Newsletter : 9fax0715.txt
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>JN July 15, 1999, Vol. 7, No. 128
81-Year-Old Charged with Raping 70-Year-Old Blind Victim
An 81-year-old resident of Hadera is being charged with the rape of
a 70-year-old blind woman. The case is being heard in the Tel Aviv
District Court. The prosecution added that following the attack,
the assailant did not return the victim's clothing and therefore,
she was unable to find them.
Barak Meets Today with Clinton
By David Gollust (VOA-White House)
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak is in Washington for talks
Thursday with President Clinton. The administration is hoping to
see momentum in Middle East peace-making renewed after the
near-stalemate under former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
The talks are described as get-acquainted sessions but will be
intense, with two days of meetings and an unusual overnight stay by
the two leaders at the Camp David presidential retreat. US
officials are optimistic about peace prospects under Barak, but
lukewarm about his proposal to by-pass the Wye River interim
agreement and going straight to final-status negotiations with the
White House spokesman Joe Lockhart says both sides would have to
accept the idea: "Our government would have no objection if both
parties agreed that they could move forward. Without both parties
agreeing, we believe that both parties should implement the
components of Wye that they agreed to."
Palestinians want the US brokered Wye deal fulfilled, including
an Israeli withdrawal from another 13 percent of the West Bank,
before opening final-status talks.
Barak surprised some officials with pre-departure comments that he
favors downgrading the heavy mediation role the United States has
played in the Middle East peace process.
Lockhart says the administration sees nothing negative in the
remarks, and has no intention of trying to impose the terms of a
settlement on the parties:
"We believe that our traditional role is to facilitate and to try
to play the role as a broker. But it's up to the parties to come to
an agreement. I think our role at times has become more hands-on,
particularly recently, as the level of mistrust between the parties
grew. But it's certainly our hope, and I think there's some early
evidence, that the parties can build a relationship of more trust
where we can play the traditional role that this government has
US officials have made no secret about their satisfaction over
Barak's election victory in May, and their optimism about progress
in peace-making with Barak after three years of virtual stalemate
U.N. Meeting Focuses on Alleged Israeli Human Rights Violations
By Paula Wolfson (VOA-Capitol Hill)
A controversial UN sponsored meeting is prompting shouts of protest
on Capitol Hill. The session -- which opens Thursday in Geneva --
will focus on alleged Israeli human rights violations in the West
Bank and Gaza. Many lawmakers see the meeting as a sign of
Israel's mistreatment by the United Nations.
The impending conference struck a raw nerve in the House
of Representatives. Members of the International Relations
Committee called a hearing on the matter. And despite their
political differences on other issues, they all condemned the
Steve Rothman, D-NJ, summed up the feeling on the panel. "It is no
secret that the UN has been plagued by a virulent strain of
anti-Israel fever ever since Israel was born and ever since the UN
began. The UN has presented itself to the world as a bastion of
equality -- except when it comes to the State of Israel.
State Department officials told the committee they are doing all
they can to block the meeting, but they indicated they are having
little luck convincing others to join in a boycott.
Nebraska Republican Doug Bereuter says it may be time for the
United States to try some new tactics at the United Nations. He
says maybe there are steps Congress can take to resolve one
problem: Israel's inability to find a home in any of the regional
groupings at the UN.
Other committee members warned that the United Nations' treatment
of Israel could make it more difficult to convince US lawmakers
to pay America's arrears to the world body.
Earlier this week, the House overwhelmingly passed a resolution
stressing its objections to the UN meeting. The gathering was
ordered by the General Assembly in February. The session was
called under the auspices of the fourth Geneva Convention,
which deals with the treatment of civilians in occupied
Originally, it was thought the meeting might result in some sort
of sanctions, or at least provide a lengthy forum for condemnation
of Israel. Now, there are indications the session may be quite
brief, and could be restricted to a few hours of formal remarks and
a joint written statement.
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