A Typical Day in Israel, Sept. 25, 1996
Arutz Sheva News Service Wednesday, September 25, 1996 / Tishrei 12, 5757
- PALESTINIAN VIOLENCE INCREASES
- NETZARIM INTERSECTION UNDER PLO SIEGE
- HASMONEAN TUNNEL TO BE FURTHER EXCAVATED
- JEWS SPEND FIRST SHABBAT IN JERICHO
- NETANYAHU IN EUROPE
- THE EGYPTIAN VIEW
- FM LEVY IN NEW YORK
- ISRAELI NEGOTIATORS DID NOT MEET HEBRON'S JEWS
- BAR ILAN AVE. DELIBERATIONS CONTINUE
Tensions are high in Jerusalem and Ramallah, following the opening of the Hasmonean Tunnel on Monday night. Some 2000 Palestinians rioted today near the southern entrance of Ramallah, and hurled stones at IDF soldiers. One Arab was killed, and many more injured, when police fired rubber bullets in an attempt to hold back the crowd. Hundreds of Arabs crowded the Damascus Gate late this morning, in an attempt to block the nearby boulevard. The rioters threw several Molotov cocktails at the police. Acting Prime Minister Moshe Katzav has called a high-level security meeting for this afternoon with Shabak head Ami Ayalon, Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert, and others to discuss the escalating tensions. In the course of the morning, Yassir Arafat phoned Minister of Public Security Avigdor Kahalani this morning, asking for clarifications concerning the tunnel; Kahalani asked him to act to calm the tensions. Israel Radio reported that Palestinian Minister of Religious Affairs, Hasan Tabub, whose office is located at Temple Mount, today said that the Palestinians must prepare an orderly plan to liberate Temple Mount and the other holy sites in Palestine.
At 3:15 PM today, eight bus-loads of Arab arrived at the Netzarim junction checkpoint, south of Gaza city, and began hurling bricks and stones at the IDF soldiers stationed there. Netzarim General-Secretary Shlomo Kustiner told Arutz-7 that the road is the sole access route to the community, and that the residents are anxiously waiting for the army to disperse the riot and re-open the road. The Palestinian Police have recently assumed control of the checkpoint, while Israeli soldiers remain stationed at the side of the road. Yesterday afternoon, eight Jewish-owned vehicles on their way to an army base were held up at the checkpoint by the Arab police. In addition, a water supply truck on its way to Netzarim was also recently delayed at the junction. In both cases, IDF soldiers were forced to intervene to permit the delayed vehicles to proceed. A spokesman for the Jewish Communities in Gush Katif claimed that the incident was a blatant violation of the Oslo accords, which do not allow the Palestinians security forces to stop Israeli vehicles.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs intends to invest 60 million shekels in the development of the Western Wall area. The plans include further excavation of the Hasmonean Tunnel to a depth of fifteen meters. Acting Prime Minister Moshe Katzav revealed today that the Commander of the Police Station at the Temple Mount and representatives of the Waqf reached an agreement, even before Binyamin Netanyahu was elected, that the tunnel would be opened, in exchange for Israeli permission to turn the Solomon's Stables area, south of the Temple Mount, into a Moslem prayer site. Then-Prime Minister Peres agreed to the deal, and announced that it would be opened by the end of the Ramadan (spring '96), but the terrorist attacks of February and March thwarted the plans.
For the first time since the establishment of the autonomy in Jericho, a group of Jewish worshippers were permitted to spend the night in the city. Several Jews spent this past Shabbat close to the "Shalom al Yisrael" synagogue in Jericho. National Religious Party Knesset faction leader Chanan Porat, in an interview with Arutz-7 today, said that the IDF has allowed a group of students of the Yeshiva there to remain for Torah study during the night of Hoshana Rabba (the last night of Sukkot, before the holiday of the Rejoicing of the Law).
Concerning Hebron, he said that over the past few months, his party has made very clear its strong position against any withdrawal from the city, and has made many attempts to discuss the issue with the Prime Minister, with no success. Porat said that if this is Netanyahu's way of hinting that he will not be able to accede to the NRP's demands on the issue, this was not fair or acceptable; "even if there are disagreements between us, he must talk with us openly." He did not rule out the possibility of his party's resigning from the coalition if the IDF withdraws from Hebron. Porat emphasized the dangers of the Peres-Arafat agreement, wherein the overall administrative responsibility for all of Hebron – including the streets and sidewalks surrounding the buildings in which the Jews live – belongs to the Palestinians. Porat outlined the major demands of his party regarding an arrangement in Hebron: 1) IDF military control in all of Hebron, with no armed Palestinian presence; 2) the Jewish neighborhoods and the holy sites must be under total Israeli control.
Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan called Prime Minister Netanyahu this morning in Europe, and asked him for details regarding the Hasmonean Tunnel that was newly re-opened. Arutz-7 News Editor Haggai Segal, who is accompanying the Prime Minister on his trip, reported that Netanyahu assured Hassan that the tunnel does not pass under the Temple Mount; he also emphasized that the nearby Arab shopkeepers will benefit greatly from the influx of tourists in the area. Segal reported that Netanyahu appeared quite confident and proud of his decision to open the tunnel.
Regarding his meeting with British Prime Minister John Major last night, Netanyahu said, "We do not see eye-to-eye on everything, but our two nations have much in common, such as our strong battle against terrorism, the Iraqi problem, and others." He also met with Opposition Leader Tony Blair, who is presently enjoying a 20% lead in the polls; elections will be held in Great Britain next spring. Netanyahu arrived this morning in Paris, where he was received by an honor guard. Haggai Segal reported that the meeting with French President Chirac tonight was expected to be somewhat more "complicated" than that with John Major, because of Chirac's pro-Arab stance. Netanyahu will participate in a festive dinner with some 3000 Likud-supporters tonight; other Jewish organizations were reportedly miffed at Netanyahu's choice of dinner plans.
Former British Chief Rabbi Emanuel Jacobowitz asked Prime Minister Netanyahu this morning whether his strong stance in favor of "territory" stems only from security considerations. The Prime Minister answered that it is also comprised of ideological aspects. He said, "The land is too small to divide up... Whenever I fly over the country in military planes, I always try to give a little quiz to the crew to see if they recognize all of the sites; I try to give them a little extra love for the Land this way... We are finished with post-Zionism."
The harsh Egyptian attacks on Prime Minister Netanyahu continue. The Egyptian newspaper A-Dostour yesterday published a front-page picture of Netanyahu with a target superimposed over him, captioned, "Hamas, where are you? Finish him off!" Arutz-7's Arab affairs correspondent Yehoshua Meiri notes, however, that the official newspapers of the country have toned down their attacks on the Israeli Prime Minister. Middle East expert Pinchas Inbari told Arutz-7 today that the source for the recent Arab world attacks on Israel is rooted in the fears of Egypt and Syria that Israel will become the leading economic power in the region. He said that this stands in contrast to Shimon Peres' vision of peace in the Middle East.
Foreign Minister David Levy will sign the international charter in New York this afternoon against nuclear testing. He will meet in the United Nations with a series of Foreign Ministers from Europe, Arab countries, and Russia. Tomorrow he is scheduled to meet with leaders of the European Union in another attempt to persuade them not to visit the Orient House during their official visits to Israel.
Israeli representatives of the joint Israeli-Palestinian steering committee toured the city of Hebron this morning, but did not meet with Jewish residents of the city. The group, headed by former Chief-of-Staff General (res.) Dan Shomron, is scheduled tomorrow to begin talks with the Palestinians on the subject of the redeployment in Hebron. A spokesman for the Jewish community expressed bewilderment at the decision not to hear the perspective of those that live in Hebron before commencing the negotiations. He claimed, "This proves that they fear the truth... They are not capable of dealing with our objections."
Meanwhile, two acid-filled bottles were thrown by local Arabs this morning at two families in Beit Hadassah who were busy building their Sukkah (temporary home for the upcoming holiday of Sukkot); no one was injured. Local military authorities have recommended that the Jewish residents of Hebron not leave their homes today, for fears for their safety. Yassir Arafat had called for a general commercial strike today, but the shopkeepers did not adhere to the call – more evidence, according to the Jewish residents there, of the lack of Arafat's authority in the city, and the lack of stability that will surface if and when the IDF withdraws.
The Tsameret Committee continues to hear witnesses on the issue of Bar Ilan Ave. and Shabbat traffic. The head of the Israeli Lands Administration, Uzi Wechsler, testified today that 90% of those who move out of Jerusalem do so not because of religious-secular tensions, but because of job-related considerations. Prof. Yechezkel Dror also appeared before the committee, and recommended the establishment of a Council of National Internal Security, which would strive to formulate a national consensus on all issues of religion and state. Transportation Minister Rabbi Yitzchak Levy is scheduled to testify tomorrow.
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|Title:||A Typical Day in Israel, Sept. 25, 1996|
|Sources:||Arutz Sheva News Service Wednesday, September 25, 1996|
|First posted on CODOH:||Sept. 23, 1996, 7 p.m.|