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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      July 7, 1995, V3, #124
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Amnesty International Report Rejected

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

Israel has rejected criticism of its human rights record in the annual report by Amnesty International. A statement issued by Israel's Justice Ministry accuses Amnesty International of using misleading methods and terminology, presenting inaccurate information as facts, and not properly explaining the context of Israel's policies.

The Justice Ministry spokeswoman declined to be interviewed, but her written statement notes that Israel's security measures come against the backdrop of 32 terrorist attacks last year, which killed 76 people. The statement says the attacks were organized by groups that oppose the Israel-Palestinian peace accord and want to destroy Israel.

The statement also repeats Israel's policy on interrogation, saying torture is not allowed but interrogators may use what it calls "effective interrogation procedures" to try to extract information from detainees, particularly when lives are threatened. The statement says such situations are strictly regulated.

The Israeli statement also says Amnesty relies on testimony by former prisoners who are, the statement charges, either under pressure from Palestinian groups to say bad things about Israel, or who themselves want to discredit the Jewish state. The statement says former prisoners have a legitimate reason to fear the militant Palestinian groups because those groups killed 78 Palestinians in the past two years for allegedly cooperating with Israel.

The Israeli Justice Department also criticizes Amnesty International for quoting, in its final paragraph, a declaration by the militant Palestinian group Hamas, which says it is "anxious not to inflict harm on civilians." The Israeli statement notes that hamas publicly claimed responsibility for most of the 76 deaths from attacks in Israel and the occupied territory in 1994.

Buenos Aires JCC Bombers will be Extradited to Argentina

By George Meek (Rio de Janeiro)

Paraguay has agreed to extradite seven people wanted for trial in Argentina in connection with the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires. An appeals court in the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion has upheld a court order granting Argentina's request to extradite six Lebanese citizens and one Brazilian. The decision is not appealable. Officials say the suspects are likely to be taken to Argentina early next week.

The seven men were arrested in Paraguay in March on charges of illegal weapons possession and trafficking in arms.

Argentine authorities say the suspects were involved in the 1992 attack that destroyed the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 28 people and wounding more than 200. The Muslim fundamentalist organization Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

Argentine officials say the suspects may also be linked to the 1994 bombing of a Jewish Community Center in the Argentine capital. Israel accused Iran and pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon of involvement in that blast, which killed nearly 100 people.

Palestinian prisoners stop hunger strike

Palestinian prisoners at the Juneid prison have announced the halt of their hunger strike which has lasted 18 days. The decision to stop the strike came following understandings reached on Tuesday between Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat.

The prisoners of Juneid, the central prison in the West Bank, initiated the hunger strike which was taken up by Palestinian prisoners at other locations. Prisoners in the Ashkelon, Be'er Sheva and Tel Mond prisons have announced that they will continue the strike.

The security establishment and the Police Ministry's Prison Service are nearing completion of the first list of Palestinian prisoners to be released on the occasion of the signing of the Interim Agreement. Initially, 600 to 800 prisoners will be released several days after the signing, which is scheduled for July 25. "None of the prisoners to be released will have blood on their hands," security sources said.

Most of the prisoners scheduled for release were convicted on order violations, or are among the oldest and youngest prisoners.

Burg Bids Farewell to Knesset Colleagues

Jewish Agency Chairman Avraham Burg delivered a farewell address to the Knesset Wednesday after serving seven years as a member of Knesset.

"I leave this building with a certain aching," Burg said. "For my entire public life, I've been involved in two areas: the first, peace; and the second, the Jewish identity. I must say that I never believed that one day I would wake up in the morning and the government would be the government of my hopes." In his speech Burg spoke about the condition of the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora as he begins his new position at the Agency: "I think the most difficult issue on the Jewish agenda of Israeli society is our national identity."

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