Newsletter : 0fax0623.txt
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>JN June 23, 2000, Vol. 8, No. 108
Survey: Women Read More Books Than Men
Women, according to a recent survey, lead the list of leisure-time
book reading in Israel. The survey was conducted for the "Arts for
the People" association. 56% of the women asked said that they read
books. Among Israeli men surveyed, 61.1% stated that they do not
read books, and only 37.9% said that they are readers. The average
age of book readers of both sexes is in the 45 to 54 range.
Annan to Pressure Israel to Withdraw
By Ross Dunn (VOA-Jerusalem)
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan told Palestinians he will press
Israel to withdraw from land it captured during the 1967 Middle
East war. The Palestinians want to claim these territories to found
their future independent state.
Annan met for one-hour with Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat in the
West Bank town of Ramallah. At a joint news conference afterwards,
the secretary general repeated the promise he had made during the
discussions, that the world body will continue to demand that
Israel adhere to Security Council resolutions.
Annan says it is imperative that Israel implements those
resolutions that demand its withdrawal from areas seized during the
1967 Middle East war. The secretary general says the areas include
the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.
"We should not rest on our laurels and we should seek
implementation of all Security Council Resolutions, in particular
242 and 338, and work to see progress in all tracks."
Israel has withdrawn from some parts of the occupied territories
and transferred them to Palestinian self-rule. Arafat says his
people are angry that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has not
fulfilled obligations under existing peace accords to hand over
"We are not asking for the moon. We are asking what has been
signed. What has agreed upon, from Oslo agreement, from Taba
agreement, from Cairo agreement, from Washington agreement, the
last one between me and Mr. Barak in Sharm-El-Sheikh under the
auspices of (Egyptian) President (Hosni) Mubarak. So we are not
asking for the moon. We are asking what has been signed, what
has been agreed upon to be implemented accurately and honestly."
Barak insists Israel will never withdraw to the pre-1967 borders,
nor will it give up any part of Jerusalem. He says Jerusalem must
remain, what he calls - the eternal undivided capital of the Jews.
Barak is hoping that Arafat will agree to compromise over this and
other difficult issues at the heart of the Israel-Palestinian
conflict. They include Palestinian refugees, the borders of a
Palestinian state and Jewish settlements.
Justice Minister Agrees to PLO Control of Temple Mount
Justice Minister Yossi Beilin has told Israel's Security Cabinet
that he has no objections to seeing a Palestinian flag atop of the
Temple Mount in Jerusalem if the result would be true peace. Deputy
Minister of Defense Ephraim Sneh also spoke of the need for
concessions regarding Jerusalem in order to achieve a peace
agreement with the PA. The Temple Mount was liberated by IDF forces
in the June 1967 Six Day War, bringing an end to the Jordanian
occupation of Judaism's holiest site.
Shas Return's to Barak's Coalition
By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)
Ministers belonging to a major coalition partner of Israeli Prime
Minister Ehud Barak have withdrawn their resignations - a move that
allows Barak to keep his majority in parliament.
Ministers of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party withdrew their
resignations just minutes before the deadline that would have made
them final. The return of Shas, which has 17-seats in parliament,
allows Barak to keep his majority in parliament and save his
11-month-old government. The move should also help Barak survive
no-confidence votes, and win parliamentary approval for legislation
related to the Middle East peace process.
The decision by Shas follows intense negotiations with the prime
minister over funding for the party's private school system.
The Shas party, which represents poor and working class Israelis
who immigrated from the Middle East and North Africa, demanded
millions of dollars for the religious schools as part of the
political deal to keep its members in the coalition.
The return of Shas is expected to help Barak in his efforts to
negotiate a peace agreement with the Palestinians. The prime
minister says he could have a more stable government by including
right-wing parties, but that would make it more difficult to move
the peace process forward.
"We could easily have a much wider, much more comfortable
government in Israel. In a way much more stable, but without the
opportunity to move so determinedly toward peace. So we are
committed to the real mission that the people of Israel put upon us
to change reality. To put an end to the conflict of 100-years to
the extent that human beings are able to do that."
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