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September 09, 1994 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-09-09

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 10, 1994- 14
Israel proposes 3 years of relations with Syria



marks major first step

Women supporting the Muslim fundamentalist group Islamic Jihad demonstrates in front of the Gaza City jail yesterday.
Arafat meets with fundamentalists to ease tensions

Syria has refused
to regognize the
Jewish state absent
a pullout from the
Golan Heights,
which Israel
captured in 1967
The Washington Post
JERUSALEM - Prime Minister
Yitzhak Rabin said yesterday that Is-
rael proposes a three-year "testing pe-
riod" of normal relations with Syria
after an initial, "very partial" Israeli
pullback on the Golan Heights before
proceeding to a fuller withdrawal as
part of an Israeli-Syrian peace agree-
Rabin's declaration, issued by his
office, marked the first time he has
publicly described in such detail Israel's
position in U.S.-fostered peace talks
with Syria, including the proposed time
frame for the first step of an accord.
Two government spokesmen said it
was a shorter period than earlier Israeli
Syria has demanded that Israel com-
mit itself to a complete evacuation of
the heights, captured by Israel in 1967,
before any accord can be reached that
commits Syria to normal relations with
Israel. It also wants to see that evacua-
tion occur in much less time than Israel
Asked at a news conference in Lon-
don yesterday about Rabin's idea of a
three-year waiting period after an ini-
tial Israeli withdrawal, Syrian Foreign
MinisterFarouk Charaa said: "We think
from a realistic point of view and a
logical point of view, and because of
the small size of the Golan Heights,
that there is no need for a long period to
conclude the withdrawal.... It does not
need years to pull out."
Charaa declared, however, that
Syria is ready for a "warm peace" with
Rabin's statement said, "We are
not prepared to commit ourselves re-
garding the depth of the withdrawal
before the Syrians agree to the number
of years over which it will continue -
and this must be more than three years,
because three years is for the first line
only, and the Syrians have not yet
Speaking to his cabinet, he said that
"our position is a slight" Israeli with-
drawal initially on the Golan "without
the dismantling of a single (Israeli)
settlement, if possible." The three-year
testing period, he added, should in-
volve "full normalization in relations
with Syria, including embassies."

Los Angeles Times
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -
Yasser Arafat, head of the PLO, yes-
terday eased his confrontation with
the Gaza Strip's powerful Islamic
movement, meeting the leaders of
the largest group for the first time
and releasing some of the 70 Muslim
fundamentalists arrested in police
sweeps earlier this week.
In a visit to Gaza's Islamic Uni-
versity, Arafat told the leaders of
Hamas that they and other funda-
mentalists are fully entitled to par-
ticipate in Palestinian politics as long
as they do not resort to violence, but
warned that the Palestinian Police
strike hard at those who do use vio-
He said the new Palestinian Au-
thority would issue a license for a
new Hamas newspaper, Al Watan
(The Nation), and he challenged
'Hamas, which claims the support of
more than half of Gaza's 850,000
people, to form a political party and
contest forthcoming elections.
"We in the Palestine Liberation
Organization are not afraid of Hamas,
and Hamas has no reason to fear us,"
Arafat said, according to a PLO ac-
count of the hour-long meeting. "Pal-
estine will be a democracy as long as

we all play by the rules of democ-
Hamas, an Arabic acronym for the
Islamic Resistance Movement, and a
number of other fundamentalist and
leftist Palestinian groups oppose the
autonomy agreement reached a year
ago between the PLO and Israel. They
have made clear their determination
to continue attacks upon Israeli forces
and settlers.
"Arafat is caught between two
sides - between us and the Israelis,"
Dr. Mahmoud Zahhar, a Hamas
leader, said in an interview before his
meeting with Arafat. "Hamas under-
stands the game well. Israel will push
Arafat harder and harder, and this will
bring him into internal conflicts more
and more. If he doesn't respond, well,
Israel will finish him."
Arafat, however, appears to be
wooing Hamas, hoping to win local
cooperation in the Gaza Strip, while
cracking down on more extremist and
peripheral groups, such as Islamic
Jihad. In his meeting at Islamic Uni-
versity, he stressed his desire for a
dialogue with Hamas and praised it
for its service to the community.
Earlier this week, Arafat ordered
the Palestinian Police to round up
members of Islamic Jihad following

its claim of responsibility for an am-
bush on an Israeli patrol guarding one
of the Jewish settlements that remain
in the Gaza Strip. One Israeli soldier
was killed, and two were wounded.
Responding to angry Israeli de-
mands for an immediate crackdown,
Arafat told special internal security
units to arrest as many members of
Islamic Jihad as they could find, ac-
cording to Palestinian sources. He
authorized further arrests of members
of the Democratic Front for the Lib-
eration of Palestine after it announced
its militia had carried out a similar
But the moves, a demonstration of
Arafat's power and his willingness to
use it, aroused considerable concern
- even within his own cabinet.
"Mass arrests are political arrests,
and they are against the law," said
Freih Abu Medein, the Palestinianjus-
tice minister. "To make an arrest, you
must have evidence and go to a specific
address and detain a specific person.
You can'tjust sweep through a mosque
and pick up those you find....
"Asjustice minister, I must see that
the president (Arafat) and the police
observe the law. Bringing people in for
investigation is permitted, but I am

Yasser Arafat, PLO
chairman, yields
ground to hard-liners
in restoring Gaza
newspaper, while
working to reassure
Israelis that the
Palestinian Authority
can maintain security.
telling the president that this is not the
The families of many of those
arrested protested outside the Gaza
City prison yesterday, chanting slo-
gans that accused Arafat of establish-
ing a dictatorship and demanding the
release of the detained men.
About 20 of those arrested were
later released, and Palestinian observ-
ers speculated that virtually all would
be freed by early next week.
"The likelihood of our finding out
who carried the ambush against the
Israeli patrol is very small with this
kind of investigation," a Palestinian
security official said.

Rabin was describing just part of a
broader package deal that Israel pre-
sented to the Syrians several months
ago through the Americans, two gov-
ernment spokesmen and an indepen-
dent Israeli academic said.
That proposal was based on an Is-
raeli military study that laid out a three-
stage withdrawal from the Golan
Heights without defining the final line
of a full evacuation, according to Dore
Gold, a specialist on Syrian-Israeli re-
lations at Tel Aviv's Jaffee Center for
Strategic Studies.
Government spokesman Uri Dromi
said that in that package, Israel had
sought a five-year "testing" period af-
ter its first pullback before retreating
Although the Syrians came back
with "substantive responses" to the Is-
raeli ideas, large gaps remained be-
tween the two sides during the most
recent visits to the region by Secretary
of State Warren Christopher in August.
Christopher is next scheduled to
arrive here after Sept. 15 for another
shuttle between Damascus and Israel,
Dromi said.
Although both countries have im-
plicitly accepted that a peace agree-
ment means full Israeli withdrawal from
Golan in exchange for complete Syrian
normalization with the Jewish state, a
major stumbling block is how long the
Israeli withdrawal should take. The
Americans reportedly have been seek-
ing to bridge the competing time peri-
ods demanded: Israel's eight or nine
years and Syria's one or two.
A Rabin spokesman said the prime
minister's remarks yesterday were
meant to "clarify" an earlier report by
Israel's army radio that Israel had agreed
to a complete evacuation of the Golan
within three years.
The same assertion was made
Wednesday by Jewish settlers in Golan,
who said Israel has agreed in principle
to an initial pullback within a year that
would require dismantling 25 Israeli
settlements, followed by a complete
withdrawal within three years.
"As we know," this has also "been
accepted by Syria and America," said
Avi Kalstein, a spokesman for the Golan
Settlers' Committee. The settlers have
said they intend to block any pullout.
Dromi said the settlers' assertions
were "not true," and Rabin told the
cabinet: "We have no commitment to
the Syrians regarding any line of with-
In making his comments, Rabin
may also have been offering Syria a
gesture of flexibility following similar
gestures by Syria's Charaa that were
well received here.
Daily news. It
isn't a job or an
adventure. It's a
whole lot of
wacky, nutty fun.
Well, not really.
But at 2 a.m.
you've got to ask
yourself one
question: Do I
want to be

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