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>Israel Faxx
>JN July 30, 1999, Vol. 7, No. 139

Mekorot Plans to Dismiss Workers Older Than 52

By IsraelWire

Mekorot plans to fire all employees who have completed their 52nd year, but all of the workers would receive pensions. 400 employees among the 2,500 workers are to be fired and another 400 phased out over the next five years. Meanwhile, employees of the water company have been striking for over three weeks.

Mubarak Agrees with Barak on Wye River Accord

By Richard Engel (VOA-Alexandria, Egypt)

Israel Prime Minister Ehud Barak met Thursday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the Egyptian city of Alexandria. Barak intends to implement the Wye River peace accord -- but says that more time may be needed to work out details.

Mubarak says he is convinced Barak will fully implement the Wye River Peace Accord. The Egyptian president added that he understands that some additional time is needed for Israelis and Palestinians to work out the details of that implementation.

"The Prime Minister insists that he is going to honor the Wye agreement. There may be some ways and means to implement the Wye Agreement, but I think that we are going to meet with (Palestinian leader) Arafat in a couple of days to see what could be accepted. And I hope that the process will move forward in the very near future."

Many leaders in the Arab world were taken aback by Barak's suggestion earlier this week that some steps required in the Wye accord should be delayed. But after Thursday's meeting, the Egyptian president made it clear that a small delay used to work out details is not a problem, so long as in the end the Wye accord is implemented.

The U-S-brokered Wye River accord calls for Israel to withdraw troops from some 13 percent of Palestinian land. Again Thursday, the Israeli prime minister said he hopes the Palestinian leadership will not insist on immediately carrying out the Wye accord. But Barak said he would not take any actions that could affect the peace process without consulting the Palestinians. The Israeli prime minister added that it is up to the Palestinian leadership to choose how to implement the agreement.

"I never pretended to have magic solutions to solve a conflict of 100 years in three weeks or three months. We are looking forward together. I am committed to Wye. We are going to implement Wye. We suggested certain ideas about how and in what ways and along what timing to implement it. It is only if we will agree upon it with Chairman Arafat that we will insert defortification. If not, we continue. But once again, we - the leaders - are going to be responsible. If we chose a kind of bumpy road instead of the main road, we cannot ask ourselves in retrospect why we are moving on bumps? We chose the bumpy road - we hit bumps."

In Alexandria, Egypt's Mubarak seemed convinced that the Palestinians should not chose what Barak called the "bumpy road." Analysts here say the Egyptian President may urge Arafat to accept minor delays in implementing the Wye accord so as not to risk losing the entire deal.

Netanyahu Takes a Bite From the Big Apple

By IsraelWire

Former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is in New York City, reportedly accompanied by a very small number of persons. He signed into the hotel as Mr. Benjamin for security reasons.

The former prime minister stated, "It is wonderful. After three years, I can visit New York without a barrage of security personnel surrounding me." I feel as if I am on vacation, Netanyahu said from his mid-Manhattan hotel.

Netanyahu will be in New York for five days, during which time he will meet with a limited number of prominent Jewish leaders in a capacity of a private individual. He also plans to conclude certain private issues, including matters pertaining to a new book. The agency handling the former prime minister's bookings is asking for and has received $60,000 for a speaking engagement.

Shaath: "Barak Also Has Blood on His Hands"

By IsraelWire

"Everyone has blood on their hands, including Ehud Barak," stated senior PLO Authority official Nabil Shaath in an interview in a PA newspaper. Responding to the issue of Israel's releasing Arab terrorists from its prisons, Shaath was responding to Israeli criteria relating to releasing terrorists with blood on their hands. Shaath explained that terrorists with blood on their hands prior to the signing of the Oslo Accord was not an issue since it was agreed that the slate was wiped cleaned prior to that date.

Shaath added that the labeling of terrorists "with blood on their hands" was racist since everyone had blood on their hands, including [Prime Minister] Ehud Barak. The Prime Minister's Office stated it was not interested in responding to the statement.

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