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>JN July 14, 2000, Vol. 8, No. 121
What Should Jerusalem's Future Be?
20,625 Responses to a MSNBC Survey.
The city should be a self-governing Vatican-style state. 7%
It should be divided between the Jews and the Palestinians. 7%
Israel should have control over it. 55%
A new Palestinian state should incorporate it. 31%
Camp David II: Day 3: "Vital Interests"
By VOA's Luis Ramirez (Thurmont, Md.) & Ross Dunn (Jerusalem)
Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations continued for a third day
Thursday at Camp David in the absence of President Clinton.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Israeli Prime
Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat held
their first bilateral meeting since the start of the summit.
"The Israeli and Palestinian sides have continued their meetings
with each other. Negotiators have met, and yesterday (Wednesday)
evening there was a meeting between Prime Minister Barak and
Chairman Arafat at chairman Arafat's cabin. The parties are
grappling with the core issues of permanent status. These are
tough issues for all of them. They involve their vital interests."
Jerusalem is emerging as the most potentially divisive issue. The
future of the holy city is stirring debate in Israel and the
Palestinian territories. Both Israelis and Palestinians claim
Jerusalem as their political and religious capital.
The Palestinians are demanding that it take control over east
Jerusalem, captured by Israel from Jordan during the 1967 Middle
East War. Israel officially rejects this position, saying it
will never allow the city to be divided again.
But Israeli Justice Minister, Yossi Beilin believes it is possible
to find a compromise. "Jerusalem may be seen as the most difficult
problem. I don't think so. I see Jerusalem, not only as an
impediment, but also as a potential opening model for the other
issues on the agenda. Because if we solve Jerusalem, it
will seem as if we can solve the other issues in an easier way.
And Jerusalem is difficult only because of the perceptions, because
of the emotions and because of the symbols."
Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert, a member of the opposition Likud Party
in Israel, does not share this view. He says the only solution is
to leave the status of the city unchanged. Olmert warns that it is
even dangerous to seek a compromise by offering full Palestinian
control to Arab villages on the outskirts of the city.
Israeli Cabinet Minister, Haim Ramon, says that it is better to
delay any resolution of the Jerusalem matter for at least five
years, rather than to put the entire Camp David summit at risk of
But Faisal Husseini, the Palestinian official in charge of the
Jerusalem issue, says a solution should be found now. Husseini says
that Jerusalem is destined to become a shared city between Israelis
and Palestinians, and a model of peaceful coexistence in the Middle
"This city will be an open city. Here (in east Jerusalem) will be
a Palestinian capital and in the west side will be an Israeli
capital. But the city in itself will be open."
Both sides are working to meet a self-imposed Sept. 13 deadline for
a final peace agreement.
German Christian Churches Used Slave Labor
By Jonathan Braude (VOA-Berlin)
Germany's Evangelical Church is contributing nearly $5 million to
victims of the Nazi slave labor programs -- after admitting that
the churches, too, used forced labor.
Fifty-five years after the end of the Second World War, Germany's
main protestant church has admitted a truth that the parishioners
of Central Berlin probably knew all along. In the final years of
the war, according to Evangelical Bishop Wolfgang Huber,
26-protestant and two Roman Catholic parishes banded together to
build a forced labor camp in Berlin.
It was there that they housed the Central and Eastern European
workers they needed for grave digging and other menial tasks.
These were not necessarily the Jewish slave laborers, whom Adolf
Hitler's Nazi regime attempted to work to death in the service of
the German economy. But the churches' admission shows that they
too were part of a system which drafted millions of unwilling
laborers from all over Central and Eastern Europe and forced
them to keep the wheels of industry, agriculture, and government
Now the German Evangelical Church has announced it will contribute
towards the $5 billion compensation fund, which the lower house of
the German parliament approved last week and which the upper house,
the Bundesrat is to pass Friday.
Some Germans believe every citizen has a moral responsibility to
apologize and compensate for past misdeeds. Nobel Prize winning
novelist, Guenther Grass and historian Carola Stern have appealed
to all Germans to make a small donation to the fund. They wrote in
a newspaper article that if every adult paid -- about $10 -- it
would raise more than $500 million -- yet the cost would be no more
than a couple of visits to the movies.
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