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>JN July 9, 1999, Vol. 7, No. 124

Mother of Imprisoned Iranian Jew Insists Her Son is Well

By IsraelWire

The mother of one of the 13 imprisoned Iranian Jews charged with spying for Israel has stated her son, Navid Balazadeh, was being treated well and is receiving kosher provisions. Navid's mother added she was assured by Iranian officials that the justice who will be presiding over the case would deal fairly with all of the defendants.


Barak Meets Today with Mubarak

By Scott Bobb (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli officials are seeking to lower expectations on the eve of a series of meetings between Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who took office Tuesday, and several Arab leaders. Arab leaders agree preliminary consultations are vital in order to re-build confidence before the serious negotiations can begin.


Foreign Minister David Levy says Barak's upcoming meetings will be to break the ice and create a climate of mutual trust.


Speaking on Israel Radio, Levy said the Barak government wants to advance the peace process. But first, he says, agreement must be reached on what he called a code of behavior, so there will be no problems.


Barak is to visit Egypt today to meet with President Hosni Mubarak. He is to meet with Palestinian Leader Yasir Arafat Sunday and with Jordanian King Abdullah next week before travelling to Washington for talks with President Clinton.


The director of the Palestinian Academic Society, Mahdi Abdelhadi, says Barak will tell Mubarak he wants to strengthen relations, which have been cool because of the stalemated peace process. And he believes Barak will seek to reassure the Egyptian leader that he wants to pursue peace negotiations with Syria, but does not intend to do so at the expense of the Palestinians.


"It's a matter of putting the credentials on the table, (and saying) here I am back as a partner for the peace process. Trust me. And if the Palestinians have been saying they want to test me, I'm willing to go through the test."

Abdelhadi says he also expects Barak to ask the Egyptian president for more time, saying he has to strengthen political support for the negotiations at home. Abdelhadi says it is too early to trust Barak, because of the military officers on his staff and because of positions he took during the election campaign which, many Palestinians believe, are almost as hardline as those of the previous government.


As a result, Abdelhadi says Palestinians want Barak first to implement the suspended Wye River accords and resume the transfer of West Bank land to the Palestinian Authority.


Abdelhadi says Palestinians have been weakened by their agreements with the Israeli government. As a result, he says, they need the support of regional partners -- Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon -- before they begin negotiations on final status issues, like refugees, settlements and Jerusalem.


Palestinian Citizenship for Israeli Arabs

By IsraelWire


A suggestion to include the granting of Palestinian citizenship to Israeli Arabs within the final status negotiations has been made by a right-wing nationalist group, "Jewish Leadership" in its official bulletin. The proposal is included in the most recent issue, number 51, of "L'Chatchila", the intellectual bi-weekly published by Mordechai Karpel who recently ran for the Knesset but withdrew in the final week.


While asserting that Arab residents in Israel must be accorded full human and natural rights and the protection of their welfare and good-being, the article suggests that the new Israel negotiating team propose that within the framework of the final status talks that the political rights of Arab residents of Israel be fulfilled under the aegis of the PLO Authority.


Security Officials Prepare for Increased Terror Activity

By IsraelWire


Five members of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations have been arrested over the past days in the Hebron area. They are suspected of planning terrorist activities.


Senior officials in the security establishment have indicated that with the new dovish government assuming control of the nation, there is a likelihood that terrorist organization will increase there efforts to carry out an attack against targets in Israel to prevent the advancement of the Oslo process between Israel and the PLO Authority.


High Court Supports Request for Gregorian Tombstone

By IsraelWire

The High Court of Justice has overruled the decision of the district court ruling that a Rishon L'Tzion woman may order that the Gregorian birth and death dates of her late mother be inscribed on the tombstone, against the wishes of the local burial society.


Fredrika Shavir appealed to the High Court represented by an organization headed by Rabbi Uri Regev who leads Israel's Reform Jewish community. The court also ordered the burial society is to pay all expenses in the case as well as expenses incurred in redoing the tombstone of the grave of her mother.


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