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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       May 23, 1996 V4, #95
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Jordanians Prefer Netanyahu Over Peres

An editorial in the official Jordanian newspaper, "Al Awsak," claims that a Likud victory in the upcoming elections will save the peace process. The article describes Prime Minister Shimon Peres as "spineless, indecisive and weak." The Arab psychological mind-set prefers a man like Netanyahu and a party like the Likud, which are perceived as "having the ability to reach important decisions."

Fatah: No Changes in Covenant

Peace Watch revealed Wednesday an internal publication issued by Yasir Arafat's Fatah faction of the PLO, entitled "The Palestinian National Covenant Between Renewal and Being Frozen," and was intended for the party's internal cadres.

The document declares, "The text of the Palestinian National Covenant remains as it was and no changes whatsoever were made to it [at the recent session of the Palestinian National Council]. This has caused it to be frozen but not annulled."

According to the authors, the Israeli demand to amend the Covenant was in effect a demand to issue "a self-inflicted death certificate for the PNC and suicide for the PLO."

Prime Minister's Office: Jerusalem Will Be Divided

The Prime Minister's Office has prepared a document concerning the future of the city of Jerusalem. The geographical boundaries of the city will increase eastward, and the city will be divided between Palestinian and Israeli sovereignty.

Sources in the Prime Minister's Office have revealed that neighborhoods bordering on the Mt. of Olives, Abu Dis and Azariah, will form the Palestinian capital. Israel will help raise financial assistance from the international community in order to turn the eastern sector of the city into a Palestinian commercial center. In addition, Palestinians will have complete access to the holy places in east Jerusalem.

An Arutz-7 reporter notes that a similar plan was revealed a few weeks ago in the east Jerusalem newspaper, An-Nahar. According to An-Nahar, this plan has already been agreed upon between Peres and Arafat, but will be officially published only after the elections.

Israel Through Immigration = Israel on the Rise

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Society and politics in Israel have been affected profoundly by waves of immigrants during and before its 47 years of existence. And the largest group, arriving in the shortest period of time, has been the nearly 700,000 Jews from the former Soviet Union -- most of them from Russia. These former Soviet immigrants, arriving since 1989, are expected to have a powerful influence on the voting for parliament and prime minister next Wednesday.

The new voice in Israeli politics is Hebrew with a heavy Russian accent. And the main speaker is the former Soviet dissident who became famous in the 1970s and '80s as Anatoly Sharansky, but who took a Hebrew first name when he arrived in Israel 10 years ago and is now known as Natan Sharansky.

Sharansky is starring in a series of advertisements for his new political party, complete with a Russian-Hebrew jingle. In the song, immigrants declare, "We're not dishwashers; we're not transients. We are your cello, we are your computer. We are your great wave of immigration. We are your tomorrow." The party is called "Yisrael b'Aliyah," which is a Hebrew play on words, and can be translated "Israel through Immigration" or "Israel on the Rise."

Sharansky estimates that the last seven years of large-scale immigration to Israel by Jews from the former USSR have added 450,000 eligible voters to the Israeli population. That is more than 10 per cent of the electorate.

Some of them will vote for mainstream Israeli parties, but public opinion polls indicate Sharansky's new party could win as many as six seats in the 120-member parliament -- enough to be a significant power in the coalition-building which will follow the election. As party leader, Sharansky will take the first of those seats.

Israeli Interior Minister Haim Ramon says Sharansky will be able to offer his party's support for the new government in exchange for appointment as a cabinet minister, perhaps of immigration and absorption or housing. Ramon says Sharansky's power results from a feeling of alienation among many immigrants, even though the government has helped most of them find housing and jobs.

"We absorbed them very well, from the materialistic point of view. And most of the voters that will vote for Sharansky will be voters that, objectively, were absorbed -- they have jobs, they buy cars, they have their own apartment -- but they feel bad. And that's because we failed to absorb them as an integrated part, as an undivided part of the Israeli society."

Sharansky says his nine years in prison taught him one political skill -- how to deal with an entrenched establishment. He says he learned how not to be seduced or bought by an establishment, and how to cooperate with one while remaining independent. And he believes those skills will come in handy next week when he will likely find himself a newly elected member of the Israeli parliament, and deep in negotiations on forming the next government.

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