Google Search

Newsletter : 6fax0408.txt

Directory | Previous file | Next file


Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       April 8, 1996 V4, #62
All the News the Big Guys Missed

For subscriptions or back issues, please contact POL management

Christian Celebrate Easter in Israel

By Patricia Golan (VOA-Jerusalem)

In Jerusalem, thousands of pilgrims from around the world attended Easter mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the traditional site of Jesus' burial and resurrection. Many Palestinian Christians from the West Bank were unable to reach the holy city for the holiday because of the Israeli closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The holiday, which usually attracts 10s-of-thousands of tourists and pilgrims to the Holy Land, has been quieter than usual this year. Many tourists canceled their visit apparently as a result of the recent Palestinian suicide bus bombings, two of which were in Jerusalem.

But a tourist from Haiti, Marie Denise, says she overcame her nervousness about coming to Israel. "They told me many things that could make me concerned, but I know God was with me and wanted me to come here, so there was no fear. You know to be able live really what the resurrection is, not only to read it in the Bible, but having the privilege to touch it, you know I can not describe it."

Following the bombings in February and March, Israel imposed a strict travel ban on all Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.

In his Easter sermon, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Michel Sabach condemned the closure, saying it has caused hunger and despair. This year some Palestinians went to the biblical, West Bank town of Bethlehem instead of Jerusalem for Easter celebrations.

Arafat Criticizes Peres' Call for a Peace Vote

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and other Palestinian officials have criticized the plan to hold a referendum in Israel on the next Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres announced the plan, with Israeli elections and the start of the next round of talks with the Palestinians both scheduled for next month.

Arafat gave his reaction to Peres' plan in one short sentence. "This is completely against what had been agreed upon."

His Finance Minister Mohammed Nashashibi offered a longer explanation of the Palestinian view. "This is not accepted because this is illegal. You can not call a referendum on territory and sovereignty that belongs to other people. This is Palestinian territory and it is the whole responsibility of the Palestinians to master their sovereignty. And it can not be for a referendum for the Jewish people to decide that."

Another Palestinian official called the Israeli referendum plan an "obstacle" to reaching agreement on the remaining sensitive issues -- including the final status of the Palestinian political entity, and the future of Jerusalem, Israeli settlements and Palestinian refugees. Peres' plan appears to be aimed at easing concerns among some Israeli voters that he might go too far in making concessions on key issues. Elections are scheduled for May 29.

Opposition leaders criticized the referendum plan, calling it a ploy designed to fool the public. Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu repeated his accusations that Peres and the Labor Party will agree to create a Palestinian state and partition Jerusalem -- precisely the kind of criticism the referendum plan is designed to deflect.

Meanwhile, liberal Israelis joined in criticizing the referendum plan, saying it will now be more difficult for the leadership to make necessary but unpopular concessions.

Foreign Minister Ehud Barak rejected the criticism. He told Israel Radio this is the first time the country has had elections in the middle of serious negotiations. In such a situation, he said, the Labor Party feels a need to tell the people the general outline of its plans and to promise to return to the people with the final agreement once it is reached.

Nazi to Stand Trial in May

By Peggy Polk (VOA-Rome)

A military court in Italy has ordered a former Nazi officer to stand trial for his role in a World War 2 massacre. The court rejected the defendant's contention he was not responsible because he was acting on orders from German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

Former Nazi SS Capt. Eriche Priebke will go on trial in a military court in Rome May 8. He faces charges of multiple homicide in connection with the execution of 335 civilian men and boys in the Ardeatine Caves near the Roman catacombs in March 1944.

The victims were shot to death in reprisal for a bombing by Italian partisans that killed 32 German soldiers as they marched through the center of Rome.

Priebke, 82, was extradited last November from Argentina, where he had lived since 1948. During the two-day hearing, he told the court he considered the reprisal killings -- in his words -- absolutely legitimate. And he said the blame should go to the partisans.

Priebke, who admitted carrying out two of the executions himself, said that although the massacre has weighed on his heart ever since, he had no choice at the time. Priebke, who did not blink an eye when the judge rejected the defense argument, said he acted under a direct order from Hitler and would have been killed himself if he had not obeyed.

Home Search

(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)

Read today's issue
Who is Don Canaan?
IsraelNewsFaxx's Zionism and the Middle East Resource Directory