Newsletter : 0fax0919.txt
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>JN Sept. 19, 2000, Vol. 8, No. 161
Israeli Olympic Medal Hopeful Lands Last Position
Israel Faxx Staff Report
Israel's hope for a gold medal in the swimming competition vanished
Monday morning when Eitan Orbach finished in eighth and last place
in the men's backstroke finals. His time was 53.72. Orbach had
broken the Israeli record for back-stroke swimming in Sydney
Sunday, and became the first Israeli swimmer to reach the Olympic
Foreign Minister Sees Peace Breakthrough
By Breck Ardery (VOA-United Nations)
Israel's Foreign Minister, Shlomo Ben-Ami, said Monday that a
breakthrough in Middle East peace efforts between Israel and the
Palestinians is still possible.
In an emotional speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Ben-Ami said
negotiations between his government and the Palestinians have
turned a "sea into a river." Now, the minister says the question
is "do we have the courage and determination to cross it?"
Ben-Ami said Prime Minister Ehud Barak has touched the "outer
limits of his options" during negotiations and that both Barak and
Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat should be mindful of the judgment
"I do not underestimate the dilemmas of Chairman Arafat, the great
leader of the Palestinian people, and I know that decisions are not
easy for him either. But this is the destiny of leaders to always
be prophets without honor. They should not expect the applause of
their constituencies. What really matters is the judgment of future
Ben-Ami says Israel has the greatest respect for Islam and its holy
places in Jerusalem but he also says Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem
are "at the heart of Judaism."
Speaking to reporters after his speech, Ben-Ami said that
Israeli-Palestinian contacts are continuing. Although he refused to
provide details, he said a number of interesting ideas are being
exchanged and that now is the time to "double our efforts."
Barak Rejects Islamic Sovereignty Over Temple Mount
By Meredith Buel (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak is rejecting a Palestinian
proposal to allow Islamic sovereignty over a key Jerusalem
religious shrine holy to Muslims and Jews.
Barak told members of his cabinet that Israel opposes the transfer
of sovereignty of an important religious site to any Islamic group,
closing the door on a compromise proposal made by Palestinian
leader Yasir Arafat.
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are currently
stalled because of the sovereignty dispute over the shrine known to
Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary
The compound was once the site of the Jewish Temples, and two major
mosques mark the place where tradition says the Prophet Mohammed
ascended to heaven. The Palestinians are insisting on sovereignty
over east Jerusalem, including the Old City and its holy
places. Arafat says the only other option he is willing to
consider is to hand sovereignty over the Noble Sanctuary to a group
of Islamic countries.
Barak told his cabinet ministers that "Israel not only opposes the
transfer of sovereignty over the Temple Mount to the Palestinians,
but completely rules out the possibility of transferring
sovereignty to any Islamic body."
The prime minister says that despite ongoing contacts, there have
been no worthy developments and no movement in the Palestinian
positions regarding the peace negotiations. He says it is still not
clear whether the Palestinians are ready to make decisions and
conclude an agreement.
Barak has indicated in the past he is open to creative ideas on the
sovereignty issue, as long as control is not given to the
Arafat is insisting Israel transfer control of all land it captured
in the 1967 Middle East war, including the West Bank, Gaza Strip,
and east Jerusalem, to the Palestinians.
Both sides are accusing each other of backtracking on verbal
compromises reached during the US sponsored summit last July at the
Camp David presidential retreat outside Washington.
That summit ended with the deadlock over the future of Jerusalem.
Negotiators say other major issues remain to be resolved, such as
the borders of a possible Palestinian state, the status of Jewish
settlements in the occupied territories, and the future of
Israel and the Palestinians missed a self-imposed deadline earlier
this month for reaching an agreement on a final peace accord.
Rabin Vase on Sale -- Once Again
The Internet auction site E-bay.com (category: silver) is offering
for sale what it calls a "scandalous silver vase" that was given to
then-Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin in 1992 by the Greek Orthodox
Patriarchate. The vase, which was considered State property, was
originally "traded" by Rabin's widow Leah at HaTzorfim silver
factory for other items, and has since changed hands several times.
A national scandal arose in 1996 when the vase was first put up for
sale, as all gifts to public officials belong to the State - and
not to the family of the recipient.
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