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                    Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
                      May 11, 1995, V3, #87
                All the News the Big Guys Missed
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Jerusalem Acreage Becomes Issue

By Laurie Kassman (Cairo) The issue of the status of Jerusalem is once again sparking anger and consternation in the Middle East. The future status of Jerusalem is the most explosive issue of the peace process. Jews, Muslims and Christians consider the city as one of their holiest sites. The 1947 UN partition plan that created the State of Israel called for putting the city under international rule. Israel has occupied the whole city since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and considers Jerusalem as its unified capital. The Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. Palestinians continue to complain that Israel has steadily expanded Jewish settlements in the occupied areas and slowly put more Jews than Arabs in traditional Arab areas. Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath has warned that allowing Israel to redesign the city's demography is endangering the peace process. Israel says the latest confiscation of 131 acres of land in east Jerusalem is a municipal decision to provide much-needed housing for residents. Israel insists more than 60 percent of the land belongs to Jews. The Palestinians dispute that claim and argue that confiscation of occupied land violates international law and the 1993 Declaration of Principles that guides the peace talks. Egypt and Jordan -- the only two Arab states to sign a peace treaty with Israel -- have condemned the move. Morocco's King Hassan -- who heads the Organization of Islamic Conference Committee on Jerusalem -- wrote an angry letter to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin warning that their bilateral relations could suffer. The message described the land confiscation as a bombshell for the peace process with serious repercussions for Israel's future relations with the Arab world. On behalf of the Arab League, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates formally requested a UN Security Council debate on the issue. But US Ambassador Madeline Albright already has warned her colleagues that the United States will oppose any resolution on the issue. The United States sees the matter as a dispute for Palestinians and Israelis to work out. Arab commentators say the United States is losing its credibility as an impartial mediator. To make matters worse, in their opinion, the US Senate is now due to discuss a bill that would require the US Embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by 1999. Some critics said it was a thinly-disguised political move by Republican presidential hopeful Senator Robert Dole to court Jewish votes ahead of next year's election. Most governments have refrained from transferring their diplomatic missions out of Tel Aviv until the status of Jerusalem has been settled. The city's final status is supposed to be put on the negotiating table next year. The Palestinians want to talk about it right now. Yediot Aharonot: Iran Training Palestinian Terrorists Iran has increased its efforts to derail the Middle East peace process over the past six months and has reportedly been training Palestinian terrorists at camps in Iran, Yediot Aharonot reported. According to a senior American official, the U.S. government has information linking Iran to January's Palestinian suicide bombing at Beit Lid in which 21 Israelis were killed. According to the newspaper, this is the first time since the signing of the Declaration of Principles in September 1993 that evidence has been found directly linking Iran to terrorist attacks in Israel. Shamir Speaks at Ohio State University Yitzhak Shamir does not see peace for Israel. "All of us want peace, true peace, real peace," he said Tuesday at Ohio State University. "We desire a peace that will enable the Jewish people to continue our life with full security...and be able to continue the development of the country." But the former Israeli prime minister characterized the current peace process as a "failure. I don't agree to this peace process," he said. Negotiations to establish borders and resolve the question of Jerusalem are to begin in about one year. The 1996 Knesset elections will be a test for Yitzhak Rabin's Labor administration, he said. Shamir predicts the Israeli voter will reject the current leadership and its push for a self-rule agreement with PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat Such a change likely will bring an end to negotiations with the PLO, Shamir said, adding he shuns concessions that would keep Jews out of some parts of Israel. Shamir said he'll work to see his party--the Likud party--in control again with a policy promoting peace and prosperity. Shamir was prime minister twice; from 1983 to 1984, and from 1986 to 1992. He started his ascension as a member of the Knesset, then its speaker, then foreign minister and then in 1983, prime minister. Shamir is visiting the United States on a lecture tour and was brought to Columbus by the Schottenstein Chabad House at OSU.
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