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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      June 1, 1995, V3, #101
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Training Rifle for Color Bullets

A rifle resembling the M-16 model has been developed in Israel which uses color-pellet bullets for training purposes, which explode on contact, simulating real battle conditions.

Israeli Survey Indicates Flexibility on Jerusalem

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

A public opinion survey on the issue of Jerusalem's future indicates more flexibility among Israeli and Palestinian individuals than their leaders have so far indicated.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and other Israeli leaders frequently repeat their view -- that Jerusalem, east and west, is and will remain a united city under Israeli sovereignty, and will not also be the capital of any Palestinian entity. The Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, states his view with equal frequency, that east Jerusalem will be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The two views appear to be irreconcilable, and the dispute threatens to sabotage the effort to make peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The claim by leaders on both sides -- that on this issue they have the support of nearly 100 per cent of their people -- makes the situation appear to be even more difficult.

But Gershon Baskin of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information says his group's survey, published Wednesday, indicates there is more flexibility among ordinary people than the leaders have shown.

"The so-called Israeli consensus, which has been fostered by the politicians in Israel, in which more than 90 percent of the public support the present status quo, exclusive Israeli sovereignty over all the city, is not true. It think that's very significant. Now, it is true that 65 percent of the public does support it, and that's a rather large number. But a surprisingly large sector of the Israeli population is willing to accept various models for shared or divided sovereignty in Jerusalem, and this is before negotiations have begun, this is before the public has been fully exposed to various kinds of ideas."

In addition, Baskin says the vast majority (72%) of Israelis believe that most Palestinians will never accept permanent Israeli control of all of Jerusalem.

According to the survey, the Israelis are right about that. The survey indicates that 91 percent of Palestinians are not willing to accept continuing Israeli sovereignty over all of the city. Two thirds of Palestinians want Palestinian sovereignty over east Jerusalem, including the huge Jewish neighborhoods which have been built since Israel captured the city from Jordan in 1967. But the Palestinians (85%) also recognize that Israelis will never accept that.

So what is the solution to these seemingly diametrically opposed views? Baskin says just as his survey indicates some potential flexibility among Israelis, it shows the same for Palestinians.

"There is no clear, single proposal which Palestinians support. It's very clear what they don't support, but the Palestinians are open to all kinds of compromises of various different kinds which allow for decision-makers and academics and others to come up with creative options, which then have to be presented to the public and talked about and educate the public about (them)."

The survey also indicates that Palestinians who live in or near Jerusalem are more willing to compromise. Baskin says that is because they have seen the reality of Jerusalem, with the old border eradicated and Jewish neighborhoods on both sides of the city fully integrated with each other. He says Palestinians further away from Jerusalem, particularly those in Gaza, think of the new Jewish neighborhoods as settlements separated from the city, but he notes that is not the reality.

Baskin acknowledges that his survey confirms widely different Israeli and Palestinian preferences for Jerusalem's future. But he says it also suggests a way out.

"One potential impact of this study will be to show the policy makers, particularly on the Israeli side, that there is a lot more room for free thinking than they thought was possible."

So far, no leader on either side has shown any interest in such "free thinking." But both Israeli and Palestinian peace activists say that is what will be needed next year when talks on the Jerusalem issue begin, in order to settle it in a way which will satisfy people on both sides and really give peace a chance to work.

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