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>Israel Faxx
>JN July 26, 2000, Vol. 8, No. 129

Egged May Ban Radios on Hareidi Lines

By IsraelWire

The Egged bus cooperative may prohibit drivers from listening to the radio on hareidi (ultra-Orthodox) lines since the radio is deemed offensive by the hareidi population. Egged bus cooperative officials indicated the move may follow requests from leaders of the hareidi community. Company spokesman Ron Ratner explained hareidi men and women are heavy users of the bus system, and on certain lines, constitute 100 percent of the commuters.

Barak and Arafat Return to Middle East

By VOA's Deborah Tate (White House), Nick Simeone (Thurmont, Md.) & Art Chimes (Jerusalem)

President Clinton - announcing the breakdown of the Camp David Middle East peace summit Tuesday - confirmed reports that Jerusalem proved to be the biggest stumbling block to an agreement.

Israelis and Palestinians blamed each other for the failure to reach a deal during the 14 days of talks, accusing one another of not negotiating in good faith - particularly on the issue of Jerusalem.

Trying to put the best interpretation on the breakdown, Clinton noted it was the first time the parties ever had seriously discussed Jerusalem. He emphasized the religious, political and emotional dimensions of the issue in arguing that it was not a surprise the talks ended as they did.

"There is no other place in the world like Jerusalem, which is basically at the core of the identity of all three monotheistic religions in the world, at the core of what it means to be a Palestinian, at the core of the identity of what it means to be an Israeli."

Israel insists that Jerusalem be its undivided capital, while the Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent Palestinian state. Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it.

Despite a news blackout imposed on the Camp David proceedings by the United States, reports from the region said Prime Minister Ehud Barak had offered the Palestinians sovereignty over some predominantly Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

But Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat rejected them, demanding full sovereignty over East Jerusalem. Palestinian sources say Arafat was especially angered over Israel's refusal to grant Palestinian sovereignty over Jerusalem's walled Old City - offering only access to the Al Aksa mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam. Before dawn Tuesday, the Palestinian leader sent Clinton a letter saying the Israeli proposals on Jerusalem would not lead to an agreement.

Clinton did not comment on the letter. But while praising Arafat's commitment to peace, he said Barak had made greater strides toward compromise. "Prime Minister Barak showed particular courage, vision and an understanding of the historical importance of this moment."

The president said despite the collapse of the talks, there had been progress made on Jerusalem and other issues, and he expressed hope that an agreement would be reached by the parties' self-imposed deadline of Sept. 13.

"We have done our best, but unfortunately, we have ended with no results," Barak told reporters. The prime minister placed the blame for the collapse of the talks squarely on the Palestinians for not willing to make a deal on Jerusalem.

"Unfortunately, Arafat somehow hesitated to take the historic decisions that were needed in order to put an end to it and of course I believe we should not lose hope. We should prepare for every possibility.

"The vision of peace has suffered a major blow. We'll have to take care for extremism and terrorism and to make sure the next few weeks will not deteriorate the whole region into a new round of violence."

Israel's military chief of staff says the army is ready to deal with any possible Palestinian unrest. Gen. Shaul Mofaz told the Knesset's security committee the military is aware of the threat of possible violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Speaking in Hebrew, he said, "The army is ready for all possible scenarios. We don't want violence, but it depends on the Palestinians. In the past, he says, the confrontations have been started by the Palestinians."

Palestinians have been predicting violence if the Camp David talks fail, but there have been few direct threats. Even the militant Islamic Hamas organization, which spearheaded the violent Intifada uprising a decade ago, has not actually threatened violence.

Most Jerusalem Arabs Choose Israel

By Arutz-7 News Service

Tuesday's Washington Post featured an article entitled, "Some Arabs Reluctant To Be Free Of Israel."

"In an afternoon of more than 15 interviews with Palestinians in Beit Hanina ... a clear majority said they would prefer to remain under Israeli control rather than risk the economic and political uncertainties of Arafat's Palestinian state-in-the-making."

"'The hell of Israel is better than the paradise of Arafat,' said Abdulsamia Abu Sbeih, 57, a twinkly-eyed retired fishmonger in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina. "We know Israeli rule stinks, but sometimes we feel like Palestinian rule would be worse... The Palestinian Authority is full of thieves."

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