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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      Oct. 6, 1995, V3, #181
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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If you're familiar with the Russian Compound in Jerusalem and the Sergei Palace that's used by the Israeli government for various offices, it may not be Israeli territory too much longer. The Palace is being claimed by Prince Phillip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. It seems Phillip is a relative of the Russian Duke Sergei who built the palace in 1890. And now Phillip is claiming what he says is rightfully his family's.

Knesset Expected to Ratify Peace Agreement

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel's parliament is expected to ratify the interim agreement with the palestinians by a narrow margin at the end of a lengthy debate which began Thursday afternoon. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin put his government and his prestige on the line in the debate. And opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu accused him of surrendering the Jewish heartland and placing all of Israel at risk.

The two men opened the parliament debate painting radically different visions of what the interim agreement will bring. Rabin said it will end Israel's role as an occupier and will bring long term peace by removing the motivations for terrorism. Netanyahu said the accord will put an armed Palestinian force just a few minutes drive from Jerusalem and other Israeli population centers and could easily lead to disaster.

In any case, the speeches were largely academic. It was already well known how most of the 120 members of parliament would vote. What remains is for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to implement the complex accord in the face of active, and sometimes violent, opposition from militant groups on both sides.

Syrian-Israeli Talks May be Next

By Ron Pemstein (VOA-Washington)

Secretary of state Warren Christopher has met with Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara at the State Department to try to break the deadlock in security talks with Israel. Israel and Syria continue to disagree about early warning systems on the Golan Heights.

Israel wants to keep a troop presence on the Heights even after a general withdrawal to staff an early warning station. When the Israeli and Syrian chiefs of staff met here in Washington last June, they disagreed, with Syria insisting aerial surveillance is sufficient.

Since then, Israel and Syria have not met despite a Syrian commitment to continue the security talks at a lower level. When al-Shara came to lunch at the State Department with Christopher, the objective was to find a way to break the deadlock. Al-Shara told reporters following the meeting, however, discussions with the American mediators will have to continue.

"We have agreed that we will continue discussion in order to find out what is the best way to resume the peace talks between Syria and Israel."

The Syrian Foreign Minister rules out any remaining Israeli troop presence on the Golan Heights after a withdrawal, even for purposes of an early warning station. He did say Syria is committed to the security principles reached last June with the help of American mediation.

The problem for the US is that Syria agreed to a schedule of events with Syria that did not take place following the chiefs of staff meeting. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns says the Secretary is ready to resume his shuttle diplomacy when Israel and Syria request it.

"This is going to be difficult, the Secretary understands that these things in the Middle East, as in the Balkans, sometimes require an enormous amount of time, patience and energy. He's been to the region 13 times. He is absolutely willing to go back when it will be useful for him to go back and when the parties think he should. He has no plans to go back not prior to the Amman Economic Summit which I believe he will help to open on Oct. 30."

US officials say it is likely the Secretary will try to break the deadlock between Israel and Syria in early November after the economic meeting in Jordan.

Libya Sets Up Palestinian Refugee Camp

By Kim Reed (VOA-Cairo)

Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi says he will set up a permanent refugee camp for hundreds of Palestinians caught in the no-man's land between Egypt and Libya. The UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) says up to 170 families are already stranded in the camp with hundreds and perhaps thousands more Palestinians on their way.

The Libyan leaders say Palestinian refugees will stay in tents at the border until Israel lets them go home. Gadhafi says their presence here proves the peace process is nothing but "lies and treason," because it has failed to produce a Palestinian homeland. Officials say the Palestinians are leaving Libya of their own choice, but Palestinian Kawsar Hamdar says they're being forced out. She says she and her husband lived in Libya for 10 years until the government canceled his job contract and turned her children away from schools.

She says the Libyans have told the more than 20,000 Palestinians remaining in that country to get out by December. A UNHCR official says his organization has asked Libya to stop the expulsions. But with a mosque, a school, and a clinic set up here at the desert tent city where Gadhafi spoke, it seems hundreds if not thousands of Palestinians could soon be living here for quite a long time.

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