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Arutz-7 News: Tuesday, December 7, 1999

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  • Arutz-7 Editor
    Arutz Sheva News Service Tuesday, Dec.7, 1999 / Kislev 28, 5760 - 4th Day of Hanukkah ... Delivered Daily via Email, Sunday thru
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 7, 1999
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      Arutz Sheva News Service
      <http://www.arutzsheva.org>
      Tuesday, Dec.7, 1999 / Kislev 28, 5760 - 4th Day of Hanukkah
      ------------------------------------------------
      Delivered Daily via Email, Sunday thru Friday
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      TODAY'S HEADLINES:
      1. BARAK CAPITULATES TO NEW PA-MERETZ DEMANDS
      2. ALBRIGHT ARRIVES
      3. CITY OF JERUSALEM TO BLOCK WAQF; TIBI THREATENS WAR
      4. POLICE RAID ON CHOP SHOPS
      5. NIMRODI CUSTODY MAY BE EXTENDED
      6. NEEDY FAMILIES "ADOPTED"
      7. SUIT AGAINST PA TO PROCEED
      8. BODIES OF YOM KIPPUR SOLDIERS RECOVERED
      9. LIKUD TO DISCUSS MERGER WITH LEIBERMAN
      10. NEW DETAILS ON VESTI FIRING

      1. BARAK CAPITULATES TO NEW PA-MERETZ DEMANDS
      Less than one day after the Palestinians stopped the final status talks in
      response to construction in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza (Yesha), Prime
      Minister Ehud Barak has announced that his government will not issue any
      new building tenders for construction in Yesha communities. Yesterday, the
      Palestinians initiated a crisis when they walked out on a session of the
      final-status talks with Israel. PA negotiator Yasser Abed Rabbo cited
      construction of Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria as the reason for the
      walk-out.

      In a conversation with senior Labor party activists last night, Barak said,
      "the settlements are causing Israel great damage," and that he would
      therefore not approve any new tenders while negotiations with the
      Palestinians continue. This morning, Justice Minister Yossi Beilin
      observed that there was no point in building in Yesha communities "that
      would at any rate be transferred to the Palestinians." Regarding those
      communities which - according to Beilin - would not be uprooted,
      "construction may continue unrestricted only after the consummation of a
      final-status deal."

      Housing Minister Rabbi Yitzchak Levy (NRP) says that he knows of no changes
      in Prime Minister Barak's construction policy. In an interview with
      Arutz-7 today, Levy said that Barak's comments "were likely misunderstood,
      since the reports of what he said are inconsistent with government policy,
      according to which, to my sorrow, new settlements will not be built, but
      existing ones are entitled to develop." Levy suggested that Barak was
      "just discounting the issuing of building tenders on the scale of 500
      apartments at a time."

      The Yesha Council expressed greater wariness of Barak's declaration, and
      today demanded "clarifications" on the matter. Atty. Shlomo Filber -
      Director-General of the Yesha Council - told Arutz-7's Kobi Sela today:
      "It is becoming increasingly apparent that the people who are directing our
      Yesha policy are none other than Yossi Beilin and Yossi Sarid." Filber was
      hinting at the threat issued by Sarid's Meretz party yesterday to quit the
      government if Yesha construction was not halted. "If the report of a
      planned building freeze is true," Filber added, "then the approaches of
      both Yesha residents and the Yesha Council are bound to change radically...
      What happens in the weeks ahead - whether tenders are issued in practice or
      not - will determine our next steps."

      2. ALBRIGHT ARRIVES
      U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited Damascus today. Members
      of her entourage say that Syria is "still interested" in renewing talks
      with Israel. Albright arrived in Jerusalem this afternoon, where she met
      with Prime Minister Barak. She is slated to meet Yasser Arafat in Ramallah
      tomorrow.

      3. CITY OF JERUSALEM TO BLOCK WAQF; TIBI THREATENS WAR
      The Temple Mount controversy took a new turn today when the legal advisor
      of the Jerusalem municipality issued an order to halt Waqf building
      activity on the Temple Mount. City officials also intend to launch legal
      proceedings against all elements responsible for violating the zoning and
      construction laws in the area. Prime Minister Barak is hosting a
      "comprehensive deliberation" on the issue in his office today. Jerusalem
      Mayor Ehud Olmert - who reportedly has some concrete proposals of how to
      handle the crisis - has also been invited to attend the meeting.

      Justice Minister Yossi Beilin is troubled by the new activism emanating
      from the Jerusalem Municipality. "Ever since 1967, no Israeli government
      has tried to fully exercise Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount,"
      Beilin said today. "The issue there is a 'very sensitive one..., and every
      Moslem home boasts a photograph of the Al-Aksa Mosque." Jerusalem
      businessman Yisrael Goldberg has found that Jewish Israelis are also fond
      of the Temple Mount. Speaking with Arutz-7 today, Goldberg told of how he
      sold and distributed hundreds of thousands of copies of a photo-montage of
      the Temple on the Temple Mount. "People from all walks of Israeli life,
      religious Jews and many who do not wear yarmulkas, common folk and
      politicians, and even deputy mayors from all over the country - have
      mounted the picture in prominent places in their homes and offices," he said.

      The illegal Arab construction on the Temple Mount was also the central
      issue of a popular Israeli talk show last night. One of the guests on the
      show, Knesset member and former Arafat confidant Ahmed Tibi, issued an
      on-air ultimatum to the Barak government. Following is an excerpt from the
      interview:

      Knesset Member Tibi: If the Israeli government and elements in the right
      wing will not recognize -

      Interviewer: Do you not identify with the Israeli side?

      Knesset Member Tibi: No, not on this point..I am a Moslem, and I identify
      with [the] Al-Aksa [Mosque]... If the Israeli government and the Israeli
      side and people on the right refuse to recognize the adminstrative
      authority of the Moslem Waqf, and continue to be affected by the incitement
      coming from the right wing - then there will be no 'Millenium' here, there
      will be an 'Apocalypse' here! If someone has the nerve to contemplate
      closing the two entrances that have been opened, I am saying to you, and
      this is a warning -

      Interviewer: Are you saying this as a representative of Arafat or are you
      expressing your own view?

      Knesset Member Tibi: I know what will happen - if someone has the nerve to
      close the entrances, he is declaring war on the Moselms!

      In related news, two members of the Temple Mount Faithful movement were
      permitted to enter the Temple Mount this afternoon. Police, however,
      forbade the two to pray there or to carry any type of poster or sign.


      4. POLICE RAID ON CHOP SHOPS
      The war against car thefts in Israel continues. The Judea-Samaria District
      Police (Shai) conducted a raid last night in the Palestinian village of
      Shewika, arrested four suspected thieves, and confiscated dozens of car
      engines. In addition, the police also uncovered hundreds of automobile
      parts in storage rooms hidden under elaborate homes in the village.
      Arutz-7 correspondent Kobi Sela reports that, over the past two months,
      police have detained some 76 car thieves and have confiscated hundreds of
      stolen vehicles and engines. A Shai District police spokesman told
      reporters today that his detachment's systematic approach to the problem
      has not only significantly reduced the number of car thefts, but has also
      effectively disabled the vast Palestinian stolen-car industry infrastructure.

      5. NIMRODI CUSTODY MAY BE EXTENDED
      The police today requested an extension of the custody - for an additional
      15 days - of Ma'ariv publisher Ofer Nimrodi. According to the police,
      extra time is necessary in order to examine new information that has
      surfaced over the last few days. Police presented the Petach Tikvah
      Magistrate's Court with recently-discovered classified information relating
      to Nimrodi. The presiding judge has refused the attorneys access to the
      new material.

      6. NEEDY FAMILIES "ADOPTED"
      Concerned citizens have started to chip away at some of the country's
      social problems. In the Ramat Hasharon region, several dozen
      financially-stable families have adopted less affluent local families. The
      program is the fruit of the labors of the local branch of the Chabad
      movement. Each "adopting" family has committed itself to supplement the
      income of another family unit to the tune of 400 shekels a month, with the
      funds earmarked mainly for groceries. As part of the same initiative, a
      number of local food stores have pledged to provide free fresh vegetables
      to the area's needy families.

      7. SUIT AGAINST PA TO PROCEED
      In what may become a landmark case, the Tel Aviv District Court has
      rejected a request by the Palestinian Authority to summarily dismiss a
      damages suit brought against it by an Israeli father and son injured in a
      Palestinian Arab terror attack several years ago. The PA argued that as an
      independent entity, it is immune to such litigation. The Israeli family
      charges that the PA did not take the necessary steps to prevent terror
      attacks within Israel, as it had committed itself to do in the 1993 Oslo
      Accords. In light of the court's decision, the plaintiffs could recover up
      to five million shekels in damages.

      8. BODIES OF YOM KIPPUR SOLDIERS RECOVERED
      Two IDF soldiers will be buried this week, more than 26 years after their
      deaths. An Israeli search team discovered the soldiers' bodies last month
      but succeeded in positively identifying them only yesterday. The soldiers
      were found under three meters of sand in the Sinai Desert where their tank
      was hit by Egyptian fire on Oct. 7, 1973 on the second day of the Yom
      Kippur War. One of the servicemen, Corp. Leon Cohen, will be buried
      tomorrow afternoon at the Ramla military cemetery. Corp. Nadiv Mordecahi
      will be interred on Thursday afternoon in Jerusalem's Mt. Herzl military
      cemetery.

      9. LIKUD TO DISCUSS MERGER WITH LEIBERMAN
      Next week's Likud Central Committee meeting will deliberate on MK Ayoub
      Kara's proposal for a merger with Avigdor Leiberman's Yisrael Beitenu
      party. Kara feels that uniting the two factions would improve the Likud's
      image in the eyes of Russian immigrants, and would enhance the party's
      standing in the next elections. The Likud Knesset faction rejected a
      proposal of mutual parliamentary coordination three weeks ago.

      10. NEW DETAILS ON VESTI FIRING
      New information has surfaced regarding the recent firing of the founder and
      editor of Vesti, Israel's largest Russian-language daily. It has now been
      learned that Vesti's parent company, Yediot Acharonot, had ordered the
      editor, former refusenik Eduard Kuznetsov, to take a leave of absence from
      his editorial position some weeks before this past May's national
      elections. At that time, many Vesti staff members had anticipated the
      eventual removal of their chief editor, "for his right of center political
      leaning." According to Arutz-7's Effi Meir, Ehud Barak's advisor on
      immigration, Ina Isakov, was reportedly instrumental in bringing about
      Kuznetsov's dismisal. A group of Vesti writers met this week to discuss
      the establishment of a new Russian-language paper with Kuznetsov at the helm.

      Hebrew News Editor: Haggai Segal
      English News Editor: Ron Meir

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