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>JN Sept. 6, 2000, Vol. 8, No. 153
Barak Wishes to Give More to Palestinians
By Arutz-7 News
Prime Minister Ehud Barak reportedly has more concessions up his
sleeve in his efforts to revive the stalled talks with the
Palestinians. Correspondents accompanying the Prime Minister in New
York report that he is now prepared to cede to Arafat an additional
2 percent of Judea and Samaria, for a total of 90 percent; the
Palestinians have demanded 97 percent.
Furthermore, Barak is now willing to sign a final-status agreement
that would not include the seemingly-unsolvable issue of Jerusalem.
The Likud strongly attacked these concessions; the opposition party
also claimed that any agreement signed by Barak is worthless, as he
has no majority in either the Knesset or the public.
Reports differ as to Arafat's willingness to accept Barak's offers.
Some reports claim that he has decided that he wants an agreement,
while others emphasize his apparent insistence on nothing less than
total sovereignty over Jerusalem.
PA Legislative Council Chairman Abu Ala placed an interesting
proposal before the European Parliament Monday: United Jerusalem
should become the capital of the world, under international
sovereignty. "The Palestinian Authority will agree to this plan, if
this is what is needed for true peace," Abu Ala said.
Clinton to Meet with Arafat and Barak
By Deborah Tate (VOA-White House)
President Clinton meets separately Wednesday with Israeli Prime
Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat on the
sidelines of the United Nations Millennium Summit in New York.
With one week to go before the parties' self-declared deadline for
a final peace agreement, U.S. officials say it is crucial that
progress be made in the stalled peace process this week.
National Security Advisor Sandy Berger would not characterize this
as a "make-or-break week" in the peace process, but he underscored
the importance of making progress.
"Unless we see a decisive way forward from this week, I think it
becomes increasingly difficult to imagine in the time frame I see
as realistic -- particularly in terms of what is happening in
Israel. This gets more difficult."
U.S. officials have played down the importance of the parties
meeting their Sept. 13 deadline for a final settlement.
But they hope for an agreement before the Israeli Knesset
reconvenes at the end of October. Israeli lawmakers, unhappy about
the concessions Barak has made to the Palestinians, have threatened
to topple his government.
The talks broke down at the Camp David summit in July over the
issue of the future of Jerusalem, which both sides claim as their
Prisoner Number 1111387
Former Shas Party leader Rabbi Aryeh Deri has begun serving his
three-year prison sentence, and will be spending his time behind
bars in the Masiyahu (Ayalon) Prison.
Prison Authority officials explain that facility can accommodate
Deri's religious needs from the special kosher diet to permitting
him religious studies. The inmates in the facility are permitted to
wear civilian clothing and are not required to dawn prison garb.
Deri, prisoner number 1111387, will be considered prisoner number
one in the facility's Torah Wing, with many inmates pleased to hear
the famed former government minister and Shas kingpin will be their
new roommate for the coming three years.
In his farewell address at a solidarity rally in front of the
prison on Sunday, Deri stated he accepts God's verdict with love,
asking forgiveness from all persons that he may have slighted
during his life and career. Deri made special mention of Rabbi
Eliezer Mann Shach, the leader of the Lithuanian Torah community.
The Shas Party broke off from Shach's Degel HaTorah Party following
a conflict, leading to broken ties between the camps.
Deri loyalists promise the affair has not ended, expressing their
anger over the decision to place him in Masiyahu despite Deri's
repeated requests that he be permitted to serve his sentence in the
Hermon Prison in northern Israel.
Prior to surrendering himself to prison officials, Deri told
supporters he did not plan to request a presidential pardon and did
not want anyone doing so on his behalf. In interviews granted by
Deri over past weeks, he explained that in order for one to obtain
a presidential pardon, one must sign a confession of one's crimes.
He stated that he was not guilty of the crimes he was convicted,
adding he never took bribes or embezzled monies for himself as was
decided by the courts and therefore, could never request a pardon.
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