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>PD Dec. 12, 1994 V2, #222

Arafat's wife is pregnant

Yasir Arafat's wife, Suha, is one month pregnant. "The timing is good," she said. "It will be the child of peace. I can say it is a double blessing...the Nobel Prize and the baby." The baby will be the first child for 65-year-old Arafat and his wife, 31.

Nobel Peace Prize Awarded

By Barry Wood (Oslo)

Yasir Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres Saturday were awarded the Nobel Peace Price for their efforts to build peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Only 81 people have received the Nobel Peace Prize, which was first awarded in 1901. The prize bears the name of its founder -- Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel -- who died in 1895. Nobel endowed four other prizes -- for physics, chemistry, medicine, and literature. In 1968, the Swedish National Bank added a further Nobel Prize for Economics.

The Peace Prize is the only Nobel not presented in Nobel's native Sweden. Sensitive to Norwegian resistance to Swedish domination, Nobel's will decreed that the prestigious Peace Prize should be the work of the Norwegian parliament. That body appoints the five members of the Nobel Peace Prize selection committee.

While all of the Nobel Prizes are presented on Dec.10th -- the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death -- Oslo, with the Peace Prize, attracts the most attention. Last year, Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk received the Peace Prize. Other recent winners include Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990, the Dalai Lama in 1989, Desmond Tutu in 1984, Lech Walesa in 1983, and Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin in 1978.

This year's selection of Arafat was controversial. One member of the selection committee resigned in protest. In the handsome city park adorned with a multitude of Christmas lights and displays, there have been orderly, but noisy, protests. At one end of the park, a group of Israelis and American Jews shouted that Arafat is a murderer. At the other end, a group of Norwegians held a torchlight vigil and sang the John Lennon song, "Give peace a chance." Dozens of heavily armed police separated the two groups.

There was solemnity in the Nobel ceremony. There was a sense that this peace process is the capstone in the careers of men who are growing old. Arafat -- an expectant father at age 65 -- appeared in his trademark olive military uniform and kafiya. He spoke somberly and deliberately, praising his Israeli co-recipients, and almost pleading for more tangible progress in attaining freedom for Palestinians.

Peres, 70, recalled his desperate childhood in White Russia, his early arrival in Palestine, and the building of the State of Israel. He outlined a vision of regional peace and cooperation.

But it was the 72-year-old Rabin who consciously embraced centuries of history. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said, is the most difficult in the Middle East, and yet it can and must be resolved.The solemn ceremony lasted two hours. In the presence of the Norwegian king and queen, one after another, the peace laureates delivered their Nobel lectures. The common theme was peace and remembrance for those who have died during decades of conflict.

Israelis/Arabs Equivocal Over Nobel Prize

By Susan Sappir (Jerusalem)

The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Israeli and Palestinian leaders was met at home with reactions ranging from lukewarm support to furious opposition.

A group of Israeli women expressed their opposition in a dramatic send-up of the Nobel Prize. On a central Jerusalem street they re-enacted the Oslo ceremony. "Mr. Yasir Arafat, I am giving you a very long sword because you have been killing Jews for peace. We would like in the name of the world, in the name of the Nobel Committee, to give you this very nice sword. May you continue to kill Jews for peace."

A leading member of Arafat's main opposition group, Hamas, reacted with equal bitterness. Suaud al-Shawa said he believes this is the first time the victim and the occupier have been given the prize together, while the occupier is still occupying the land and the victim is still suffering.

Rabin Travels to Japan and Korea

Kyoko Kaneko (Tokyo)

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin arrives in Japan today. It will be the first visit by an Israeli prime minister to Tokyo since the 1948 foundation of the Jewish state.

Rabin's official visit to Tokyo marks a departure from the long-standing pro-Arab stance of Japan, which relies heavily on Arab crude oil.

During the three-day visit, Rabin will hold talks with Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, other government leaders and Japanese businessmen. Japanese officials say Rabin and Murayama are to arrange a deputy prime ministerial-level forum for political dialogue to discuss bilateral ties, as well as Middle East peace and other issues of mutual concern.

Japanese officials say the two leaders are likely to discuss Japanese assistance for Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank town of Jericho and the Gaza Strip, and Tokyo's role in multi-lateral Middle East peace talks. Japan is interested in playing a key role in the Middle East peace process.

Tokyo has pledged a total of about $200 million as start-up costs for Palestinian self-rule -- about half has already been supplied.

Rabin told Japanese reporters visiting Israel last week that he wants to discuss North Korea's missile issue with Japan. He expressed his concern about the possibility of North Korea's missile technology being exported to Iran. Rabin is scheduled to visit South Korea after his stay in Japan.

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