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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      Nov. 7, 1996 V4, #203
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Egyptians Receive Agricultural Training in Israel

Twenty-one Egyptian trainees began an agricultural course sponsored by the Foreign Ministry's Center for International Cooperation which is being held at Rehovot's Center for Development Studies. The 55-day training program will concentrate on developing rural settlement zones.

How the Election Affects Israel

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli and Palestinian officials welcomed the US election results Wednesday, but have opposite hopes of what President Clinton's re-election might mean for the Middle East peace process. Depending on whether you ask Israeli or Palestinian officials, the US election either means new energy for the peace process, or no change in the plodding negotiations.

Asked whether he wants the newly re-elected president to put pressure on Israel's new government to moderate its demands in the current negotiations, Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat said he prefers to say he wants Clinton to give the peace process a push forward. His chief negotiator, Sa'eb Erakat, put the Palestinian view this way.

"President Clinton, who has been the sponsor of the peace process -- all agreements have been signed under his auspices -- we hope that he will look at the situation in terms of those who are pro-peace, and those who are against peace."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said almost the same thing, with the opposite meaning. He also said he does not expect any new US pressure, and it would not be effective anyway.

"I think the United States, and President Clinton in particular, has made it very clear that the negotiations have to be conducted by the parties. They will have to live with the results. And therefore the US role is one of facilitator, and not one of decision-maker."

The ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, who is one of the mediators, agrees. But he also says Clinton wants to see results from the current talks.

Whether the Clinton re-election energizes the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations or just results in more of the same, analysts on both sides point out that at least now the election is over -- it can no longer be used as an excuse to wait or a target date after which things might change.

They say the Palestinian Authority and Israel's new government can return to the negotiations and deal with the issues before them, issues which did not suddenly get any easier or more difficult on Tuesday.

Arab Reaction to Clinton's Election

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)

Congratulations have gone out from Mideast leaders to Washington on the conclusion of Tuesday's election, along with expressions of hope that President Clinton in his second term will do more to push the peace process forward.

On the streets of Cairo, Egyptians and other Arabs offer mixed reactions to Clinton's re-election and what it means for the peace process.

"I think the sure way to make peace is with Mr. Clinton. I'm quite sure he will help a lot...I don't like President Clinton's policy in the Middle East because he always says yes to Israel and this is completely not fair...Clinton's winning mostly because he focuses on the internal affairs. So I'm not sure he'll be doing something different for the Middle East.

One Saudi businessman is optimistic about a second Clinton term. "He can be more relaxed and he can see the problems of the Middle East in a more even manner. That he is not faced with any pressure from any side. I think he will help."

The editor of the Syrian Times agrees and underlines Clinton's stated commitment to the peace process. Political analysts say Clinton has to put more pressure on Israel's prime minister to restart the peace talks, based on the principle of land for peace.

Egyptian political analyst Mohamed Sid Ahmed says Clinton now has the mandate to get results. "There is good reasons to believe he will be building for the 21st century if he can prove that he is able to do something outstanding. I think he has always been concerned with this crisis in the Middle East. Now he will have very hard nuts to crack. The question is to see to what extent he will take advantage of this opportunity."

Egypt's president has sent his congratulations and hopes that the peace process benefits from Clinton's victory. Jordan's information minister says Arab leaders now are waiting to see a more active US role in the stalled peace process.

Several Egyptians point out that Clinton should not waste time, because he already knows the players and the issues and what's at stake.

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