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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                     Aug. 15, 1995, V3, #148
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Taba Accord Leads to Tunisia

By Patricia Golan (Jerusalem) and Laurie Kassman (Cairo)

PLO leader Yasir Arafat has gone to Tunis to ask the Executive Committee to approve a partial Israel/PLO accord on the expansion of Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank. In Jerusalem, Jewish settlers have clashed with israeli police as tension mounts about the agreement, approved by the Israeli Cabinet. Israeli police used mounted police and water cannon to disperse the crowds who were protesting the arrest of two settlers suspected in the fatal shooting of a Palestinian in an earlier confrontation between settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank.

The shooting came after Arab villagers tried to pull down and burn a makeshift illegal encampment. At least one settler responded by firing into the crowd.

Israeli officials insist that nothing will be allowed to prevent the implementation of the agreement under which Israeli soldiers are to withdraw in stages from much of the West Bank no later than July 1997. On Sunday, Israel's Cabinet approved the agreement by an overwhelming majority.

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, meanwhile, has reiterated his government's position that Israel will not return to the borders before the 1967 war. He said Israel must control the Jordan Valley and strategic points in the West Bank. "To defend Israel against external military threat by Arab or Muslim country has to be done there and not 50 kilometers closer to Netanya and Tel Aviv, this should be the defense lines of Israel."

Rabin was speaking in Jerusalem after receiving a peace prize from Hadassah, an international Jewish women's organization. He was heckled during his speech by about 200 right-wing protestors.

After Israel's Cabinet approved a partial deal to expand autonomy in the West Bank, now it is up to Arafat to explain the details to the PLO Executive Committee in Tunis. Arafat will be discussing the autonomy deal -- including what has been agreed already and what has not. The negotiations have been at an impasse for months over security concerns, water-sharing rights and other key issues involved in transferring authority to Palestinians in the West Bank.

Many of the 18 Executive Committee members have opposed the peace deal with Israel as too little, too late. Last week, Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres worked at resolving some of the issues blocking agreement but were not able to resolve them all. The negotiating teams are continuing their talks, but the two decision-makers are expected to meet again later this week or next to find a compromise on other deadlocked points.

The PLO had hoped to get the deal completed in order to hold Palestinian elections before the end of this year. Under the 1993 self-rule deal, they should have been held a year ago.

King Hussein Says Iraq is Ripe for Change

By Laurie Kassman (Cairo)

Speaking out for the first time about the Iraqi defections, King Hussein told an Israeli daily newspaper -- Yediot Ahronot -- it is the right time for change in Iraq. The Jordanian monarch told the newspaper he had not been in contact with Saddam Hussein since two high-ranking defectors arrived in Jordan.

King Hussein is quoted in the newspaper as saying -- if a change does occur in Iraq -- it will only be for the better. The Jordanian monarch says he was shocked by the defections, but suggests they could be the start of better times for the Iraqi people. He did not elaborate.

Some Jordanian officials have warned against letting the defecting Iraqi officials use Jordan as a base of operation, out of fear of retaliation from Iraq.

The former Iraqi Minister of Industry, Gen. Hussein Kamel Hassan, his brother and their families fled Baghdad last Tuesday and asked for asylum in Jordan. They were accompanied by their wives -- both daughters of Saddam Hussein.

Saturday, Gen. Hassan told a news conference in Amman he will work seriously for the overthrow of his father-in-law, Saddam Hussein, to end the country's downward economic slide and political isolation. He says he wants to get crippling UN sanctions against Iraq lifted.

King Hussein told Yediot Ahronot Gen. Hassan stopped to see him in Amman several weeks ago. He told the monarch he was upset with the way Iraq was run, but did not indicate he was about to defect.

Gen. Hassan was considered a close ally of the Iraqi ruler. He was in charge of Iraq's secret weapons program during the 1980s and supervised development of the biological, chemical, and nuclear programs.

Most recently, Gen. Hassan worked with UN inspectors to dismantle the programs. Iraq's deputy prime minister now accuses him of holding back vital information and has offered to provide it to UN inspectors.
The gesture is seen as part of Baghdad's efforts to undermine the significance of the defections from Saddam Hussein's inner circle.

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