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>Israel Faxx
>JN July 2, 1999, Vol. 7, No 120

JNF Working to Block Land Sale to PA in Tel Aviv

By IsraelWire

The Jewish National Fund is now working to purchase Bet Ussishkin in Tel Aviv to prevent the PLO Authority from acquiring the property. According to a report in Haaretz, the PA plans to make the building its embassy in Tel Aviv. As reported earlier, the price tag of the property is $12 million.

Mubarak and Clinton Pledge to Work for Peace

By David Gollust (VOA-White House)

President Clinton and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have held talks at the White House, pledging to work for a renewal of the Middle East peace process with the incoming Israeli government of Prime Minister-elect Ehud Barak.

Clinton says he will meet Barak in Washington within a few days after the new prime minister takes office -- and Mubarak says he plans early contacts with the leaders of Israel, Syria and the Palestinians -- to take advantage of what both see as an improved climate for peace-making.

At a joint news conference, Mubarak said there is an opportunity for progress that must not be missed, and that Israel should take the initiative by implementing the Wye River interim accord and curbing settlements.

"Agreements which have been signed on the Palestinian track must be implemented fully and in good faith. Provocative actions, especially settlement activities, should be stopped altogether. This will pave the way for starting final-status negotiations."

The Egyptian leader criticized Israel's bombing of civilian targets in Lebanon -- which followed terrorist missile firings into northern Israel -- as a threat to the atmosphere for peace, and he urged Israelis to exercise maximum restraint.

Clinton urged fulfillment of the Wye agreement and called Israeli settlements provocative. But at the same time, he urged the various parties to restrain their public comments until a Barak government is fully organized and takes office.

"I think the chances for success are now greater. And therefore I think that all of us should try to restrain our comments about specifics until we talk to the prime minister-elect, and we can form a common strategy."

While Clinton said it is up to parties to decide on the terms for peace agreements, he again endorsed what he termed the "aspirations" of the Palestinians to shape their future on their own land.

Likud Appears Left By the Wayside

By Susan Sappir (VOA-Jerusalem)

The introduction of a new Israeli government next week is raising hopes for an invigorated Middle East peace process. The Palestinian Authority has welcomed the formation of a new Israeli Labor-led government. Despite his landslide victory in elections in May, Prime Minister-elect Ehud Barak has spent six weeks negotiating with members of the fragmented parliament.

Barak secured the support of parties opposed to his peace moves by making concessions on matters of concern to them. He has said he intends to hand over much of the West Bank to the Palestinians. He would also relinquish much or all of the Golan Heights to Syria.

A breakthrough in the protracted coalition negotiations occurred Wednesday when the key ultra-Orthodox Shas party with its 17 seats joined the coalition. On Thursday, the Center party joined. Barak now controls 75 seats in the 120-seat house and is likely to gain the support of the Workers' party, Am Ehad, and its two seats.

An aide to Barak said the inclusion of parties from all sides of the political spectrum was in keeping with his pledge to heal the rifts in Israeli society.

El Al Must Compensate Arab Humiliated at Paris Airport

By IsraelWire

A Jerusalem court ruled El Al Israel Airlines must make compensatory payment to an Arab Israeli and his wife, who were humiliated by security personnel at the Paris Airport and were ultimately forced to board the flight without their luggage.

Justice Rafi Strauss ruled El Al must make compensatory payment to Adal Raazak for NIS 10,000 for the pain and mental anguish endured by him and his wife. In addition, the airline was ordered to pay Raazak's lawyer's NIS 6,000 fee, and return NIS 1,700 to the plaintiff, monies the airline charged him for handling his luggage.

Raazak and his wife, residents of eastern Jerusalem, purchased a tour package which included a flight to and from Europe on El Al. Upon their arrival at the airport in Nice, their seats on the flight were confirmed. Raazak was then told by security personnel that he and his wife would not be able to return to Israel from Nice since the airport did not have the proper security procedures for checking Arab passengers.

Despite an argument that ensued, security personnel would not yield and insisted that the two passengers would not be permitted to board the flight to Israel. Following the intervention of local airport employees, security personnel agreed to permit the couple to board the plane but without their luggage. El Al made arrangements to send the luggage separately, charging the couple an additional $500.

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