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>Israel Faxx
>JN July 13, 2000, Vol. 8, No. 120

Arms from Iran

By Jane's Defense Weekly

According to an unconfirmed report from a Middle Eastern source, Iranian airliners are apparently flying to Damascus with arms and equipment for the Hizbullah guerrillas who fought against Israel's occupation of the south of Lebanon.

Core Issues Face Israelis/Palestinians at Camp David

By David Gollust (VOA-White House)

US officials say the parties at the Camp David summit are taking up the core issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but they are giving no indication yet of progress toward the hoped-for agreement. Teams led by President Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat are in their second day of talks.

White House officials say the secluded Camp David setting has created the atmosphere they hoped for, with the Israeli and Palestinian delegates mingling together at meals and giving each other rides on golf carts. Clinton spokesman Joe Lockhart says the sides -- after the opening formalities Tuesday -- are discussing the core issues of the Middle East conflict, but he gave no indication of movement, calling the process thus far a struggle.

"To the extent that we went into this knowing it would be a struggle, we have not been disappointed by that. This is a very difficult process with a short time frame with very difficult issues."

The issues at hand -- including Jerusalem, Palestinian statehood and the rights of refugees -- are the most intractable of the entire peace process that began with the 1993 Oslo accords. Lockhart indicated that Clinton has already begun proposing compromises to the two Middle East leaders -- the spokesman saying that is an inseparable part of the discussion process.

The administration has already acknowledged that implementation of an Israeli-Palestinian deal will require billions of dollars in aid from the United States and other donors to pay for security arrangements and -- among other things -- an international fund for Palestinian refugees.

Israel Agrees Not to Supply Phalcon to China

By Luis Ramirez (VOA-Thurmont, Md.)

Bowing to US concerns, Israel is calling off a deal with China for the sale of an aircraft equipped with advanced early warning radar technology. The announcement came during the Middle East peace summit at Camp David outside Washington.

The announcement came from Israeli spokesman Gadi Baltiansky, who spoke to reporters in Thurmont, Md., near the site of the ongoing Middle East peace talks. "We have informed the US and China about our intention not to continue with the Phalcon deal." Baltiansky said he did not want to get into the reasons for the cancellation, but he said Israel is aware of American concerns and interests.

The United States had opposed the $250 million deal, citing concerns that it may shift the balance of military power in the Taiwan Straits and endanger US forces. Some members of Congress had threatened to block military aid to Israel if it went ahead with the sale.

The deal involved the sale of one plane equipped with Phalcon early warning radar technology to China, with an option for Beijing to buy several more aircraft and equipment in the future.

Analysts say Israel heeded the United States' calls to scrap the sale as a precondition for sending more US military aid that Israel would need to implement the security terms of an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord.

Maps of Jerusalem Withdrawal are on Drawing Board

By Arutz-7

Arutz-7 reported that maps have been drawn up in security circles for a possible withdrawal from Jerusalem. Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh denies the reports, but Arutz-7 insists its information is accurate.

Sneh said Wednesday that the Yesha Council's "Brothers Must not be Abandoned" campaign has been "quite successful - but in any event the government is not planning to abandon even one settler" and that Barak is prepared to give away between 80 and 90 percent of Judea and Samaria, where 40-50,000 Jews reside, at the Camp David summit; Arafat demands 100 percent of the territory.

Chief Rabbis OK Giveaway of Holy Sites to PA

By IsraelWire

According to Haaretz, Israel's chief rabbis have ruled the prime minister may turn over control of holy sites to the PLO Authority under certain conditions.

Haaretz quoted the chief rabbis as telling a government senior aide they would not object to Israel turning over control of the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Joseph's Tomb in Nablus and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, to the PA, providing the peace treaty states that Israelis would maintain access to the holy site.

The chief rabbis pointed out that the issue of the Temple Mount would be the main issue and this needed to be worked out between Israel and the PA. The rabbis oppose relinquishing Israeli sovereignty over the Mount, the site of the First and Second Temples as well as the future Third Temple. The rabbis did not however rule out a trilateral governing body consisting of Jews, Christians and Muslims.

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