Newsletter : 8fax0115.txt
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>JN Jan. 15, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 8
Female Police Department Officer Raped on PD Base
A suspect is under arrest for raping a 23-year-old officer of
the Police Department, several days ago. The rapist entered the
base in southern Israel at about 11:00 p.m., dragged the officer
outside and raped her. An investigation is underway to determine
why the female officer was alone on the base.
Cabinet Outlines Withdrawal Position
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
In advance of next week's Israeli and Palestinian summits at the
White House, Israel's Cabinet is continuing to outline its
position, with a declaration that Israel will insist on keeping
large areas of the West Bank in any final peace settlement
with the Palestinians.
The Cabinet resolution calls for the future Palestinian entity to
be surrounded by Israeli-controlled security zones, and for Israel
to also hold onto the area around Jerusalem, along with key
military, religious and civil infrastructure sites. But the
Cabinet did not draw specific border lines.
On Tuesday, the Cabinet said it will not give up any more
territory until the Palestinian Authority fulfills all its
obligations -- a condition many analysts say can never be met. The
Cabinet resolutions are bad news for the Palestinians, who want
most of the West Bank for a future state, and as quickly as
AIPAC Case Before the Supreme Court
By Jim Malone (VOA-Washington)
Supporters and critics of strong US ties with Israel clashed in
oral arguments before the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The case
involves one of the most influential lobbying groups in
Washington--AIPAC--the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Specifically, the issue before the high court is whether AIPAC
should be subject to the same kind of public disclosure
requirements which apply to political action committees.
A recent survey ranked AIPAC as one of the top two most effective
lobbying groups in Washington. For years, AIPAC has been Israel's
most important ally on Capitol Hill and is well known for its
ability to help lawmakers sympathetic to Israel and to be critical
of those who do not share its views.
The case before the Supreme Court seeks to clarify whether AIPAC is
merely a public advocacy group or whether it should be treated as
a political action committee which contributes to individual
congressional candidates and incumbents.
Initially, the Federal Election Commission ruled that AIPAC was not
subject to the same kind of disclosure requirements as are
political action committees. The commission found that AIPAC was
primarily a lobbying group and that only a small portion of its
resources were devoted to campaign activities.
But a group of retired diplomats who favor a more balanced policy
in the Middle East challenged the election commission ruling in
court. An appeals court in Washington agreed with their contention
that AIPAC should be considered a political action committee and
should have to divulge the amounts of its political contributions
and to whom those contributions are given.
Among those taking on AIPAC in this case are two former
ambassadors who now publish a monthly magazine (Washington Report
on Mideast Affairs) which seeks a more balanced US policy in the
Middle East. Andrew Killgore at one time served as ambassador to
Qatar. He says American voters have a right to know about the
extent of the influence which AIPAC has in Washington, especially
on matters related to the Middle East.
"As a matter of fact, you have to ask yourself, really, and the
public, I think, has to ask itself, if AIPAC has nothing to hide,
what the devil have they been fighting us nine years for? Why not
come out and say, 'Let the public know.' Not just us, let the
AIPAC officials say that they make no direct cash contributions
to specific candidates and say their primary goal is communication
between voters and politicians concerned with US-Israeli ties.
Attorney Thomas Hungar spoke to reporters on the steps of the
Supreme Court shortly after the nine justices heard oral arguments
in the case.
"Regardless of the outcome of this case, we do not believe that
AIPAC's organizational activities will be affected in any way.
AIPAC is not a political action committee. It is a public affairs
committee. It engages in grass roots lobbying on behalf of its
members to advocate in favor of the strong US-Israel relationship
and for that reason we do not believe that this case is going to
have any impact on AIPAC's activities."
A decision in the case is expected sometime before July but it
may not be clear-cut. The high court could decide that AIPAC's
critics in this case have no legal standing to bring the case
forward and could throw out the case on that basis alone. Or the
court could wait for an expected ruling from the Federal Election
Commission on who is deemed to be a member of a political
organization like AIPAC. Some of the comments from the justices
during the oral arguments seemed to indicate that both of those
issues had to be resolved before they could rule on the core
issue in the case.
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