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August 02, 1991 - Image 40

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-08-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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40

FRIDAY, AUGUST 2, 1991

On The Brink

Continued from preceding page

with Syria, extracting
whatever advantages it can
in advance of negotiations, it
appears to be piling fresh
conditions on Palestinian
participation in a joint dele-
gation with Jordan.

In addition to Israel's re-
jection of PLO officials,
residents of east Jerusalem
and deportees as potential
negotiating partners, Dr.
Yossi Ben-Aharon, a close
aide to Prime Minister Yit-
zhak Shamir, added a
number of additional
demands this week. These
include Washington pro-
viding a list of potential Pa-
lestinian delegates for its
approval and assuring that
the Palestinian component
in the Jordanian-Palestinian
delegation does not speak at
the peace conference.

Israeli officials deny they
are adding additional
degrees of difficulty, attemp-
ting to muddy the waters
and generally stall the pro-
cess long enough for another
party to back out.
Faisal Husseini, regarded
as the most senior Palestin-
ian in the occupied ter-
ritories, this week asserted
that the Palestinians had
been driven into a corner
and had been placed in a no-
win situation.
Divisions have ranged
from outright rejection of
talks to a willingness to
negotiate at any cost.
With such bitterness in the
air, the question being asked
on both sides of the divide in
Jerusalem — and no doubt
in Moscow, too — is whether
the will to compromise still
exists. ❑

NEWS

Israel High Court
Halts VOA Transmitter

Jerusalem (JTA) — The
High Court of Justice dealt a
severe setback last week to
U.S.-Israeli plans to build a
powerful Voice of America
radio transmitter in the
Negev.
With its president, Justice
Meir Shamgar, presiding,
the High Court ordered the
government to conduct an
extensive study of the possi-
ble effects the giant facility
would have on the ecology of
the region.
Environmentalists
estimate it will take at least
18 months.
The court acted on appeals
filed last year by the Society
for the Protection of Nature,
other environmental groups
and residents of the area.
One of their primary con-
cerns was that the elec-
tromagnetic emissions from
the 16 planned antennae
towers, each 70 stories high,
might disrupt the natural
"navigational" systems of
the thousands of migratory
birds that fly over the Negev
each year.
In addition, local Negev
animal and bird life would
be gravely affected, the peti-
tioners contended.
The High Court accepted
their complaint that the
government had agreed with
the U.S. government to build
the transmitter without
conducting an adequate
study of its possible
ecological consequences.
The project was a subject of
political as well as ecological
controversy in Israel from

the moment the government
first agreed to it in principle
early in 1985, at the prod-
ding of the Reagan ad-
ministration.
The billion dollar
transmitter designed to
relay VOA and Radio Liber-
ty broadcasts to central and
southern Asia, Eastern
Europe and Africa was clear-
ly an instrument of the Cold
War.
The "sweetener" of the
deal was that at least $300
million of the U.S. in-
vestment would go to Israeli
contractors and construction
firms, infusing the sluggish
economy with hard cash and
jobs.
But there were already
heated discussions between
environmentalists who
opposed the project, in-
dustrialists who favored it,
Israelis who believed Israel
should stay out of the Cold
War — if only for the sake of
Soviet Jewry — and those
who thought the Jewish
state should participate in
the propaganda struggle
with communism.
Considering the profound
changes that have occurred
in the Soviet Union and
Eastern Europe in the past
two years, many would say
the Cold War is obsolete.

Many here hoped that
under the new conditions,
U.S. policy- makers would
drop plans to build the
transmitters. But Washing-
ton so far has shown no sign
of reconsidering.

cN

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