A Collection of the Week's News from Israel

A service of the Bet El Twinning Committee
of Beth Avraham Yoseph of Toronto Congregation

14 Nisan 5759    March 31, 1999    Issue number 211

NEWS

US Agrees - No Israeli Pull Out Until PA Complies

'Don't pull out - but free prisoners'

The Clinton Administration has decided to accept the position of Israel that it need not implement the second pullback from the West Bank under the Wye agreement until the Palestinian Authority (PA) has adhered to all its obligations in the accord's second phase, says a senior Clinton Administration official. But the U.S. does expect Israel to fulfill other non-land obligations incurred at Wye and not wait for further Palestinian action. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the U.S. official's statement to Ha'aretz is a result of contacts in the last several weeks between Israel's top negotiator Yitzhak Molcho and special U.S. Middle East peace coordinator Dennis Ross. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top aides have been pressing for a U.S. statement to ease Israel's diplomatic isolation that deepened as a result of the mid-December halt in the implementation of the Wye accord. The U.S. official told Ha'aretz, "The Israeli position throughout the negotiations has consistently been that the redeployment from the West Bank should only sequentially follow Palestinian steps at each of the three phases and not occur in parallel to them. We do not oppose this Israeli position, and therefore a second redeployment is not required at this point ... yet land is not the only element of Wye." The official continued, "It is inaccurate to say, as the Israeli government has, that Israel will only act when the Palestinians do everything first. This is not what Wye says and the fact is that the Palestinians have adhered to at least some of their commitments, including revoking their charter, so Israel should implement those commitments immediately, such as releasing prisoners. This does not need to be negotiated with the Palestinians, but it is a commitment undertaken at Wye."

Under Wye, Israel was to release 250 Palestinian prisoners at each of the three phases, but has only released the first third. The U.S. official disputed the Israeli view that Palestinian prisoners have been let out of prison. According to the official, the Central Intelligence Agency, which the Wye accord installed in Gaza as an official observer, says that none of the 15 prisoners who were on a joint list prepared at Wye have been released as Israel contends. Sixty others were let go, admitted the American official, "but they were not on the Wye list. We have gone through the files of each of those 60 who Israel had concerns about and we have come to the conclusion that the release of those 60 were understandable." Israel has complained that the 60 should have been released only after the CIA checked them, and not after the fact. When asked if the U.S. was satisfied with the pace of Palestinian weapons collection, the US official would only indicate that the CIA officials in Gaza recently witnessed on more than one occasion the PA detonation of illegal explosives. He refused to say what sort of explosives. (Ha'aretz Mar 28)

Strike Is Over

The Histadrut Labor Union strike has ended. The agreement reached Monday between Finance Minister Meir Shetreet and Histadrut Chairman Amir Peretz will compensate the workers for last year's inflation, "but will not 'burst the barriers' of the wage agreements," Shetreet emphasized. A compromise wage increase of 4.6% was agreed upon. Most of the striking employees will return to work during the course of the day. The interest rates were lowered Monday by half-a-percent. Bank of Israel Governor Yaakov Frenkel, who has long resisted pressures to significantly lower the rates, again refused to order a major decrease, despite the drop in the price index over the past two months. He said that he fears a renewal of inflation in the coming months. Industrialist leaders sharply criticized the small decrease, calling it a "slap in the face and a nail in the coffin of the Israeli economy." The Bank of Israel's economic forecast for the coming year, publicized today, does not agree. It expects that production will rise by 2.5%, and that unemployment will remain steady at 8.6%. The report determines that the main challenge facing Israel's policy-makers at present is the renewal of economic growth. (Arutz 7 Mar 29)

Edelstein Predicts Large Immigrant Support for Netanyahu

Yisrael B'Aliyah's #2 man, Immigration and Absorption Minister Yuli Edelstein, rebuffed rumors that his party is about to announce its support for Ehud Barak as Prime Minister. Edelstein said that "though many Yisrael B'Aliyah activists are disgruntled with Netanyahu's tacit support for [the rival immigrants' party] Yisrael Beiteinu, their views do not necessarily represent the perspectives or policies of the party leadership. We did not advise our voters to support a particular candidate during the last election, and we plan to maintain the same policy this time around." He added that most of the party's voters will probably support Netanyahu: "In '92, immigrants played an important role in toppling Shamir, as they did with the Labor government in '96. This is the first time [since the massive wave of Russian immigration] that there is no widespread feeling of frustration or a sense on the part of the immigrants that they haven't been taken care of. It's natural, then, that the incumbent will enjoy their broad support." Yisrael B'Aliyah sees itself as a partner in "any Zionist government" that is formed after the elections, Edelstein stated, "which rules out partners such as Meretz and the Arab parties. We continue to say that a broad national-unity government will be the only format which will have the ability to last the full four-year term, and we will push for such an arrangement after the elections." (Arutz 7 Mar 29)

Abu Alla Threatens Israeli Policeman

The Chairman of the Palestinian parliament, Abu Alla, threatened an Israeli policeman Sunday. Policemen signaled his car to stop in the vicinity of the northern-Jerusalem airport in Atarot, but the driver ignored him. Only in Wadi Joz, several kilometers further south, did the policemen catch up with the car, but the passengers refused to produce their identifying papers. One of the passengers was later identified as Abu Alla, who yelled "I'll get you" to a policeman. This is not the first time that Abu Alla's driver has not listened to policemen's instructions, according to Israel Police sources. (Arutz 7 Mar 29)

Arab Offices in Jerusalem to Be Closed

The Ministerial Committee for Jerusalem Affairs decided Monday to close three Palestinian Authority offices in eastern Jerusalem. It was also decided to tighten the supervision over Palestinian officials who are working towards Palestinian sovereignty in the eastern half of the Israeli capital. (Arutz 7 Mar 29)

Israeli Embassy in Belgrade Evacuated

The Israeli Embassy in Belgrade has been evacuated, as the NATO air bombardment there continues. Israeli Ambassador David Sasson and the embassy's security officer were the last to leave on the weekend, after the other employees and their families left last week. The Israeli Embassy there is now totally empty. Some 250 Jews from the area have arrived in Budapest, in neighboring Hungary, and are being hosted by the Jewish community there. It was noted that German ammunition is now being fired in an offensive mission (the present NATO attack) for the first time since 1945. (Arutz 7 Mar 28)

Likud Protests Beilin Consent to Palestinian State

The Likud has requested an urgent special session of the Knesset, following reports that Labor MK Yossi Beilin held talks four years ago with a top PA figure on the establishment of a Palestinian state. Likud Knesset faction head MK Ruby Rivlin has delivered the 30 signatures necessary for such a special session. Palestinian Authority senior Nabil Sha'ath told the French newspaper Le Monde that Beilin, with the apparent consent of then-Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, agreed to the declaration of a Palestinian state. The paper states that in the spring of 1995, Beilin and Shaath "examined the possibility of the Palestinian state being declared and recognized by Israel as soon as the problems of the settlements and of the borders had been dealt with. Along with this [the sides] would continue talking about other subjects like Jerusalem. 'We talked about the creation of settlement-blocs on an area that would not exceed 5% of the West Bank, in exchange for which Israel would cede 5% more territories in Gaza', Sha'ath revealed." (Arutz 7 Mar 28)

Revolving Palestinian Jail Doors Keep Turning

Nine Hamas terrorists were released by the Palestinian Authority from their prison cells in Shechem last Friday. They were arrested in connection with one of the terrorist attacks in the Machaneh Yehuda market in Jerusalem. The PA announced that it plans to free additional Hamas members. (Arutz 7 Mar 28)

Netanyahu Rejects European Decision

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told a visiting group of young European Parliamentary leaders last Friday that he rejects the European Union decision favoring the establishment of a Palestinian state. He said that the EU should have showed more sensitivity before making a recommendation that is so dangerous for Israel, in light of the fact that one-third of the Jewish people were killed on its lands during the Holocaust. MK Yossi Sarid (Meretz) later said that the Prime Minister should not "take the name of the Holocaust in vain... A Palestinian state already exists, for all practical purposes, and what is left now is only to negotiate its borders and limitations." Netanyahu explained to the young Europeans that there are two types of peace: "Peace between two democratic nations, and peace between democratic and non-democratic nations. The problem is that Israel has no democratic countries around it. Our policy is therefore to ensure that the peace we make is defensible. We are against the establishment of a Palestinian state that can make alliances with Iran and Iraq and become a real danger to Israel." The Prime Minister also emphasized that a solution can be reached "only by negotiations between the sides, as the Americans say, and not in the form of external dictates." (Arutz 7 Mar 26)

Twenty Years of Cold Peace with Egypt

Egypt celebrated the 20th anniversary of its "cold peace" with Israel last week by not agreeing to any joint commemorations. Instead, Egyptian papers have featured a wave of articles on the alleged Israeli massacres of Egyptian POWs during the Six Day War in 1967. The official Egyptian weekly Al Ahram claims that Ehud Barak commanded over the slaughter of thousands of Egyptians at the time, at the order of Ezer Weizman. Other Israeli public figures accused of killing prisoners include Ariel Sharon, Rafael Eitan, Moshe Arens, Moshe Dayan, and Yitzchak Rabin. The Foreign Ministry is considering its response to the libels. (Arutz 7 Mar 26)

Better Late than Never

Large quantities of rain fell during last Thursday throughout Israel, especially in the northern Galilee and the Golan. The rains significantly raised the water levels of reservoirs. Local farmers told an Itim correspondent that though the season may still be considered a drought, the recent rain and snow is a great blessing to the Kinneret [Sea of Galilee] and Israel's national water supply. (Arutz 7 Mar 26)

Political Party Points

The Mordechai-Shachak-Meridor-Milo centrist party published its platform. The platform states that the party is agreeable to a territorial "compromise" in the Golan Heights, and does not rule out the option of uprooting Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria.

Avigdor Lieberman - an immigrant from the former Soviet Union, former head of Prime Minister Netanyahu's office and leader of the new Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is Our Home) party - spoke to Arutz-7 last Thursday about his party's list of Knesset candidates: "I think this is a list that truly represents the unity within the Nation of Israel. Within the top ten, we have three residents of Judea and Samaria (Yesha), three women - two of whom are from development towns, IDF Colonels, doctors, and native Israelis. We are the first party to determine that all our conventions will be in Jerusalem. We not only represent Yesha, but we also act on behalf of Yesha, and do not simply talk. The Likud used to talk a lot about the Land of Israel, but left not a grain of sand in Yamit or in Sinai. We will not support any agreement that will cause the removal of Yesha settlements. We have a plan for 400 kilometers of new roads in Yesha that will connect communities, and develop industry there."

MK Azmi Bishara (Hadash) has announced his candidacy for Prime Minister - the first Arab to do so in Israel. He said that he does not want to be Prime Minister, but that his candidacy will have an important political role to play on behalf of the Israeli-Arab public. MK Moshe Peled, now of Moledet, asked the Chairman of the Elections Committee to invalidate Bishara's candidacy, on the grounds that Bishara said today that the Jewish nation is a "fiction with no right to exist." (Arutz 7 Mar 25)

US Senate to Hold Hearings on Palestinian Arab Killers

The United States Senate held a first-of-its-kind official hearing last Thursday to discuss Yasser Arafat's sheltering of 20 Palestinian Arab terrorists involved in the murders of 12 American citizens in Israel. The murders were perpetrated since the signing of the Oslo accords in 1993. The hearing was be held under the auspices of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, at the request of Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA). The witnesses included Martin Indyk, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs; Stephen Flatow of New Jersey, whose 20-year-old daughter Alisa, a junior at Brandeis University, was murdered in a bus bombing by Palestinian Arab terrorists in Israel in 1995; Vicki Eisenfeld of Connecticut, whose son Matthew, a graduate of Yale University, was murdered in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem in 1996; Diana Campuzano of New York City, a 33-year-old businesswoman who was permanently injured in a terrorist attack in Israel in 1997; and Jean-Claude Niddam, the Israeli Justice Ministry's Director of Legal Affairs Concerning the Palestinian Authority. The PA was also invited to send a representative. It has been reported that yet another Palestinian Arab terrorist who was involved in the murder of U.S. citizen Alisa Flatow has been released from prison by the Palestinian Authority. The Israeli government reported that the PA recently set free Adnan al-Ghoul, who took part in the bombing attack on an Israeli bus near Kfar Darom in April 1995, killing Ms. Flatow, along with seven Israelis. A report by the Israeli Ministry of Justice in October 1998 identified three additional terrorists involved in the bus bombing - Yousef Samiri, Hassan Hamadan, and Nasser Hindawi - as free men in PA territory. Israel has asked the PA to hand the four terrorists over for prosecution, as the Oslo accords require, but the PA has ignored all of Israel's 44 requests for the extradition of terrorists. As a result, the Flatow family has urged that the killers be transferred to the United States for prosecution there, in accordance with American law. (Arutz 7 Mar 25)

Synagogue Burnt, Synagogue Built

A synagogue on Shlomo Doga St., in the Gilo-Ahuza neighborhood of Jerusalem, was burnt to the ground last night. Its Torah scrolls and hundreds of prayer books and other books were also burnt. The arsonists removed and stole the plastic chairs before burning the building. Neighborhood residents told Arutz-7 that they suspect Arabs from nearby Bethlehem, who have broken into the outlying synagogue several times in the past. In an unrelated item, a new synagogue was dedicated today in the secular Kibbutz Tse'elim, a result of the efforts of one of the kibbutz members and with the blessing of the kibbutz secretariat. (Arutz 7 Mar 25)

Court Overrules IDF Promotion

The Supreme Court has forbidden the IDF from promoting Brig.-Gen. Nir Galili to the rank of Maj.-Gen., or to any higher position. Galili was accused of sexually assaulting his secretary some years ago. The spectators in the courtroom burst out in applause when the ruling was announced, to the consternation of Chief Justice Aharon Barak. Galili's lawyer, Eli Zohar, said that he does not know the reasoning for the decision (which will be publicized at a later date): "I only know that the Supreme Court has decided to intervene in decisions made by the Chief of Staff and the Defense Minister." (Arutz 7 Mar 25)

First Lady's Remarks

U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton's claim that Yitzchak Rabin implicitly supported the creation of a Palestinian state is "clearly contradicted by Rabin's lengthy record of statements opposing a Palestinian state," according to the Zionist Organization of America. The New York Times reported recently that Mrs. Clinton allegedly said that "her remarks [in favor of a Palestinian state] were a 'reflection of her discussions' with Yitzchak Rabin, the late Israeli Prime Minister, 'and that Rabin had told her that 'it was very difficult to negotiate with a nonentity.'" The ZOA points out, however, that Rabin consistently opposed the creation of a Palestinian state: When Labor Party official Nissim Zvilli made a statement in February 1994 which seemed to accept the idea of a Palestinian state, Rabin emphasized that he (Rabin) was "firm in my opposition to statehood," and pointed out that statements in favor of Palestinian statehood "contradict decisions by the [Labor] party convention and do not reflect the party's positions." Several times afterwards, Rabin again declared his opposition to a Palestinian state. ZOA National President Morton A. Klein condemned Ms. Clinton for misrepresenting Rabin's position, and said, "Prime Minister Rabin, and all Israelis, have good reason to be concerned about the possible establishment of a Palestinian state. If such a state were created, Israel would be reduced to its precarious, nine-miles-wide borders of 1967, and enemy tanks would be able to cut Israel in two at its mid-section... A PLO-Hamas state - a veritable mini-Iraq - would be situated on Israel's doorstep, in close proximity to the cities where 70% of Israel's population lives." (Arutz 7 Mar 25)

Firearms Abuse in P.A. Worse than Was Thought

It now appears that the number of Arabs killed over the past several months by Palestinian security agents is not seven, as was originally reported, but eleven. An organization called LAW - "The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment," based in the northern Jerusalem Arab suburb of Beit Hanina - has released a report of "firearms abuse" within the Palestinian Authority. Since the beginning of March, four Palestinians have been killed in Ramallah, according to LAW. The last victim was Yasser Hamad, 23, who died two days ago of wounds he suffered last Saturday, and three others who were killed by Palestinian security men are also mentioned by name in the report. However, none of the four appear in a previous LAW report, in which it was noted that seven Palestinians have been killed in similar circumstances. This brings the total number of victims to 11. LAW notes that "the Palestinian police are poorly trained in law enforcement and in control in the use of weapons, and they are unaware of law and good policing techniques. However, many are issued with weapons along with uniforms, and both are used as symbols and in the practice of power." (Arutz 7 Mar 25)


Commentary

NATO's Bombing of Serbia By Elyakim Haetzni

One cannot escape a grim sense of foreboding in view of N.A.T.O.'s bombing of Serbia. The similarity is all too clear between the diktat of Wye and the diktat of Rambouillet, between N.A.T.O.'s demand to amputate the province of Kosovo from Yugoslavia and transform it into an Albanian Muslim state, and Europe's demand with American backing to sever Jerusalem and Yesha from Israel to transform them into a Muslim Palestinian state.

Only the blind fail to perceive that Kosovo is but a general rehearsal for what we can expect if we refuse to concede Jerusalem to Arafat: if we won't be smitten with "Tomahawk" missiles then at the very least we will be subjected to brutal economic pressure.

Both Israel and Yugoslavia suffer from a hostile world press. Therefore we will not be able to judge what is transpiring in Serbia without presenting to the reader a number of facts that the world and Israeli press has chosen to conceal and distort.

In 1974 Kosovo was awarded autonomy. A process of "ethnic cleansing" ensued forthwith against the Serb minority and nearly half a million Serbs were forced out. On the other hand Albanians crossed over from Albania in the hundreds of thousands and as a result of these two processes the remaining Serb population in Kosovo numbered only ten percent.

Of course one cannot justify atrocities committed by any side and the Serbs' hands are definitely unclean. However the Croats and Bosnians also committed acts of murder and expulsion against the Serbs and the final accord of the Bosnian War was the "ethnic cleansing" of 200,000 Serbs from the Krajina district.

The war in Kosovo was not initiated by the Serbs but by a Muslim underground army enjoying international Islamic support in the form of weaponry and volunteers. Apparently it is precisely the N.A.T.O. assault which is currently goading the Serbs into acts of repression and expulsion--unpardonable in themselves--against the Albanians. The latter however would not have brought matters to such extremes had they not counted on a blank check endorsed by the Americans and Europeans.
This syndrome is quite familiar in our locale as well.

During the Second World War the Croats created a Nazi state which extended over Bosnia as well, a state which massacred Serbs and Jews. The Bosnian Muslims were incited by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Hussayni. A Muslim S.S. division ("Hanjar"- the dagger) murdered Jews. The Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia initiated a rebellion against the Germans in which 1.7 million, 11% of the total population lost their lives. The Partisans captured vast areas of territory, pinned down thirty Nazi divisions which were severely disabled, disarmed six Italian divisions and became an army a quarter million strong. Yugoslavia was the only European country which liberated itself. Had the Americans studied this history, it is doubtful that they could have assumed that by aerial bombardments a la "Desert Fox" which did not faze Saddam Hussein, they could subdue the Serbs. This is especially true given Milosevic's agreement to restore Albanian autonomy, he was only adamant against allowing the introduction of 30,000 N.A.T.O. troops into his country. Who would have acted otherwise?

The Serbs stood in the path of the Turkish conquest of Europe. They were vanquished in their capital of Kosovo in 1389. From then on their dream of a restored national freedom was situated and centered upon Kosovo, which constituted a national and religious unifying symbol. The Muslims constitute the majority in Kosovo, but Kosovo was never an independent Muslim state. In contradistinction a plan for a "Greater Albania" exists encompassing Albania, Kosovo, and the sizable Albanian minority in Macedonia.

The Serbs who call Kosovo "Our Jerusalem" wish to see us as an example. Will we, who viewed Zion and Jerusalem as a national symbol long before the Serbian saga, prove able to learn from the Serbs the meaning of national unity and resolve? True, opposition exists to Milosevic, the Communist, but on the issue of Kosovo the people are united.

Clinton justifies the bombing as necessary for saving the people of Kosovo from Serb repression. He owes an explanation why he has not bombed China on behalf of the persecuted Tibetans. Why haven't cruise missiles appeared over Khartoum to save the Christians in Southern Sudan 2.5 million of whom were butchered by the Moslems? Why didn't the U.S. establish a Shiite state in Southern Iraq or a Kurdish state in the North following the Gulf War? Instead, on the basis of cold political calculations, it elected to preserve the territorial integrity of Iraq even under the regime of Saddam Hussein. Why is territorial integrity good for Iraq and not for Yugoslavia? Why doesn't Clinton arrange autonomy for the Kurds in Turkey, a N.A.T.O. member?

Clinton lords over us in the name of "international law". The U.N. charter prohibits the use of force against a sovereign state which has not committed aggression against another state and the issue of Kosovo is an internal dispute! The Rambouillet "Agreement" which Milosevic was ordered to sign under the threat of bombing constitutes a violation of the 1969 Vienna Convention, the Treaty on Treaties, which prohibits the use of force to coerce a state into signing.

The bombing of Serbia is also an obtuse action. American experts have already seriously criticized the adhesion of Eastern European States to N.A.T.O. (Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and shortly Estonia) as a superfluous provocation, as it brings the western military alliance closer to the borders of Russia. Additionally the U.S. and Europe have backed the Croatians and the Bosnian Moslems against the Serbs, the historic proteges of the Russians. In response, Russia which in the Gulf War still backed the U.S. against Iraq, has begun returning to a policy of confrontation in the Middle East, to arm Syria and Iran and back Saddam Hussein. The bombing of Serbia presently, without U.N. legitimation is the last straw in a process which threatens the reimposition of an iron curtain. For what purpose pray tell.

Is it to introduce Islam to Europe? Hasn't the U.S. absorbed the bitter lesson of Afghanistan where it supported the Islamic fundamentalists and Taliban. From there the deadly stinger anti-aircraft missiles which the U.S. gave out so generously disseminated becoming a menace to global aviation. Afghanistan also begot the Bin-Laden terrorists who blew up America's embassies.

The U.S.A., which erred grievously in Vietnam, in Beirut, in Somalia, in Iran, in Iraq and in Afghanistan, now errs in Kosovo. Everywhere the U.S. has left devastation in her wake, but it continues to pontificate on what is good for us as if we were errant school children.

It would appear that spiritually as well, we have become a banana republic, if despite the menacing shadow which the Kosovo Affair casts over us, Israel's academia and political world applaud and follow the U.S.A. blindly. At the time, we sent aid to Moslem Bosnia and absorbed Bosnian refugees, because Yossi Sarid so willed it. It is time that a Public Committee for Serbia arose to aid Serbian victims. Such a committee would represent a token of gratitude from our people to a people who fought the Nazis more than any other people.


Prejudging the Issue Jerusalem Post Editorial

Diplomacy, as an art, honors the value of consistency mainly in the breach. Rarely, however, are diplomatic acts as glaringly self-contradictory as the European Union's latest statement on the Middle East peace process. Europe's decision to gratuitously reward Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for not misbehaving bodes ill for Europe's own role in the peace process. The EU statement released Friday "urges both parties to refrain from activities which prejudge the outcome of those final-status negotiations." This was the closest the statement came to opposing Arafat's often-threatened unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood, slated for May 4. In the same breath, however, the EU proceeded to do what it had urged the parties to refrain from doing: prejudge the results of final-status talks. The EU statement not only proclaimed the "unqualified Palestinian right to self-determination, including the option of a state," but added that the Palestinian right is "not subject to a veto." In other words, Europe wants to see "a negotiated solution," so long as the outcome is a Palestinian state. This EU statement, coming on the heels of the recent note verbale reviving the long-dead concept of Jerusalem as a "corpus separatum," establishes an intolerable pattern of European meddling in the peace process. If the Palestinian right to a state is "unqualified" and "not subject to a veto," then what is there left to negotiate on this issue?

As if anticipating this question, the statement goes on to reassure Israel that "the creation of a democratic, viable, and peaceful sovereign Palestinian state on the basis of existing agreements and through negotiations would be the best guarantee of Israel's security and Israel's acceptance as an equal partner in the region." Such European thoughtfulness regarding Israel's security needs is indeed touching, but those needs are clearly not advanced by predetermining final-status outcomes. As both Labor and Likud leaders have explained, Israel's security needs will require that Palestinian sovereignty be limited, regardless of whether the result is called a "state." Most states have no limits on their right to arm themselves, make alliances, and control their borders. No Israeli leader is willing to see a Palestinian state, ensconced between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, armed with tanks or an air force. If statehood is inconsistent with restrictions on military forces and alliances, then a Palestinian state cannot be reconciled with Israeli security.

By attempting to dictate final-status outcomes, the EU is effectively showing disdain for the peace process. In addition, the lopsidedness of the EU's proposals reveals that it is less interested in advancing the peace process than in siding with the Palestinians. Though still unhelpful, the EU claim to supporting peace might be credible if it attempted to support the core requirements of each side. The EU might have, for example, coupled its support for the principle of Palestinian statehood with support, in principle, of Jerusalem remaining the undivided capital of Israel. Such a stance, however unwarranted, would have at least signaled each side that its most symbolically and substantively charged requirement will be met. Instead, the EU does the opposite: aside from the matter of terrorism and violence, it takes the Palestinian side regarding both Palestinian and Israeli core requirements.

It would not be fair to accuse the United States of subscribing to the European approach, but a similar imbalance is unfortunately embedded in the US position. The US reportedly discouraged the EU from accepting a French proposal to automatically recognize a Palestinian state after one year, regardless of the state of final-status negotiations. But the US did not attempt to dissuade the EU of the stance it did take, perhaps partly as an indirect gift to Arafat for the expected postponement of his statehood declaration.

To make matters worse, the US is reportedly expected to waive its own law requiring that its embassy be moved to Jerusalem by May. Again, the signal to Israelis is: "what's yours is mine, what's mine is mine" - the US and Europe favor the Palestinian position on statehood, but show no sympathy toward the Israeli position on Jerusalem.

If the Clinton administration waives the law - groundlessly claiming "national security" considerations - and does not move its embassy, it will be like rubbing salt in an old wound for Israel. Not content with hinging the fate of Jerusalem on negotiations - something to which Israel has acquiesced - the US also refuses to recognize officially Israel's choice of its own capital.

The effect of the US and European polices, implicit and explicit, is to create a presumption in favor of Palestinian statehood but not for a unified Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The best thing for the peace process would be if outside powers refrained from creating presumptions regarding either of these final-status issues. If Europe, however, insists on intervening regarding future recognition of a Palestinian state, the US should declare its intention to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's undivided capital. (Jerusalem Post Mar 29)

Promises, Promises By Uri Dan

There's nothing like a little Islamic terror to get Russian leaders to start courting Israel.

One of the first issues Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov raised after he had welcomed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Ariel Sharon at Moscow Airport was the terror attack last Friday in Vladikavkaz, that killed 61 people and wounded over 100.

In a market similar to that in Jerusalem's Mahaneh Yehuda, Moslem extremists set off some 10 kg. of explosives, massacring innocent people. The attack was apparently committed by a Moslem terror group from nearby Chechnya, a group the Russians say is connected to Osama bin Laden.

Ivanov raised the incident when he told his guests that Russia wants to cooperate in the fight against international terror by Moslem extremists.

The wheel of history takes some ironic turns. From the 1960s to the 1980s, when the Soviet Union was under a totalitarian regime, Israel repeatedly said that in the end, it would itself suffer from the fact that it was training terrorists for the PLO and other groups. But during those gloomy days under Leonid Brezhnev and others in the Kremlin, no one particularly cared to listen.

Today, when the Russians are conducting themselves as a democracy, and as a result have dramatic economic and social problems, the country is suffering from unceasing attacks by Islamic terrorists, who are treading the well-worn and cruel path paved by the PLO, with the Soviet Union's encouragement.

The issue of cooperating in the fight against terror had already been raised with Sharon during his last visit to Moscow in January, when he met with officials from the Russian Defense and Interior ministries, as well as with Ivanov and Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov.

The Russian security agencies want to link up with Israel on this issue, much as Israel already cooperates with the US and Europe. Friday's attack made the issue even more pertinent.

Perhaps it was this fear of Islamic terror that prompted Primakov to use unequivocal language when Netanyahu and Sharon brought up Israel's objections to the aid Russian firms are providing Iran to develop ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

"What do you think, we want to commit suicide?" exclaimed Primakov. And he suggested that a committee headed by Ivanov and Sharon work to prevent the transfer of unconventional weapons technology from Russia to Iran.

OF course, Moscow has repeatedly denied American and Israeli claims against it on this issue, and even after it announced it would take action against the firms in question, nothing was done.

But Netanyahu and Sharon, following their talks in Moscow this week, said "This time, it seems as though our Russian hosts have change their tone and their content.

"Primakov and Foreign Minister Ivanov stressed that they really mean to stop this dangerous aid to Iran," our leaders said. "They know it poses a threat not just to the region, but to Russia itself."

Such a warm and friendly feeling pervaded the talks that one of the Israelis quipped that we are entering a period of "From Russia With Love."

It's possible that the rise in Islamic terror in his country even prompted Primakov to relate to his guests so positively and with such friendliness that he said to Netanyahu - knowing his words would reach the media - "If I was an Israeli, I would vote for you."

But it is of course equally clear that Primakov wants to return from his important US visit this week with some serious money to fill Moscow's empty coffers. He knows the issue of Iran is the key here, since the US, not just Israel, is concerned about the black market that is supplying Iran with strategic materiel.

We must also remember that Primakov is known to want, in due time, to succeed Boris Yeltsin, and on that score much depends on how successful he is at beginning to improve Russia's economy.

In any case, Netanyahu and Sharon can tick off a most successful visit to Moscow, which had nothing to do with the elections, though perhaps much to do with Israel's future in the face of the current Iranian threat.

But as Sharon himself said: "We are not a naive country. The promises were nice. Let's see if there will be results." (Jerusalem Post Mar 25)

The writer is co-author of The Mossad: Secrets of the Israel Secret Service and other books on the Middle East


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