gathered in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Wednesday evening to protest the bombing of a bus in Tel Aviv earlier in the day, which killed 22 Israelis and injured 42 more. The radical Palestinian group Hamas claimed responsibility.

Demonstrators chanted "Death to the Arabs" and carried signs reading "This is not peace, it's terror," while Israeli police and soldiers were out in force to prevent violence. The protestors were angry about the third Hamas attack in nine days, which was the most deadly strike against Israelis since 1978.

The police say it was a bomb weighing between 22 and 50 pounds that went off in a crowded bus near Tel Aviv's central square Wednesday morning. The bus was left a mass of twisted metal and dead bodies, many of them dismembered. Witnesses reported the bus driver was decapitated and parts of bodies were mixed with broken glass and metal along the street.

The attack took place at 8:36 a.m. Israel time (1:36 a.m. EDT).

A preliminary investigation reveals that a suicide bomber entered the bus carrying explosives. Apparently, when the bus came to a stop along its route on Dizengoff Street, the explosives were detonated. The charge destroyed the bus, struck passengers both at a bus stop and on a second bus that was passing, and damaged surrounding buildings.

Israel closed the autonomous Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank, where Hamas and other radical groups are based.

The leader of the Palestinian Autonomy Authority, Yasir Arafat, joined Israeli leaders in condemning the bombing, and offered to help find those responsible. Efforts by the Palestinian authority to help solve last week's kidnapping of an Israeli soldier resulted in large demonstrations in Gaza by Hamas supporters. Arafat appears to be caught between Israel's demands that he crack down on terrorists and concern about a potential Palestinian civil war if he does.

In a statement issued by his office in Gaza, Arafat offered condolences to the families of the victims, and said it is important to continue the peace process, so as not to hand the radicals a victory.

Hamas, which claimed responsibility for Wednesday's bombing, is very active in Gaza. But experts say its supporters in the West bank operate fairly independently, and likely were the ones who carried out the bombing.

Arafat also telephoned Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres to offer condolences and help in finding those responsible for the bombing.

Many Israelis, including opposition leaders, called for an end to the peace process because of the continuing Palestinian terrorism. And Israeli officials say they will not expand autonomy if the autonomous areas are used as bases for terrorism. But Israeli Health Minister Ephraim Sneh said Wednesday -- while visiting the wounded at a Tel Aviv hospital -- that the government will pursue two parallel policies.

"We are going to fight the terrorists, to defeat them, to kill them, and to proceed with the peace process. The Israeli people understand that this is a continuation of a struggle which lasts for 100 years. We are fighting for our existence here, and this is a part of this fight."

In phone calls to Israeli media, a man describing himself as a representative of the "Hamas deportees" claimed responsibility for Wednesday's blast. Israel expelled more than 400 members of the radical palestinian group to Lebanon for several months in 1992. The caller said some deportees studied explosives while in Lebanon, and he promised there will be more such attacks.

Also, Wednesday morning in Jerusalem, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli soldier. The soldier was wounded slightly and the attacker got away.

Israel's prime minister and its police minister cut short trips abroad to return to Israel after the bombing. Some Palestinian leaders expressed concern about potential Israeli retaliation.

Efforts by the Palestinian authority to help solve last week's kidnapping of an Israeli soldier resulted in large demonstrations in Gaza by Hamas supporters.

Israel's main bus company ordered all its buses nationwide to stop wherever they were Wednesday morning and search for bombs and suspicious packages. Hospitals in Tel Aviv put out a call for blood donors amid efforts to care for the injured.

President Clinton condemned Wednesday's terrorist bombing as "an outrage against the conscience of the world." The president said those who are responsible for the bombing are enemies of peace and enemies of those working to create a better future for the people of the region.

Peres Vows Israel Will Find Those Responsible for Attack

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres told the Knesset that the government

"will take all necessary measures to find those responsible for the attack."

Peres continued, vowing that "We will use all the power we have against them". President Ezer Weizman said he is confident that the IDF and security forces will find those responsible for the attack. The president added that "achieving peace is a difficult struggle, we know there are enemies of peace who will make great efforts to stop it. We must stay brave and keep a strong belief in the future."

In addition to PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat's condemnation of the attack, he added that strengthening and completing the peace process is the main answer to the extreme forces who oppose it.

Leaders from around the world, including Egyptian President Mubarak and Pope John Paul II, have also condemned the attack and sent condolence messages to Israel. President Clinton called the bombing "an outrage against the conscience of the world."

Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu said on CNN that Gaza and Jericho serve as a refuge for terrorists and Israeli-released terrorists are returning to murder Jews.

This is expected to have severe repercussions for the Rabin government as it strikes home to many Israelis who felt alienated from settlers and the West Bank. The explosion takes the battle to the very heart of Israel, Hatikvah News Service reports, and proves that Jews are no longer safe anywhere in Israel.

Clinton Set to Visit Jerusalem After Israeli-Jordanian Signing


Intensive preparations for the signing ceremony next Wednesday of

an Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty are taking place near the site of the ceremony, a border crossing station just north of Eilat. Both Israeli and Jordanian military officials have been clearing minefields . Teams from both sides are preparing the site for the estimated 5,000 guests, including many world leaders, who are expected to attend. U.S. President Bill Clinton, accompanied by a large U.S. delegation, is scheduled to arrive in Israel Wednesday morning and will go directly to the ceremony. Then, he will travel to Amman before returning to Israel on Thursday. The U.S. president is scheduled to address the Knesset, visit Jerusalem's Old City, meet Israeli leaders and visit Yad Vashem - Israel's memorial to the Holocaust.

Israeli police are taking a series of special measures to prepare for Clinton's visit. Officials in Washington said that senior representatives from Qatar, Oman and Tunisia may attend next Wednesday's signing ceremony. U.S. officials are reportedly trying to get representatives from Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf nations to also attend the event. After the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty is signed, Israelis and Jordanians would be allowed to travel between the two countries.

The official 15-page text of the treaty between Israel and Jordan has not been released, but according to an Israeli senior official, the main provisions include: Border demarcation: Israel and Jordan agreed to respect the 1922 British Mandate map, while Israeli farmers would not be forced off lands currently being cultivated. Jordan accepted some 18 square miles of the Arava in exchange for these lands.

"We gave them inch for inch. Jordan did not lose an inch of

territory," the official said. He admitted Israel wrongfully seized Jordanian land in the Arava, saying it was fair for Israel to trade for such territory if it sought to keep some of these fields. "We are not a nation of land grabbers."

Other areas will come under Jordan sovereignty, but be

immediately leased back for 25 years, with an option to renew. They are: 2,000 dunams farmed by Kibbutz Tsofar in the Arava and 800 dunams near the Yarmuk River called Naharayim. Israeli policemen will be allowed to enter the territory with weapons for self-defense.

Investors from Israel, Jordan, the United States, Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand signed an agreement Tuesday to establish a large tourist project in the Jordan Valley. The project, estimated to cost over $1 billion, has been titled "The City of Peace." A formal announcement about the project will be made at the upcoming Middle East/North Africa Economic Conference in Casablanca, Morocco. The World Bank has said it will assist in financing the project, but will not announce its level of funding until the meeting in Casablanca convenes. The plan reportedly calls for the building of a large artificial lake and the construction of 10,000 hotel rooms. Project organizers expect 2 million visitors by the second year of operation.

Tourist Beaten and Molested

Hatikvah News Service

A Jewish tourist from Spain, 24 years old, was abused and attacked physically and sexually by Arabs in East Jerusalem adjacent to the tomb of Zecariah.

The tourist, Chava Bounet, who has been in Israel for two

months, went to pray at the prophets tomb. Three Arab youths approached her and told her to "get out. You are Jewish and this is not a Jewish area." She left immediately, and the three followed.

They knocked her to the ground, choked her, broke her nose,

and burnt candles on her body. The three then assaulted the young tourist sexually.

After being released the following day from the hospital, she

returned to the scene with police. She spotted one of the attackers, an Arab from East Jerusalem. Police made the arrest.

Austrian Neo-Nazis Plan Weekend Rally

By Wayne Corey (Vienna)

The Austrian Government is preparing for possible trouble in connection with a planned rally of neo-Nazis or extreme rightists this weekend.

Thousands of Austrian, German and Italian extreme rightists are expected to hold a rally in Innsbruck. The purpose of the gathering is to mark the division of the Tyrol region between Austria and Italy after the First World War. Six anti-fascist organizations have announced they will hold counter-demonstrations against the neo-Nazi gathering.

Since clashes could break out, the Austrian government plans to send 800 riot police and additional anti-riot equipment to Innsbruck to deal with any trouble that may develop.

The government is still investigating a series of recent letter bomb incidents in Austria. The incidents are suspected of having been carried out by extreme rightists who oppose immigrants.

The incidents had no effect on the recent Austrian general election. The far right-wing Freedom Party strengthened its position in parliament. The party won the third highest number of seats.

Syrian Chief Rabbi Makes Aliyah

Rabbi Avraham Hamra, Damascus' chief rabbi and his family arrived

in Israel Wednesday. Hamra was among the last Jews allowed to leave Syria. Since April 1992, when Syrian President Hafez Assad decided to allow Jews to leave, 3,670 Jews have left Syria, 1,262 of them immigrating to Israel. Syrian authorities have allowed Jews to leave on the condition that they do not immigrate to Israel. Due to this restriction, many came first to the United States before going on to Israel. All 230 Jews who remain in Syria have the proper documents needed to leave the country.

Is Queen Elizabeth II Politicking to Become Russia's Next Czar?

By Elizabeth Arrott (St. Petersburg)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth is in St. Petersburg, part of a historic journey as the first British monarch to visit Russia. Residents there have given a warm welcome to the cousin of Russia's last czar.

Students at the University of St. Petersburg almost gasped in unison as the British monarch entered their lecture hall. The diminutive queen has been making similarly big impressions throughout her visit to Russia, but perhaps nowhere is interest higher than here in St. Petersburg, home for 200 years to Russia's last imperial dynasty.

It has been nearly 80 years since Russia was a monarchy. The Bolsheviks in 1918 murdered the last czar, a distant cousin of the British queen. The Soviet line on royalty was to emphasize the unfairness of such privilege as well as to focus on the excesses and scandal that surrounded the czar's family.

Does all this interest in her visit have any greater implications for Russia, a country still reeling from seven decades of communism and trying to cope with the transition to democracy and a free market?

There is a tiny royalist party here now, though a recent survey indicated less than 10 percent of the population would like to see the monarchy restored.

A middle-aged businessman was asked what he thought about a new czar for the country. "That, I do not know about," he says. Apparently, it strikes him as rather unlikely.

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