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>Israel Faxx
>JN July 24, 2000, Vol. 8, No. 127

Gun Ban for Foreign Olympic Security

By IsraelWire

Foreign security personnel accompanying athletes to the Sydney Olympics will not be allowed to carry firearms, Australia's security chief said. The nation's attorney-general said no delegation - including teams from Israel and the United States - would be exempt from the ban. At the 1972 Munich Olympics 11 Israeli athletes were killed by Palestinian terrorists. Their capture and eventual deaths in a bungled rescue operation was blamed by many on poor security planning on the part of the German authorities.

Clinton Returns to Camp David's Day 14

By VOA's Nick Simeone (Thurmont, Md.), Jenny Badner (Jerusalem), Sabina Castelfranco (Rome)

Middle East peace talks entered their 14th day at Camp David, Md., with President Clinton returning from an economic summit in Japan.

Clinton headed to Camp David for the Middle East talks, which have already gone longer than expected. They are now set to last longer than the historic 1978 Camp David talks that produced a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

.By all accounts, these negotiations have been much more difficult, with issues on the table that go to the heart of 52 years of Israeli-Palestinian conflict. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says both sides have been conducting what he calls serious, intense talks during the president's absence, but it will be up to Clinton to decide if enough progress has been made to continue.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators seem to be grappling with the issue of Jerusalem. Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat has been demanding nothing less than a full return of the eastern half of the city, which Palestinians would make the capital of a future state. Israel captured and annexed East Jerusalem from Jordan after the 1967 Middle East War and has since declared the city its eternal, undivided capital.

Jerusalem's future is one of the most difficult issues being tackled by Israelis and Palestinians in their Middle East peace talks.

Political slogans are everywhere in Jerusalem. Bumper stickers in blue and white -- the colors of the Israeli flag -- banners and posters with messages for and against the peace talks are tacked on almost every lamppost, bus stop and car.

"Barak is losing the country," says one popular message. "The majority has decided on peace," says another, in support of the Camp David talks. In Jerusalem itself, there is little agreement about what the city's future status should be.

On Sunday, the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported that Barak is ready to give the Palestinians partial control over East Jerusalem. That possibility was debated on local radio broadcasts throughout the day.

31-year-old Israeli Orna Elboim has been living in Jerusalem for more than 10 years. She says she supports, but adds he will lose her vote if he does not come home with an agreement paving the way for a Palestinian state and giving the Palestinians control of east Jerusalem.

"It should be divided. It should be divided already, and it should be recognized officially. I don't feel land is holy. I think they have the right to sit here and have their state just like we have."

Not all Jewish Israelis agree. Thousands demonstrated in Tel Aviv last week in opposition to the talks. "Phil," who would not disclose his age or last name, says Barak is making a terrible mistake and should not negotiate with the Palestinians.

"I think Mr. Barak doesn't know what he's doing. I would say 90 percent of the people came here because of Jerusalem and Israel. They wouldn't be here in the first place if they were going to give everything away. It's obvious."

But Palestinians living in the contested city say Jerusalem is just as much theirs. The old city of Jerusalem houses holy sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims. For Jews, it is the remains of the Second Temple. And for Muslims, the area is sacred because of the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

Thirty-year-old taxi driver Nour Al-Din is a Palestinian born in east Jerusalem. Waiting at the Damascus Gate, just outside the old city, Al-Din says he supports the talks outside of Washington, but the deal must include Jerusalem.

"Everybody wants the old city. It's everything for me. It's my life because of the mosque. It's in my blood. We will die here for the land. For everything here."

Pope John Paul sent a message Sunday to the Middle East peace negotiators in Maryland. He made a strong call for Jerusalem to be granted international status, which he believes is the only way to assure freedom of religion for all in the holy city.

Speaking to pilgrims at his summer residence in the hills south of Rome, the pope urged all parties not to neglect the spiritual dimension of Jerusalem, a city considered the crossroads of peace and co-existence for three different religions.

The pope made clear he feels the only forward is a special statute for Jerusalem, since the city is sacred to Jews, Muslims and Christians. But he provided no details as to how such a statute would work.

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