Newsletter : 5fax1016.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
Oct. 16, 1995, V3, #186
All the News the Big Guys Missed
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Hizbullah Massacres Six Israelis in Lebanon
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel and the Palestinian Autonomy Authority have set an early
date for Palestinian elections, and advanced the timetable for
Israeli redeployment from Palestinian cities on the West Bank. But
Sunday's progress toward peace on that front was somewhat
overshadowed by the most deadly attack against Israeli forces in
southern Lebanon this year, which left six Israeli soldiers dead.
An Israeli patrol was driving in southern Lebanon when a roadside
bomb exploded and guerrillas opened fire. The attack occurred near
the spot where three soldiers were killed Thursday. The
Iranian-backed group Hizbullah claimed responsibility.
Israel responded with heavy artillery barrages on suspected
Hizbullah bases and escape routes.
The fighting represents an escalation of the ongoing, usually
low-level fighting in southern Lebanon, where Israel occupies a
swatch of territory in an effort to prevent such attacks inside
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin met with top military commanders and
called an emergency Cabinet meeting for tomorrow, following today's
There were calls for a large-scale Israeli strike in Lebanon, and
government spokesman Uri Dromi said Hizbullah will, in his words,
have to learn a very painful lesson. But Foreign Minister Shimon
Peres said Syria and Lebanon should rein in Hizbullah. Syria
controls the part of Lebanon which is home to the group's bases.
Israeli officials and analysts believe these last two deadly
attacks by Hizbullah are part of an effort by Syria to put pressure
on Israel to make concessions in stalled peace talks. Many
Israelis do not see any reason to make such concessions, because
the Israel-Syria border is quiet. Officials say the attacks are
designed as a reminder Syria has another avenue through which to
hurt Israel. The Israeli deaths in Lebanon in the past few days
are more than one-third of this year's total of 22, which is more
than all of last year.
The fighting in Lebanon nearly overshadowed progress toward peace
on another front Sunday. Peres met with Palestinian leader Yasir
Arafat, and announced plans for a faster Israeli withdrawal from
Palestinian cities, and earlier Palestinian elections than had been
expected. The new plan is designed, in part, to accommodate two
holidays -- Christmas and Ramadan.
After meeting on the Israel-Gaza border, the two men announced
Israel will complete its withdrawal from the historically Christian
city of Bethlehem in time for Christmas. They also said the
Palestinian elections will be held throughout the West Bank and
Gaza by Jan. 22, when the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is expected
to begin. The change, made at Arafat's request, means the
elections will be held three-months earlier than had been
scheduled, and before Israel's partial withdrawal from the large
and tense West Bank city of Hebron.
Under the new plan, Israel's withdrawal from West Bank cities will
begin with a pullout from the northern town of Jenin Oct. 25,
nearly a month earlier than expected. The withdrawals are to
proceed at one city every week or so, until six cities are fully
autonomous and 450 villages are partly autonomous by the end of the
year, when the Palestinian election campaign is to begin.
Speeding up the Israeli redeployment plan appears to be an effort
to convince skeptical Palestinians the new peace agreement is going
to be implemented, despite problems over prisoner releases in the
accord's first few weeks. That positive message about the peace
process was both well timed and somewhat ironic, considering
Sunday's death toll in Lebanon.
Senate Expected to Vote to Move Embassy to Jerusalem
By Jim Malone (VOA-Washington)
Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole has introduced new legislation
which would require the U.S to move its embassy in Israel from Tel
Aviv to Jerusalem. Senate action on the proposal could come within
the next few weeks.
Dole introduced a slightly altered version of legislation which he
first presented in May. The original bill required groundbreaking
to begin on a new embassy in Jerusalem by the end of next year. In
the new version, this provision has been deleted.
The measure has bipartisan support in the Senate but the Clinton
administration opposes Congress forcing a relocation of the
embassy, fearing it could undermine the Middle East peace process.
"While always subject to disruption and always under attack from
extremists, the peace process is working. The toughest issues are
yet to be resolved in final status talks including Jerusalem. In
my view, the United States should not have to wait for the end of
final status talks to begin the process of moving the U.S Embassy
Secretary of State Warren Christopher has said that bringing the
issue of Jerusalem to the forefront is ill-advised and could damage
Middle East peace efforts. A Senate vote on the proposal could
come in the next few weeks.
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