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CHN "special report" 10-8-98

Daniel 7:8 " I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots.."

It is in this passage of scripture that we are told that the Peacemaker/Antichrist will "up-root" the three rouge kings that come against his pact of peace with the Jews.

As you know, it is our contention that King Hussein of Jordan is this "little horn" character, and that Iraq, Syria, and Libya are the three rouge Kings.

And because all prophecy continues toward it's own fulfillment in real time, we would like to now draw attention to the scenario that is presently and suddenly taking place on today's stage of history that demonstrates how close we are to Jordan's King having to confront both Syria and Libya in his own defense, and ultimately in defense of the forth coming peace pact that he is pivotally involved in with Israel and the Palestinians.

There is no secret that Syria's Assad and Jordan's King hate each other. Suddenly, in one week, it has surfaced that Turkey has given Syria an ultimatum of war if present conditions between them are not rectified. To know the particulars of the conditions read the accompanying articles.

So, Syria finds itself threatened with war by the largest and best equipped army in the Middle East, who has just concluded a military pact with Israel and covertly with Jordan. Turkey's army is the second largest army in NATO, second only to the United States. So this is as serious a threat as Syria can imagine.

Assad is furious, but must remain diplomatic toward both Israel and Turkey to try and resolve this, but in his anger he has lashed out at who he considers the "pip-squeak" of the trio...Jordan. He has accused the King of having held up Arab military support for Damascus in the 1973 Middle East War. The most serious of accusations toward the King's honor, Arab allegiance, and integrity.

So, a war of words has begun at this very critical time in the peace making process, which will develop into Syria's continued disagreement with peace with Israel especially as brokered by the King.

And now that this threat of war against Syria has been leveled by Turkey, here comes Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi weighing in on Syria's side, saying "any aggression against Syria will be considered as an aggression against Libya according to the Arab joint defense pact."

So, we have the most serious situation of threat's of war, and the most critical time in the stalled peace process about to happen in Washington on October 15, on a definite collision course. And what individual is becoming more and more the key person in both instances...Jordan's King.

As we reported in our most recent commentary, King Hussein has been invited to attend the Washington Summit, at which he will continue his "brokering position"..[vis-a-vis the Hebron agreement], and now becomes the point man in Assad's verbal attack in response to his being threatened with war.

As we continue to "watch" the possibility of the Rapture happening in this next window of opportunity, this is exactly one of the scenarios that would have to be lining up for the "up-rooting" to take place.

As we begin our 19th year of watching through our Daniel glasses, it never ceases to amaze us how every jot and tittle of God's word is so perfectly fulfilled.

Jesus is Lord..

Luke 12:37

CNN October 7, 1998

Jordan accuses Syria of `insult' over 1973 war

Key Statement: "...Relations between Syria and Jordan have been strained by Jordan's 1994 peace treaty with Israel, Jordan's accusations that Damascus-based groups have been infiltrating into its territory and Jordan's growing military ties with Turkey..."

AMMAN, Jordan (Reuters) -- Jordan has denounced accusations by Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlas that it held up Arab military support for Damascus in the 1973 Middle East War.

Information Minister Nasser Joudeh said televised comments by Tlas, in which he said King Hussein initially advised Saudi Arabia against sending forces across Jordan to reinforce Syrian troops, were offensive and untrue.

"We do not understand why these insults (were made) against Jordan," Joudeh was quoted by the official news agency Petra as saying late on Tuesday.

Joudeh said the Jordanian cabinet condemned the "dubious" statement, which he said was made at a time when Jordan was working to prevent a row between Syria and Turkey escalating into conflict.

Tlas, speaking 25 years after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, said King Hussein had warned Saudi Arabia that its forces would be vulnerable to Israeli air strikes if they crossed Jordan.

His comments were broadcast by Syrian television this week and repeated on Tuesday, the anniversary of the outbreak of hostilities.

"Tlas was regrettably reported to make untrue statements about Jordan preventing the Saudi army from reaching the battlefield," Joudeh said.

Joudeh said Jordan had fully supported the Saudi forces when they eventually crossed Jordan on their way to and from the fighting.

Jordan sent forces to the Golan Heights to support Syria after it launched a joint attack with Egypt against Israel. But it did not open up a third front against the Jewish state.

Earlier this year palace officials denied a British television report that King Hussein secretly flew to Israel in 1973 to warn it of the planned joint Syrian and Egyptian attack.

Relations between Syria and Jordan have been strained by Jordan's 1994 peace treaty with Israel, Jordan's accusations that Damascus-based groups have been infiltrating into its territory and Jordan's growing military ties with Turkey.

Jordan Times 10-7-98

Mubarak shuttles between Ankara, Damascus to defuse crisis

Key Statement: "...Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi weighed in on Syria's side Tuesday, saying "any aggression against Syria will be considered as an aggression against Libya according to the Arab joint defence pact." ..."

ANKARA (AP) — Shuttling between Ankara and Damascus, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak tried Tuesday to avert a feared war between Turkey and Syria over Kurdish rebels.

In three hours of closed-door talks with Mubarak, Turkish President Suleyman Demirel upheld his nation's case that Syria is sheltering Turkish Kurd rebels responsible for cross-border attacks. Turkey is threatening force against Syria, which denies harbouring the rebels.

“The Turkish side has explained the support extended by Syria to the terrorist activities in detail and said that this cannot go on. It has been stated that the Turkish public is outraged and pointed out to solid steps that have to be taken by Syria,” Demirel said in a statement after the talks.

Independent television NTV said Mubarak left Ankara with six Turkish demands for Syria: Cease support to the rebels, expel rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, close rebel camps in Syrian-controlled Lebanon, stop rebel trips across the border, recognise Turkey's existing borders and promise to establish good, neighbourly relations.

The statement from Demirel's office said the Egyptians were given a dossier — apparently, one containing intelligence reports that Turkey believes confirm Syrian backing for the rebels.

“We are warning Syria for the last time to cease its support to the separatist organisation and abandon its hostile policy against Turkey,” Premier Mesut Yilmaz told parliament on Tuesday.

Mubarak flew from the Turkish capital to Damascus late Tuesday and met for more than an hour with Syrian President Hafez Assad. It was their second meeting in three days.

Assad's spokesman, Jubran Kourieh, did not give details, saying only that Mubarak outlined Ankara's views and listened to Syria's.

Reports in Egypt said Mubarak was trying to work out a mechanism for the two sides to resolve the dispute peacefully.

Mubarak told Egyptian journalists on his plane that he proposed that Turkey and Syria “meet to discuss the details of the problem” over the Kurdish rebels, Egypt's Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported.

Mubarak acknowledged Demirel's concern about the rebels, but added: “I pointed out to him that our region does not accept or endure any military action or armed confrontation.”

MENA also said Mubarak was trying to arrange a meeting between the Turkish and Syrian foreign ministers as well as creation of a “joint committee to start meeting to rebuild the bridges of confidence” between the neighbouring countries.

Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi weighed in on Syria's side Tuesday, saying “any aggression against Syria will be considered as an aggression against Libya according to the Arab joint defence pact.”

Turkey stressed in a presidential statement Tuesday that the issue was not linked to Turkish-Arab relations.

The United States and Russia, along with most countries of the Middle East, urged the two countries to reach a peaceful solution.

Relations between Turkey and Syria have long been troublesome. Damascus is uneasy with Ankara's plans to build dams on the Euphrates River, a key source of water for Syria, while Turkey accuses Damascus of having designs on a Turkish border province, Hatay, which has a sizeable Arab population.

Syria also feels threatened by the military and diplomatic ties between Turkey and Israel.

But the recent rise in tension appears part of Ankara's push to end fighting in a 14-year-old Kurdish insurgency in which 37,000 people have died. The rebels are fighting for Kurdish autonomy in southeast Turkey.

Turkey has reportedly sent 10,000 troops to its border with Syria. Newspapers have suggested that its forces could stage raids on rebel camps in the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. There have been unconfirmed reports of Turkish jets buzzing the border area in a show of force.

U.S. encouraged by Mubarak's efforts

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States said Tuesday it was encouraged by diplomatic efforts by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to pull Syria and Turkey back from the brink of a possible conflict.

“We are encouraged by the work that President Mubarak has been doing,” said U.S. State Department spokesman James Rubin.

He said Washington was “concerned about the risk that the situation could be spinning out of control,” which he underlined would represent “a big mistake.”

Turkey is threatening to take military action against Syria for allegedly harbouring Kurdish rebels from the Kurdish Labour Party (PKK) who are fighting to secede from Ankara.

Showing a degree of understanding for Ankara's position, Rubin said “the Turks have to make clear that the Syrians need to do more to rein in the PKK.”

He said Washington had been in touch with the parties.

The State Department on Monday rejected suggestions it was staying out of the dispute because of the need to secure support from Syria in relaunching the Middle East peace process.

CHN Commentary 10-8-98

The Mid East March to Peace

Madeline has concluded her two day "pre-summit" talks with Bibi and Yasser and it's a "big thumbs-up"..!!!!!!

Quoting from the Jerusalem Post article below:

"Albright said after her meeting with Netanyahu and Arafat at the Erez crossing yesterday that the "new spirit" and "sense of urgency" she felt has given her confidence that a deal can actually be sealed in the US."

October 15 is the date set for all the parties to meet with President Clinton in Washington to hopefully get to an agreement so the final status talks can commence.

And when we say "all the parties", we do mean "all"..!!!!!

For lo and behold, besides Bibi and Yasser, President Clinton has invited none other than...[can we have a drum roll please]....you guessed it, His Majesty, King Hussein..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Who just happens to be in the US for his chemo shots.

Is that right...??? Well, who'da thought the King [of all people] would get an invite...!!!!!

Remember, getting to the "final status" issues is what making the "peace" is all about. In "final status" is where they will decide on the Jerusalem issue, and sharing the Temple Mount. And it's the sharing of the Mount that will occur, as we are told in Rev. 11:1,2.

The Jews will be given the right to rebuild their Temple, but they will leave out the outer court..."for it has been given to the Gentiles" [Rev.11:2]. And it's the outer court area today where the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqusa Mosque stands.

And it is King Hussein [the 42nd descendent of Mohammed] who holds the "key's" to these two Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.

And it will be King Hussein who decides on "the compromise" to allow the Jewish Temple to be built adjacent to the Dome and the Mosque. And it is for this "compromise", and the eventual "uprooting" of the 3 dissenting Kings, that he will be declared the Messiah of the Jews by the head Rabbi of the tribe of Levy.......and thus the Peacemaker/Antichrist...!!!!!!!!!

Is this next window "the window"...???? If they conclude this Washington Summit with an agreement on the West Bank and start "final status" talks....it will look very promising.

And this is the place where we say......we'll be watching...!!!

Happy Birthday Sal.....

Jesus is Lord.

Luke 12:37

JERUSALEM POST Thursday, October 8, 1998 18 Tishri 5759

Clinton: Deal must be reached

By HILLEL KUTTLER, DANNA HARMAN, and news agencies

Key Statement "....Clinton also said "it is imperative" for an agreement to be wrapped up so negotiations can commence on the final-status issues that, under the Oslo Accords, are to be completed next May...."

"...Meanwhile, Palestinian sources said the US had asked Jordan's King Hussein to join next week's summit meeting. Hussein is in the US undergoing medical treatment and according to the sources has not yet replied to the request...."

WASHINGTON (October 8) - President Bill Clinton pledged yesterday to dedicate as much of his time as needed to achieve an accord when he hosts a summit with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat next week.

Clinton told reporters he is "encouraged" by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's just-concluded visit to the region, and believes that if Netanyahu and Arafat bring the same sense of cooperation that they have recently exhibited, a deal can be reached.

Clinton also said "it is imperative" for an agreement to be wrapped up so negotiations can commence on the final-status issues that, under the Oslo Accords, are to be completed next May.

White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said later that the talks would be held at the Wye River Conference Center in eastern Maryland. However, he said it has not yet been determined whether Clinton would travel there for the summit or would open the discussions at a White House event and then leave the parties to their deliberations.

Meanwhile, Palestinian sources said the US had asked Jordan's King Hussein to join next week's summit meeting. Hussein is in the US undergoing medical treatment and according to the sources has not yet replied to the request.

The summit opens on October 15 and could last more than one day.

The opening of the winter Knesset session, originally scheduled for October 19, will be delayed by at least one day to allow Netanyahu - who needs to be present - to spend more time in the US.

In an Oval Office photo opportunity with visiting Hungarian Premier Viktor Orban, Clinton was asked how long he expects the summit to last, and jokingly replied: "I'd be happy if it were over in an hour. But I'm prepared to invest as much time as it takes."

"I asked them to block out a couple of days to come back, because I think it's very important that we try to get over these last humps and get into the last stage of negotiations," Clinton said.

"We need to get to final-status talks, because keep in mind, the whole thing is supposed to be wrapped up by May of next year. And the closer we get to that date without having been at least in the final-status talks - where the parties have a relaxed opportunity, without being against a timetable, to discuss these big issues of the future of the Middle East - the closer we get to that date without that happening, it's going to be more difficult."

Clinton said he hopes that the two leaders will "be talking 12 hours a day" to reach a deal.

Albright said after her meeting with Netanyahu and Arafat at the Erez crossing yesterday that the "new spirit" and "sense of urgency" she felt has given her confidence that a deal can actually be sealed in the US.

She said that "significant and substantial progress" had been made during her two days of meetings.

"With this substantial progress having now been achieved and some understandings reached, I believe we are now in a far better position to finalize all the issues at the Washington summit," she said.

"Their body language has been fairly positive. On the other hand, I wasn't born yesterday, and there are still many hard problems out there that the leaders themselves are very much aware of."

After the talks, Albright left for Brussels and London to grapple with the unrest in Kosovo.

Arafat invited Netanyahu to a lamb and fish lunch he hosted for Albright at a Palestinian guest house after the talks. Netanyahu smoked a cigar after the meal, and later told Israelis the food Arafat served was kosher. Arafat also gave the prime minister a box of Cuban cigars as a gift.

The American goal during this trip was to nail down those areas on which there is agreement, so as to leave as few potential stumbling blocks as possible to be dealt with at the summit.

Three areas of agreement were pinned down: the opening of the industrial park at Karni, the setting up of a joint committee to battle incitement, and the launching of several "people-to-people" initiatives.

In relation to matters still under contention - such as security assurances, the changing of the Palestinian Covenant, and the third redeployment - the issues agreed upon are minor.

Several Palestinian officials went so far as to say that "nothing had really changed" during Albright's mission. Arafat's only comment to the press after the meeting was that Albright "has done a lot to push the peace process forward."

At a press conference in Jerusalem, meanwhile, Netanyahu spoke in subdued tones of the progress made, making it clear that only "modest steps" had been taken and that much hard work is ahead. "Are the Palestinians ready to fulfill their commitments, to revoke the PLO charter, to fight terror, to fulfill completely their part of the agreement under the principle of reciprocity?" he asked. "If the answer is yes, there will be an agreement. Period.

"I can say that we climbed the foothills, but we still have a very large mountain to scale in Washington," he said, adding, "None of the central issues has been concluded between us and the Palestinians."

But a top Israeli security source said that any public agreement is important in itself, and that the sides would now find it easier to resolve other matters.

US special envoy Dennis Ross and Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk are to remain in the region for a few more days to work on several of these other matters. In addition, CIA Director George Tenet, who arrived earlier this week, is working with both sides on the security working paper - the acceptance of which is of cardinal importance to the closing of a deal.

The security source said understandings on a majority of the security matters would hopefully be reached before the summit, leaving only the thorny questions of the Palestinian Covenant and the third redeployment.

CNN Wednesday October 7, 1998 Web posted at: 4:25 p.m. EDT (2025 GMT)

Hailing 'new spirit,' U.S. to host Mideast summit

Arafat, Netanyahu, Clinton to meet next week

Key Statement "...The talks, to be hosted by President Bill Clinton and expected to last several days, will open on October 15 in Washington, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright announced Wednesday..."

EREZ CROSSING, Gaza Strip (CNN) -- Following "substantial progress" toward breaking a lengthy peace process deadlock, the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians will come to the United States next week for a U.S.-mediated summit.

The talks, to be hosted by President Bill Clinton and expected to last several days, will open on October 15 in Washington, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright announced Wednesday.

She said a four-hour meeting on the Gaza-Israel border Wednesday with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had made "substantial progress" on key elements of a U.S. peace package that Washington hopes to finalize at the summit.

It centers on the extension of Palestinian autonomy to another 13 percent of the West Bank in tandem with tougher Palestinian action to halt attacks on Israelis by militants operating from areas under their control.

Speaking with optimism of a "new spirit" between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders after months of acrimony, Albright held out hopes for opening a "new chapter" in the troubled peace process.

"On the other hand, I wasn't born yesterday," she added at a news conference following Wednesday's meeting, the third time in 11 days that Arafat and Netanyahu held face-to-face talks. "There are still very many hard problems out there that the leaders, themselves, are very much aware of."

The peace process, which has been at a standstill for 19 months, faces a deadline of May 1999, the expiration date of a temporary peace pact Israel and the Palestinians signed in Oslo, Norway, in 1993.

The United States hopes the Washington talks will launch the two sides into long- overdue negotiations on a permanent agreement. Without that, Arafat has said he will unilaterally declare the creation of a Palestinian state, a move Israel vigorously opposes.

Neither Netanyahu nor Arafat accompanied Albright as she spoke to reporters after Wednesday's talks. The Palestinian leader left for Russia, where he said he would ask President Boris Yeltsin for help in breaking the deadlock in negotiations with Netanyahu.

The Israeli prime minister returned to Jerusalem, where he played down U.S. optimism. "We have climbed hills but the mountain is before us," Netanyahu said.

He said progress had been achieved in three areas -- opening an industrial park on the Israel-Gaza border, setting up a committee to battle anti-Israeli incitement and forging people-to-people contacts.

But significantly, Netanyahu did not repeat Albright's contention that "significant and substantial progress" had also been made on security, a key issue delaying Israel's handover of a further 13 percent of the West Bank to Palestinian self-rule.

"If they will fulfill their commitments there will be an agreement," he said in reference to what he called "security and reciprocity" needs.

At the start of Wednesday's meeting, Albright and the two Mideast leaders had a three-way handshake as they posed for photographs. Albright, Netanyahu and Arafat sat around a square table so small their knees and elbows were almost touching.

Posing for photographers, Netanyahu and Arafat shook hands across the table and then Albright placed her hand on top of theirs.

At one point during the meeting, Albright walked out of the room, leaving Netanyahu and Arafat to talk alone. It was the first time in a year the two leaders spoke without mediators.

The meeting began at an Israeli army base on the Gaza border and then moved to a guest house on the Palestinian side of the frontier for an unscheduled working lunch.

During the lunch, which was described as relaxed, Arafat presented Netanyahu with two boxes of Havana cigars which the Israeli leader distributed at the end of the meal, quipping, "after we sign an agreement, we'll all have to go to Cuba," according to Israel radio.

After the meal, Arafat accompanied Netanyahu to his car and the two men, smiling warmly, exchanged a long handshake before Netanyahu left.

Jerusalem Bureau Chief Walter Rodgers, Correspondent Andrea Koppel, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

CHN "special report" 10-3-98

In Preparation for the "October Summit".....

As Madeline Albright and Dennis Ross prepare to depart for Israel on Monday in preparation for the October Summit, the anticipated diplomatic involvement of Jordan and His Majesty King Hussein once again becomes headline news.

Todays edition of the Jordan Times is reporting in three different articles on the "moves" the King is making on the "chess board" of Middle East Peace in connection with the October Summit.

On Thursday he called for two newly appointed Jordanian senators to meet with him at his residence in Washington. [Remember, the King has taken up residence in Washington since July 14 as he undergoes his cancer therapy treatments at the Mayo Clinic.]

The two are former prime ministers of Jordan who have been outspoken critics of the King's domestic and foreign policies. It seems that they were under the mistaken understanding that the King "wasn't going to make it", and that they could take up their past "disturbing" influence in the peace process. The King assured them that his health was improving daily and he would be back on his throne shortly. They departed from his presence in the traditional "bowed" position thanking him profusely for their appointments.

Also on Thursday, Foreign Minister Abdul Ilah Khatib addressed the U.N. General Assembly and emphasized Jordan's continued efforts to achieve a lasting and honorable settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Friday found the new Jordanian Prime Minister, Fayez Tarawneh, boarding a plane for Washington to meet with His Majesty for further instructions on how to proceed with the upcoming Summit.

And then the most assuring news of all came from Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the leader of the Palestinian Resistance Movement, Hamas.

Addressing a press conference in Gaza marking the first anniversary of his release from detention, Yassin thanked King Hussein for his efforts that secured his release from an Israeli jail one year ago and wished him good health.

Yassin said he highly valued Jordan's continued efforts in support of the Palestinian people's cause on all fronts and at all levels.

Hamas holds the key to whether or not the peace process moves forward. And of all the involved parties to the process, only the King has Yassin's ear.....

Remember what they have in common,... the Sheikh is a Muslim holy man, but the King is the 42nd descendent of the Prophet Mohammed, the Holy Man among Holy men.........."the Holy of Holies"......

We will keep watching.........

Jesus is Lord..

Luke 12:37

Jordan Times 10-3-98

King receives senators Obeidat, Masri

"...The Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported that King Hussein assured them his health was good. Obeidat and Masri wished the King a speedy recovery and safe return home..."

AMMAN (J.T.) — His Majesty King Hussein on Thursday received Senators Ahmad Obeidat and Taher Masri at his residence in Washington.

The Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported that King Hussein assured them his health was good. Obeidat and Masri wished the King a speedy recovery and safe return home.

The two senators voiced appreciation of their appointment as members of the Upper House of Parliament.

Masri and Obeidat, both outspoken critics of domestic and foreign policies, were appointed senators on Sept. 12.

The Nablus-born Masri served briefly as prime minister in 1991, when Jordan was preparing for the Middle East peace conference in Madrid.

Obeidat is a former intelligence chief who served as prime minister from 1984 to 1985. He was asked to resign from the Senate four years ago after criticising the 1994 peace treaty with Israel.

Obeidat was particularly vocal against the bilateral water arrangement as outlined in the peace deal.

Jordan Times 10-3-98

Tarawneh leaves for U.S. for meeting with King

"...Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh left for Washington early Friday to meet with His Majesty King Hussein and listen to his directives on issues of concern to Jordan, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, said..."

AMMAN (J.T.) — Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh left for Washington early Friday to meet with His Majesty King Hussein and listen to his directives on issues of concern to Jordan, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, said.

It said Tarawneh will also meet a number of U.S. officials to discuss bilateral relations and Middle East issues, particularly ways to give impetus to the peace process.

The prime minister was quoted by the French news agency as saying before departure that he intends to urge the U.S. to pressure Israel into accepting a month-old American peace initiative.

The U.S. is calling for Israel to carry out long overdue troop withdrawals from a further l3 per cent of the West Bank, coupled with Palestinian measures to fight anti-Israeli violence.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and her Middle East mediator Dennis Ross are due in the region on Tuesday to pursue negotiations ahead of a three-way summit meeting later this month gathering President Bill Clinton, Palestine leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.

The prime minister last week said during his visit to Washington he will urge the Clinton administration “in the bluntest of terms” to facilitate Jordanian trade with the West Bank and Gaza Strip, until now hindered by Israeli restrictions, despite signed agreements among all concerned parties.

Referring to a deal reached last month with the Palestinians on trade exchanges between Jordan and the self-rule areas of Palestine, Tarawneh said, “we are now armed with an agreement with the Palestinians on the movement of goods, customs and border measures” adding that Jordan intends to “penetrate Israel's economic siege on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”

Jordan Times 10-3-98

Jordan calls on Israel to accept U.S. peace proposal

"...Referring to Jerusalem, Khatib called on Israel to rescind all measures designed to change the character of the Holy City, adding that unilateral measures taken before the completion of the final status negotiations violate the Oslo accords..."

NEW YORK (Petra) — Jordan on Thursday urged the Israeli government to respond to the U.S. peace initiative in order to end the deadlock in the Middle East peace process and demanded that Israel halt its arbitrary measures against the Palestinian people.

In Jordan's address to the U.N. General Assembly, Foreign Minister Abdul Ilah Khatib emphasised Jordan's continued efforts to achieve a lasting and honourable settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Khatib said Jordan supports the American initiative to give impetus to Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. The signing of the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty demonstrates Jordan's commitment to achieving a lasting peace on all Arab-Israeli tracks, he added.

Khatib said the Kingdom appreciates the efforts of the Palestinian leadership and its desire to reach an accord that would end the present deadlock.

The foreign minister demanded that the Israeli government respond fully to the U.S. initiative and implement the peace accords. He stressed that Israel using security considerations as an excuse for defaulting on the peace accords prevents genuine progress and further aggravates the situation in the region.

Referring to Jerusalem, Khatib called on Israel to rescind all measures designed to change the character of the Holy City, adding that unilateral measures taken before the completion of the final status negotiations violate the Oslo accords.

The foreign minister demanded that Israel halt all its measures against the Palestinian people, including closures of the Palestinian territories, arbitrary arrests, demolitions of Arab homes, land confiscations and Jewish settlement building.

On the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, Khatib said Jordan attaches great importance to the agency's continued services to Palestinian refugees. He noted that Jordan hosts the greatest number of these refugees and provides them with basic services at a cost almost exceeding that of the agency's annual budget.

Khatib demanded that UNRWA continue its services until the refugee problem has been completely solved and the refugees have been repatriated to their homeland or compensated for their loss of property.

Khatib met in New York Friday his Kuwaiti counterpart Shiekh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah at the Kuwaiti mission. Later Kahtib told the Jordan News Agency, Petra, that the meeting took place in a brotherly atmosphere and the discussion covered issues of common concern and developments in the Middle East.

Present at the meeting were Jordan's permanent ambassador to the U.N. Hassan Abu Nameh and Kuwait's envoy to the U.N.

Khatib on Friday held talks with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and other foreign ministers.

Jordan Times 10-3-98

King receives message of good wishes from Saudi crown prince

"...In Gaza, the leader of the Palestinian Resistance Movement, Hamas, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin has thanked King Hussein for his efforts that secured his release from an Israeli jail one year ago and wished him good health.

Addressing a press conference in Gaza marking the first anniversary of his release from detention, Yassin said King Hussein played a pivotal role in securing his release together with several Palestinian detainees.

Yassin said he highly valued Jordan's continued efforts in support of the Palestinian people's cause on all fronts and at all levels..."

AMMAN (J.T.) — His Majesty King Hussein, currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment at Mayo Clinic in the U.S., has received a letter from Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah Ben Abdul Aziz expressing the Saudi royal family's wishes for the King's recovery and well-being.

Prince Abdullah, who visited the Monarch recently, said in the letter that his visit to King Hussein “was prompted by the true affection and appreciation which I cherish for you, because we are tied by strong bonds not liable to be affected by events or developments.”

“We are confident that the future, with God's will, is bound to bring us the good news of your return to the Arab and Muslim homeland as a leader and a brother exercising his historic role along with his Arab brothers to deal with the challenges with great resolve and determination,” Prince Abdullah said in his letter.

Replying to a letter he had received from the King, Prince Abdullah said he was deeply touched by the letter which reflected the true feelings among brothers.

“I look forward to your visit to Saudi Arabia to be among your brothers; and please remember that King Fahd, myself and the rest of the royal family in Saudi Arabia support you in happy and difficult days alike,” the prince said.

King Hussein had thanked Prince Abdullah for his gift of saffron and water from Zamzem water — well close to the holy shrines in Mecca — blessed by a prominent religious leader of Saudi Arabia.

In Gaza, the leader of the Palestinian Resistance Movement, Hamas, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin has thanked King Hussein for his efforts that secured his release from an Israeli jail one year ago and wished him good health.

Addressing a press conference in Gaza marking the first anniversary of his release from detention, Yassin said King Hussein played a pivotal role in securing his release together with several Palestinian detainees.

Yassin said he highly valued Jordan's continued efforts in support of the Palestinian people's cause on all fronts and at all levels.

Israel freed Yassin, who was serving a life sentence, last October in a deal with Jordan to obtain the release of two Mossad agents caught in a bungled attempt to assassinate a senior Hamas political official in Amman.

Sheikh Yassin, who wished King Hussein full recovery, stressed that the Palestinians have the full right to establish their independent state.

King Hussein has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment since July l4 when he checked into Mayo Clinic.

CHN Commentary 9-30-98

The Mid East March to Peace

What should we liken it too..??

A director calling out to his actors that the break is over, "so everyone please take your places"...

Or, the conductor taping his baton to regain his orchestra's attention....

Whatever the analogy..... HERE WE GO AGAIN......!!

After months of marching in place, progress on the Israeli/Palestinian peace talks has taken a sudden step forward.

With Yasser Arafat preparing to address the United Nations General Assembly on Monday afternoon, 9-28-98, presumably to announce to the world body that he intends to declare Palestinian Statehood in May, 1999, a meeting with President Clinton and Benyamin Netanyahu at the White House earlier that morning seemed to have changed his plans.

The most provocative statement he could muster in addressing the member states was, "stand by our people, especially as the five-year transitional period provided for in the Palestinian-Israeli agreements will end on 4 May 1999, and our people demand of us to shoulder our responsibilities and they await the establishment of their independent state."

And now, on Tuesday he returns to Washington for another meeting with Clinton, out of which comes Arafat's agreement to an Israeli proposal for a joint security arrangement over the 3% of the 13% [you do remember all that] of the land that stands between both of them and getting to the "final status issues".

And of course, "final status issues" for the most part means the sharing of Jerusalem as both of their capitols, and the rebuilding of the Jewish temple on the Temple Mount.

So, both Yasser and Bibi have agreed to return to Washington for a Summit with Clinton as early as Mid October to close the deal on the West bank and get to "final status".

In the mean time, Dennis Ross and Madeline Albright will continue working closely with both parties in preparation for the Summit.

Now, while the Peace Process is once again becoming focused upon [and very timely, if this next window is the Rapture window] we can now turn some of our attention to the other "key player" whose name isn't being mentioned at this time, and for good reason........and that is, His Majesty King Hussein.

As you may or may not know, the King has been living in the United States for the past two months undergoing extensive chemotherapy treatments for his life threatening lymphoma cancer. He has just completed the third set of treatments in a six set series, and even though initially things looked very bleak for the King, lo and behold, the treatments have taken a miraculous turn for the best, and it now appears that he is going to overcome yet another major hurdle in a life filled with obstacles on his path of destiny.

In other words, he'll be at the table when they cut the deal on Jerusalem, and they'll all agree then, that they couldn't have done it without him......!!!!!!!! He is THE MAN, and his time approaches in direct sequence with the Church's departure... The man of sin will be revealed after the Church is Raptured..!!

What we will now "watch" in the next two weeks is how the preparation for the Washington Summit is working, and then the Summit itself.

And remember, all the other "last day" prophecy's must be continuing to work themselves into position for the time when they too will be fulfilled... things like: The world financial crisis, Russia moving back to communism, the upheaval of the world weather patterns, etc.........

We'll be watching...........

Jesus is Lord....

Luke 12:37

JORDAN TIMES 9-29-98

Arafat backs off announcement on Palestinian state

Key Statement "...He called on U.N. member states to "stand by our people, especially as the five-year transitional period provided for in the Palestinian-Israeli agreements will end on 4 May 1999, and our people demand of us to shoulder our responsibilities and they await the establishment of their independent state."..."

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on Monday failed to announce at the United Nations his intention of unilaterally declaring a Palestinian state in May.

Arafat, disappointed by progress with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, had been expected to make a bold declaration on statehood in his speech to the 185-nation U.N. General Assembly.

It is the first time Arafat has addressed the assembly's annual two-week debate, reserved for U.N. member states.

However Arafat, who appeared here fresh from talks in Washington with Netanyahu and U.S. President Bill Clinton, spoke of plans for a Palestinian state only in general terms.

He declared: "I look forward to speaking to you once more when Palestine takes its natural place in the community of nations," and departed from his text to add: "as an independent state."

He called on U.N. member states to "stand by our people, especially as the five-year transitional period provided for in the Palestinian-Israeli agreements will end on 4 May 1999, and our people demand of us to shoulder our responsibilities and they await the establishment of their independent state."

"This independent Palestinian state must be established as an embodiment of the right of our people to self-determination."

Israel and the United States had pressed Arafat not to use the international podium here to spell out his intentions to unilaterally declare statehood in May 1999.

Arafat has repeatedly vowed in the past that he would announce a Palestinian state on May 4, the date when an interim self-rule period ends according to Israeli-Palestinian accords.

Arafat stressed that his Palestinian National Authority still supported the peace process, saying: "There is no alternative to peace."

"We have not lost hope in the peace process, and we will continue to implement our obligations in accordance with the existing agreements," he said.

But he blamed Netanyahu for recent setbacks, and stressed that Israel must also live up to its obligations.

Wagging his finger, Arafat said: "It is not admissible for Israel to continue dominating the Palestinian people, and everyone is aware that 100 per cent peace means 100 per cent security and 100 per cent freedom."

Arafat challenged Washington to make public its initiative providing for Israel to hand over to the Palestinians 13 per cent of the West Bank.

"We call upon the U.S. co-sponsor to declare its initiative and to publicly and clearly announce the responsibility of the party that is impeding peace," Arafat said.

Although the U.S. proposals have been widely discussed in the media, they have not been officially made public.

The Palestinian leader hailed Clinton's announcement Monday of a summit with Arafat and Netanyahu in Washington in mid-October, saying the U.S. president "graciously took an important step to save the peace process and to push it forward."

He also called on other concerned parties to intensify efforts, including Russia, which is the other Middle East peace process co-sponsor, China, Japan and the European Union.

He said U.N. member states should support a Franco-Egyptian initiative for an international conference "to save the peace process from the dangerous crisis it has reached."

Arafat, his lips trembling as he delivered his address, was warmly applauded as he approached the General Assembly podium.

He bowed and shakily raised his arm in acknowledgement of the applause.

However, in line with U.N. protocol, he was not accorded the privilege of sitting in a chair beside the podium, which is reserved for heads of state as they prepare to address the assembly.

Arafat addressed the debate in line with a General Assembly resolution in July which upgraded the status of Palestine delegation at the United Nations — although the Palestine mission still has only observer status here.

JORDAN TIMES 9-29-98

Netanyahu claims breakthrough at White House summit with Arafat

Key Statement "...This is really time to bring the closure to the discussions the parties have been having on an interim agreement so they can clear the way for the difficult discussions they have," said spokesman Michael McCurry...."

ISRAELI PRIME Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said Monday that he and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat had achieved a breakthrough on a long-elusive deal to turn over more West Bank territory, and President Bill Clinton asked them to return next month to iron out a final deal.

"I believe that we all agreed that we have made progress on the path to peace,'' Clinton told reporters after an hour-long session with the two leaders in the Oval Office.

He described "a significant narrowing of the gaps between the two parties across a wide range of issues.''

But Secretary of State Madeleine Albright steered clear of claiming a breakthrough on any of the tough issues, including how much land Israel would relinquish and what the Palestinians would do to curb terrorism.

"This process needs to be speeded up,'' Albright said.

She and U.S. mediator Dennis Ross will go to the Middle East for more talks with the two leaders around Oct. 6, and about a week later Arafat and Netanyahu will return to the White House to see Clinton again.

Clinton convened a hastily arranged summit at the White House Monday in a bid to get the deadlocked peace talks back on track.

But U.S. administration officials held little hope for any immediate results.

Arafat and Netanyahu were called together here after talks with Albright Sunday in New York signaled some progress on breaking their 18-month stalemate.

The White House demanded earlier that the two leaders end their impasse when they meet with Clinton.

"This is really time to bring the closure to the discussions the parties have been having on an interim agreement so they can clear the way for the difficult discussions they have," said spokesman Michael McCurry.

Washington has been reluctant to intervene in the failing talks and has complained loudly about the deadlock over areas for the proposed Israeli troop withdrawal from the West Bank and Palestinian security guarantees to Israel.

But McCurry said Clinton saw fit to step in at this juncture to push the parties toward an agreement.

"As always in a Middle East peace process, a meeting with the president of the United States of America locks in certain details, generates some commitments and builds on momentum," said McCurry, who was quick to lower expectations.

"I expect today only that they will make some commitments on the future course of this dialogue with the goal of building on the momentum they generated over the weekend," he said without elaborating on what progress was made.

McCurry would not say whether Clinton will press Arafat to soften his words on the establishment of a new Palestine.

Clinton in January proposed that Israel conduct a 13-per cent withdrawal from the West Bank in exchange for Palestinian commitments to fight anti-Israeli violence.

Arafat has accepted the proposal but Netanyahu has agreed to a 10 per cent handover of territory along with an additional three per cent to be designated a "nature preserve."

Both sides, however, are also still far apart on how to divide up the territory and which areas will be under total Palestinian control. Washington can thus only hope to cement those areas where agreement has been reached and detail next steps for concluding a deal on the outstanding issues.

The White House is eager to announce at least some progress to demonstrate Clinton's international leadership in the face of possible impeachment hearings into his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

CNN 9-30-98

Revised Middle East peace deal gets Arafat's OK

Key Statement "...Arafat told reporters in a brief address outside the White House after meeting with President Clinton that "we have agreed to it to facilitate the negotiations" toward a final settlement of the West Bank issue..."

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat said Tuesday he is willing to accept a joint security arrangement over a small portion of the 13 percent of land in the West Bank that Israel has agreed in principle to turn over to Palestinian authorities.

Under the latest plan, 3 percent of the land that Israel turns over to the Palestinians would be used as a nature preserve under the oversight of Israel and the Palestinians.

Arafat told reporters in a brief address outside the White House after meeting with President Clinton that "we have agreed to it to facilitate the negotiations" toward a final settlement of the West Bank issue.

He also said that the Palestinian issue was "the crux of the whole issue in the Middle East."

"Peace is an Israeli need, Palestinian need, Arab need, international need," he said.

Arafat's second round of talks with Clinton came the day after Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made some progress toward resolving their differences over the highly controversial issue of a further Israeli troop withdrawal from the West Bank.

Security a key issue

White House aides said Clinton stressed to Arafat the need to overcome Israeli fears that terrorists would be able to operate from some of the West Bank land once it is turned over to Palestinian authorities due to a lack of security.

Israel previously said the U.S. proposal that Israel withdraw from an additional 13 percent of the West Bank posed too much of a security risk. But Israel reportedly was willing to agree to the latest version of the proposal.

White House spokesman Mike McCurry said before the meeting that Israel's concerns over security were "justified." Afterward, he said that Israel's security was a "very real concern" and that Arafat understood that.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said Arafat assured Clinton that he would try to counter terrorism against Israel. "He will exert every possible effort," Erakat said.

The security issue was underscored by the explosion Tuesday of a car rigged with explosives in an industrial area in the West Bank. The blast killed an activist involved with the fundamentalist Muslim organization Hamas and wounded two other Hamas supporters.

Hamas has claimed responsibility for several bloody bombings in Israel. Israel has been bracing for renewed bombings at the approach of Yom Kippur, the most solemn day for observant Jews. On Tuesday, Israel sealed its borders with the West Bank and Gaza in preparation for possible attacks.

Summit planned for mid-October

By agreeing to the joint security arrangement over 3 percent of the land, Arafat is moving closer to a possible deal in October during a planned summit with Netanyahu.

Both Arafat and Netanyahu accepted Clinton's invitation to return to the United States in mid-October to resolve details.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and U.S. envoy Dennis Ross will travel to Israel to finalize dates, venue and format for talks between Netanyahu and Arafat in Washington next month.

Aides are hoping an interim deal can then be struck, which would pave the way for final status talks over such issues as control of Jerusalem and the possible creation of a Palestinian state.

Clinton and Arafat also talked Tuesday about when the United States will "engage formally" with the Palestinian Authority, McCurry said.

The two leaders "talked at some length about the arrangements that will exist when the United States can engage formally with the Palestinian Authority," McCurry said.

Peace process had been deadlocked

Clinton met with Arafat for about 20 minutes in a one-on-one meeting and for about for 40 minutes with Arafat and senior aides, including Albright and National Security Adviser Sandy Berger.

McCurry said Clinton "is determined to see an agreement arise from this exercise."

The Middle East peace process has been deadlocked for well over a year, with Israel demanding stiffer anti-terrorism measures from the Palestinians, who in turn have accused Netanyahu of dragging his feet on implementing the Oslo peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians.

The issue of Palestinian statehood also has been a source of friction. Arafat has threatened to declare a Palestinian state unilaterally if negotiations do not produce a state for the Palestinians by next May.

However, while Arafat appealed for international support for a Palestinian state in his U.N. address on Monday, he pointedly did not repeat his vow to declare it unilaterally.

Netanyahu has hinted that he would counter the declaration of a sovereign Palestinian state by annexing more Palestinian areas -- a scenario that would likely drag both sides into armed conflict.

Correspondents Eileen O'Connor and Jerrold Kessel and the Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

The New York Times September 29, 1998

U.S., Israel and Arafat Inch Toward a Pact

By STEVEN ERLANGER

Key Statement "...Clinton, after meeting Netanyahu and Arafat for nearly 90 minutes on Monday morning in the Oval Office, said substantial progress had been made, and the two men accepted his invitation to meet again, perhaps at Camp David, the retreat in Maryland where President Carter helped the Egyptians and Israelis come to a peace settlement in 1978...."

WASHINGTON -- After more than 18 months of squabbling and stalemate, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat have agreed on the essentials of an Israeli withdrawal from another 13 percent of the West Bank, senior American and Israeli officials said on Monday.

Such an agreement would leave the Palestinians with political control over 40 percent of the West Bank, including 98 percent of the Palestinian population.

But a flurry of negotiations in New York over the weekend and a meeting here on Monday with President Clinton failed to complete the agreement. Unresolved issues include parallel Palestinian actions to insure Israeli security and to fight terrorism.

Netanyahu and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright both said they hoped to finish the deal in further three-way talks to be held here in mid-October.

Clinton, after meeting Netanyahu and Arafat for nearly 90 minutes on Monday morning in the Oval Office, said substantial progress had been made, and the two men accepted his invitation to meet again, perhaps at Camp David, the retreat in Maryland where President Carter helped the Egyptians and Israelis come to a peace settlement in 1978.

"I believe that we all agreed that we have made progress on the path to peace," Clinton told reporters. He described "a significant narrowing of the gaps between the two parties across a wide range of issues."

Israel accepted a compromise whereby nearly a quarter of the 13 percent withdrawal -- 3 percent of the West Bank -- would be labeled a nature reserve where Palestinians would not be allowed to live. The land is uninhabited desert scrubland.

Clinton warned that there is a "substantial amount of work to be done until a comprehensive agreement can be reached." Albright, saying there was now "new urgency," is to travel to the Middle East next week with the American negotiator, Dennis Ross, to prepare for the final push next month.

"We're going to work at this now and see if we can get it done," Clinton said, before having a separate meeting with Netanyahu. On Tuesday he will meet Arafat, who traveled after Monday's meeting to New York to deliver a speech before the General Assembly.

Clinton, looking to display mastery of his foreign-policy duties in the midst of his troubles concerning his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, is clearly hoping to have a success to announce shortly before the mid-term elections in November. Netanyahu is now eager to have an interim settlement that will forestall a unilateral announcement by Arafat of an independent Palestinian state, which he has threatened to make if the original timetable runs out on May 4 of next year without a final agreement.

And Arafat, his position undermined by nearly 19 months of stalemate, wants formal control over another sizable chunk of the West Bank.

The idea of a nature reserve was an American one, intended to persuade Netanyahu to accept the 13 percent withdrawal level. He once said that an interim withdrawal of more than 9 percent would be a potentially mortal blow to the Israeli state, but Albright insisted that 13 percent was the minimum credible withdrawal.

Netanyahu said on Monday that he and the Americans were "very very close to an agreement on the parcels of land" -- provided agreement can be reached on the specifics of Palestinian actions to dismantle terrorist cells, extradite prisoners, confiscate excess guns and stop "incitment" of citizens through anti-Israel speeches, sermons and propaganda.

The timing and size of a future third redeployment remain to be resolved. That redeployment will be part of the basic questions to be resolved in final status talks that will open, at least with a formal ceremony, as soon as this interim agreement is complete.

But American officials expressed confidence now that an agreement was within reach, especially given that both Netanyahu and Arafat have committed to a timetable for the October meeting. As important, they insisted, was that the two men were able to "clear some of the poisoned air between them," one official said.

Albright, who has been the American figure most engaged in this often frustrating search for a deal, met Sunday night in New York with Netanyahu and Arafat, their first meeting together in nearly a year. It was then that she decided that time would be ripe for Monday's three-way meeting with Clinton and for the effort to accelerate a settlement in a set of intensive negotiations in October.

In May, Ms. Albright, after meeting both men in London, issued a form of ultimatum to Netanyahu, to agree on an interim deal in time to come to Washington the next week, meet with Clinton and begin final status talks. But Netanyahu backtracked, and Clinton backed down on any notion of pressuring Israel publicly after a lobbying firestorm in Congress stoked by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Other smaller issues, put aside early on, must now also be settled, including Israeli promises to allow the Palestinians to run an airport in Gaza, to open an industrial park there and to provide safe passage for Palestinians moving between the West Bank and Gaza. But this agreement, if it happens, will only begin the much-harder task of negotiating a final peace settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians, including resolving the status of Jerusalem.

Under the Hebron accords negotiated by Netanyahu in January 1997, and a side letter from then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher, the three interim withdrawals called for under the Oslo accords were to start in March 1997 and be completed within 12 months, but not later than mid-1998.

But none of the interim withdrawals have so far taken place, because Israel's proposed first withdrawal was rejected by the Palestinians as too small. The current negotiation would combine the first and second withdrawals, leaving the third to be decided once final status talks begin.

JERUSALEM POST

Tuesday, September 29, 1998 9 Tishri 5759

Arafat calls for international conference

Key Statement "...Arafat then called on Russia, China, Japan, and the European Union to support the French-Egyptian proposal for an international conference "of all states determined to save the peace process from the dangerous crisis it has reached...."

By MARILYN HENRY

UNITED NATIONS (September 29) - Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat stopped short of announcing plans to declare an independent Palestinian state in his speech before the UN General Assembly yesterday. Instead, he called for an international conference to save the peace process.

Speaking only hours after meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US President Bill Clinton in Washington, Arafat thanked the American president, "who graciously took an important step to save the peace process."

Arafat then called on Russia, China, Japan, and the European Union to support the French-Egyptian proposal for an international conference "of all states determined to save the peace process from the dangerous crisis it has reached."

Arafat blamed Netanyahu for the delay in the peace process and also appeared to assail the US, although not by name, for vetoing 21 resolutions on the Palestinian question in the Security Council since 1973.

Arafat said the Palestinians represented the oldest and largest refugee question in the world and "our land still suffers under occupation and colonial settlements."

He accused Israel of isolating Bethlehem and Hebron "to escalate the supplication and the siege of our people and to destroy the peace process."

Arafat, who received a rousing welcome, said the Palestinians will continue to implement their obligations under the existing agreements.

But he also said: "We will not give up on a need for Israeli compliance with those agreements and the implementation of their pending obligations without delays or evasiveness. We will not give up our national rights nor will we give up the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people."

He called on the UN, as a source of international legitimacy, to stand by the Palestinians, "especially as the five-year transitional period provided for in the Palestinian-Israeli agreements will end on May 4, 1999, and our people demand of us to shoulder our responsibilities, and they await the establishment of their independence state."

JERUSALEM POST

Tuesday, September 29, 1998 9 Tishri 5759

Clinton: Significant progress in summit

By HILLEL KUTTLER and DANNA HARMAN

Key Statement "..."We made significant progress on the path to peace, and I think we can finish it in mid-October - and I certainly hope we do," Clinton said. "I think we're closer together on virtually every major issue that either Chairman Arafat [or] Prime Minister Netanyahu has mentioned to me than before."..."

WASHINGTON (September 29) - A redeployment agreement could be finalized in mid-October, when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat return to Washington for a follow-up summit, President Bill Clinton declared yesterday.

The three leaders made "significant progress" when they met at the White House yesterday, Clinton said in the Oval Office, standing between Netanyahu and Arafat.

He stated that a "significant narrowing of the gaps" has occurred on "all major areas" that have held up a deal.

"We made significant progress on the path to peace, and I think we can finish it in mid-October - and I certainly hope we do," Clinton said. "I think we're closer together on virtually every major issue that either Chairman Arafat [or] Prime Minister Netanyahu has mentioned to me than before."

Netanyahu and Arafat will return to Washington in mid-October to try to hammer out a final pact, Clinton said. He added that the three of them had agreed that no deal would be complete until all the outstanding issues are resolved, unless Netanyahu and Arafat decide otherwise.

Clinton said he is dispatching Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and special Middle East coordinator Dennis Ross to the region next week to prepare for the follow-up summit. Albright said the visit would last for a few days, beginning October 5 or 6.

Following the summit, Arafat traveled to New York to address the UN, while Clinton and Netanyahu met. Arafat is scheduled to return to Washington today for his own meeting with Clinton.

Albright told reporters that the three-way summit resulted from the trilateral meetings she held with Netanyahu and Arafat in New York on Sunday night.

She said that a significant component of the leaders' return visit to Washington will be the inclusion of technical experts from both sides, who can discuss the outstanding issues fluently and eliminate the need for political leaders to undertake lengthy consultations.

The US has not yet decided on the venue for the talks, but they would be in the Washington area, she said.

While pointing generally to positive developments during the 90-minute summit, Clinton also told reporters in the White House:

"I think also, to be candid, there is a substantial amount of work to be done until a comprehensive agreement can be reached. And because I am convinced that the two leaders and the people they represent want an agreement, I have asked them to come to the US in mid-October with their teams to do the intensive work necessary to see if we can conclude this."

Israeli officials later highlighted Clinton's emphasis of that point, as underlining their contention that - even with virtual agreement by Jerusalem to accede to Washington's proposal for a 13 percent withdrawal from the West Bank - the deal is not done until Israel's demands are met by the Palestinians fulfilling their security commitments.

The summit was Clinton's first meeting with Netanyahu and Arafat since hosting separate meetings with the two in late January, when he presented them his plan for unfreezing the negotiations.

Those sessions occurred just as news of the Monica Lewinsky scandal was becoming public, and yesterday's summit was the president's first opportunity to present a foreign policy achievement - or any White House gain at all - since the Kenneth Starr report to Congress on the affair led to discussion of his possible impeachment.

In a brief question-and-answer session, Clinton said it would be "an error" for him to discuss the question of a Palestinian state. But, illustrating the administration's efforts in recent days to convince Arafat to temper his public statements on the matter, Clinton twice said the issue of a Palestinian state is to be decided through direct negotiations leading to a final-status accord.

Asked about his wife's expressed support for a Palestinian state last spring, Clinton smiled and said: "She did, but she's not the president and she's not trying to manage the peace process. In the end, whether there will be an agreement will depend on how badly they want it, how much we work together, how much trust can be built and sustained, what kind of process for ensuring the agreement can be agreed on by the two parties."

"They have made a very unusual commitment," he added. "They have committed several days... to try to resolve the remaining gaps. I can also tell you that I have personally been very impressed by the way, the manner, and the substance of their conversations today with me. But we all said we need to continue to change the dynamics of the process to try to increase the likelihood of completion."

Before leaving Washington for Tel Aviv, Netanyahu briefed the press at Andrews Air Force Base, saying that his series of meetings with Arafat over the previous 24 hours had been "level-headed" and "thoughtful."

Netanyahu affirmed that, in Israel's view, a Palestinian commitment to fighting terror is the linchpin of any agreement.

"I think Arafat clearly knows that we will not accept anything but complete efforts on this matter," he said.

Netanyahu said that while he is willing to take a political risk in making a deal on the second redeployment, he would not be taking any security risks. He added that hopes the intensive meetings scheduled for mid-October would bear fruit and that an agreement would finally be reached.

A top Israeli official said the meetings next month would take place over a number of days in an intensive fashion. There was some talk of Camp David serving as a location for the talks.

The White House summit came after a surprise late-night meeting among Albright, Arafat, and Netanyahu in New York on Sunday night - the first face-to-face meeting between the Palestinian and Israeli leaders in 11 months.

The meeting in Albright's suite of rooms on the 42nd floor of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel was initiated by the secretary of state. The talks went on for about an hour-and-a-half, in the course of which Albright reportedly walked in and out of the negotiating room, leaving the two leaders alone for periods of time.

"These were very important meetings," Albright said. "I am not going to talk about the substance of the meetings, but I'm glad we had them."

Neither Arafat nor Netanyahu would elaborate, but officials from both sides said no breakthroughs had been reached.

But small gaps are constantly being bridged, they said, and there is hope that the series of negotiations between the sides planned for next month will be the ones to bring about the deal.

CHN Commentary 9-20-98

ROSH HASHANA 5759 has begun.... Is it Rapture time..??

For those who believe and teach that this is the time of the year that the Rapture of the Church will occur, try not to be too disappointed that it doesn't happen.

And it doesn't happen, not because this isn't the year; it doesn't happen because Rosh Hashana is not the appointed time for it to happen. And neither is Tabernacles, Passover, Firstfruits, Pentecost, or any other Jewish feast.

The Rapture of the Church occurs in the time of the year when Jesus, Himself, ascended into heaven. Jesus ascended 40 days after He rose from the dead; and He rose from the dead on Firstfruits.

The problem with those who believe otherwise is that they do not separate the covenant God made with the Jews from the covenant He made with Church.

The Church has been promised that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it", because "it is not appointed unto wrath". The Church will be taken out of the way [2Thes 2:7].

The Jews are appointed "unto wrath", and only a remnant of them will survive the "gates of hell". The gates that are attended by the "gate keeper" ..... Antichrist.

[The Jews will have their rapture and it will occur on a Feast of Trumpets, but it will be subsequent to the Rapture of the Church..]

But timing for the Rapture of the Church has been made "crystal clear" by God.

God is a God whose modus operandi is to cast shadows and fulfill them with like reflections, and only the "Ascension of Jesus" perfectly reflects the Rapture of the Church..... i.e. ...the Body of Christ caught up in both instances.

Once the distinction is made that God has a covenant with the Jews separate from the covenant with the Church, then the truth of the timing of the Rapture of the Church will erupt in one's spirit with praise and understanding.

All believers are well instructed to hold tightly to the truth of Ascension/Rapture, and let go of any other traditional belief [i.e. "we can't know the day or the hour" ,which refers to the second coming and not the Rapture] ..... for "...tradition makes void the word of God".

We call ourselves "watchers" because in Luke 12:37 Jesus said,

"Blessed are those whom the master, when he comes will find watching. Assuredly I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and come and serve them."

And as '''watchers" we watch daily for all the events that continue to unfold and point us to " that time" in "that year" when the Rapture will happen. And when it does happen, we will find ourselves sitting, and eating, and being served by Him.

Jesus is Lord.....

CHN Commentary 6-16-98

The Mid East March To Peace

King Hussein did meet with President Clinton and Secretary Albright on Monday at the White House, but too late in the day for any news to be published in this morning's editions. But we know that the King's efforts to stall an Arab Summit have been successful, which is what had been asked of him by the President.

The Jordan Times is reporting that Syria has agreed that an Arab Summit at this time would only benefit Israel, as too many doubts exist about the outcome and the agenda. Chalk up another "jewel in the crown" of His Majesty, the Peacemaker.........

On the "withdrawal front", Israeli TV reported Sunday that Bibi had agreed to the 13% pullback, but is now shifting his energy to having the PLO founding charter annulled, which calls for the destruction of Israel.. Yasser says they've done it, Bibi doesn't agree, but the US agrees with Yasser.

Israeli Labor Party leader Barak was in Cairo yesterday listening to Mubarak ranting that, "If the second pullback isn't carried out, a wave of terror and violence will wash over the entire region. It will be disastrous not only for the peace process with the Palestinians, but Israel's relations with Egypt and Jordan". Thus confirming the pressure that exists on the Arab nations that are at peace with Israel.

In Israel, more Palestinian house demolition's are taking place much to the chagrin of the White House. This is just adding fuel to the fire, and Secretary Albright is repeating her call for a "time-out" on provocative activities which include these demolition's. The King will be listening.

Another important meeting is taking place at the White House today between Clinton and the Premier of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri, which will address Israel's proposal to withdraw from southern Lebanon. So, there is continued activity on all fronts to further the process.

In an article on Monday in the Jerusalem Post headlined.. "Pullback decision slated for July".., Bibi made the statement he wanted to be sure "that the White House would be able to arrange a signing ceremony for the pullback agreement with PA Chairman Arafat". I think that could be handled..., but more importantly is what the Jordan's Petra news was commenting on regarding Bibi in a Sunday editorial..:

"The doom and gloom which have dominated the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks until now have suddenly changed into a sense of measured optimism, if we are to believe recent reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has truly changed his attitude and is now serious about accepting Washington's peace formula.

The concerned parties have experienced similar euphoria in the past only to have their hopes dashed at the last minute. Netanyahu is a master of appearing to be on the verge of yielding to logic and common sense , only to link his seemingly reconsidered position to a set of formidable conditions that are impossible to fulfill."

Amen to that........

We'll keep "watching".........

Jesus is Lord..

Luke 12:37

back up articles......

JORDAN TIMES 6-16-98

Saudi FM in Damascus for talks on Arab summit

Key Statement: ".... Hopes for holding a summit on the stalled peace talks faded after some Arab countries differed on its agenda and doubts about its outcome.

Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Al Sharaa said Monday the summit should be well prepared — "otherwise it will send a wrong message to the Israeli government, a matter that will stiffen its stubborn stands toward the peace process and the Arab rights in general.''

DAMASCUS (AP) — Saudi Arabia's foreign minister arrived in Damascus Monday for talks on a proposed Arab summit and the stalled Middle East peace process.

Saud Al Faisal will also head his country in the two-day meetings of the Syrian-Saudi joint economic committee. “The Arab stand toward the peace process should be based on the restoration of occupied Arab lands and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people,'' Prince Saud told reporters. Hopes for holding a summit on the stalled peace talks faded after some Arab countries differed on its agenda and doubts about its outcome.

Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Al Sharaa said Monday the summit should be well prepared — “otherwise it will send a wrong message to the Israeli government, a matter that will stiffen its stubborn stands toward the peace process and the Arab rights in general.''

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat has called for a summit to clearly blame Israel for the stalemate in the negotiations. Israel-Palestinian talks broke off in March last year when Israel began building a Jewish housing project in traditionally Arab east Jerusalem.

The meeting of the Syrian-Saudi economic committee, established in 1993, will focus on means of boosting economic and trade relations and encourage investment, according to Syrian officials, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.

Prince Saud is expected to meet with Syrian President Hafez Assad Tuesday.

JORDAN TIMES 6-16-98

Bar Illan hints size of pullout is no longer the problem

Key Statement: "....Israel TV reported Sunday that Mr. Netanyahu had agreed to a 13 per cent pullback after initially saying he could hand over only 9 per cent.

Disagreement over who will annul the PLO founding charter and determine the scope of a final West Bank troop withdrawal are holding up Israeli acceptance of the U.S. peace initiative, a senior Israeli official said Monday...."

Agencies

Disagreement over who will annul the PLO founding charter and determine the scope of a final West Bank troop withdrawal are holding up Israeli acceptance of the U.S. peace initiative, a senior Israeli official said Monday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu met with key Israeli cabinet ministers for three hours Monday to discuss the U.S. plan, which calls for an Israeli troop pullback from 13 per cent of the West Bank in exchange for a Palestinian crackdown on Islamists.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has urged Mr. Netanyahu to make a decision soon, but informal U.S. deadlines have passed without U.S. action against Israel. The United States presented its plan in January, and the Palestinians have accepted it.

Israel TV reported Sunday that Mr. Netanyahu had agreed to a 13 per cent pullback after initially saying he could hand over only 9 per cent. Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Americans had not informed the Palestinians of any such agreement.

Mr. Netanyahu's senior adviser, David Bar-Illan, would not comment Monday on the report, but suggested that the size of that withdrawal, the second of three promised by Israel, was no longer an issue.

Mr. Bar-Illan said Mr. Netanyahu wants iron-clad U.S. assurances that the scope of the third pullback be determined by Israel, without U.S. involvement.

“We don't want an open-ended situation about a third redeployment,” Mr. Bar-Illan told The Associated Press. “The American commitment that we be the only ones to determine its scope must be nailed down.”

Israel also insists that the Palestine National Council, the Palestinians' parliament-in-exile, annul sections of the PLO founding charter, rather than the much smaller PLO Executive Committee.

In the U.S. proposal, a vote by the PLO Executive Committee is considered sufficient to annul those sections. However, Mr. Bar-Illan said the PLO charter itself stipulates that it can only be changed by a two-thirds majority of the Palestine National Council.

In Gaza, a senior Palestinian official said Monday that the peace process with Israel was “dead” and that the Palestinians have “other options.”

“The peace process is dead,” said Ahmed Abdel Rahman, secretary-general of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's self-rule government.

“The time has come for the Palestinians to rethink their position towards the process,” he told AFP.

“The Palestinian people cannot accept a peace or a process which serves as a front for continued occupation and settlement of Palestinian territories,” he said. “The Palestinian people have other options.”

Mr. Abdel Rahman did not elaborate, but Mr. Arafat, in an interview with the Arab weekly Al Wassat published in Cairo on Monday, refused to rule out any options, including the possible use of force, in the event the peace process fails.

Asked what the Palestinian options were in the event a U.S. effort to revive the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations fails, Mr. Arafat said that “all” options were open.

Pressed as to whether the use of arms was among those options, Mr. Arafat said: “Don't ask me any more. I've already said that all options were open but don't ask me for details.”

In other developments Monday, four Palestinian opposition groups, including the Islamist group Hamas, said they would turn down offers by Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to join his cabinet.

However, Hamas and two secular PLO factions, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said they would attend consultations with Mr. Arafat on Tuesday concerning his planned cabinet reshuffle.

“We are going to listen to the president and to present our views, but we are not going to join the new cabinet,” said Hamas spokesman Mahmoud Zahar. A fourth group, Islamic Jihad, said it would not join the talks.

Mr. Arafat apparently hoped to neutralise the opposition groups by offering them cabinet posts.

Mr. Arafat is under pressure from the Palestinian Legislative Council to reshuffle his cabinet. Last month, the 88-member legislature gave Mr. Arafat two weeks to respond to complaints about corruption and inaction or face his first no-confidence motion.

Mr. Arafat has sent a letter to the council asking it to postpone its no-confidence vote and give PLO leaders up to 10 days to present a new cabinet. The reshuffle is to be completed by Friday.

JERUSALEM POST Tuesday, June 16, 1998 22 Sivan 5758

Mubarak: Stalled peace process risks Egypt-Israel ties

Key Statement: "If the second pullback isn't carried out, a wave of terror and violence will wash over the entire region. It will be disastrous not only for the peace process with the Palestinians, but Israel's relations with Egypt and Jordan," Mubarak said after a meeting with opposition leader Ehud Barak in Cairo.

By MICHAL YUDELMAN

CAIRO (June 16) - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak yesterday warned of disaster in the region and a crisis in Israel's relations with Egypt and Jordan unless the second pullback is implemented and the peace process continues.

"If the second pullback isn't carried out, a wave of terror and violence will wash over the entire region. It will be disastrous not only for the peace process with the Palestinians, but Israel's relations with Egypt and Jordan," Mubarak said after a meeting with opposition leader Ehud Barak in Cairo.

The two leaders met privately for half an hour before being joined by Mubarak's aides and MKs Binyamin Ben- Eliezer, Ephraim Oshaya and Shalom Simhon, who accompanied Barak on his visit.

Mubarak urged Israel to keep its part in the agreement and implement the second pullback, stressing it would ensure Israel's security. "If anyone thinks they can ensure Israel's security without returning the Palestinians' land, it's nonsense. It will never work," he said.

Mubarak confirmed, when asked by the Israeli journalists, that he had lost faith in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who had made him "so many promises" without keeping a single one.

"I had good relations with former Israeli prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, who kept their promises, and even with Menachem Begin, who was tough, but every promise he made was kept, even when not given in writing," Mubarak said.

Asked whether he could understand Netanyahu's coalition difficulties vis-a-vis passing the second pullback, Mubarak said that if Netanyahu believes in peace, he can persuade his coalition.

If the Israeli public wants peace, it's more important than the coalition, he said.

Barak said after the meeting that the majority of Israelis want the peace process to continue, despite the government's hard-line position, and a great many of them are concerned by the process's stalemate.

Asked about the idea of holding a referendum on the pullout, Barak said it would be "a waste of time and money because we know the answer: 75 percent of Israelis want the withdrawal."

Barak reiterated his request for the release of Israeli citizen Azzam Azzam, who was convicted in Egypt of espionage, stating he knew the man was not a spy. Barak asked Mubarak to let a physician examine Azzam, whose family says is too ill to be in prison.

But Mubarak said he did not intend disputing Egyptian law or court procedure, and the only way Azzam could be released was if his health became too frail to remain in prison.

In separate meetings with Mubarak and Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa, Barak discussed the peace process, Israel's relations with Egypt and Turkey, and exchanged strategic assessments.

Finally, Barak, his colleagues and the Israeli journalists held a long discussion with an Egyptian group of retired generals, newspaper editors and writers who were involved in the peace process and worried about its state.

Netanyahu commented on Mubarak's statements, saying he was acting to preserve Israel's security and the state's national interests.

"Nothing will divert me from the commitment to achieve security," he said.

Netanyahu lashed out at Barak, implying the opposition leader had encouraged Mubarak to criticize the government. "There is always a strange coincidence when he [Barak] visits Arab leaders, and then in the press conference afterwards they launch a furious attack on the government," Netanyahu said.

He advised Barak "to act with certain restraint on his visits abroad and at all times, especially when the state is in the stages of advancing in a sensitive and very important negotiation to the future of the State of Israel."

The Likud sharply denounced Barak's visit to Cairo and accused him of taking the trip to invite pressures on Israel and make personal political capital at the price of damaging the negotiations.

JERUSALEM POST Tuesday, June 16, 1998 22 Sivan 5758

US slams Jerusalem house demolitions

Key Statement: "....Secretary of State Madeleine Albright "has called repeatedly for a time-out on provocative activities, including house demolitions," he said.

Albright and President Bill Clinton were scheduled to hold meetings late yesterday with Jordan's King Hussein, who concluded a short private visit to the US.

Clinton will also be meeting at the White House this morning with Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri, with the agenda said to include Israel's proposal to withdraw from southern Lebanon, which Washington has endorsed in principle.

By HILLEL KUTTLER and JAY BUSHINSKY

JERUSALEM (June 16) - The US yesterday condemned Israel's demolition of Arab residences in Jerusalem, calling it a "provocative" action that sends the "wrong signal" at this difficult stage in the peace process.

The Interior Ministry announced that it had carried out demolition orders against three illegally built houses in the Suahra section of Jerusalem yesterday morning.

"At a time when we are trying to bring the parties together, these house demolitions send the wrong signal," State Department spokesman James Rubin told reporters.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright "has called repeatedly for a time-out on provocative activities, including house demolitions," he said.

Albright and President Bill Clinton were scheduled to hold meetings late yesterday with Jordan's King Hussein, who concluded a short private visit to the US.

Clinton will also be meeting at the White House this morning with Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri, with the agenda said to include Israel's proposal to withdraw from southern Lebanon, which Washington has endorsed in principle.

In his daily meeting with reporters, Rubin also said the administration "would love to have to deal" with the question of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's plan to bring to a national referendum a redeployment deal with the Palestinians, because it would mean that an agreement has been reached.

He also implicitly criticized Israel's holding out for a Palestinian commitment that the Palestinian National Council formally abolish the PLO Covenant.

The Palestinians have "kind of done it already," he said. "I mean, they've said they disavow it. I mean, let's not be so talmudic about it and try to tear it apart," he said.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, is lobbying the right-wing of his coalition in an effort to win its support for the second redeployment. He met yesterday with the Moledet leader Rehavam Ze'evi.

A senior government official was unable pinpoint the outcome of the meeting, but hinted that Netanyahu is preparing the parliamentary ground, faction by faction, for the presentation of his pullback package.

The official dismissed the notion that Netanyahu is working under heavy pressure from the US or any other interested party or that he is motivated by a sense of urgency that serious outbreaks of violence will occur if a deal is not closed quickly.

US Ambassador Edward Walker denied that the Clinton administration is "attempting to press Israel" to act against its own security interests.

In an address entitled at Ben-Gurion University's Chaim Herzog Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy, Walker said: "We know that Israel's leaders, and the Israeli people, must make their own decisions based on their own understanding of security concerns.

"The president of the United States is not going to send Israeli boys into harm's way. Those who suggest that the US is attempting to dictate Israel's security are either misled or are misleading others for their own purposes."

Jerusalem Post Monday, June 15, 1998 21 Sivan 5758

Pullback decision slated for July

Key Statement: "....He is also said to want to make sure the Clinton administration will be able to arrange a White House signing ceremony for the pullback agreement with PA Chairman Yasser Arafat...."

By JAY BUSHINSKY

JERUSALEM (June 15) - Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu evidently is holding off his proposal for the next IDF redeployment in the West Bank until the middle of next month, to allow time for the Palestinian Authority to meet his preconditions.

He is also said to want to make sure the Clinton administration will be able to arrange a White House signing ceremony for the pullback agreement with PA Chairman Yasser Arafat.

The next three or four weeks are to be devoted to clarifying the prospective pullback agreement's terms and timetable.

A senior government source said the crucial decision will be taken while the Knesset is still in summer session, which is to last until the first week of August.

Similarly, the consensus among cabinet ministers polled about the probable date when the redeployment decision would be taken, and its practical implications will become operational, was mid-July.

Military sources estimate the IDF will require nearly three months to withdraw from its current positions and to form a new defensive line in conjunction with the impending redeployment plan.

Among the major international events likely to influence Netanyahu's timing is President Bill Clinton's trip to China this week and the ongoing crises - including the Serbian onslaught in Kosovo, the aftermath of the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests, and the economic instability in the Far East - which have been taking precedence over the State Department's traditional concern about the Middle East.

Netanyahu also must allow time for the PA to consider his oft-repeated terms for fulfillment of the Oslo Accords' requirements insofar as IDF deployment is concerned, especially the demand that the Palestinian National Council reconvene to abrogate the Palestinian Covenant's anti-Israel clauses.

The "reciprocity" Netanyahu has said he expects in return for the evacuation of up to 15 percent of the West Bank and the concomitant handover of territory to the PA would include confiscation of unauthorized weapons in the possession of rank-and-file Palestinians, reduction of the Palestinian Police to the size specified in the Oslo Accords, extradition of persons suspected of murder, and a halt to anti-Israel incitement in the Palestinian media.

If the prime minister accedes to US advice that he transfer at least 13.1 percent of the area in question without insisting on total Palestinian compliance with his demands, it is widely assumed his credibility as a negotiator in the subsequent rounds of US-brokered talks with the PA will have been undermined.

Asked whether these considerations mean that the cabinet and Knesset decisions on redeployment are still several weeks away, a senior government official said, "The pullback may be more imminent than you think." But he did not offer any supporting evidence for this assertion.
 
 

CHN Commentary 6-8-98 & A "Special Report"

The Mideast March to Peace

Sunday's meeting between King Hussein and Israeli Defense Minister Mordechai took place as planned but very little "new information" is being reported..

Both the Jerusalem Post and Jordan Times reported the meeting in their lead articles today, with the Post emphasizing the Kings "worry and concern" while the Times heralded his optimism...

Yasser Arafat was invited to attend the meeting in Amman, but refused.

However, US ambassador to Israel Edward Walker hosted surprise talks at his home outside of Tel Aviv on Sunday between Israeli Cabinet Secretary Danny Naveh and the Palestinians' Saeb Erakat, fueling speculation that a deal on further Israeli troop withdrawal in the West Bank is very near.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu denied the reports that a deal with the United States and Palestinians on further Israel withdrawals from the West Bank was imminent. Although he did say that it is a "definite possibility".. Once again proving that he must have very callused feet and strong ankles to walk the "tight rope of double talk" that has become his trade mark.

However, it is surfacing that "secret talks" are taking place between the EU and Israel on granting the Palestinians a seaport and a working airport to prevent the imposition of EU sanctions on products manufactured in Jewish settlements as Israel had reacted with outrage at the European Commission's recommendation last month that products made in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights be denied tariff benefits.

Newsweek says Europe is Israel's biggest market, accounting for more than one third of the Jewish state's $15.7 billion in annual exports and nearly all the exports are duty-free.

In other words the Jews were "outraged" at the sound of paying tariffs on one third of 15.7 billion dollars.

Oh how the "buying and the selling" [commerce] makes that "bitter pill of political compromise" easier to swallow !!

As "watcher's" let us not forget that the formidable "formula for peace" that the "little horn" character will rise up with, not only incorporates "land for peace", but also "commerce for peace"......better known as..$$money$$....and the love of it..!!

And the Jews and the Arabs "love their money" and all the power it brings them...and they know that peace will "fill and fatten" their money sacks !!!

So, with "peace" ..the rich [kings and captains] get richer !!!

This is why the Bible tells us that the individual with the "formula for peace" will be "given the crown" and rule the world. So it is no wonder that the key word today in all of the negotiations is "formula"... who has the "formula"?

King Hussein has the "formula" and it will be proven out !!

...........and with all the money that will come with his "crown" he will buy armament, as the Bible says the Antichrist worships the god of munitions !!

On the "Summit Scene" [i.e. Arab Summit], Mubarak has finally gotten the message [via King Hussein] that it is not in their best interest at this time if the outcome of a Summit can't be agreed upon before hand, which it can't..... as Assad continues to season the "kettle of discontent" against "Jew-loving" Arabs... All very prophetic !

So, as we continue to be obedient and "watch", we will focus on the redeployment agreement and it's leading to the opening of "final status" negotiations..

Jesus is Lord....

Luke 12:37

back up articles.........

JERUSALEM POST Monday, June 8, 1998 14 Sivan 5758

Mordechai: Hussein worried about peace process

By ARIEH O'SULLIVAN

Key Statement: "...."I got the sense that the king is concerned about the situation," Mordechai told military reporters who accompanied him to Amman. "But just like in the Hebron agreement and other instances, the king is prepared to help."...."

AMMAN (June 8) -- Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai flew to Amman yesterday to seek King Hussein's help in brokering a deal with the Palestinians on the second redeployment.

"I got the sense that the king is concerned about the situation," Mordechai told military reporters who accompanied him to Amman. "But just like in the Hebron agreement and other instances, the king is prepared to help."

"In the state it is now in the peace process demands support from all elements in order to achieve progress," added Mordechai.

During their relatively short, one-hour meeting at Hussein's newly built Gate of Peace Palace on the western edge of Amman, Mordechai and Hussein tried to flesh out ideas on just how the Jordanian monarch could contribute.

While not soliciting Hussein's pressure on Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, the Israelis are hoping the king will be able to make the Palestinians more "flexible and understanding" so they accept the Israeli plan for a second withdrawal, one government official said.

Palestinian officials said Arafat had turned down a US request to attend yesterday's meeting between Hussein and Mordechai.

In the meantime, Mordechai was acting more cautiously and did not have the same upbeat attitude as when he returned from Cairo last Tuesday, where he said the time for decisions was at hand.

Mordechai said the agreement on a second IDF redeployment in the West Bank would be achieved "shortly," but declined to be more specific.

Speaking at an impromptu news conference, Hussein called Mordechai his "very good friend," adding that "after hearing Defense Minister Mordechai I am more optimistic."

Mordechai appears to be the solid force spearheading implementation of the pullback and is considered the leading moderate in Netanyahu's cabinet.

Still, it is not clear just how much influence he has in the government, particularly after he failed to follow through with a threat in January to resign if the troop pullback in the West Bank did not take place within three months.

The Jordanians have much respect for Mordechai, a former general, and Mordechai and Hussein have meet on a number of occasions, not all of them official or reported.

Flying a CH-53 transport helicopter, the trip from Jerusalem to Amman took just 15 minutes. Mordechai was met at the helipad at the Hashamiya Palace by Jordanian Army Chief of Staff Gen. Abdul Hafez Ka'abneh and later Gen. Ali Shukry, head of the king's office.

A short ride through the outskirts of Amman later and Mordechai was sharing juice in the luscious garden with Hussein, who is under Syrian and Saudi pressure to convene an Arab summit which would no doubt be critical of ties with Israel.

Despite the warm reception, news of Mordechai's visit did not appear in any of the Jordanian press, and only a small group of Israeli reporters accompanying Mordechai and one Jordanian working for the state-run TV and news agency Petra were allowed at the news conference.

Israeli diplomats in Amman said that Mordechai was also likely to meet with Arafat. Mordechai's aides did not rule out the possibility but said that no such meeting had been scheduled for any time soon.

The visit to Amman was also used to enhance security relations between the two nations. Mordechai's most senior adviser, David Ivry, discussed security matters with Ka'abneh. There have been reports that Jordan was examining the possibility of joining the Turkish-Israeli alliance.

"It isn't so much a question of an alliance," Hussein said. "I don't think it could be described as such. We have normal relations with Israel, peaceful relations with Israel, and we have extremely close relations with Turkey, so it is natural that we talk and meet and our people meet to enhance the cooperation that exists."

JORDAN TIMES 6-8-98

King optimistic about peace process after meeting Israel's defence minister

KEY STATEMENT:"....The Jordan News Agency, Petra, quoted King Hussein as telling journalists after the meeting that he was optimistic about the peace process following what he heard from the Israeli minister, stressing that "Jordanian-Israeli relations are marked with mutual confidence which will continue in the future."...."

AMMAN (J.T.) — His Majesty King Hussein on Sunday met Israeli Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai for talks on the deadlocked peace process and said afterwards that he was deeply satisfied with what he heard from the Israeli minister.

The Jordan News Agency, Petra, quoted King Hussein as telling journalists after the meeting that he was optimistic about the peace process following what he heard from the Israeli minister, stressing that “Jordanian-Israeli relations are marked with mutual confidence which will continue in the future.”

King Hussein told reporters that discussion with Mr. Mordechai during his short visit covered “issues of common concern to Jordan and Israel pertaining to the future generations and the peace process.”

Petra quoted the King as expressing hope that all the concerned parties will act in a manner that will ensure progress in the peace process so that the “dreams may come true and become a reality with the establishment of a just, durable and comprehensive peace in the region.”

With reference to the U.S. proposal for further Israeli redeployment from the West Bank, King Hussein said: “I believe the U.S. proposal is very important and came as a result of a lengthy study by the U. S. which is a partner in the peace making process, a role similar to that which the U.S. had played before in the peace talks between Israel and Egypt.”

King Hussein expressed hope that the U.S. and Jordan will pursue their determined efforts and that all other parties would make real efforts to transcend the present critical stage and adopt positive stand with regard to the American proposal in order to attain the aspired goals.

In reply to a question about his call for strengthening the camp of moderation in the face of extremism in the region, King Hussein said: “There are moderates and extremists on both sides, and in the whole region.” But he expressed hope that the peace process will continue to move in the right direction.

The King said that the peace camp among the descendants of Abraham and the moderates among them should join forces in their common struggle to achieve the aspired peace.

Mr. Mordechai thanked King Hussein for allowing him the opportunity to discuss the peace process with him and to exchange views on how to give momentum to the peace process on the Palestinian-Israeli track.

He said that there are certain ideas and initiatives which should be encouraged by the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Mr Mordechai's visit to Amman follows a trip last week to Cairo where he discussed the peace process with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Aides of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu have been expressing optimism in recent days that a breakthrough in the peace process is in sight after months of deadlock.

The U.S. proposals would revolve around Israel transferring an additional 13 per cent of the West Bank to the Palestinians.

Attending the meeting which was held at Bab Al Salam Palace were Royal Court Chief Fayez Tarawneh, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Field Marshal Abdul Hafez Mira' Kaabneh, and Israel's Ambassador to Jordan Oded Oran.

JORDAN TIMES 6-8-98

Netanyahu: Pullback accord not imminent

Key Statement: "I cannot say that we are the verge of an agreement. There is still no agreement on the [West Bank] redeployment," Mr. Netanyahu told the weekly cabinet meeting according to an official statement.

"We are making a major effort to reach an agreement on this matter and there is a good chance we will succeed," he said.

TEL AVIV (Agencies) — Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu denied on Sunday reports that a deal with the United States and Palestinians on further Israel withdrawals from the West Bank was imminent.

“I cannot say that we are the verge of an agreement. There is still no agreement on the [West Bank] redeployment,” Mr. Netanyahu told the weekly cabinet meeting according to an official statement.

His remarks contrasted with optimistic comments over the weekend by Netanyahu spokesmen who said an accord was finally near in negotiations on a U.S.-drafted peace package with the Palestinians.

Mr. Netanyahu said contacts with U.S. mediators were continuing on the issue of the second of two further withdrawals from the West Bank which Israel is required to carry out under interim peace accords.

“We are making a major effort to reach an agreement on this matter and there is a good chance we will succeed,” he said.

Israel Radio said Mr. Netanyahu also told his ministers that discussions with the Palestinians via the U.S. mediators were in “a delicate phase” and that a full cabinet discussion could thus not yet be held.

The U.S. plan revolves around Israel transferring an additional 13 per cent of the West Bank to self-rule over three months in tandem with specific Palestinian action to halt militant violence against Israel.

Mr. Netanyahu has resisted the proposals for nearly nine months, saying a 13 per cent pullback at this stage of the peace process would jeopardise Israel's security and would not be accepted by nationalist hard-liners in his fractious and fragile coalition government.

But Israeli Deputy Defence Minister Silvan Shalom said after Sunday's cabinet meeting that a majority of ministers “agree on carrying out a further military redeployment” from the West Bank.

“The issue now is whether or not there will be another redeployment later and what its scope will be,” he said.

Under an interim peace accord signed with the Palestinians in January 1998, Israel was required by mid-1998 to carry out three separate withdrawals from parts of the West Bank still under its control.

Under the U.S. proposal the first two pullbacks would be combined into the 13 per cent withdrawal and the third would be the subject of new negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Mr. Netanyahu is reportedly making acceptance of the 13 per cent figure conditional on the Palestinians agreeing that the third pullback will either be symbolic in scope — around two per cent of the West Bank — or be put off until the two sides conclude a final peace settlement setting definitive borders for the Palestinian entity.

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat insisted on Saturday that Israel must carry out all three promised withdrawals and that they must be significant.

Last week U.S. officials said the two sides had only a few more days to reach agreement on Washington's proposals or the United States would consider ending its mediation effort.

Mr. Arafat has accepted the U.S. package even though it falls far short of Palestinian demands for the first and second redeployments.

Israeli nationalists, including key members of Mr. Netanyahu's government, have vowed to topple him if he agrees to even one 13 per cent pullback from the West Bank.

Experts say such a withdrawal would isolate several Jewish settlements in areas under Palestinian civilian control and virtually ensure their eventual disappearance.

In a sign of growing right-wing concern, posters appeared on Jerusalem walls Sunday showing Mr. Netanyahu wearing a Palestinian head-dress with the caption “liar.”

Police said the posters — 10 across one street-level billboard and one poster at another site — may have been placed by the outlawed Israeli anti-Arab Kach movement.

Mr. Netanyahu's Likud Party issued a statement blaming a handful of “crazy extremists in the margins of society” for the posters. A similar overnight campaign was conducted six months ago.

The black-and-white photo-composition showed Mr. Netanyahu with a red Arab Keffiyeh, or scarf, printed on his head and “The liar” written in black across the top.

JORDAN TIMES 6-8-98

Israel, EU conducting secret talks — report

Key Statement: "....The magazine, without citing a source, said Israel had agreed to give Palestinians a seaport and a working airport to prevent the imposition of EU sanctions on products manufactured in Jewish settlements...."

NEW YORK (AFP) — Israel and the European Union are holding secret talks with Israel making substantial concessions to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), Newsweek International reports in its latest edition.

The magazine, without citing a source, said Israel had agreed to give Palestinians a seaport and a working airport to prevent the imposition of EU sanctions on products manufactured in Jewish settlements.

Israel has reacted with outrage at the European Commission's recommendation last month that products made in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights be denied tariff benefits.

Newsweek says Europe is Israel's biggest market, accounting for more than one third of the Jewish state's $15.7 billion in annual exports. Nearly all the exports are duty-free.

JORDAN TIMES 6-8-98

Arab summit should not be held without prior agreement on aims, Mubarak says

Key Statement: "....Syria threw plans for a summit into doubt on Wednesday when it called for a prior understanding that those countries with relations with Israel must change their policies....."

"....The call put Syria on a collision course with Jordan and Saudi Arabia a day after Amman and Riyadh agreed on the need to respect agreements signed with Israel during any summit to sanction Israel over the deadlocked peace process...."

"....Syria has long criticised Jordan and the Palestinians for signing "separate" peace agreements with Israel and not waiting for a comprehensive peace involving all the Jewish state's Arab neighbours...."

CAIRO (AFP) — Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak insisted Sunday that an Arab summit to frame a united Arab response to the continuing deadlock in the peace process should not be called without prior agreement on the outcome desired.

“Any Arab summit has to be well-prepared — everyone has to agree on the agenda and the results we expect from such a summit,” Mr. Mubarak told reporters.

“Once we are in agreement, it will be possible to hold a summit... but we must not appear disunited to the world or our causes will lose all credibility,” he said.

There have been mounting calls in the Arab World in recent weeks for a summit to frame a united response to the 15-month-old deadlock in the peace process.

Mr. Mubarak dismissed as “baseless” reports in the Arabic press suggesting that Washington had been putting pressure on its Arab allies to prevent the holding of a summit. “Efforts have been made to hold this summit,” he insisted.

Syria threw plans for a summit into doubt on Wednesday when it called for a prior understanding that those countries with relations with Israel must change their policies.

The call put Syria on a collision course with Jordan and Saudi Arabia a day after Amman and Riyadh agreed on the need to respect agreements signed with Israel during any summit to sanction Israel over the deadlocked peace process.

Syrian Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam spoke openly Tuesday of “disagreement” with Jordan over the policy to adopt towards the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu in the light of his continuing rejection of compromise U.S. proposals to relaunch the peace process.

Syria has long criticised Jordan and the Palestinians for signing “separate” peace agreements with Israel and not waiting for a comprehensive peace involving all the Jewish state's Arab neighbours.

Egypt signed a peace agreement with Israel in 1979, the first Arab country to do so.

CHN Commentary 6-6-98

The Mideast March To Peace

In our untimely absence [due to computer failure], the anxiously awaited Washington Summit slated for the end of May and intended to open "final status" negotiations obviously didn't occur. And just as obvious is the fact that the "Church" has not been Raptured...[although our silence had some wondering].....and the "window of opportunity" for the Rapture to occur this year has now closed..

Truthfully....we are disappointed and saddened that we must wait for the next window to open...but we are encouraged to know that God is in control, and that all things work together for good for those who love God... ......... and that blessed are whose who the Lord finds "watching".......

So, where are we as we begin this new time period of "watching" for Jesus' return..??

The struggle to finalize the elusive "13%" withdrawal of the IDF seems to be within reach. Most sources are reporting that the pullback is near. And finally the "American Plan" has been put on paper and leaked to the press...[see below].

You will recall that the intention of settling this final withdrawal is to open "final status" negotiations. So, when these negotiations do begin we will "then" find ourselves in the time frame of "watching" that pressure cooker develop into the formula for peace brought forward by Daniel's "little horn"..... It would seem that this next window will surely be "the" window that the Church be altered to "watch".......

In other matters, the Arabs are trying to convene a summit but can't agree on the agenda, or who should be invited. Syria has really started to stir the pot of belligerence toward Jordan by declaring that a summit is only needed to change the relationship between "some" Arab brothers and the Jews..

King Hussein remains committed to the peace and is under an increasing amount of Arab pressure from more then just Syria, and is meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Mordechai in Amman Sunday to try and further the peace...

We will watch the pressure build on him in this next window which will culminate in his prophetic fulfillment of the "little horn character" that takes vengeance on his dissenting Arab brothers [the "uprooting"] and his "partners"... the Jews.

In the meantime the Red Cross/Red Crescent offered some encouragement by awarding him another "trophy" in appreciation of his humanitarian efforts and his continued support to ensure human rights and dignity for all people....[whata' guy]

Yasser Arafat seems to have everyone convinced that May, 1999 he will declare Statehood for Palestine and is finding that most of the world agrees...and now even a majority of Israel agrees..[that does have a positive ring for this next window]

So, all things considered, Spring, 1999 now becomes our focus as we continue to know and believe that ... "the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men".

[...and we close with our theme song playing in the background..... "He's got the whole world in His hands, He's got the whole wide world in His hands........."]

Jesus is Lord........

Luke 12:37

Jerusalem Post Friday, June 5, 1998 11 Sivan 5758

PM aide hints: Pullback deal near

By JAY BUSHINSKY

Key Statement: "....At the same time, one official said that "constructive talks are going on with both sides in a variety of venues - meetings, telephone calls" in a bid to conclude a deal leading to the start of final-status negotiations...."

JERUSALEM (June 5) -- Shai Bazak, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's media adviser, yesterday signaled that an agreement is near among Israel, the US, and the Palestinian Authority on the IDF's next withdrawal.

He announced that the terms of such a deal will not be put to a referendum.

Bazak said Netanyahu is not considering such a move, although the consensus in the cabinet is that the prospective pullout would be approved by at least 60 percent of the voters.

The referendum idea was raised by MK Michael Kleiner (Gesher), who heads the Land of Israel Front in the Knesset.

Kleiner said the front would organize a public petition for a plebiscite. He said the government should either hold a referendum or call early elections, but promise not to implement the pullback until after the country had gone to the polls.

Kleiner noted that the government supported the idea of a plebiscite before any concessions on the Golan Heights, which would immediately affect far fewer people.

Coalition whip Meir Sheetrit rejected Kleiner's idea, calling it a "trick" aimed at postponing progress in the peace process.

He said the redeployment would pass in the Knesset by a large majority, because Labor would not oppose it even if it were turned into a motion of no-confidence.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai is to go to Jordan on Sunday for a meeting with King Hussein. He is expected to discuss the peace process and the redeployment. He will also raise the matter of terror and seek to enhance cooperation between security bodies in both countries.

Details of the visit were finalized late last night in coordination with Netanyahu. The meeting is expected to last a few hours.

For his part, Netanyahu insisted he is doing everything he can to expedite the tripartite deal.

"There has been some progress in the direction of an agreement that will be good for all sides," he said. "When I am convinced that we have a good arrangement of the kind I have been working to achieve... I will not hesitate to bring it to the government and the Knesset."

Other government officials discounted the various versions of the agreement published in the media, contending that they were "outdated" and "inaccurate."

Netanyahu said the published draft is "simply not up to date."

Under the reported plan, the withdrawal would be in three stages over 12 weeks.

A senior aide said intensive negotiations were under way between the parties to work out the defects that still remain from the standpoint of Israel's requirements and objectives.

But a source close to the key ministers who take part in the inner cabinet's top-secret deliberations contend that "they do not have the foggiest idea where things actually stand."

These cabinet members have been receiving most of their information from the media, he went on, noting that this input not only has been generally unreliable and "wide of the mark," but also "misleading and tendentious."

Margot Dudkevtich and Mohammed Najib add:

On his return to Gaza last night, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat told reporters he is still waiting for the initial US proposal to be presented.

Regarding the second redeployment, Arafat said the US had promised it would take place by the middle of this month, but did not divulge the scope.

PA officials hesitated to comment on the meeting between Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Ahmed Qurei and Arafat's deputy Mahmoud Abbas with US envoy Dennis Ross in London.

Confirmation of the meeting was broadcast on the Voice of Palestine Radio yesterday, and Palestinian sources said the two would inform Arafat about their discussions.

Hillel Kuttler adds from Washington:

Clinton administration officials refused to confirm that Ross was meeting with PA officials in London.

At the same time, one official said that "constructive talks are going on with both sides in a variety of venues - meetings, telephone calls" in a bid to conclude a deal leading to the start of final-status negotiations.

"We're trying to get this done," the official said. "We hope to wrap this up sooner rather than later."

Asked about yesterday's reports in Israeli newspapers detailing the American proposal, the official said the US has decided that "the best way is to say the least" and that "if the Israelis are saying more, you need to ask them about that."

The official also would not go beyond US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's and Ambassador to Israel Edward Walker's statements this week that Washington is on the verge of publicly expressing its views about the stalemate.

The official refused to discuss what period of time the US has in mind. "In a certain way, we've been there before. We've been very careful about how we characterize this as a time frame."

Jerusalem Post Friday, June 5, 1998 11 Sivan 5758

EDITORIAL: The American plan

Key Statement: "....The key to creating this new atmosphere is clearing the decks of the debris left from the interim agreement, allowing all energies to be focused on final-status talks. Two important adjustments should be made in the American plan to facilitate this transition: settling on the size of the third redeployment and democratizing the amending of the Palestinian Covenant...."

(June 5) -- The cabinet may not have seen it yet, but the full, if still fluid, text of the American plan is now in newspapers for all to see. Some of the details may change, but the broad structure will not. The main things missing from the plan are an agreed upon figure for the third redeployment and the unequivocal amendment of the Palestinian Covenant.

Structurally, the reported plan looks made-in-Israel. Israeli withdrawals are linked in a "phased paralleled approach" to implementation of Palestinian commitments over 12 weeks. At the same time, both Israel and the Palestinians will reportedly commit to the US not to take certain "unilateral" actions, including on Israel's part, "no significant expansion" of existing settlements.

Commenting on the plan as reported, arch-critic Ze'ev Begin said, "This is not territories for peace or territories for security - it is territories for chatter."

A cursory reading of the plan does seem to give credence to his criticism, because it is long on committees and short on dates and commitments. Since almost all of the commitments in this new plan are recycled from the Oslo 2 and Hebron accords, it is fair to ask what reason there is to believe that this time will be different.

A closer examination of the plan, however, reveals a difference in style compared to that of the Hebron Accord of 18 months ago, and a greater resemblance to the original Oslo agreements. The "Note for the Record" attached to the Hebron Accord contained a number of impressive-sounding commitments that were impressive both for their sweep and specificity: The Palestinians were to "combat systematically and effectively terrorist organizations and infrastructure" and "[prevent] incitement and hostile propaganda," for example. But the Hebron Accord did not describe any practical mechanisms for implementing these commitments.

By contrast, the draft American plan seems to pick up where the Hebron Accord left off. Rather that repeating sweeping commitments, it goes straight to the heart of implementation. The Palestinians, for example, are to report to a trilateral security committee ("reactivated" from December) "on the results of interrogations of those in custody." In other words, the Palestinians must share intelligence, and what they must share is defined.

It is too soon to dismiss such bureaucratic-sounding mechanisms as useless "chatter." The mechanisms that are taking shape in the American plan are what effective security cooperation is made of. It should not have taken until the waning days of the five-year interim period to obtain such cooperation, but better late than never. Even now, it will take a spirit of shared interests, goodwill, and trust to make these mechanisms work.

Such a new, more cooperative, atmosphere must be created first and foremost on the ground, between the security services on each side. But the soldiers cannot do it alone - there must also be a sense of movement at the political level above them.

The key to creating this new atmosphere is clearing the decks of the debris left from the interim agreement, allowing all energies to be focused on final-status talks. Two important adjustments should be made in the American plan to facilitate this transition: settling on the size of the third redeployment and democratizing the amending of the Palestinian Covenant.

Though Oslo and the famous Warren Christopher letter both give Israel the right to determine the scope of the third redeployment, the reality is that if it is not agreed upon now, it will hang over the final-status talks like a sword of Damocles. Just as Netanyahu is now balking at the American figure of 13 percent for the first two redeployments, Arafat is now balking at a 2 percent figure for the third withdrawal. The US must now be as tough with Arafat as it has been with Netanyahu. By settling on the package now that blurs the boundaries between the three withdrawals but nails down a total figure, both leaders will be able to declare victory among their constituencies and move on to the no less difficult tasks.

The other matter, that of the Palestinian Covenant, is less about removing a potential threat to final-status talks and more about making an investment in their success. The reported American plan stipulates that the PLO executive committee "endorse Arafat's letter to President Clinton" concerning the covenant. This is insufficient because the covenant stipulates (Article 33) that only a broader body, the Palestinian National Council, has the power to make amendments. And regardless of the previous government's position, PLO officials and documents state that the covenant has been "frozen," not amended or annulled.

As problematic as it may be, the full PNC must meet to explicitly amend the covenant to remove the many calls for Israel's destruction. This is not a legalistic exercise. In at least two interviews this year, Arafat has explained his support of Oslo with references to the 1974 "phased plan" and to temporary peace agreements made by Mohammed and Salah a-Din. Both references clearly imply that the goal of a Palestinian state would be to trigger a war against Israel. The way to begin ending such duplicity is for Arafat to persuade the PNC to permanently recognize Israel's right to exist.

Jerusalem Post Friday, June 5, 1998 11 Sivan 5758

The inevitable Palestinian state

By NAOMI CHAZAN

Key Statement: "....The salience of the redeployment debate, however, has obscured a far more important eventuality: the likelihood that the Palestinians will declare a state on May 4, 1999. The time has come to recognize that Palestinian statehood is not in Israeli hands; it is the culmination of dynamic processes that can be shaped, but not halted. The second and most critical issue is, therefore, whether the Palestinian state will be declared unilaterally or emerge as the outcome of negotiations...."

(June 5) -- There are two main issues on the Israeli-Palestinian peace agenda. The first, and most immediate, has attracted overwhelming attention: the extent of the further redeployments and their implementation. The continuing, and agonizingly trying, debate over Israeli acquiescence to the US proposal of a 13 percent redeployment cannot be prolonged much longer.

There is reason to assume that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will bring a double-digit decision to the cabinet and the Knesset for approval within the next few weeks. The reasons for such a step are not difficult to discern. Substantively, a further redeployment fits in well with Netanyahu's intention of maintaining Israeli sovereignty over the entire Land of Israel, while placing the greatest number of Palestinians under ostensible self-rule.

Politically, a move of this sort serves Netanyahu's own reelection objectives. Under the direct election system, a candidate must appear conciliatory. A purported redeployment serves the twin aims of granting credibility to Netanyahu's campaign slogan of promoting peace at minimal territorial cost and nurturing a seemingly centrist image.

Diplomatically, announcement of a meaningful redeployment will relieve some of the mounting pressure on Israel. To satisfy the more moderate elements within his coalition and within Israeli society at large, and to assuage the rising dissatisfaction in the US and Europe, Netanyahu has no choice but to accede to a double-digit redeployment and to settle outstanding issues, such as safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza, the port in Gaza, and the airport in Dahaniya.

And finally, protestations aside, Netanyahu knows that such a move will be approved. He is justifiably banking on the support of the opposition to balance the far-right elements in his coalition. Given the absence of any alternative candidate on the Right, he is probably correct in assuming that he can weather the inevitable political fallout.

If this is indeed Netanyahu's plan or, as some pundits expect, if the redeployment issue remains on the table for some time, many of the trappings of the interim agreement will eventually be put in place. In either event, implementation is likely to be dragged out for as long as possible. Netanyahu would like nothing better than for this to be the last set of moves within the Oslo framework. If he can carry out these small steps with enough fanfare to give the impression of progress, he will then claim to be flexible, while actually closing the door on the permanent-settlement negotiations.

The salience of the redeployment debate, however, has obscured a far more important eventuality: the likelihood that the Palestinians will declare a state on May 4, 1999. The time has come to recognize that Palestinian statehood is not in Israeli hands; it is the culmination of dynamic processes that can be shaped, but not halted. The second and most critical issue is, therefore, whether the Palestinian state will be declared unilaterally or emerge as the outcome of negotiations.

By ignoring this vital question and its far-reaching implications, Netanyahu's approach is both misleading and potentially irresponsible. The Israeli public must stop allowing him to divert attention away from this, the most important of issues.

There is no doubt that, given the choices available, a negotiated Palestinian state is in Israel's interest. First, without productive negotiations, the vital issues of borders and security arrangements will remain unresolved, since a unilaterally-declared state will almost by definition have ambiguous boundaries. All of the hairsplitting over 1 percent here or 2 percent there will be completely irrelevant if Israel loses the tremendous advantage written into the Oslo Accords: the opportunity to define and assure its security interests.

The security problems transcend the obvious disadvantages of non-negotiation. It is probable that a right-wing Israeli coalition will take concrete steps against a unilaterally-declared Palestinian state.

Although reconquest of Gaza and the West Bank is unlikely, annexation of some territories, complete closure, and economic strangulation are not inconceivable. Given the fact that Palestinian security and police forces - who undergo regular training and are equipped with light weapons - now number 40,000, a one-sided Palestinian declaration of independence will inevitably be accompanied by an escalation of violence.

A unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state will also have broad regional implications. It cannot but imperil Israel's agreements with Egypt and Jordan and further dim the prospects for a comprehensive regional peace. In the long-term, the possibility of protecting Israel from threats of non-conventional assaults will appear even more remote in an already jittery climate.

Second, a non-negotiated Palestinian state will render Israel a veritable outcast in the international arena. A unilateral declaration of Palestinian independence will receive widespread international support, and Palestine will be recognized by the vast majority of the global community. In an era of globalization, the notion of total isolation is nothing short of a nightmare, one that Israel can neither afford nor withstand.

Third, and most importantly, the purpose of the Oslo process is to lay the foundation for a different type of relationship between Israel and its neighbors. A negotiated Palestinian state not only sets the stage for such a historic reconciliation, but also establishes agreed-upon ground rules for future interaction.

And finally, the impact of a non-negotiated Palestinian state on the fragile fabric of Israeli society may be disastrous, causing even greater divisions in an already deeply divided country. Thus, by evading the issue of a Palestinian state, Israel will be sacrificing all of its most fundamental interests. The urgency of confronting these matters cannot be overstated.

Although Netanyahu seems to have convinced some of the public that his current strategy is reasoned and forward-looking, the reality is that his tactics purposefully cloud the truly essential issues the country faces in the months ahead. Whether the prime minister likes it or not, there will be a Palestinian state within a year. The current course of action will only aggravate existing tensions, encourage further militancy in the region, and destroy all possibilities for long-term peace and reconciliation.

The time has come to stop playing Netanyahu's lulling games and focus on an immediate renewal of meaningful, honest negotiations with our Palestinian neighbors. Every ounce of energy - not only by the peace camp, but by all concerned Israelis - must be devoted to the task of achieving a just accord on Palestinian statehood. The inevitable alternative to negotiations now is perpetual conflict down the road.

Israel cannot allow a short-sighted, self-serving politician to take a risk of this magnitude with its present and its future. The framework for negotiations has been in place for five years. With the proper leadership, a good grip on reality, and immediate action, the dim future toward which Netanyahu is brazenly leading Israel can be avoided.

CNN June 4, 1998 Web posted at: 11:42 a.m. EDT (1542 GMT)

U.S. peace plan for Mideast published

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli newspapers have published the U.S. proposal for an Israeli troop withdrawal -- a plan that would leave 40 percent of the West Bank under Palestinian control and restrict Jewish settlement expansion.

Details of the U.S. initiative have been reported previously, but Thursday was the first time a complete version was published.

Palestinian negotiator Hassan Asfour confirmed the points of the initiative, which were printed in Israel's three major dailies -- Haaretz, Maariv and Yediot Ahronot.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said parts of the draft as reported were on target, but some details are apparently not up to date.

Israeli decision due soon

U.S. officials expect a decision from Israel within days on the plan, and there were indications that Netanyahu has softened his stance.

The Yediot Ahronot daily said Netanyahu had embraced most of the proposals, including a 13 percent troop pullback over 12 weeks, and that the key sticking point now was the scope of an additional withdrawal.

Netanyahu wants to limit that pullback to 2 percent, but the Palestinians said they expected a more generous offer.

"We will never agree to a 2 percent redeployment," said Asfour who added that under the American plan, the scope of the next pullback was to be negotiated at a later time.

U.S. envoy Dennis Ross was meeting with senior Palestinian negotiators in London to discuss the U.S. plan.

What Israel would do

Under the plan, as published on Thursday:

•Israel would withdraw troops in three stages over 12 weeks. The Palestinians currently have full control over 3 percent of the West Bank and partial control over another 24 percent.

•At the end of the pullback, Palestinians would have full control over 18.2 percent and partial control over 22 percent, for a total of 40 percent -- a possible springboard for statehood.

•Talks on a permanent peace accord would begin immediately with the first troop pullback.

Israel also would also give assurances on contested land issues by:

•Promising not to expand Jewish settlements in a significant way.

•Refraining from demolishing 1,800 Palestinian homes.

•Restricting land confiscations.

What the Palestinians would do

Israel is demanding that Palestinians revoke parts of their PLO founding charter which call for Israel's destruction. As a concession to the Palestinians, the U.S. proposal calls for the revocation to be carried out by the 18-member PLO Executive Committee rather than the much larger Palestine National Council.

In return:

•Palestinians would promise not to question Israeli credentials at the United Nations.

•Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat would outlaw incitement against Israel and systematically confiscate illegal weapons.

Jordan Times 6-5-98

Syria raises doubts about Arab summit; U.S. deadline for Israel ends in 'days not weeks'

Agencies

Key Statement: "...."We do not so much need a new summit as we do a clear policy making those [countries] which have made mistakes aware of them," the official Syrian news agency, Sanaa, said in a commentary.

"This clear position must make those who have been swayed by illusions realize that Netanyahu will only strike out at those who wagered on the possibility of his changing his policies by making concessions or by meeting him in public or in secret," Sanaa said...."

THE UNITED States will decide within days whether to give up its effort to mediate a revival of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, the U.S. ambassador to Israel said Wednesday.

"What's going to happen is that there will be a decision made on whether to continue or not, whether there's going to be an agreement or not, whether our efforts are going to bear fruit or not," said U.S. Ambassador Edward Walker.

Responding to reports that Washington had set a weekend deadline for Israel to accept compromise peace proposals the United States has been promoting for nearly eight months, Mr. Walker said "no definite date" had been set.

"There is this very short time frame, that's all I can say — its a matter of days rather than weeks, but exactly and precisely what day, what hour and so on I have no idea, it depends on how the progress goes," he said.

Mr. Walker was speaking after meeting in Tel Aviv with opposition Labour Party leader Ehud Barak to discuss the U.S. effort to break the 15-month deadlock in Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

The U.S. proposals, widely leaked by Israelis and Palestinians, would require Israel to transfer an additional 13-15 per cent of the West Bank to self-rule in tandem with specific Palestinian actions against terrorism.

Israelis and Palestinians would at the same time enter into long-delayed negotiations on a permanent peace agreement setting the final borders and status of the Palestinian entity.

The Palestinians have accepted the deal but Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has rejected the terms because of the scope of the interim West Bank pullbacks required.

Mr. Netanyahu says a withdrawal of the breadth suggested by Washington would put vital Israeli interests in danger prior to a final peace accord and would never be accepted by nationalist hard-liners in his fragile coalition government.

But the few moderates in government, led by Israeli Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai, have also been escalating pressure on Mr. Netanyahu to reach a decision on the key land issue.

"It is time to take a decision on the redeployment," Mr. Mordechai told a session of parliament Wednesday.

"I think we need to advance the peace process while at the same time demanding that our Palestinian partners honour their part of the agreements," he said, referring to the need to dismantle armed anti-Israel groups.

In Damascus, Syria raised doubts Wednesday about convening an Arab summit, saying it was more important that countries with relations with Israel change their policies.

"We do not so much need a new summit as we do a clear policy making those [countries] which have made mistakes aware of them," the official Syrian news agency, Sanaa, said in a commentary.

"This clear position must make those who have been swayed by illusions realize that Netanyahu will only strike out at those who wagered on the possibility of his changing his policies by making concessions or by meeting him in public or in secret," Sanaa said.

"In the absence of serious preparation, a summit would become a media spectacle which would prevent the Arabs from putting forward their point of view," the news agency said.

Sanaa recalled that resolutions taken at the last Arab summit in Cairo in June 1996 were never acted upon.

One of the resolutions called on Arab countries "to reexamine their commitments to Israel" in the event the Jewish state "did not respect the principles of the peace process," the agency said.

"Would anyone in his right mind doubt that Netanyahu has rejected the basis of the peace process, as well as the accords and commitments that he himself has signed?" the commentary asked.

"The Arab states would do best to hold an effective summit capable of imposing the decisions which are taken upon the different Arab parties, in order to put pressure on Netanyahu," it said.

Secret talks

Meanwhile, Israeli TV reported Wednesday that Israeli and Syrian negotiators met for the first time in more than two years this week in the United States.

The TV said three Israeli negotiators and three Syrian representatives, including the Syrian ambassador to Washington Walid Moualem, held four days of meetings at a think tank run by former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker III in Houston, Texas.

Israel TV said Mr. Baker and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk were both present at the meetings which dealt with a return to the negotiating table both sides left over two years ago.

Syria wants the Golan Heights back, which Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war, in exchange for a peace agreement. Talks on a territorial compromise with Israel's previous Labour-led government broke off in March 1996 and never resumed.

Israel TV said the secret talks this week in Houston were attended by Mr. Netanyahu's chief policy aide Uzi Arad, Itamar Rabinovitz, a former ambassador and negotiator with Syria and reserve general Uzi Sagay.

Jordan Times 6-5-98

King receives award for humanitarian efforts

Key Statement: "....The decoration will be conferred upon King Hussein during the 28th conference of the federation, which will be held in Amman on September 22-23, according to Mohammad Hadid, JNRCS president...."

AMMAN (J.T.) — The Executive Committee of the Federation of Arab Red Crescent and Red Cross Societies Wednesday awarded His Majesty King Hussein, the honorary president of Jordan National Red Crescent Society (JNRCS), the Abu Baker Al Siddiq Decoration in appreciation of his humanitarian efforts and his continued support to ensure human rights and dignity for all people.

The decoration will be conferred upon King Hussein during the 28th conference of the federation, which will be held in Amman on September 22-23, according to Mohammad Hadid, JNRCS president.

The distinguished medal is awarded to heads of state for their contributions to humanitarian causes. At the conclusion of its 27th session in Amman on Wednesday, the federation recommended that the mandate of the serving secretary general, Sheikh Abdul Ghani Al Ashi, be extended for another term. It recommended that the appointment of Ibrahim Bait Al Mal from Libya as deputy secretary general be approved.

The recommendations also included nominating the representatives of the national Red Crescent societies of Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Lebanon and Jordan to the organisation's executive office.

The federation's executive committee supported the nomination of Dr. Hadid to the membership of the standing committee of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent during its conference in 1999.

The federation's Executive Committee discussed issues relating to the use of Arabic as an official language in the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, training of personnel in such areas as disaster management, first aid and rescue operations, and promoting international humanitarian law and the exchange of expertise between the leaderships of the Arab Red Crescent societies.

The session, which was chaired by Dr. Hadid, was attended by representatives from Algeria, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Libya.
 
 


CHN "special report" 6-10-98


 






The Mideast March to Peace

King Hussein is in the US at this time.....!!!

Today's Jordan Times and Jerusalem Post are reporting that the King left Jordan on Tuesday and is in the US now.

There were no prior reports of this trip, but he will be meeting with President Clinton, Madeline Albright, and other government officials.

On Monday President Clinton was at the UN where he spotted Dore Gold, Israeli UN Ambassador, and in an unofficial conversation stressed the need to get to final status negations and stop fooling with this withdrawal controversy.

The urgency is based on the pressure that is being applied on the Arabs [and King Hussein in particular] to hold a Summit to place blame on Israel for the standstill in advancing the peace talks. A Summit at this time can only have negative influence and Clinton is adamantly against it. Thus the meeting with King Hussein..

Quoting from the Jerusalem Post: "The king has played a very supportive role in the [peace] process, not only with Israel but with the Arab world," the US official said. "We certainly hope that continues. Now is not the time for a negative, hostile Arab reaction," the official said. "I think the king is doing his best to have a moderate Arab reaction going."...."

There isn't an announced meeting time yet, but we will be watching for it as this latest development unfolds...

......the nerve of these guys, not to give us "watchers" any warning about such an important part of prophetic fulfillment..

Jesus is Lord

Luke 12:37

backup articles......

JORDAN TIMES 6-10-98

King leaves for U.S. for talks with Clinton

Key Statement: "....On Saturday, King Hussein warned that Israel's failure to implement agreement with the Palestinians would create "negative effects on everything that has come before whether between Israel and the Palestinians or with any other party involved in the peace process." ...."

AMMAN (J.T.) — His Majesty King Hussein on Tuesday left for the U.S. where he will meet President Bill Clinton and discuss with him Jordanian-American relations, the latest developments in the peace process and U.S. proposals for a movement on the Palestinian-Israeli track to end the present deadlock.

King Hussein discussed the American proposals with Israel's Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai on Sunday and said afterwards he was more optimistic about the peace process.

The U.S. initiative revolves around Israel transferring an additional l3 per cent of the West Bank to the Palestinian National Authority over three months.

On Saturday, King Hussein warned that Israel's failure to implement agreement with the Palestinians would create “negative effects on everything that has come before whether between Israel and the Palestinians or with any other party involved in the peace process.”

The King is also scheduled to meet U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and other American officials.

According to a report in Al Ra'i daily Tuesday, King Hussein will also undergo a routine medical check-up at Mayo Clinic at Rochester, Minnesota where he has undergone regular tests since l992 and will leave on June l6 for Britain for several days private visit.

His Royal Highness Prince Mohammad, the King's personal representative, Royal family members, Prime Minister Abdul Salam Majali, Royal Court Chief Fayez Tarawneh, speakers of Parliament and other officials in addition to the U.S. and British ambassadors to Jordan greeted the King upon departure.

Prince Mohammad was sworn in as Regent.

Before leaving for the U.S., King Hussein attended a ceremony held at the Martyrs Monument organized by the Jordan Armed Forces marking the 82nd anniversary of the outbreak of the Great Arab Revolt and marking Army Day which falls Wednesday.

Accompanied by Prince Mohammad, the King was welcomed at the site by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Field Marshal Abdul Hafez Mira'i Kaabneh and senior army officers.

King Hussein toured the different sections of the monument and later at a ceremony at Raghadan Palace presented medals to officers of the Armed Forces, Public Security, Civil Defence Department and General Intelligence Department.

The ceremony was held on the eve of the Great Arab Revolt and Army Day which commemorates the outbreak of the revolt led by Sherif Hussein Ben Ali of Mecca in 1916 against Ottoman rule aiming to achieve liberation and unity to the Arab Nation.

All government departments and public institutions will remain closed on Wednesday on this anniversary.

Photo above shows His Majesty King Hussein saluting in front of the Martyrs Monument in Amman Tuesday, during a ceremony on the occasion of Army Day. Also present is His Royal Highness Prince Mohammad and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Field Marshal Abdul Hafez Mirai Kaabneh (Photo by Yousef Allan)

JERUSALEM POST Wednesday, June 10, 1998 16 Sivan 5758

PM weighs pullback referendum

By JAY BUSHINSKY and MARILYN HENRY

Key Statement: "....Meanwhile, a senior US official in Washington said yesterday that the Clinton administration is looking to Jordan's King Hussein to help quell calls in the Arab world for a summit on the frozen Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

"The king has played a very supportive role in the [peace] process, not only with Israel but with the Arab world," the US official said. "We certainly hope that that continues. Now is not the time for a negative, hostile Arab reaction," the official said. "I think the king is doing his best to have a moderate Arab reaction going."...."

JERUSALEM (June 10) - Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is considering holding a national referendum on the US-brokered deal for a 15 percent IDF pullback in the West Bank, a spokesman said yesterday.

Netanyahu himself hinted at the idea in an Israel Radio interview in which he said: "It is essential that there be broad public support so that the rifts in the nation will heal and thereby achieve domestic peace, not only external peace."

Netanyahu communications director David Bar-Illan told The Associated Press that a final decision about a referendum would be made over the next few days.

"My feeling is that a vote will probably be on a package regarding the present discussions, which will include Palestinian compliance and the total scope of withdrawals by Israel before final-status decisions are made," Bar-Illan added.

Later yesterday, however, a senior aide to Netanyahu cast doubt on the plan, saying that he "would not bet" about whether Netanyahu would propose the idea to the cabinet or Knesset.

The referendum's emergence as a feasible option for Netanyahu coincided with reports that US President Bill Clinton recommended that Israel overcome the internal controversy about withdrawing troops and advance toward final-status talks with the Palestinians.

Palestinian negotiators charged that the referendum plan is just a tactic to buy time.

One of them, Hassan Asfour, was quoted by the AP as saying that Netanyahu is using it as an excuse to refrain from carrying out withdrawals to which Israel already is committed.

But in the radio interview, Netanyahu said security is his overriding concern.

"My considerations are over what is the best agreement from the point of view of security, settlement, and the national interest," he said. "And of course that there will be reciprocity - that the Palestinians will fulfill their commitments."

In a subsequent television appearance the prime minister cited the long-pending revision of the Palestinian Covenant to expunge its clauses that call for Israel's destruction.

"If Chairman Yasser Arafat cannot convene the Palestinian National Council to this end, what point is there in trying to make peace?" he said.

Netanyahu also told US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for the Near East and Africa Judith Barnett in a meeting yesterday:

"The articles of the covenant must be completely changed. How can Israel be expected to make further concessions to the Palestinian Authority, when it refuses to say that the covenant calling for Israel's destruction has been rescinded? This is not a legal question, but a logical one. If Arafat cannot convene the Palestine National Council in order to say that the [articles calling for the] destruction of Israel have been rescinded, then what kind of peace do we have? He must do this, it is a logical step, and it is also acceptable to the Israeli public and all those who seek peace. He must rescind the covenant, period."

In New York, Clinton said that Israel should move quickly to the final-status talks with the Palestinians, according to the Israeli Mission to the UN.

At the UN on Monday for a special international session about drug policy, Clinton spotted Israeli envoy Dore Gold as he was leaving the General Assembly chamber.

He signaled Gold to join him and said "he hoped that - the sooner the better - we would move to final-status talks and stop arguing over the interim agreement," the spokesman at the Israeli Mission said. The spokesman stressed that the UN encounter was informal and not an official notice by the US.

Clinton was accompanied by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who made no comment, the spokesman said.

In Washington, peace envoy Dennis Ross told Internal Security Minister Avigdor Kahalani that, while the US cannot be a substitute for direct contact between the parties, there will be no agreement without American involvement, especially on a permanent agreement.

Israeli officials quoted Ross as saying it would be easier to make headway if Netanyahu and Arafat would meet, and that they lack confidence in one another. Ross was said to regret the stalemate which has hamstrung the negotiating process for the past five months.

"My impression is that Ross is performing difficult and complicated work," Kahalani said after the meeting Monday at the Israeli Consulate. "I believe that American mediation is a good thing, but we have become dependent on the US and that is not good."

Ross spoke of a need for a continuing American role, "and there will be. There are not going to be agreements without a continuing American role." But, Ross added, there must be communication between the parties. "There is no substitute for that. We cannot substitute for what they must, over time, be able to do themselves."

According to Ross, "The reality is there has been a stalemate for 15 months. What we're trying to do is see if we can end that stalemate, and we believe it's possible."

The differences between the parties "are not wide, but we have not been able to overcome them," Ross said. "As long as we believe that it's possible to overcome them, we are going to continue the efforts," he said. "Our objective is to produce a breakthrough if we can. We still believe that's possible, we think the gaps that remain are certainly bridgeable and we're working very hard to see if we can, in fact, bridge them."

Kahalani said that the scale of the third phase of redeployment cannot be forced on Israel, and that the parties should go directly to permanent-status talks.

Meanwhile, a senior US official in Washington said yesterday that the Clinton administration is looking to Jordan's King Hussein to help quell calls in the Arab world for a summit on the frozen Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Hussein might meet with President Bill Clinton next week, a Jordanian embassy official said.

"The king has played a very supportive role in the [peace] process, not only with Israel but with the Arab world," the US official said. "We certainly hope that that continues. Now is not the time for a negative, hostile Arab reaction," the official said. "I think the king is doing his best to have a moderate Arab reaction going."

The monarch was due to arrive in Washington last night for a private visit centering on a family event in Boston and his regular medical examination at Minnesota's Mayo Clinic, the embassy official said.

Jewish settlers, meanwhile, vowed yesterday to renew their campaign to topple the government, to stage protests outside government officials' homes, and to string banners across intersections if Netanyahu agrees to a further withdrawal.

At an emergency meeting Sunday night, the settlers entitled their new campaign: "The struggle of the Land of Israel." The meeting was attended by Land of Israel Front leader MK Michael Kleiner (Gesher), Beit El Mayor Uri Ariel, Ya'acov Katz, a member of the recently established Tekuma movement, representatives of the Religious Kibbutz Movement, and the Gamla Shall Not Fall Again group.

Participants declared that those who fought hard to bring Netanyahu to power would topple him if he agrees to any further pullback.

An information campaign is already under way as some 50,000 leaflets have been sent to communities in Judea and Samaria explaining the government's plans.

The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza also plans to intensify its lobbying in the Knesset and to continue organizing flights over the West Bank for National Religious and Likud party members.

CHN Commentary 5-16-98

The Mid East March To Peace

Thursday's second round of talks between Madeline and Bibi did not produce the "hoped for" breakthrough in the peace negotiations.

After 80 minutes the talks concluded with Bibi expressing optimism that.. "U.S. officials had produced ideas that might contribute to breaking the impasse in the Middle East peace negotiations."

Should that turn out to be the case then.. "breaking the current impasse could quickly lead to negotiations with the Palestinians toward a permanent peace, Netanyahu said...."

To that end, US and Israeli officials are continuing their talks while Bibi is off to New York for meetings with Kofi Annan at the UN, and other American Jewish leaders.

Should the "thread of optimism" prove fruitful, then Bibi will present the new ideas to his Cabinet on Monday.

On Sunday Bibi will be appearing on as many "Meet the Press" type news programs as he can fit into his schedule before returning to Israel.

Meanwhile, in Israel a "mini intafada" has erupted with as many as 9 Palestinians being killed and 400 wounded by the IDF. The clashes began as the Palestinians were holding what was supposed to be a peaceful march in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of their "catastrophe", meaning their displacement by the establishment of the State of Israel.

King Hussein has issued a warning saying that this seething caldron of violence is threatening to boil over into other Arab countries and is meeting with Arafat to discuss the peace process and the anticipated Washington Summit in late May.

So, now it's May 16th and we continue to watch this prophetic scene unfold knowing that only peace can prevent this escalation of "againstness", and the peace that's needed can't happen until the Church is Raptured....and this year's window for the Rapture approaches....

...........all we can do is "watch"..!! [and stand next to the window]

Jesus is Lord.

Luke 12:37

back up articles......

NEW YORK TIMES 5-16-98

Netanyahu Express Newfound Optimism on Peace Talks

By David Firestone

Key statement: "....Breaking the current impasse could quickly lead to negotiations with the Palestinians toward a permanent peace, Netanyahu said...."

NEW YORK -- As he began a three-day visit to New York City, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said Friday that the most recent talks with U.S. officials had produced ideas that might contribute to breaking the impasse in the Middle East peace negotiations.

"We've picked up an interesting thread in the last 48 hours, an interesting idea, and there are teams that are working on it right now," he said in a meeting with reporters and editors at The New York Times. "If it turns out to be something that is realistic, I'll take it to the Cabinet."

Netanyahu would not provide details, but his aides said they involved looking beyond the withdrawal from parts of the West Bank that is now on the table, toward the last stage of the withdrawal, which is due by Sept. 1. The suggestion seemed to be that if Israel ceded more territory to the Palestinians in this round than it was originally prepared to do, it might be able to give less in the last round. The total, however, would probably still be less than the 13 percent of West Bank territories the United States is requesting.

U.S. officials sounded somewhat less hopeful Friday after the two days of meetings in Washington between the prime minister and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. They noted that there was still no agreement on numbers. "There's serious work going on, but it's not clear we're going to get there," said an American participating in the talks.

The Palestinians believe that final-stage talks should lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state, which Netanyahu opposes, a fact he reiterated Thursday in a speech in Washington.

Palestinian negotiators, along with Israeli opposition leaders, have accused Netanyahu's government of being the main impediment to peace by defining Israel's security needs so broadly that a meaningful withdrawal from the West Bank is impossible.

In his meeting at The Times, however, Netanyahu predicted that Israel would conclude peace treaties with not only the Palestinians, but all its neighbors, including Syria.

"We're going to complete the circle of peace around us, probably by the close of the century," he said. "I think we're capable of doing it, and we have the necessary determination to do it."

Breaking the current impasse could quickly lead to negotiations with the Palestinians toward a permanent peace, he said.

Netanyahu insisted that his rejection of the U.S. proposal for withdrawing from a further 13 percent of the West Bank was not based on a nationalistic ideology or on a desperate political bid to preserve his coalition government. Israeli generals have gone over every hill and road in the occupied territories, he said, to determine what could be given back without endangering the school buses of settlers or the most populous part of Israel in the coastal plain. Any withdrawal beyond 9 percent, he said, would put the safety of Israelis in jeopardy.

"Let me ask you something -- do you think when the Americans chose the number 13 percent, they went through this?" he asked. "Do you think that the people in Washington looked closely at the topography? I would not presume to tell the United States how to defend their bases in the Philippines or Europe at the height of the Cold War."

The prime minister said he did not really believe the Clinton administration would end the U.S. mediation efforts if the current talks failed, as some officials in Washington have suggested.

"If they do, obviously we'll have to consider what our response is, but that will send a message to the Palestinian street that I don't think is in the interest of anyone," he said. "If we don't succeed this way, we'll find another way. To stop engaging in the Middle East -- it's like stopping breathing. I don't think it's realistic."

Netanyahu also met earlier in the day with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, discussing Israel's proposal to withdraw from southern Lebanon and Thursday's unrest in the occupied territories that led to the deaths of nine Palestinians.

The prime minister expressed his regret at the loss of life, but said Israel was provoked when Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails as part of widespread protests marking the 50th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel.

Netanyahu is scheduled to visit two synagogues on the East Side of Manhattan Saturday, and he is to attend a large reception Sunday morning given by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani at Gracie Mansion. He will also address marchers at the Salute to Israel parade later in the day and appear on several weekend television talk shows.

If Friday was any indication, security will be extremely heavy at every spot the prime minister visits. Police halted both traffic and pedestrians for several blocks around the U.N. and The Times, and required all vessels sailing by on the East River near the U.N. to have an escort.

JORDAN TIMES 5-16-98

Arafat, King meet today

Key Statement: "....President Arafat and King Hussein will discuss the peace process and U.S. efforts to organize a summit meeting later this month in Washington with [Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin] Netanyahu and President Bill Clinton," said Saeb Erakat, the chief Palestinian peace negotiator...."

JERICHO (AFP) — Palestinian President Yasser Arafat will travel to Amman Saturday for talks with King Hussein about the ongoing crisis in the peace process, a senior Palestinian official said Friday.

"President Arafat and King Hussein will discuss the peace process and U.S. efforts to organize a summit meeting later this month in Washington with [Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin] Netanyahu and President Bill Clinton," said Saeb Erakat, the chief Palestinian peace negotiator.

Mr. Erakat said he and Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo would also take part in the Amman meeting.

JORDAN TIMES 5-16-98

Jordan warns of escalation: Palestinians bury their dead but new flare-up of violence averted

Key Statement: "....The Israeli army meanwhile deployed tanks on the border with Gaza and warned of a sharp response if a new round of violence erupted after the clashes Thursday between soldiers and thousands of Palestinian protesters in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem...."

AMMAN, GAZA (Agencies) — Jordan slammed on Friday the killing of eight "innocent" Palestinians by Israeli forces and called on Israel to avert an imminent escalation in tension.

"The huge loss and bloodshed will lead to an escalation in clashes and violence and the failure of efforts for peace," said the government's official spokesman, quoted by the Jordanian press.

Those killed were "innocent" and taking part in "peaceful marches," he said.

"The government expresses its extreme sadness and grief at the fall of the Palestinian martyrs and calls on the Israeli side to deal with this matter with all the necessary wisdom to avoid an escalation," the spokesman added.

Palestinians buried their dead on Friday as a combination of Israeli warnings and efforts by Palestinian officials averted a new flare-up of violence after nine Arabs were killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers.

Over 1,000 Palestinians turned out for a national funeral in Gaza City for Zalem Al Waheidi, an ambulance medic shot dead by Israeli soldiers during mass protests on Thursday marking the 50th anniversary of Israel's creation.

After prayers over the body in a mosque, a procession of 100 cars and jeeps from security forces, decked out with Palestinian flags and photos of Waheidi, headed with the body to Gaza "martyrs" cemetery for burial, witnesses said.

The Israeli army meanwhile deployed tanks on the border with Gaza and warned of a sharp response if a new round of violence erupted after the clashes Thursday between soldiers and thousands of Palestinian protesters in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.

But Friday, calls for calm were largely heeded in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, except for Hebron, where several hundred stone-throwing youths clashed with Israeli soldiers, who responded with rubber-coated metal bullets.

An Israeli photographer was seriously wounded in the stomach by a rubber bullet and was undergoing surgery in a Jerusalem hospital. Two other protesters were slightly hurt.

Palestinian police tried in vain to stop the stone-throwers and the clashes lasted for several hours.

In Jerusalem during prayers at the Al Aqsa mosque in the Old City, a few youths threw stones at Jews at the Wailing Wall below, but Al Aqsa officials quickly forced them to stop.

Israeli soldiers cleared the Jewish worshippers from the site but they did not take action against the stone-throwers, witnesses said.

The Israeli army commander in the Gaza Strip, Yoav Galant, warned of a heavy response if unrest continued for a second day.

"If the Palestinians choose the path of violence, they must pay the price for their actions," he said on Thursday.

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat meanwhile slammed Israel's repression of the demonstrations on Thursday and warned that Israel was "pushing the whole area, not only Palestine," towards an explosion of violence.

He blamed the Israeli army for sparking violence during Thursday's massive marches in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, called by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to mark the 50th anniversary of the Nakbeh, the "catastrophe."

He accused army snipers of intentionally killing eight Palestinians who the Palestinian health ministry said died in the clashes after being shot in head. They were buried quietly on Thursday, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

A 22-year-old Palestinian man died Friday 24 hours after being shot by Israeli troops in widespread clashes which also left eight other Palestinians dead, hospital officials said.

Ismael Shuhada had been declared clinically dead late Thursday but was maintained on an artificial life support system until Friday, doctors said.

He was shot in the eye Thursday by Israeli soldiers during stone-throwing protests by residents of the Qalandia refugee camp in Arab east Jerusalem to mark Israel's 50th anniversary.

"Israeli measures, particularly the snipers, are the cause of what happened. This use of snipers is a barbaric act on the part of some of the soldiers and the settlers," Mr. Arafat told journalists.

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, who was visiting the United States this week for talks on U.S. proposals to break the long deadlock in the peace process, accused the PNA of fomenting the violence as a "pressure tactic" to influence the peace talks.

"They promised to stop this incitement of propaganda for violence," which he said had led to "tragic" loss of life, the Israeli premier said.

Israeli and Palestinian analysts meanwhile said Israel's stern rejection of U.S. peace proposals was likely to fuel further violence.

"More outbursts of violence can be expected if Israel persists in its refusal to honour its commitments, notably concerning further withdrawals from the West Bank," said Yossi Beilin, an opposition Labour Party leader and key architect of the Oslo peace accords.

Sari Nusseibeh, the rector of Al Quds University just outside Arab east Jerusalem, agreed.

"New excesses are inevitable, given the popular frustration" over the peace process, he said.

CHN Commentary 5-14-98

The Mid East March To Peace

What was scheduled to be a one day meeting between Madeline Albright and Bibi Netanyahu in Washington on Wednesday to achieve the elusive "break through" in Middle East peace has been extended to today.

"Mum's" the word on what their 90 minute session yielded, but the fact that they're still talking is seen as progress. And depending on which country's newspaper you read, the second day of meetings will be interpreted as either a positive or negative development. We'll all have to wait the outcome of today's meeting to know the proper interpretation.

......but, in the words of an excellent Editorial in today's Jordan Times..."pressure" is the one word summation of this tense drama that is "struggling" to conclude.

......so the question remains: "Will Madeline and Bibi find common ground in the matter of the "withdrawal formula" and set a date for the Washington Summit?"

......and the answer remains: "If this is the year for the Rapture, they will."

......for, again we say, that it is the earthly presence of the Church that is the "restraining force" that is responsible for the "struggle" and the "pressure" we are witnessing..!!!

[We may have our answer as you are reading this commentary.]

And another prophetic confirmation appeared in today's Jordan Times in a very timely manner with the headline and key statement:

"Pope lauds King's peace drive"

"....Pope John Paul II paid tribute to His Majesty King Hussein and lauded the King's efforts to establish a comprehensive, durable and just peace in the Middle East region...." [article below]

Because these are the "end times", then all prophetic "character roles" must be filled: King Hussein will play the Antichrist, and Pope John Paul will play the False Prophet..!!!!

We'll keep "watching"........

Jesus is Lord..!!!

Luke 12:37

back up articles

JERUSALEM POST Thursday, May 14, 1998 18 Iyar 5758

No progress in DC talks

By JAY BUSHINSKY and news agencies

Key Statement: "....While there was no indication whether headway was made, the State Department announced that Netanyahu and Albright would meet again today "in a continuation of this effort to overcome remaining differences."

WASHINGTON (May 14) - Talks here yesterday between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright aimed at getting the peace process back on track broke up after 90 minutes.

While there was no indication whether headway was made, the State Department announced that Netanyahu and Albright would meet again today "in a continuation of this effort to overcome remaining differences."

Albright left the downtown hotel where the talks were held immediately after the session without making any comment.

Officials said working groups representing Israel and the US would continue the dialogue in the interim, in an effort to find a formula for an IDF withdrawal in the West Bank that would be acceptable to the Palestinian Authority.

Israel Radio last night quoted a senior Israeli source in Washington as saying that the two sides were discussing a previously reported possibility of staging the second redeployment in two phases - the first of 9 percent and the second of unstated size, after the Palestinians fulfill a series of obligations. Netanyahu has denied knowledge of any two-stage plan.

Netanyahu went into his meeting with Albright in a feisty mood. The session took place in the prime minister's hotel less than five hours after his Israel Air Force jet landed at Washington Airport.

The prime minister expressed regret that National Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon had refused at the last minute to join him at the talks and also had declined to confer with him in advance of the crucial meeting with Albright.

"It is essential to support the prime minister," he said. Asserting that he is in the midst of a "difficult campaign," Netanyahu told Israeli reporters that it is necessary "to stand shoulder to shoulder opposite the Americans."

He denied that he has been keeping the inner cabinet in the dark about his discussions with American intermediaries.

Sharon has accused Netanyahu of making commitments to the US peace team without cabinet authorization.

Without specifying the exact percentage of West Bank territory from which the IDF could withdraw, Netanyahu expressed pride in having "lowered the Palestinians' expectations" by reducing the area being considered for evacuation "from 90% to 13%." He added that he has no doubt he will be able to get the projected redeployment through the cabinet and the Knesset.

Netanyahu said the Palestinian Authority does not merit any territorial flexibility or compromise on Israel's part.

"There has been no abrogation of the Palestinian National Covenant by the Palestinian National Council," he said, noting that Arafat had promised to revise the covenant in a letter to President Bill Clinton.

"Why is it so difficult to convene the PNC?" he asked.

Netanyahu also charged that the PA has not acted effectively or consistently in trying to suppress terrorist activity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He termed this an outright violation of the Hebron Agreement, despite the fact that it was concluded under American auspices.

Hours before Netanyahu and Albright sat down, Clinton and Albright's spokesman sought to underscore Israel's strong ties with the United States.

In Potsdam, Germany, Clinton said the administration is not prescribing all the terms for a settlement, but only trying to guide Israel and the Palestinians "over the hurdle" of a stalemate. Clinton said he is "hoping we can find an agreement based on the ideas we've presented."

"We haven't tried to find a formula to resolve all the issues," Clinton told reporters. "We've tried to find a formula to get them over the hurdle."

Following his afternoon meeting with Albright, Netanyahu was to go to Capitol Hill, where he already has considerable support for his position on the US withdrawal formula.

At the State Department, spokesman James Rubin said, "Our ideas are virtually identical with the essential elements of the desires of the prime minister.... We believe Israel is engaged in an effort with us to put the peace process back on track."

However, Clinton cautioned that "far more bad things are likely to happen than good things" with delay. And Rubin cautioned, "This phase of our efforts is rapidly drawing to a close."

Meanwhile, Sharon, who is in New York, explained his reasons for not attending the Netanyahu-Albright meeting.

"I am not willing to lend my hand to discussions that are held without the approval of the Israeli government," he told Channel 1.

Netanyahu would not comment directly on Sharon's statement. Instead he said, "I expected every minister, at this difficult hour, to give me their support. I am doing what is necessary and fighting with all my strength to protect our vital interests for Israel's future."

NEW YORK TIMES May 14, 1998

Albright, Netanyahu Agree to Extend Talks

By STEVEN ERLANGER

Key Statement: "....Netanyahu's spokesman, David Bar-Illan, said the talks, in a suite at the Willard Inter-Continental Hotel, made progress in a good atmosphere. "There is a constructive desire on the part of both sides to make progress," he said, and "some progress has been made."

WASHINGTON -- After meeting for 90 minutes on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright agreed to continue their talks on Thursday in an effort to restart the stagnant Middle East peace negotiations.

Netanyahu's spokesman, David Bar-Illan, said the talks, in a suite at the Willard Inter-Continental Hotel, made progress in a good atmosphere. "There is a constructive desire on the part of both sides to make progress," he said, and "some progress has been made."

But other senior Israeli officials said it was only the agreement to meet again that gave a reason for optimism. "It's a good sign," one official said. "But it's only a sign."

"We still have not overcome the remaining differences," said a senior American official, who added that the prospect of success or failure remains "still too hard to say at this moment."

Working groups from both sides will be in contact during the evening, the official said, trying to secure Israel's agreement to the essence of an American proposal for a 13 percent Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank tied to specific Palestinian steps against terrorists.

In what may have been a further sign of optimism, Albright further delayed her departure to Europe to join President Clinton, deciding to leave on Saturday instead of Thursday and skipping a visit to The Netherlands. She will go directly to London for a summit meeting between the United States and the countries of the European Union.

But officials said her decision had as much to do with the simultaneous crises of India's nuclear tests, and Indonesia, where six students were killed by riot policemen on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, in a major speech on the persistent American efforts to find a successful peace formula, Albright issued a "wake-up call" to Israeli and Palestinian leaders to make compromises before the peace effort collapses. She said that the United States was not making any ultimatums to Israel and that Washington's ideas built on Netanyahu's ideas and had Israel's own security in mind.

Briefing reporters Wednesday, her spokesman, James P. Rubin, insisted that Washington had done much to accommodate Israel's needs. "Frankly, our ideas meet and are virtually identical with the essential elements of the desires of the prime minister of Israel," he said.

In what some officials interpreted as a sign that Netanyahu may be moving toward the American formula for a 13 percent West Bank pullout, a hawkish Israeli Cabinet minister, Ariel Sharon, attacked Netanyahu and refused an invitation to join in the Albright meeting.

Sharon, an ex-general, insists that for security reasons Israel cannot withdraw from more than 9 percent of the West Bank in an interim deal. Netanyahu has privately talked of an 11 percent withdrawal, and the two sides are discussing ways to enhance Israeli security in any larger withdrawal.

In a briefing Wednesday morning for Israeli reporters, Netanyahu said: "I expect every minister, at this difficult hour, to give me their support. I am doing what is necessary and fighting with all my strength to protect our vital interests for Israel's future."

CNN May 13, 1998 Web posted at: 9:06 p.m. EDT (0106 GMT)

Albright, Netanyahu to try again to break impasse

Key Statement: "....Netanyahu adviser David Bar-Illan said the two sides had made some progress, saying, "We all want this peace process to advance, to reach a conclusion with which all sides can live. I think that within this atmosphere progress has been made."

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have scheduled another meeting for Thursday to try to resolve the impasse over the Mideast peace process.

In 90 minutes of talks on Wednesday, they were unable to find a way to reopen negotiations with the Palestinians over the future of the contested West Bank.

"We still have not overcome the differences," a senior U.S. official said. Albright canceled a Thursday trip to the Netherlands so her talks with Netanyahu could continue.

Netanyahu adviser David Bar-Illan said the two sides had made some progress, saying, "We all want this peace process to advance, to reach a conclusion with which all sides can live. I think that within this atmosphere progress has been made."

But before the talks began, Netanyahu told Israeli television, "I will be stubborn," and he repeated Israel's security concerns.

Clinton watches from Germany

President Clinton, watching the talks from afar while traveling in Germany, seemed to suggest that Netanyahu was holding out.

"I think there is a difference in calculation among some of the actors in the Middle East about whether they are or are not benefited by delay -- a stall," he said from Potsdam.

Clinton said the administration was not prescribing all the terms of a settlement but simply trying to help Israel and the Palestinians "over the hurdle" of their 15-month stalemate.

A 13 percent solution?

American and Israeli experts held their own talks in Washington in an effort to untangle the dispute over the Clinton administration's package of proposals that has as its centerpiece a call for Israel to relinquish 13 percent more of the territory it captured in the 1967 Mideast War.

"We still have not overcome the differences."— Senior U.S. official

Israel reportedly brought to the table a proposal to immediately withdraw from 9 percent of the area, with its departure from the remaining 4 percent dependent on U.S. certification that the Palestinians had met security obligations.

Albright had scheduled only one day of talks with Netanyahu. He was due to remain in Washington until Friday afternoon for meetings with members of Congress, many of whom have backed his reluctance to give up more of the West Bank, and for speeches to the American Jewish Committee and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a research organization.

At the State Department, spokesman James Rubin said, "Our ideas are virtually identical with the essential elements of the desires of the prime minister. ... We believe Israel is engaged in an effort with us to put the peace process back on track."

Jordan Times Editorial

Mideast peace: the pressure is on

By Dr. Ahmad Y. Majdoubeh

IF ONE were to think of a single word that sums up both the dilemma of Mideast peace today and the way out of the dilemma, it would most probably be “pressure.” Paradoxically, significant pressure is on and at the same time required.

On the one hand, there is pressure on everyone involved in the Middle East peace process, be they peace partner, a peace patron or a peace advocate. There is pressure on the Arab countries which have signed peace agreements with Israel and are anxiously awaiting to move more speedily in the direction of peace-building. In fact, the process of peace-building, which witnessed a great momentum at one point, is almost dead now. There is pressure on Arab countries which have not yet concluded peace agreements with Israel, even though such countries are willing to engage in serious peace talks. There is also pressure on the European partners who wish to live up to the expectations of allies in the Middle East region, but whose power is curtailed by a great many considerations and inhibitions.

And there is pressure on all peace advocates in Israel itself, Palestine, the Arab World, and the globe at large who feel time is running out and who are losing to skeptics and cynics, if not to the enemies of peace.

A friend of mine who still happens to be optimistic and enthusiastic about peace was asked the other day by a friend of his who is neither optimistic nor enthusiastic: If the Israeli government is unwilling to give up in this transitional stage, for the sake of its “godmother” and “provider” America, 2-4 per cent of the land it has occupied by force, how much will it give up from the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory for the sake of its Palestinian peace partners? “Wake up man, there is no peace.” Peace advocates in the Middle East are in a vulnerable and almost ludicrous situation.

Most of the pressure, however, is on Yasser Arafat, Benyamin Netanyahu and Bill Clinton. President Arafat (as the case with Palestinians at large) is in a fix. The joke about Gaza and Jericho being first and last is fast becoming a reality. While the situation in the Palestinian territories is stable so far, the Israeli government's intransigence may incapacitate the moderates and open the doors wide for the extremists to thrive and perhaps take over. Asked the other day by a European reporter about whether Palestinians still have faith in the peace process, Arafat answered: “Until now yes.” God knows how long such faith remains.

Netanyahu is not helping. The other day he said something to the effect that Palestinians already have control over all Palestinian lands which have Palestinian inhabitants. The rest of the land (under Israeli control) is, in his opinion, vacant, and is needed for Israel's security. What a great statement, and what great logic. This may be a maneuver, a tactic, a means of pressure; nevertheless, I do not think that it helps the cause of peace in any way.

There is a great deal of pressure on Arafat to break the current stalemate, to the satisfaction of the Palestinians, of course. There can be no compromises on the part of the Palestinians because as Arafat has aptly put it, there cannot be a “compromise on a compromise.” Arafat is between a rock (the Palestinians expecting a breakthrough) and a hard place (his partner Netanyahu not budging an inch).

Premier Netanyahu himself is under pressure. There are those in Israel (his political opponents, the peace advocates, etc.); there is indirect American pressure; there is indirect European pressure; there is pressure from the Arab World and the international community. Most of the pressure, however, lies in the fact that very few people believe that he is serious about peace. Most see him as deliberately procrastinating and subverting the peace process. The real pressure on him then is to prove to everyone that he in fact is serious about peace, and that he means what he says in this regard. He keeps repeating that his is the only Israeli government that can deliver and achieve peace with the Palestinians and Arabs. Well, action only proves the truth of words. The pressure is on him to convince us that he is serious about peace. That can only be done by doing one thing, and one thing only: implementation of peace agreements and withdrawal from occupied territory. Will he, like Rabin or even Begin, surprise us and become a peacemaker?

But there is also pressure on President Bill Clinton. So far, Israel has not (in Clinton's second term of office) responded positively to any of his initiatives. Not only does Netanyahu turn a deaf ear to him, but he is using his supporters in America and Congress to curb and annul any possible move that Clinton is contemplating. That 81 U.S. senators who signed a letter (upon Netanyahu's request — directly or indirectly, it makes little difference) asking Clinton not to publish his own proposals for breaking the stalemate (let alone pressure Israel) is quite telling. To many in our part of the world that means one thing: The U.S. president is held hostage to the pro-Israeli lobby's whims and wishes. This is what many peace opponents and skeptics have been telling us for years; and this is exactly the moment and the time when their hypotheses and theories (which some among us have tried not to take seriously) are beginning to look powerful and appealing. Clinton is also between a rock and a hard place.

But President Clinton's situation is egregiously ironic: he is being pressured, and is yet expected to exert pressure. Will he be able to break lose from this imprisoning irony and bring peace to the Middle East before his term is over and before the new millennium begins? If the Israeli prime minister himself does not come around and ease the pressure on himself and on everyone else who cares about Mideast peace, the ball will unavoidably be in Clinton's court. The image of “chicken-hearted” America, about which we have been hearing increasingly lately, must be taken seriously. For this to happen, direct or indirect pressure (lots of it) must be exerted on the Israeli government. Until the conflict is resolved peacefully, however, everyone will be under pressure.

Jordan Times 5-14-98

Pope lauds King's peace drive

Key Statement: "....Pope John Paul II paid tribute to His Majesty King Hussein and lauded the King's efforts to establish a comprehensive, durable and just peace in the Middle East region...."

VATICAN (Petra) — Pope John Paul II paid tribute to His Majesty King Hussein and lauded the King's efforts to establish a comprehensive, durable and just peace in the Middle East region.

The Pope's statement came during a meeting with Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Akel Biltaji who delivered to him a message from King Hussein on the latest developments of the peace process and efforts exerted by the Pope to push the peace march forward.

Mr. Biltaji also relayed a message from His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hassan to Vatican Foreign Minister Cardinal Tauran.

Prince Hassan's message touched upon dialogue among religions, the preparations for the second millennium of Christ's birthday and religious tourism as well as bilateral relations.

CHN Commentary 5-10-98 & A "SPECIAL REPORT"

The Mid East March To Peace

The Washington Summit scheduled for Monday, 5/11 has been postponed...!!!!!!!!

.....but CNN is reporting that US administration sources have said that Dennis Ross is now pushing Netanyahu and Arafat to come to Washington in late May.

So, in the words of a recent past popular song..... "don't worry, be happy"..!!

........because we truly could be "watching" God's prophetic time table being perfectly put in place..!!

And we say that because the "window " for the Rapture of the Church to occur this year is in the May 21/24 time frame.....and it is the Church's earthly presence that is holding back the revealing of the peacemaker/man of sin of 2Thes. 2:7-8. So, you remove the Church and you remove the restraining force that is not allowing the peace to be made......

So, what remains to be seen is if a firm date will be set for the Washington Summit for the end of May. If that were to occur prior to May 21, then we would be well advised to "stand close" to this year's "window of opportunity" for we might find ourselves disappearing through it...

The following articles recount the "postponement", and the dire warnings if progress isn't made in the peace process, as well as how Iraq and Syria are getting themselves closer to their uprooting. [Libya's uprooting is a fore drawn conclusion, thereby completing the tearing out by the roots of the "three horns" of Daniel's prophecy.]

In Iraq's case, she is soliciting the Arab Nations to break with the UN and lift the sanctions against her, which won't happen because of the peace process, further infuriating her.

And Kofi Annan is confirming that UN troops will be used to replace Israeli troops on Israel's northern border with Lebanon when Israel pulls out in compliance with UN resolution 425, further provoking Syria.

What is also very interesting [and at the same time very confirming to the prophetic time table], is the ease and comfort with which the politicos and the press are now talking about the "final status" issues. Remember, "final status" is all that is left to finishing the peace process, and as the Jordan Times is reporting:

"What is on the table is to sign...It is not to renegotiate...we look at this as a very crucial meeting... This is the chance for concluding a very just and peaceful agreement."

What is being said is, when the last of the "thorny issues" are ironed out that pave the way for the Washington Summit, all that would then remain is the signing of the final agreement. Which again confirms that "final status issues" are presumably worked out, and when Israel finally says that she is satisfied with the "security" arrangements, then she'll sign.

Before she signs, the Church will be Raptured..!!!!!!

So how important is the Washington Summit and the setting of the date..........??????

I think you get the point....!!!!!

We'll just keep "watching"..........

Jesus is Lord...!!!!

Luke 12:37

back up articles.........

JERUSALEM POST Sunday, May 10, 1998 14 Iyar 5758

US summit postponed

By JAY BUSHINSKY

Key Statement: "....It may be rescheduled for later this month if an agreement can be reached beforehand on the IDF's next West Bank pullback...."

JERUSALEM (May 10) - Tomorrow's Washington summit among Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, and US President Bill Clinton will not take place, a US official said yesterday.

It may be rescheduled for later this month if an agreement can be reached beforehand on the IDF's next West Bank pullback.

"We are hoping that a way will be found that won't entail withdrawing from 13.1 percent of the West Bank," said David Bar-Illan, director of communications for the Prime Minister's Office.

This weekend's talks between Netanyahu and US peace envoy Dennis Ross were regarded as a means to this end, but Bar-Illan refused to comment about them.

An American source was quoted as saying the US side came away shocked at the depth of Netanyahu's anger over the issues aired during Friday's session, among them Hillary Clinton's public advocacy of Palestinian statehood.

"It was the most difficult meeting we ever had," the source reportedly said.

Army Radio said Netanyahu reacted "furiously" to what appeared to be an American effort to dictate the extent of the IDF's planned pullback and to Hillary Clinton's remark.

The US Embassy's press attaché, Richard Scorza, refused to comment on the assessment.

Bar-Illan spoke of a "chain of events" which he said were a cause of serious concern. He said the US endorsement given by former secretary of state Warren Christopher in the Note for the Record appended to the Hebron Agreement, that Israel alone would determine the extent of troop withdrawals in the West Bank, runs counter to the current American position.

"They are self-contradictory," Bar-Illan said. "Any withdrawal is a security problem," he went on. "If we say 13.1% is not acceptable" - he referred to the US proposal accepted by the PA, but rejected by Netanyahu - this must be respected.

He described the 13.1% figure as "totally arbitrary" and contended it was "merely a way to round out" the area under PA control from 26.9% to 40% of the West Bank.

"If anybody wonders, 'why 13.1%?' the answer is that it is linked to the 26.9% constituting sectors A and B. Added to these things," Bar-Illan said, "came the First Lady's statement in favor of Palestinian statehood.

"We accept the explanation that this was her private opinion, but in the region the damage is irreversible. No one on the Arab side will consider it her personal point of view," Bar-Illan said.

Referring to the White House disclaimers, Bar-Illan contended that "the denials won't carry." He also implied that her remark was not consonant with the spirit of US-Israeli negotiations.

"Each meeting has its own rules," he said. "How can we negotiate with the Americans on the position to be taken if the Palestinians declare an independent state?

"It will be difficult to attach importance to an American commitment on that score," he said. "In the eyes of the region there would seem to be little point in negotiating. The impression already has been received" that deep down, the US will go along with a unilateral Palestinian move in this direction.

Netanyahu is sticking to his plans to be in the US this week for the annual AIPAC convention and also plans to stay for a meeting with the American Jewish Committee, the gala parade in New York in honor of Israel's jubilee year and talks at United Nations headquarters with Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Political analysts expect him to take the opportunity to saturate the American media with interviews and to convey his message to the US Senate and House of Representatives.

In trying to explain his policies, Netanyahu can be expected to criticize the Clinton administration for exerting excessive pressure and issuing an ultimatum making a summit contingent on Israel's acceptance of the US proposals.

Channel 2 reported last night that Netanyahu had telephoned British Prime Minister Tony Blair over the week end for help in preventing a confrontation between Israel and the United States over the American proposal.

US State Department spokesman James Rubin said Friday in London, where Secretary of State Madeleine Albright attended meetings with the Group of Eight ministers, that Ross would remain in Israel for further talks with Netanyahu.

Rubin said they would "continue his efforts to make it possible for [tomorrow's] meeting to occur and for the peace process to be put back on track." But Rubin acknowledged that the US is "aware of the current difficulties in making that happen."

Rubin's deputy, James Foley, said in Washington that the US has "reached the end of the road" in mediation efforts and that the only course left is the summit, or the administration will have to reevaluate its approach to the peace process.

"We do not see a purpose in holding a meeting to register a lack of agreement," Foley said. "That's the end of the road that we've arrived at in the current American effort. And we envisage such a meeting in Washington as a historic occasion to launch permanent-status negotiations, not to have another meeting for meeting's sake."

A second official offered some hope for convening the summit even if tomorrow's deadline proves unrealistic, suggesting it could be held a few days or even a few weeks later. "We're looking for a breakthrough, not a breakdown," he said.

Clinton, however, is expected Tuesday to attend the G-8 summit in Birmingham, England.

The US is also using the term "refine" to describe its proposals that Ross and Netanyahu are discussing, but still intends to prevent their being watered down, the official added.

"The problem is: If you refine it, what about the other party? What if we take it back to Arafat and he doesn't like it? Then it's back to negotiating again."

The official also said that a central challenge remains Washington's inability to discern Netanyahu's intentions for the peace process.

"There's a real problem. Israel is still a divided house. You need to have your house in order before you involve a second party, the Palestinians," he said. Ross met also with Arafat yesterday in Ramallah and said afterwards:

"There are differences that remain - the differences aren't large, but they do remain."

He added, however, that "we remain committed to try and find a way to produce a breakthrough."

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Ross told Arafat he faced "major problems" with Netanyahu. "We have accepted the US proposals in principle and we continue to make every possible effort in the hopes of reviving the peace process," Erekat said.

CNN 10 May 1998 Web posted at: 01:11 GST, Dubai time (21:11 GMT)

Jordan warns of disaster if Israel rejects pullout

Key Statement: "...."This is a disaster if this fails. This is really a very important turning point and very important station in the direction of going into the final and comprehensive peace, we look at this as a very crucial meeting... This is the chance for concluding a very just and peaceful agreement," Lawzi told reporters after a cabinet meeting...."

AMMAN, May 9 (Reuters) - Jordan warned on Saturday of a Middle East disaster if Israel rejected U.S. proposals for it to withdraw from 13 percent of occupied West Bank land.

Acting Information Minister Nasser al-Lawzi said the proposed withdrawal was vital to set the stage for talks on a final Israeli-Palestinian settlement.

"This is a disaster if this fails. This is really a very important turning point and very important station in the direction of going into the final and comprehensive peace," Lawzi told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

The United States has conditioned Israeli and Palestinian attendance at a Washington summit on Monday on their acceptance of an Israeli pullout from another 13 percent of the West Bank.

Palestinians say they accept the plan even though it falls short of their aspirations. Aides to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu say it forms an unacceptable security risk.

Netanyahu's spokesman said time was too short to bridge gaps with the United States over its peace plan and the Israeli premier did not plan to be in Washington on Monday.

Washington hopes the Monday summit could end a lengthy impasse in talks between Netanyahu and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, and launch final status talks on tough issues of borders, Jerusalem, Jewish settlements and Palestinian refugees.

Lawzi said he did not believe Israel was spurning the meeting outright.

"(Netanyahu) said he is not going on Monday because of not being ready yet to make a decision," Lawzi said, noting that U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross was still trying to pave the way for the three-way summit.

But Lawzi said Israel could not alter the proposals for the West Bank pullout.

"What is on the table is to sign...It is not to renegotiate what is proposed originally," he said in English.

"We look at this as a very crucial meeting... This is the chance for concluding a very just and peaceful agreement."

JORDAN TIMES 5-10-98

Washington summit postponed Ross: Difficult to overcome the differences that remain

Key Statement: "....Mr. Ross told Mr. Arafat the Israelis had asked to postpone Monday's summit a few days, and the Palestinians would have no choice but to accept the delay," a senior PNA official told Reuters.

TEL AVIV (R) — The U.S. special envoy to the Middle East, Dennis Ross, met Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu late on Saturday hoping to achieve a breakthrough that might clear the way for a summit in Washington soon.

The two met several hours after a senior U.S. official speaking in the United States said a summit would not take place in Washington on Monday as originally proposed, but that President Bill Clinton was trying to reschedule one for later this month.

Mr. Ross had said earlier on Saturday it would be hard to overcome difficulties in time for a Monday summit, but would pursue efforts to produce a breakthrough.

He said Mr. Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had sent him back to the region at Mr. Netanyahu's request in order “to come and work on the differences that remain with an eye towards overcoming them so that we can convene the summit in Washington.”

“The differences that remain are not large. There clearly are difficulties. At this point the differences that remain are difficult to overcome,” Mr. Ross told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah after meeting Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

Mr. Ross told Mr. Arafat the Israelis had asked to postpone Monday's summit a few days, Palestinian National Authority (PNA) officials said. The officials said they thought a Monday meeting in Washington would be highly unlikely if Mr. Ross failed to persuade Mr. Netanyahu to accept U.S. proposals on taking the peace process forward.

“Arafat told (Ross) he was prepared to leave for Washington and attend the meeting on Monday as planned. But if Ross failed to reach an agreement with the Israelis, the Palestinians would have no choice but to accept the delay,” a senior PNA official told Reuters.

Mr. Netanyahu's spokesman David Bar-Illan said on Friday Israel did not plan to attend Washington's proposed summit on Monday.

“The time is so short that by now it would be quite impossible that an agreement will be reached on Sunday, meaning that we will not be in Washington on Monday,” he told Reuters.

Mr. Ross returned to the region on Friday to try to pave the way for a summit in Washington on Monday between Messrs Clinton, Arafat and Netanyahu.

Ms. Albright failed at talks in London last week to persuade Mr. Netanyahu to agree to a U.S. proposal calling on Israel to hand over 13.1 per cent of West Bank land to the Palestinians.

Just hours before Mr. Ross's arrival, aides to Mr. Netanyahu rejected the U.S.-proposed 13 percent pullback, citing security reasons.

The Palestinians have accepted the U.S. peace plan despite initially having sought a 30 per cent pullback.

Palestinian officials said they had been assured by the Clinton administration that the U.S. initiative would not be changed despite Israeli objections.

Mr. Netanyahu is expected to leave Israel on Wednesday to attend a pro-Israel lobby conference in Washington, leaving the door open for a possible White House visit some time after Monday. In an interview published on Saturday by the United Arab Emirates Al Khaleej newspaper, Mr. Arafat expressed doubt that the Washington summit would yield any positive results.

Mr. Arafat told Al Khaleej that apart from the immediate withdrawal from 13.1 per cent of the West Bank, the U.S. plan included assurances that the Israeli army would implement a third-phase pullback in the West Bank, to be carried out under U.S., Palestinian and Israeli supervision.

JORDAN TIMES 5-10-98

Annan: U.N. troops will ensure security at Lebanon, Israel border

Key Statement: "...."The resolution calls for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from south Lebanon and we at the United Nations, working with the parties, would also ensure that the Lebanese authorities expand, take over the matters (of) safety and security," Mr. Annan said from Kampala, Uganda...."

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. peacekeeping troops would ensure that Lebanese troops secure Lebanon's border with Israel once Israeli troops withdraw, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Friday.

Israel last month formally accepted a U.N. Security Council resolution that calls for an Israeli troop withdrawal from south Lebanon.

“The resolution calls for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from south Lebanon and we at the United Nations, working with the parties, would also ensure that the Lebanese authorities expand, take over the matters (of) safety and security,” Mr. Annan said from Kampala, Uganda.

Mr. Annan talked by satellite from Kampala, Uganda on a CNN forum with international journalists.

Israel once wanted a peace treaty in exchange for withdrawing, but after Mr. Annan visited the region it dropped that condition.

It said its only remaining condition is that Lebanese forces take Israel's place to prevent attacks on the Jewish state from the Hizbollah.

Lebanon rejects any conditions, saying the U.N. resolution is unequivocal in its call for a withdrawal. Mr. Annan did not say whether the Lebanese had agreed to work with the United Nations to secure the area.

SPECIAL REPORT

CHN "special" REPORT 5-11-98

The Mid East March To Peace

Tuesday's Jerusalem Post's lead story is reporting that the Washington Summit "will" take place the latter part of May.

No firm date has been set as yet due to President Clinton's schedule, but the plans are being laid at this time.

A senior Israeli official said the Ross mission resulted in "all sides" working toward a successful conclusion, but the last hurdle to be overcome for the summit to take place is the requisite understanding of Israel's position and the concomitant approval by the cabinet of the pullback terms.

Bilateral efforts to iron out the remaining differences will be pursued while Netanyahu is in the US, from Wednesday afternoon until Sunday night.

This is tremendously encouraging news for the Church per our commentary of 5/10/98.......

We will be "watching" as the time approaches......

Jesus is Lord..!!!

Luke 12:37

JERUSALEM POST Monday, May 11, 1998 15 Iyar 5758

US to host PM-Arafat summit this month

By JAY BUSHINSKY

Key Statement: "....Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat are expected to meet in Washington within the next two to three weeks.

A firm date has not yet been set, but the high-level conclave will be under the aegis of US President Bill Clinton...."

JERUSALEM (May 11) -- Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat are expected to meet in Washington within the next two to three weeks.

The near certainty of a summit comes after Netanyahu and US Middle East peace envoy Dennis Ross worked out a yet-to-be-detailed compromise on the IDF's next pullback in the West Bank.

A firm date has not yet been set, but the high-level conclave will be under the aegis of US President Bill Clinton.

Neither Israeli nor American officials would specify the precise terms, but they were widely believed to involve an initial IDF evacuation of 9% of the area in question by mid-summer and up to an additional four percent of territory to be designated for transfer to PA civilian control at a later date.

"The sense is that things should be worked out in a few weeks," a senior Israeli official said.

Ross left Israel late yesterday afternoon, shortly after his third round of talks with Netanyahu.

Bilateral efforts to iron out the remaining differences will be pursued while Netanyahu is in the US, from Wednesday afternoon until Sunday night.

Clinton's travel plans also are a factor in determining the summit's ultimate date. He is scheduled to leave for Berlin tomorrow, and spend Wednesday and Thursday there. The main purpose of his visit is to mark the 50th anniversary of the Berlin airlift.

He is due to arrive in Birmingham, England, for Friday's G8 meeting and will stay there for most of the weekend.

The senior Israeli official said "the pending issues need refinement and further elaboration." He said the Ross mission resulted in "all sides" working toward a successful conclusion, but the last hurdle to be overcome for the summit to take place is the requisite understanding of Israel's position and the concomitant approval by the cabinet of the pullback terms.

Netanyahu spokesman Shai Bazak issued a statement saying that Netanyahu will "meet Jewish community leaders, members of Congress, and administration officials" during his US visit. He also will attend ceremonies marking Israel's 50th anniversary, Bazak said.

On the eve of the final Netanyahu-Ross meeting, Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa said in Cairo that all sides "must consider their respective positions and adopt the requisite behavior because a regrettable and dangerous crisis is in the offing in the Middle East."

He contended that the ball is in the American court and credited Arafat with having exposed Israel's true position by having agreed to accept the American's initial invitation to a summit.

Steve Rodan adds:

Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat said the PA will reject all compromise proposals by Netanyahu that give the Palestinians less than that offered in the Clinton administration plan - 13.1% of the West Bank transferred to full PA control.

He said this includes Israeli suggestions of creating new areas of authority in the territories.

"We say that the US has to take a firm stand," Erekat said. "Netanyahu has made it clear to all that he won't negotiate."

Erekat said US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told Arafat in London last week that Washington will not change its bridging proposals.

He said the White House has not yet scheduled a new date for the planned Arafat-Clinton-Netanyahu summit. Instead, US officials will consider their next step to revive the stalled peace process, he said.

At the same time, PA officials said they are concerned by what they termed Netanyahu's efforts to recruit Congress to prevent Clinton administration pressure on Israel. The officials said Arafat has criticized congressional support of Israel and attempts to stop the White House from advancing the peace process.

Margot Dudkevitch adds:

Settlement leaders threatened to topple the government if any further withdrawals from the West Bank take place, charging that Israel would be comprising national security if it bowed to US pressure.

Some 100 settlement leaders and community heads attended an emergency meeting called by the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip last night at the capital's Jerusalem Gate Hotel to discuss the scope of the pending withdrawal and how communities in the territories would be affected.

CHN Commentary 5-6-98

The Mid East March to Peace

The proverbial "carrot" has been dangled...

As more details of next weeks proposed meeting in Washington come out, President Clinton has offered Bibi the carrot that he [Bibi] has been asking for............accelerated talks on "final status" issues...

It was Netanyahu who first proposed a rapid start to negotiations on a permanent settlement with the Palestinians, including a resolution of final borders and the status of Jerusalem.

"The first person to advocate a more rapid movement to the final status was Prime Minister Netanyahu. I have tried to find a way, actually, to do what he suggested," Clinton said.

So, now it's up to Bibi.......!!!!!

Can he get his cabinet to agree on the % of the next withdrawal at their meeting on Sunday to satisfy the US and Arafat, so that Bibi can show up in Washington some time next week for the opening ceremony on the White House lawn to commence the discussion of "final status" issues?

To this end US and Israeli negotiators are still in London working, Dennis Ross is due back in Israel on Friday, and Ariel Sharon is in Washington now trying to get the ground work finished...

Of course, the pressing need to accomplish this is to prevent the ominous "explosion of violence" that is seething in the territories right now...

Yesterday a Jewish religious student was stabbed to death by a Palestinian in Jerusalem, and a West Bank Palestinian was shot and killed by a Jewish settler in self defense. So the HEAT is on...........

Also, showing up on the scene last Saturday to be part of the discussion was a "delegation from a US think tank"......[is how the Jordan Times described them]

........."think tank" my eye....

................it is the brain trust of the CFR...the Council on Foreign Relations...headed by none other Henry Siegman the director general.

For anyone not familiar with who they are or their position in world affairs we have included a short description at the end of this report. But, suffice it to say, that for them to show up in person lends major importance to the "time at hand"..!!!!

........and after talking with Yasser Arafat, Henry said.. "What Mr. Arafat said to us was that there are plans, that there are solutions for the problem of Jerusalem and that it is not an insurmountable problem,".

Now remember, Jerusalem was supposed to be "the problem", and now at this late hour...it's not a problem any more...!!!!

Yasser wants a 'state and a capitol'....and Revelation 11:2 says that the Temple Mount will be divided...and here comes the "solution" to both....!!!! Be sure to read the Jordan Times article below entitled:

'To Arafat, issue of future capital not an insurmountable problem'

.........and now for an update on His Majesty King Hussein...

......well, he has received phone calls from Madeline and Yasser on the state of the "talks"....as well as the personal visit from Henry Siegman, CFR...

.....and yesterday found him calling on his Armed Forces headquarters where he was received by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Field Marshal Abdul Hafez Mira'i Kaabneh, and other senior military officials.

Visiting his military commanders would be very timely if a "final settlement" is in the works.....as we find Iraq still lurking in her "state of discontentment" with imposed sanctions on her, and now loudly threatening to start big trouble....[while Libya, under similar sanctions, chimes in]... Daniel calls it an "uprooting"....

>From a prophetic overview, the stage is perfectly set for the Church to go Home.........now lets "watch" to see if Bibi shows up in Washington...

This year's Rapture "window" is approx. May 21/24....

We'll keep watching......

Jesus is Lord..!!!!!!!!

Luke 12:37

back up articles...........

The New York Times May 6, 1998

U.S. Sets Deadline for Israeli Agreement to Withdrawal Proposals

By STEVEN ERLANGER

Key Statement: "....To make agreement more attractive to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Cabinet, President Clinton offered to begin accelerated talks on a final settlement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on Monday in Washington -- but only if Israel first agrees to the withdrawal...."

"....The Israelis not need carry out the withdrawal first, as the Americans previously proposed. Instead, the withdrawals would take place during 12 weeks in parallel with Palestinian steps to counter terrorism...."

LONDON -- In an effort to keep the search for an Israeli-Palestinian peace from collapsing after two days of difficult talks here, the United States on Tuesday set a deadline of early next week for Israel to agree to American proposals for a withdrawal from 13 percent of the West Bank.

Otherwise, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said, the United States "will have to re-examine our approach to the peace process."

To make agreement more attractive to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Cabinet, President Clinton offered to begin accelerated talks on a final settlement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on Monday in Washington -- but only if Israel first agrees to the withdrawal.

The Israelis not need carry out the withdrawal first, as the Americans previously proposed. Instead, the withdrawals would take place during 12 weeks in parallel with Palestinian steps to counter terrorism.

Netanyahu left London for Israel, making no apologies for leaving without a final agreement. Working-level talks will continue in London, but the next important decisions will be made during the next few days in Israel, where Netanyahu said he would consult his Cabinet.

The Israeli government would need to agree to the refined American proposals by Sunday evening to make the Monday meeting, American officials said.

It was Netanyahu who first proposed a rapid start to negotiations on a permanent settlement with the Palestinians, including a resolution of final borders and the status of Jerusalem.

He has argued that the interim withdrawals from the West Bank agreed to by a prior Labor government in the 1993 and 1995 Oslo Accords are harder for him in political and security terms than a final package would be.

The Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, has already agreed in principle to the American proposals, including the carrot to Netanyahu of final status talks beginning before the withdrawals.

"We've wanted to get into final status talks for a long time now," said Dore Gold, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations and part of the Netanyahu delegation here, in an interview. "We are seeking ways to creatively move this forward, and deadlines help."

Arafat, who said little in public, seemed pleased to have Albright as his advocate. He is clearly happy to wait for the outcome of the dispute between Israel and the United States.

American officials refused to say they were optimistic that the Israelis would agree, but said they had some hope. "There are serious differences still, and we just don't know if we can bridge the gaps," said Albright's spokesman, James Rubin.

After short meetings with Netanyahu and with Arafat on Tuesday morning, and a long day of meetings on Monday, Albright said that working-level talks with Israeli officials would continue in London and that some minor refinement of the American proposals was possible.

But, she said, "the invitation to the Washington meeting is on the basis of those ideas, and watering them down is not in the works."

The American proposal for a 13 percent withdrawal is understood to be a firm number, but the Israelis have publicly said it is impossible for security reasons. Nevertheless, American and Israeli officials continue to discuss what Albright called "helpful and constructive ideas" from Netanyahu on how to structure that withdrawal.

Although Netanyahu's spokesman, David Bar-Illan, has said Israel could not agree to a 13 percent withdrawal, the prime minister is understood to have moved close to that figure. But given his public position, it would hard for him to sell 13 percent to his Cabinet, just as it is hard for the Americans -- or Arafat -- to back down.

The Palestinians now control 27 percent of the West Bank, and would control 40 percent should the American proposal prevail.

"There are still some critical aspects that need to be discussed," said Albright, who will remain in London ready to consult, if necessary. She is due to return in any case on Friday, for other meetings.

"We didn't resolve everything here, obviously," she said. "There has been progress across the board."

Ms. Albright warned that the American effort to mediate, without taking public positions about what should be done or which side to blame, could not continue if no agreement was reached by Monday.

"We have been engaged in what I consider a vigorous effort to achieve an agreement, and we will continue to do so in the coming days," she said. "But if agreement is not achieved, we will have to re-examine our approach to the peace process."

Netanyahu has urged that Clinton not make public an American proposal that he says that he as an elected prime minister is bound to reject. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israeli lobbying group, strongly encouraged 81 senators to sign a letter to Clinton urging the same.

But after what the Americans consider to have been extraordinary efforts on their part to meet Israel's concerns -- including the proposal of starting the final status talks before, not after, a further withdrawal -- Albright and her aides clearly wanted Netanyahu to think hard about the consequences of a more forceful and public American role.

"We have a strategic opportunity to put the peace process back on track, and we cannot afford to lose it," she said.

Jerusalem Post Thursday, May 7, 1998 11 Iyar 5758

Talks in US uncertain

By JAY BUSHINSKY and HILLEL KUTTLER

Key Statement: "....Netanyahu may ask the US to delay the talks for a few more days, to give him more time to discuss redeployment proposals with the cabinet, Israel Radio reported...."

JERUSALEM (May 7) -- The projected Washington summit talks tentatively set by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright for next Monday or Tuesday appeared uncertain yesterday.

The uncertainty may be due to the lack of time for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to come up with cabinet-backed counter-proposals.

Netanyahu may ask the US to delay the talks for a few more days, to give him more time to discuss redeployment proposals with the cabinet, Israel Radio reported.

US envoy Dennis Ross is expected to arrive before the weekend in an attempt to advance the process.

US President Bill Clinton asserted yesterday that he has no intention of imposing peace terms or security requirements on Israel, and that the US is hopeful it can finalize a formula with Netanyahu that will lead to the launching of final-status negotiations on Monday.

At the same time, however, Clinton made clear that he has expended energy to bring about those talks because it was Netanyahu's idea in the first place.

At a Washington press conference with visiting Italian premier Romano Prodi, Clinton noted that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat has accepted Albright's ideas for moving the negotiations along. He said that Netanyahu had asked for time to discuss the matter with ministers before he brings the US a response.

"The first person to advocate a more rapid movement to the final status was Prime Minister Netanyahu. I have tried to find a way, actually, to do what he suggested," Clinton said.

"He said, 'You know, the facts have changed, the government's different, things are different than they used to be. Let's go to final-status talks and try to resolve all this at once in a package,' the president continued.

"I thought it made a lot of sense at the time, and I have done my best for a year now to find the formula that would unlock the differences between them to get them into those final-status talks.

"So that's all I'm trying to do. There's no way in the world I could impose an agreement on them or dictate their security to them, even if I wished to do that, which I don't, because when the agreement's over, whether it's in the Middle East or Ireland or Bosnia or anyplace else, they have to live with the consequences," Clinton said.

Clinton is to address an Arab-American Institute dinner here tonight.

There was serious doubt in official circles as to whether Netanyahu will have enough time to come up with a proposal that could win the cabinet's endorsement and be deemed a talking point by Albright.

In the midst of the undercurrent of tension and resentment a quiet diplomatic effort evidently is under way in Washington to clear the air and develop a new approach to the withdrawal problem.

This is the purpose of Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk's low-profile meeting with National Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon, who is in Washington to address the Washington Institute for Near East Policy today.

If an understanding is worked out between Indyk and Sharon there would be enough time for it to be conveyed to Netanyahu in advance of Sunday's cabinet session.

Referring to Albright's declaration at the end of the London talks that the Washington summit would be feasible only if American proposals were accepted - presumably referring to a redeployment from 13.1% of the West Bank - Netanyahu told the radio: "We do not accept dictates."

Asked by Army Radio if Israel might refuse the invitation to the talks if the apparent conditions remain in place, Netanyahu replied: "Possibly. Am I obligated to accept every invitation on any condition?

"I am ready to go. That's not the problem. But if they tell me I have to go and accept certain conditions that are unacceptable to us - we are a sovereign country."

The cabinet has declared that a withdrawal of more than nine percent would threaten national security.

State Department spokesman James Foley said the US is urging both parties to "seize the opportunity" to revive the talks, but conceded that the ball is in Israel's court now.

Foley characterized the situation as a "deadline" rather than an ultimatum.

Netanyahu plans to be in the US by the end of next week, in any case, to address the annual meeting of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, and the American Jewish Committee.

Congress, meanwhile, tried to temper the administration's threats.

House Speaker Newt Gingrich, in a letter, criticized the president yesterday for condoning "heavy handed outside pressure" on Israel and trying to "unilaterally design a 'solution' [to] force Israel to the table," which he said removes incentives for the PA to negotiate.

Speaking to reporters, Gingrich accused the administration of being "pro- Arafat" and said the situation "now has become: the Clinton administration and Arafat against Israel."

He also chided the administration for utilizing pressure at the same time it is celebrating Israel's jubilee.

"On the 50th anniversary, the Clinton administration says: 'Happy Birthday. Let us blackmail you on behalf of Arafat.'"

In addition, another, bipartisan letter from a majority of the House (223 members as of late yesterday) was sent to Clinton yesterday urging him not to utilize public pressure.

The letters come just one month after Congress sent several missives to Clinton urging him not to pressure Israel by going public with the US peace plan.

Liat Collins adds:

Deputy Defense Minister Silvan Shalom told the Knesset yesterday: "We intend for the second further redeployment to be the last interim arrangement before carrying out the final- status arrangements."

Answering nine motions on the London talks, Shalom said: "At this moment the government and its representatives are discussing bridging proposals and other proposals raised in London."

He said these discussions would continue until the Washington summit.

CNN 7 May 1998 Web posted at: 02:12 GST, Dubai time (22:12 GMT)

U.S. Lawmakers hit administration for pressuring Israel

Key Statement: "...."I have tried to find a way actually to do what he suggested," Clinton said. "I have done my best for a year now to find the formula that would unlock the differences between them to get them into those final status talks. That's all I am trying to do. There is no way in the world that I could impose an agreement on them or dictate their security to them even if I wished to do that, which I don't."...."

WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Speaker Newt Gingrich strongly condemned White House pressure on Israel to compromise on territorial issues, saying the administration has become pro-Arafat and is blackmailing Israel.

Gingrich was joined by lawmakers from both parties Wednesday in alleging that the administration is trying to force a solution in the Middle East that would be against the best interests of Israel.

President Clinton said at a news conference it was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who first advocated a faster pace toward talks on a final settlement between Israel and Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority.

"I have tried to find a way actually to do what he suggested," Clinton said. "I have done my best for a year now to find the formula that would unlock the differences between them to get them into those final status talks. That's all I am trying to do. There is no way in the world that I could impose an agreement on them or dictate their security to them even if I wished to do that, which I don't."

At his own news conference, Gingrich, R-Ga., said: "Now it's become the Clinton administration and Arafat against Israel."

On Israel's 50th anniversary, Gingrich said, "The Clinton administration says 'Happy birthday. Let us blackmail you on behalf of Arafat."'

The administration has indicated that the holding of a White House ceremony next week to open final status talks depends on Israel's agreement to a U.S. proposal to withdraw from 13 percent of occupied West Bank territory.

Arafat has agreed to the proposal, but Netanyahu has warned he will reject any invitation that comes with an effort to dictate the scope of any withdrawal.

Gingrich sent Clinton a letter Wednesday saying that America's most loyal ally in the Middle East "should not be punished with threats and ultimatums."

A separate letter, signed by a majority of the House's 435 members, also said conditioning Israel's participation in the talks to an American plan "would be counterproductive."

"It's absolutely outrageous," said Bill Paxon, R-N.Y., a sponsor of the letter. The administration position is "nothing short of extortion when it comes to trying to force the hand of Israel."

State Department spokesman James Foley denied that the United States was attempting to hand Israel an ultimatum.

"I can certainly assure you today that the U.S. has no intention of issuing any kind of diktats or ultimatums to a good friend such as Israel," Foley said.

He said the United States sees the invitation for a Monday meeting at the White House as a "strategic opportunity to put the peace process which is in the interests of Israel, the Palestinians, the United States and all the peoples of the Middle East back on track."

Jordan Times 5-6-98

'To Arafat, issue of future capital not an insurmountable problem'

By Tareq Ayyoub

Key Statement: "...."What Mr. Arafat said to us was that there are plans, that there are solutions for the problem of Jerusalem and that it is not an insurmountable problem," said Henry Siegman, director general of the U.S.-based think-tank, the Council on Foreign Relations...."

AMMAN — A spokesman for a visiting U.S. delegation said on Tuesday that Palestinian President Yasser Arafat told the group that he was ready to discuss proposals to resolve the final status thorny issue of Arab east Jerusalem.

"What Mr. Arafat said to us was that there are plans, that there are solutions for the problem of Jerusalem and that it is not an insurmountable problem," said Henry Siegman, director general of the U.S.-based think-tank, the Council on Foreign Relations.

He was speaking to reporters after the delegation met with Prime Minister Abdul Salam Majali shortly after arriving in Jordan from the West Bank and Israel.

He said Mr. Arafat listed a number of options which he considered as viable proposals for discussion. But he singled out the Abu Mazen-Yossi Beilin proposal floated in 1996.

Mr. Siegman was referring to a reported plan prepared by former Deputy Foreign Minister Yossi Beilin and senior Palestinian negotiator, Mahmoud Abbas, known as Abu Mazen.

The two negotiators reportedly put forward a proposal to declare the Palestinian city of Abu Dees in Arab east Jerusalem as the capital of the would-be Palestinian state.

The Palestinians and Israelis, however, agreed to postpone discussions over Jerusalem which Israel occupied in 1967, until final status negotiations that were set to have started in May 1997.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) has resolved that Arab east Jerusalem will be the capital of the future state of Palestine.

According to Mr. Siegman, who met with Mr. Arafat on Saturday, the Palestinian president did not go into details on how the Abu Mazen-Yossi Beilin plan would be implemented.

However, the Israeli daily Haaretz claimed that during Mr. Arafat's meeting with the U.S. delegation, the Palestinian leader accepted a proposal that Abu Dees would be the capital of the future Palestinian state.

Haaretz added that Mr. Arafat agreed that under a final peace agreement, Israel could annex major blocs of Jewish settlements in the West Bank in exchange for permitting the creation of a Palestinian state in the rest of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Reacting to the newspaper report, Ahmad Abdul Rahman, a senior Palestinian National Authority official, immediately denied the Haaretz report saying that "there was no truth to what was printed in the paper," according to Agence France Presse.

"Arafat told the delegation that east Jerusalem is occupied land and an inseparable part of the Palestinian territories. The PLO has decided it would be the capital of the Palestinian state," Mr. Abdul Rahman stressed.

Mr. Siegman said the group and Mr. Majali discussed a wide range of issues related to the Middle East.

"They included relations between Jordan and Israel and between Israel and the Palestinians in addition to the peace process and the direction it was taking," he added.

"We also talked about our concerns over the outcome of the London meeting," he added, referring to U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's separate meetings with Mr. Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu held on Monday and Tuesday (see separate story).

During the meeting with Mr. Siegman, Dr. Majali said that the stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinians should get rid of the "empty debate."

"There is a need for everyone to join forces on all levels to push the peace process forward and save it from the empty debate which the Israeli government is provoking and exploiting," Dr. Majali was quoted as telling the U.S. delegation.

"The peace process became an international strategy with no room for backing down because otherwise the region and its people will be exposed to consequences which will benefit no one," he added.

The meetings, which have not achieved a breakthrough, were aimed at reviving the peace talks and bringing the two sides back on track.

The Council on Foreign Relations is a U.S. non-governmental organisation (NGO) with a membership that includes former U.S. presidents, cabinet members and analysts.

The council sponsors U.S.-Middle East projects that focus on the peace process and attempts to move it forward both on the economic and political track.

Among their board participants on the peace process are U.S. special peace envoy Dennis Ross, the Egyptian President's political advisor, Osama Al Baz and Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Bandar Ben Sultan.

Jordan Times 5-6-98 Albright briefs King on outcome of London talks

Key Statement: "....His Majesty King Hussein on Tuesday received a phone call from U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who briefed him on the outcome of the London talks between the U.S. and Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Jordan Television reported...."

AMMAN (J.T.) — His Majesty King Hussein on Tuesday received a phone call from U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who briefed him on the outcome of the London talks between the U.S. and Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Jordan Television reported.

Ms. Albright reaffirmed the U.S. administration's commitment to its position regarding the U.S. proposal, voicing the administration's resolve to resume peace talks in Washington. She said that progress in the peace talks will pave the way for final status negotiations.

Jordan Times 5-7-98

Arafat briefs King on London talks

Key Statement: "....The King voiced his satisfaction and support for the Palestinian positive position...."

AMMAN (Petra) — His Majesty King Hussein Wednesday received a phone call from Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, who briefed him on the outcome of the London talks.

President Arafat expressed satisfaction with the U.S. administration's commitment to pursue its efforts to achieve tangible progress and confirmed his acceptance of the U.S. invitation to attend a Washington meeting on May 11.

The King voiced his satisfaction and support for the Palestinian positive position.

Also on Wednesday, King Hussein called at the Armed Forces headquarters where he was received by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Field Marshal Abdul Hafez Mira'i Kaabneh, and other senior military officials.

Jordan Times 5-6-98

Iraq warns top U.N. envoy in Baghdad of `grave consequences' if sanctions remain

Key Statement: "....Iraqi leaders have repeatedly said that their warning to the council must be taken seriously. The meetings with Mr. Shah are a sign that Iraq is ready to risk another crisis with the United Nations if the council fails to respond...."

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi leaders have warned the top U.N. envoy in Iraq that Baghdad is serious in its threats of "grave consequences" if the United Nations does not lift economic sanctions against Iraq.

"The current state of affairs is extremely dangerous," the official Al Qadissiya newspaper quoted Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan on Tuesday as telling Prakash Shah.

The newspaper printed Mr. Ramadan's warning to Mr. Shah in a front-page, red banner headline.

It said Mr. Ramadan briefed Mr. Shah late Monday on the open letter that Baghdad sent to the U.N. Security Council on Friday in which it warned of unspecified "grave consequences" if sanctions imposed after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait are not lifted.

Baghdad newspapers said Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz also briefed Mr. Shah on Iraq's warning to the council.

Iraqi leaders have repeatedly said that their warning to the council must be taken seriously. The meetings with Mr. Shah are a sign that Iraq is ready to risk another crisis with the United Nations if the council fails to respond.

Mr. Shah, 58, a former Indian ambassador to the United Nations, declined comment on the meeting.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent Mr. Shah to Baghdad in March as his special envoy to expand contacts with the Iraqi leadership.

Mr. Shah is also responsible for seeing to it that a February 23 deal that Mr. Annan struck with Iraq is implemented without obstacles.

SPECIAL REPORT ON THE CFR

RIE http://www.4rie.com/

Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)

The CFR's Annual Report for July 1, 1993 - June 30, 1994, page 4, states: "The Council on Foreign Relations is a nonprofit and nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to improving the understanding of U.S. foreign policy and international affairs through the exchange of ideas.

The Council was founded in 1921 shortly after the end of World War I. Several of the American participants in the Paris Peace Conference decided that it was time for more private American citizens to become familiar with the increasing international responsibilities and obligations of the United States. This decision led to the creation of an organization dedicated to the continuous study of U.S. foreign policy for the benefit of both its members and a wider audience of interested Americans."

"The New World Order", by Pat Robertson, Copyright 1991, by Word, Inc., Dallas, Texas. All rights reserved, page 66-67, states:

"This august body of 'wise men' has effectively dominated the making of foreign policy by the United States government since before World War II. The CFR has included virtually every key national security and foreign policy adviser of this nation for the past seventy years." (in 1990)

Page 96: "In government policy, the most visible expression of the Establishment is the Council on Foreign Relations and its publication, Foreign Affairs. Out of some twenty- nine hundred members, at least five hundred are very powerful, another five hundred are from centers of influence, and the rest are influential in academia, the media, business and finance, the military, or government. A few are token conservatives."

Page 97: "According to a man who had been a member for fifteen years, Rear Admiral Chester Ward, former judge advocate general of the Navy from 1956 to 1960:

'The purpose of promoting disarmament and submergence of U.S. sovereignty and national independence into an all- powerful one-world government is the only objective revealed to about 95 percent of 1,551 members [in 1975]. There are two other ulterior purposes the CFR influence is being used to promote; but it is improbable that they are known to more than 75 members, or that these purposes ever have even been identified in writing.'

The goals of the Establishment are somewhat strange, and we will discuss them in detail. At the central core is a belief in the superiority of their own skill (they often refer to themselves as THE BEST and THE BRIGHTEST) to form a world system in which enlightened monopolistic capitalism can bring all of the diverse currencies, banking systems, credit, manufacturing, and raw materials into one government- supervised whole, policed of course by their own world army." (Could this be the army of the United Nations?)

CFR membership is made up of present and past Presidents, Ambassadors, Secretaries of State, Wall Street investors, international bankers, foundation executives, think tank executives, lobbyist lawyers, NATO and Pentagon military leaders, wealthy industrialist, media owners and executives, university presidents and key professors, select Senators and Congressmen, Supreme Court Justices, Federal Judges, and wealthy entrepreneurs.

They hold regular secret meetings including members and very select guests. Occasionally they will hold a public meeting and invite the open press, in order to give the impression that they are a harmless group engaged only in social activities. Newt Gingrich (CFR) was asked by a TV reporter if he was a member of the CFR. His response was that "Yes, I am a member. About 40 years ago the CFR was probably a very dangerous organization, but today it is simply a place for college professors to meet, smoke their cigars and swap stories." RIGHT!!!!!

A number of people, when hearing about the CFR subject, ask "If you say that the CFR is such a secret organization, why is it that we can get a copy of their annual report, which contains a list of their members? Why should I believe you when you say that they are a secret organization?"

"The American Heritage Dictionary" defines attribute as: "To relate to a particular cause or source; ascribe; To regard as the work of a specified agent or creator; A quality or characteristic inherent in or ascribed to someone or something; An object associated with and serving to identify a character, a personage, or an office."

The literal translation is: "You better not tell the outsiders what we do, or say."

The answer then comes from their own document, the Council on Foreign Relation's 1992 Annual Report, where they emphatically state, in 20 different places, and in varying terms, that members "better not tell".

Page 21: "At all meetings, the Council's rule of non-attribution applies. This assures participants that they may speak openly without others later attributing their statements to them in public media or forums, or knowingly transmitting them to persons who will."

Page 122: "Like the Council, the Committees encourage candid discourse by holding their meetings on a not-for-attribution basis."

Page 169: Article II of the By-Laws states: "It is an express condition of membership in the Council, to which condition every member accedes by virtue of his or her membership, that members will observe such rules and regulations as may be prescribed from time to time by the Board of Directors concerning the conduct of Council meetings or the attribution of statements made therein, and that any disclosure, public, or other action by a member in contravention thereof may be regarded by the Board of Directors in its sole discretion as grounds for termination or suspension of membership pursuant to Article I of the By-Laws."

Page 174: "Full freedom of expression is encouraged at Council meetings. Participants are assured that they may speak openly, as it is the tradition of the Council that others will not attribute or characterize their statements in public media or forums or knowingly transmit them to persons who will. All participants are expected to honor that commitment."

Page 175: "It would not be in compliance with the reformulated Rule, however, for any meeting participant (i) to publish a speaker's statement in attributed form in a newspaper; (ii) to repeat it on television or radio, or on a speaker's platform, or in a classroom; or (iii) to go beyond a memo of limited circulation, by distributing the attributed statement in a company or government agency newspaper. The language of the Rule also goes out of its way to make it clear that a meeting participant is forbidden knowingly to transmit the attributed statement to a newspaper reporter or other such person who is likely to publish it in a public medium. The essence of the Rule as reformulated is simple enough: participants in Council meetings should not pass along an attributed statement in circumstances where there is substantial risk that it will promptly be widely circulated or published."

... "In order to encourage to the fullest a free, frank, and open exchange of ideas in Council meetings, the Board of Directors has prescribed, in addition to the Non-Attribution Rule, the following guidelines. All participants in Council meetings are expected to be familiar with and adhere to these Guidelines. ..."

Page 176: "Members bringing guests should complete a "guest notice card" and acquaint their guests with the Council's Non-Attribution Rule governing what is said at meetings."

Later on page 176: "As a condition of use, the officers of the Council shall require each user of Council records to execute a prior written commitment that he will not directly or indirectly attribute to any living person any assertion of fact or opinion based upon any Council record without first obtaining from such person his written consent thereto."

In "A letter from the Chairman" in the 1994 Annual Report for the CFR, Peter G. Peterson states on page 7, that:

"... Members had occasion to meet in intensive off-the-record sessions with Secretary of State [Warren] Christopher, National Security Advisor [Anthony] Lake, [former] Secretary [of State] George Pratt] Shultz, [Trade] Ambassador [Mickey] Kantor, Under Secretary of the Treasury [Lawrence H.] Summers, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other ranking officials. Next on our agenda are plans for reaching out to congressional leaders as well, an opportunity we will fashion as one component of an enhanced Washington Program."

If this was not a secret organization, why would they be so emphatic, and state in over 20 different ways that non-attribution was so important, in these 1992 and 1994 annual reports? In addition, if you are proud of what you say and do, then you don't care whether it becomes public knowledge or not. The other side of this coin is: if you are doing something illegal, immoral, unethical, unpopular, and/or unconstitutional, you will do whatever is necessary to see that it is kept secret.

The headquarters for the CFR is The Harold Pratt House located at 58 East 68th Street, New York, NY 10021., Tel. No.: 212-734-0400, Fax No.: 212-861-1789. Oddly enough, this building is located just across the street from the Russian (former Soviet) Embassy.

CHN Commentary 5-5-98

The Mid East March to Peace

On the surface, the London Peace talks appear to have failed........

Originally, the talks were to last only one day, Monday. But after many hours of discussion Madeline Albright called for a continuance into Tuesday. This raised the "eyebrows of hope" as the world press waited.

Disappointingly, Tuesday's discussions lasted only a total of thirty minutes before Madeline called it quits for the time being...

After keeping Bibi waiting for two hours while she was on the phone with President Clinton, she returned to tell both Arafat and Netanyahu that their conversation will be continued in Washington next week.

It seems the problems stemmed from new conditions raised by Israel....

So, the plot thickens as a new agenda is worked out for the Washington meeting. "These things take time," one U.S. negotiator said.

On Sunday evening, prior to the talks beginning, King Hussein had an interesting thing to say to the participants....referring to the peace negotiations he said:

"It is a sacred duty which humans are obliged to accomplish,"

This kind of "touch" [obliging humans to the sanctity of peace] speaks volumes to the "new age" audience that will be so much apart of accepting him in his ultimate role of world rulership.....

.......and his ascending his throne can't happen until the Church is gone...

......so if this is the year for the Rapture to happen the time table would point to the May 24th weekend by virtue of Firstfruits having happened on the weekend of April 12. We still have had no news of the "dead in Christ" having risen on Firstfruits....not to say they didn't....so we'll keep "watching" as the "peace talks" move to Washington...

Jesus is Lord..!!!

Luke 12:37

back up articles.........

CNN U.S.-led Mideast peace talks appear to have failed

May 5, 1998 Web posted at: 7:35 a.m. EDT (1135 GMT)

Key Statement: "....After the London talks ended, there was an unconfirmed report that the United States has invited Israel and the Palestinians for a further round of talks in Washington next week...."

LONDON (CNN) -- U.S. negotiators, led by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, have given up hope for a major agreement between Israel and Palestinians during peace talks in London, sources on Albright's team told CNN on Tuesday.

After the London talks ended, there was an unconfirmed report that the United States has invited Israel and the Palestinians for a further round of talks in Washington next week.

Washington's attempt to salvage the London talks ran into trouble on their unscheduled second day after Israel raised new conditions, diplomats said on Tuesday.

"These things take time," one U.S. negotiator said. "We've been here before," said another, reflecting previous negotiating efforts which have failed to produce agreements.

Albright kept Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waiting for two hours while she conferred by telephone with President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair and sent her deputies to sound out the Israelis, aides said.

When Netanyahu and Albright finally met Tuesday, it was for just 15 minutes. The two had spent nearly six hours together on Monday.

One senior U.S. official did not dispute CNN's analysis that the United States had held Netanyahu's "feet to the fire, and they weren't even singed."

A separate meeting between Albright and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat on Tuesday also lasted just a few minutes.

European diplomats said Israel had raised new conditions in response to U.S. proposals for a further handover of 13 percent of occupied West Bank land to Palestinian rule.

Netanyahu wanted talks switched away from London for more meetings elsewhere, demanded a firmer Palestinian crackdown on suspected terrorists and guarantees that the Palestinians would not declare an independent state, and insisted there be no reference to a "time out" on Jewish settlements on occupied land, they said.

If Netanyahu accepts the U.S. proposals, he could have serious problems with hard-right supporters of Jewish settlers in his fragile right-wing coalition.

If he rejects them, he would open a crisis with the United States and cause more splits in his Likud party, from which Tel Aviv Mayor Roni Milo, a pro-peace former Cabinet minister, announced on Monday he would resign to challenge Netanyahu in the next election.

CNN Jordan's King Hussein says peace a sacred duty"

4 May 1998 Web posted at: 06:31 GST, New York time (02:31 GMT)

Key Statement: "...."It is a sacred duty which humans are obliged to accomplish," King Hussein said.

AMMAN, May 3 (Reuters) - King Hussein of Jordan, celebrating 45 years in power, said on Sunday a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace accord was a "sacred duty" for all people.

The Middle East's longest-serving ruler, who made peace with Israel four years ago, also criticised domestic opponents of his policies.

"Our efforts for a just and comprehensive peace, I believe, are aimed towards a valuable and precious goal," the monarch told a gathering of ministers, religious leaders, tribal elders and military officers gathered to mark his 45-year milestone.

"It is a sacred duty which humans are obliged to accomplish," King Hussein said.

"The older people among us will share with me the feelings that we have a duty," the 62-year-old monarch added.

He was speaking on the eve of talks which Palestinian and Israeli leaders were due to hold in London with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to try to prepare for a long-delayed next stage of Israeli redeployment in the West Bank and greater Palestinian self-rule.

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat has said he accepts a compromise U.S. proposal for the area of occupied land Israel would hand over. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed the proposed withdrawal as too generous.

Netanyahu's resistance to expanded Palestinian self-rule and a lack of an economic "peace dividend" for King Hussein's Jordanian and Palestinian subjects have contributed to continued opposition in Jordan to his peace with his Israeli former foes.

Criticism of the peace treaty is a rallying cry for most opposition parties, religious or secular.

But the king hit back at critics he said were espousing opposition as a policy in itself.

"Recently an expression has been prevalent which I don't consider correct, and I think it needs correcting...for example 'opposition parties'," he said.

"Opposition could be to a position. It could be to a specific policy or to a specific reality, but opposition parties or absolute opposition, this is something unacceptable and unjustified," he said.

King Hussein was proclaimed king as a teenager in 1952 and assumed full constitutional powers a year later when he reached the age of 18 by the Moslem calendar.

CHN Commentary 5-2-98 & SPECIAL REPORT

The Mid East March to Peace

As much as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu would like to believe that the May 4th London meeting is not that "crucial", the rest of the "peace loving" world doesn't agree.

In fact, "crucial" is the key word bring voiced by all the major players to the process......

Yesterday Bibi gave some ground on his hard line stance of the 9% withdrawal figure and hinted that compromise of 11% might be possible.....

The following Jordan Times Editorial summarizes the situation perfectly as the London talks approach...

We are "watching"..........

Luke 12:37

JORDAN TIMES Editorial:

Time to side with peace

PALESTINIAN LEADER Yasser Arafat did well to accept a U.S. proposal for an Israeli withdrawal from about 13.1 per cent of the West Bank even though the extent of the proposed redeployment does not satisfy his people's needs.

Jordan's stated support for the acceptance of the proposal, as communicated to Chairman Arafat by the foreign minister yesterday, is testimony to the correctness and wisdom of the decision by the Palestinian leadership.

As a matter of fact the extent of Israeli redeployments under the Oslo accords should have been in the vicinity of 40 per cent of Palestinian lands still under occupation. But the Palestinian move aims to play to the U.S. tune and expose in the process the game being played by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to preempt withdrawal from any new area still under his army's control.

President Bill Clinton is already on record as praising the positive and constructive cooperation of the Palestinian side in the efforts to revitalise the faltering peace talks. His Majesty King Hussein has also been warning that the Palestinians have done all they could to advance the negotiations and cannot be asked to do more.

The entire international community has put the onus of responsibility for the failure of the peace process squarely on the Israeli government.

Armed with this extra degree of Palestinian cooperation, Washington must be able to bring more pressure to bear on the Israeli leader when U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright meets with him and Arafat separately in London on May 4.

Netanyahu has inched closer to the 13.1 per cent redeployment that the Clinton administration has called for by seemingly agreeing to 10.8 per cent. But even this modest modification has stirred the irritation of Minister of Infrastructure Ariel Sharon who still clings to the notion that anything more than nine per cent withdrawal would compromise Israel's security.

It so happens that the Israeli minister of defence, Yitzhak Mordechai, and other army generals do not share Sharon's gloomy judgment, insisting that their country's security stands to be more threatened if the peace process collapses.

May 4 is increasingly becoming viewed as a possible watershed for the success or failure of the peace process. And rightly so. Let us all hope that there is enough time between now and then for the Israeli prime minister to change his mind and opt to be on the side of peace.

CHN "special" REPORT 5-2-98

A national holiday has been declared in Jordan today in celebration of King Hussein's 45th Anniversary of his ascension to the throne of the Hashemite Kingdom.

He holds the distinction of having preceded England's Queen Elizabeth to her throne by 30 days, as she was crowned on June 2, 1953.

As the world unknowingly prepares for his ultimate ascension to the throne of "world rulership", it is only "fittingly watchful" that each "jewel" in his eventual crown be recognized as it is achieved.......

The following article in the Jordan Times relates the accolades of the Crown Prince, and describes the festivities of todays celebration for this destined individual of Daniel's "little horn"...

We are "watching".........

Luke 12:37

SPECIAL REPORT

JORDAN TIMES 5-2-98

Jordan celebrates 45 years since Monarch's assumption of powers

AMMAN (J.T.) — His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hassan on Friday sent a cable to His Majesty King Hussein congratulating him on the 45th anniversary of the King's assumption of his constitutional powers.

“You acceded to the throne 45 years ago, and you have sacrificed your life for building a modern Jordan and worked for its development and for the welfare of its people. And your efforts bore fruits for Jordan and the Arab Nation,” the Crown Prince said in his cable.

“Since you acceded to the throne, you took upon your shoulders the responsibility to bring Jordan to the forefront of the countries of the region on all levels. Your wish has been translated into reality,” he continued.

“You have sought to protect our Jordanian citizens and their dignity in an atmosphere of democracy, pluralism, and respect of other's opinions. It is difficult to count your achievements which you have accomplished along with your people. These achievements, that have been carried out despite scarcity of resources, are miraculous.

“As for education, you have established educational landmarks, universities, community colleges throughout the Kingdom.

“May God protect you for the sake of this country, and the Arab and Islamic worlds,” the Prince concluded.

In l952 the King, then l7 years old, acceded to the Throne, but it wasn't until May 2, l953 that he assumed his constitutional powers as King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Despite his young age at the time, the King's clear vision, far-sightedness and long-term strategies enabled him to realize many of the country's ambitious development projects which brought Jordan to the forefront of developing countries.

The Jordan News Agency, Petra, said on the eve of this anniversary, that since his assumption of constitutional powers, the King has encountered and overcome enormous domestic difficulties, and has succeeded through his wisdom and far-sightedness in dealing with issues of regional and international nature that had direct or indirect effect on Jordan and the Arab region.

The agency continued, saying that the Palestine question has always remained the King's major pre-occupation at the political level, and he has spared no effort to defend the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.

He has always believed in, and worked for, safeguarding the Arab identity of Jerusalem, sparing no effort in his ongoing endeavours to heal inter-Arab rifts, and he continues to work diligently to serve his country and the Arab nation, and to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in the region.

On this anniversary, said the agency, the Jordanian people take pride in the achievements realized under the King's reign and renew their allegiance to the Hashemite throne.

To mark the happy anniversary, Amman Municipality has prepared a major celebration in Amman on Saturday, and Amman Mayor Mamdouh Abbadi, said the ceremony expresses the Jordanian people's joy.

“The ceremony reflects Amman's gratitude to the leader of the country and his directives that has helped develop its various districts in which Jordanians take such pride,” said the mayor.

“King Hussein has always stood by us in all our development plans and enhanced our determination to work with pride to serve our country,” the mayor added in a statement to Al Ra'i and the Jordan Times Friday.

Referring to the celebrations, Dr. Abbadi said that a flower procession will set off at 6:00 p.m. from the new Amman municipality at Ras Al Ain. Altogether, 25 vehicles decked with flowers will take part in the two-hour procession, which will shower candies to the public along their way, taking them from the Third circle through to the sixth circle, then turn to go down Wasfi Tall street, the Sports City circle, the Independence Street and Al Nashaa circle, before returning to the Amman Municipality, Down Town at Ras Al Ain.

According to Dr. Abbadi, folklore troupes will hold a series of performances beginning at eight in the evening and the Jordanian Armed Forces brass bands will play at the plaza surrounding the Amman Municipality and the town hall at Ras Al Ain.

He said that the celebrations will be accompanied by a fireworks display at the Amman Municipality location, Arjan, and the sixth circle districts of Amman.

Meanwhile, another major ceremony called for by Prime Minister Abdul Salam Majali which was to be held at the Sports City Saturday has been postponed until Sunday afternoon.

In addition, Saturday has been declared a public holiday and all government departments and public institutions are closed.

CHN Commentary 4-29-98

The Mid East March to Peace

The anticipated outcome of Tuesday's breakfast meeting in Cairo between Murbarak and Netanyahu has been characterized as "gloomy".....

Bibi is insisting on only a 9% withdrawal in the West Bank, instead of the 13% advocated by the US and accepted by the PNA.

And after four days of the shuttle diplomacy of US envoy's Ross and Indyk, no progress has been reported.

So, it seems that the outcome of the May 4 London meeting will not yield the "break through" that all are hoping for, and that Madeline Albright will be proven correct when she says that "all they do is go in circles"....

Whatever happened to the "surprise" that Bibi had been "teasing" us with..?

Egypt's foreign minister Amr Moussa has stated that if nothing comes out of London then an immediate Arab summit should be called, and that the ground work for such a summit has been ongoing..

An Arab summit at this time could only yield a negative impact on the peace process...as evidenced by the difficulty that Arafat is having trying to keep the lid on the frustration of the Palestinian people over the lack of movement of the process.

King Hussein is also finding it very difficult to defend his peace treaty with Israel and an Arab summit now would not be "healthy" for him.... Since leaving Germany, he has visited Denmark, and is now on his way to Tunisia.. All the while "touting" his advocacy for advancing peace......

President Clinton dropped a minor "bomb shell" on Israel yesterday when he said in an interview that Yasser has been living up to Israel's demands of "crack downs" on terrorism, and that Israel hasn't implemented a peace accord since Hebron in January '97...[and that was only do to the intervention of King Hussein]..!!

So, now all attention will be focused on London next Monday to see if any of the pressure that is building can be eased....

There just seems to be "something" restraining a 'breakthrough' in these negotiations.........

All we can do is keep "watching".........

Jesus is Lord..!!

Luke 12:37

back up articles.........

JERUSALEM POST Wednesday, April 29, 1998 3 Iyar 5758

Cairo summit yields 'gloom'

By JAY BUSHINSKY and STEVE RODAN

Key Statement: "....But the source said Mubarak was deeply disturbed by Netanyahu's insisting on restricting the IDF's next withdrawal in the West Bank to only 9 percent, instead of 13.1 percent as advocated by the US and accepted by the Palestinians...."

JERUSALEM (April 29) - Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's 90-minute summit in Cairo yesterday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak produced a gloomy assessment of the regional peace process from his host. This was not only with regard to the Palestinian-Israeli track, but also regarding Syria's attitude toward renewing its dialogue with Israel, a government source said.

Disregarding the confidence evinced by Netanyahu upon his return that headway can be made if Mubarak exerts his influence on the Palestinian Authority, the source said the Egyptian leader views the current situation as "unsustainable" and discouraging Syrian President Hafez Assad from renewing the talks adjourned 14 months ago.

The source told of an unpublicized meeting between Mubarak and Assad in which the Syrian leader was said to have "deplored the humiliation to which Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat has been subjected for the past 12 months."

He reportedly vowed that he will not "be drawn into that kind of fruitless dialogue."

These disclosures were accompanied by a reference to US peace envoy Dennis Ross. "He is generally regarded as the good guy," the source said, "but he was told that if he fails to win a deal based on Israeli concessions this time, there will be no more Middle East missions for him."

The Cairo summit embraced three issues: the deadlocked negotiations with the PA, Israel's offer to withdraw from southern Lebanon on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 425, and the case of Azzam Azzam, the Israeli citizen imprisoned in Egypt for espionage.

The prime minister was joined by cabinet secretary Dan Naveh and Mubarak by his adviser, Osama Baz. Foreign Minister Amr Moussa was not present. It was the first time the two leaders had met since May 1997.

Netanyahu urged his host to exert his influence on the Palestinians to be more flexible and show a greater willingness to compromise, especially by coming to terms on the Gaza Strip airport and joint industrial zone, his director of communication, David Bar-Illan, said.

"The results of this summit will become apparent after Mubarak talks to the Palestinians," he added.

But the source said Mubarak was deeply disturbed by Netanyahu's insisting on restricting the IDF's next withdrawal in the West Bank to only 9 percent, instead of 13.1 percent as advocated by the US and accepted by the Palestinians.

The fact that Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk was in Cairo at the same time and also conferred with Mubarak was interpreted by the source as indicating American concern about the ongoing stalemate.

A statement issued in Cairo after the meeting said Mubarak advised Netanyahu to accept the American proposal. "President Mubarak reiterated that the only means by which progress may be achieved, and the peace process revived in particular, is the implementation of further redeployments."

Netanyahu said that if Israel and the Palestinians hold to their current positions nothing will happen and they must find "creative solutions" together. At the same time, he rejected "apocalyptic forecasts" about the consequences of disagreement - or if next Monday's meeting in London with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Prime Minister Tony Blair fails to generate tangible results.

"We won't be able to advance on the basis of a diktat," Netanyahu said.

Upon his return to Jerusalem, he told political reporters that he knows the world "will accuse me of being responsible for lack of progress." But that is irrelevant, he said, adding, "What is relevant is that which is essential for Israel's security."

Arafat held talks with Moussa in Gaza yesterday on the stalled US initiative and Moussa briefed him on the Netanyahu-Mubarak meeting. Moussa said he delivered Arafat an important message from Mubarak.

"We are passing, as well as the entire Middle East, a very sensitive stage," Moussa said.

Later, Moussa and PA International Cooperation Minister Nabil Shaath signed 13 agreements in various spheres. Moussa also addressed the Palestinian Legislative Council, telling members that a Palestinian state is necessary for regional stability. He said Egypt will recognize such a state as soon as it is established.

PA aides said the agreements with Egypt are meant to compensate for what they termed the failed economic accords with Israel. They said the detailed agreements with Israel have been marred by repeated closure of the territories. They said Moussa will meet with Arafat again today and the two will hold a joint news conference.

In a poll by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion in Beit Sahour, more than 83 percent of Palestinian industrialists surveyed said they do not believe Israel is serious about the economic accords signed with the Palestinians. Sixty percent of the factory owners of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and the Jerusalem area said they favor an open market with Israel and a similar percentage said they are not satisfied with current PA tax and custom policy.

Jordan Times 4-29-98 News

While Ross reports no progress, U.S. tells PNA it will not change its proposal

Key Statement: "....Despite a flurry of diplomatic activity, U.S. mediator Dennis Ross appeared to be making no progress on the fourth day of his shuttle mission Tuesday...."

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinian leaders said Tuesday they have won assurances from U.S. mediators that Washington’s proposal for an Israeli troop withdrawal from 13 per cent of the West Bank will not be watered down despite Israeli efforts.

Jewish settler leaders, meanwhile, complained that even the nine per cent pullback proposed by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu would endanger Jewish settlements.

In the event of such a withdrawal, 10 settlements would become isolated enclaves in Palestinian-run territory, said settler spokeswoman Yehudit Tayar.

Despite a flurry of diplomatic activity, U.S. mediator Dennis Ross appeared to be making no progress on the fourth day of his shuttle mission Tuesday. Mr. Ross faces a May 4 deadline when U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright expects clear answers from Mr. Netanyahu and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat on the U.S. compromise proposal. Ms. Albright is to hold separate meetings with Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Arafat in London.

Palestinian negotiators have in principle accepted the U.S. plan, but insist that it be published formally.

The Clinton administration has resisted so far, apparently out of concern this could be seen as undue pressure on Israel.

“Time is crucial,” top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

“Ross has reassured us that the Americans are standing by their commitments in regard to their peace initiative... [but] the Americans have to declare their initiative officially and publicly.” The United States has proposed that Israel gradually hand over 13.1 per cent of the territory to the Palestinians over 12 weeks, with each pullback linked to Mr. Arafat taking steps to curb terrorism. The Palestinians now have full or partial control over 27 per cent of the West Bank.

Israeli Cabinet Secretary Danny Naveh said Tuesday that nothing would be achieved by the publication of the U.S. initiative.

“The key to reaching any breakthrough, the key to getting the process back on track is a general recognition that there are some things only Israel can make decisions about. We are talking about security,” Mr. Naveh told Israel Radio.

Israeli officials have said that Israel was considering a pullback from 11 per cent of the land, but would not agree to hand over 13 per cent.

Tayar, the settler spokeswoman, said even 9 per cent was too much. Under such a withdrawal, Israel would hand over land linking the West Bank towns of Jenin and Nablus that are now under Palestinian control, and also withdraw from areas southwest of the town of Hebron, the Haaretz daily said.

“We feel extreme frustration with our supposed allies — the Americans,” Mr. Tayar said. “Israel is being pressured into endangering its security, while pressure on the Palestinians to stop terror has been forgotten along the way.” Meanwhile, Israel announced it would seal the West Bank and Gaza Strip from Tuesday evening to Saturday evening as Israelis mark their memorial day for fallen soldiers, followed by Israel’s 50th independence day. Under the closure, more than 2.4 million Palestinians are barred from entering Israel.

Jordan Times 4-29-98 News

Musa predicts failure in London, raises possibility of ‘immediate’ Arab summit

Key Statement: "...."Let us wait for the London meetings. If they produce nothing, we must bear our duty. I do not rule out an immediate Arab summit, especially if we reach a stage of crisis," Mr. Musa told Palestinian Television...."

GAZA CITY (AFP) — Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Musa said here Tuesday he expects upcoming London talks to fail in reviving the deadlocked Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Mr. Musa, who came to Gaza City after attending talks in Cairo between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, said it was “probable” the London talks would fail.

He also raised the possibility of an “immediate” Arab summit if the talks fail in London on May 4 between U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

“Let us wait for the London meetings. If they produce nothing, we must bear our duty. I do not rule out an immediate Arab summit, especially if we reach a stage of crisis,” Mr. Musa told Palestinian Television.

“Contacts are going on between [Arab] foreign ministers [for a summit] more than at any time in the past,” he said. “If the London talks fail, and this is probable, the alternative is not just to hold an Arab summit. It must be international effort,” he said, apparently referring to an international conference on the peace process.

Mr. Musa met in Gaza City with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to bring him a message sent by Mr. Mubarak after his talks with Mr. Netanyahu about the deadlock in the peace process, which has lasted for more than a year.

Mr. Arafat and Mr. Netanyahu are to meet separately with Ms. Albright to discuss a U.S. package proposal which is said to call on Israel to conduct a long-promised troop withdrawal from 13 per cent of the West Bank.

Mr. Netanyahu returned to Jerusalem from Cairo, underlining his fierce rejection of U.S. pressure to accept the proposal, which he says demands Israel hand over too much land to Arafat’s Palestinian National Authority.

Mr. Moussa slammed Mr. Netanyahu’s hard line stance. “Peace cannot come at any price. Peace has a meaning, and it is not that which Netanyahu calls for,” he said.

He said there must be an Israeli troop withdrawal “to the lines of June 1967,” referring to Israel’s borders before its 1967 occupation of the West Bank.

Speaking later to the Palestinian Legislative Council, Mr. Moussa called for Israel to end its occupation of the Palestinian territories and Syria’s Golan Heights to bring “a new era of historical reconciliation between the Arabs and Israel.”

He also called on Israeli pro-peace groups to “take a historic stance against any policy which opposes peace and puts it out of our reach.”

“A stand by the forces of peace in the region, both Arab and Israeli, will open a new page in Arab-Israeli relations and bring hope for a better future in the region,” he said.

Mr. Moussa, on his first official visit to Palestinian-controlled territories, also signed a series of 14 agreements for cooperation between Egypt and PNA in education, trade and industry.

Jordan Times 4-29-98 News

Clinton says that Arafat has made concessions, hints it’s Israel’s turn

Key Statement: "....Mr. Clinton noted that the last peace accord implemented by Israel was its withdrawal in January 1997 from most of the West Bank city of Hebron.

"It's been a long time since the Hebron agreement. It's been a long time since anything happened," he said...."

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP) — U.S. President Bill Clinton praised Palestinian President Yasser Arafat for making concessions to break the deadlock in the peace process and hinted strongly that it was now Israel’s turn to do the same, according to an interview published Tuesday.

The Jerusalem Post quoted Mr. Clinton as saying Mr. Arafat had notably lowered his expectations over a long-delayed Israeli troop pullback from the West Bank which is required under interim peace agreements.

“Chairman Arafat has certain territorial aspirations and he’s clearly realigned them. And they’re clearly willing to go forward,” Mr. Clinton said.

Mr. Clinton also praised action taken by Mr. Arafat’s Palestinian National Authority against the Islamist movement Hamas in recent weeks, clearly indicating he thought this helped meet Israeli conditions for carrying out the troop withdrawal.

“I think Arafat, the way they handled this last Hamas case, I think should have built up his credibility a little bit,” he said.

Mr. Arafat “took some risks, so now I think it’s an important moment. We have to just make the most of it.”

In a veiled criticism of Israel’s reluctance to go ahead with the kind of troop withdrawal Washington says is needed to rescue the peace talks, Mr. Clinton noted that the last peace accord implemented by Israel was its withdrawal in January 1997 from most of the West Bank city of Hebron.

“It’s been a long time since the Hebron agreement. It’s been a long time since anything happened,” he said.

Jordan Times 4-29-98 Opinion

Editorial: Intransigence in Cairo

Key Statement: "....There is growing evidence that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is finding it increasingly difficult to keep a lid on his population's frustration with the peace process. Jordan, as well, is finding that it cannot aptly defend peace with an Israel that has little regard for its commitments and for Arab rights and concerns. Failure to move on the Palestinian-Israeli track is a serious security threat to all in the region — including the Jewish state...."

AS EXPECTED, the talks between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu produced no tangible results. All the encounter amounted to was, it seems, a photo opportunity for the Israeli premier, who can tell his population that despite the 15-month impasse in the Middle East peace process and tension between Tel Aviv and Cairo, relations with Egypt remain solid.

So far efforts by the U.S., the EU, Jordan, and Egypt have all failed in pressuring Netanyahu to move ahead with the long-delayed Israeli second troop redeployment from the West Bank. Israeli cabinet secretary Danny Naveh’s comment that “no one can impose an ultimatum — everyone must understand that Israel alone decides on security issues and on the scale of redeployment,” is in itself telling. But what such thinking fails to consider is that Israel is not the only country that has legitimate security concerns.

There is growing evidence that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is finding it increasingly difficult to keep a lid on his population’s frustration with the peace process. Jordan, as well, is finding that it cannot aptly defend peace with an Israel that has little regard for its commitments and for Arab rights and concerns. Failure to move on the Palestinian-Israeli track is a serious security threat to all in the region — including the Jewish state.

While telling all, including the Clinton administration, to refrain from putting pressure on Israel, the Netanyahu government is at the same time pushing for an increase in annual American military aid, albeit at the expense of civilian aid. It is somewhat mind-boggling that Israel believes it can place demands on the U.S., while also warning it to back off the peace process. But what is perhaps most surprising is that the Clinton administration is saying little in return. In spite of Israel’s belligerent policies and statements, Washington is content with veiled criticisms of Netanyahu and his policies.

The closure of the West Bank and Gaza which began Tuesday night, barring thousands of Palestinians from entering Israel until Saturday, for Israel’s foundation day celebrations, as well as reports of the approval of construction of over 800 new homes in the Israeli settlement of Efrat by the Netanyahu government, only add to an already highly explosive situation in the Palestinian areas.

Netanyahu said on Monday that his state “cannot and must not” accept the formation of a new Iraq or Iran at its doorstep, in reference to a future Palestinian state. Whether he and others will it or not, there will be an independent state of Palestine one day since it is the only logical solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Whether it will be another “Iran or Iraq” is actually up to Israel. If the Jewish state continues to live in its present-day siege mentality, it will be a major party in fomenting extremism around its borders and even beyond.

Jordan Times 4-29-98 News

King visits Tunisia today

Key Statement: "....The King voiced hope that efforts to establish Mideast peace will not fail, adding that Jordan is determined to continue the struggle for "peace to come to our region."

AMMAN (J.T.) — His Majesty King Hussein is set to pay a state visit to Tunisia today at the invitation of Tunisian President Zein Al Abidine Ben Ali, according to a Royal Court statement.

The statement said that the visit reflects the strong brotherly relations between Jordan and Tunisia and part of the efforts exerted to further bolster inter-Arab relations.

On Tuesday, King Hussein and the accompanying delegation visited a Danish military air base and listened to a briefing by the base commander. The King watched military exercises and air shows performed by air-base pilots.

Also Tuesday, King Hussein, Queen Noor and His Royal Highness Prince Ali Ben Al Hussein visited the Copenhagen Municipality premises, where they were received by Queen Margarethe, her husband Prince Henrik and Danish royal family members, in addition to senior Danish officials and the Copenhagen mayor, who hosted a luncheon in honour of King Hussein and Queen Noor.

King Hussein also opened a Jordanian-Danish conference on economic relations between Jordan and Denmark, organized by the Jordanian Businessmen Association (JBA) and the Danish Industries Union (IDU), in cooperation with Denmark’s honorary consul, Tawfiq Qawar. The King attended the signing ceremony of an agreement between JBA, IDU and the Danish Chamber of Commerce.

On Monday, in an address at a dinner banquet hosted by the Danish queen, King Hussein praised the strong and friendly relations between Jordan and Denmark, and stressed the importance of the efforts being made to establish peace in the Middle East region.

The King voiced hope that efforts to establish Mideast peace will not fail, adding that Jordan is determined to continue the struggle for “peace to come to our region.”

“We once again send this message to the world, the message of the followers of the three great monotheistic religions, the descendants of the Children of Abraham.”

King Hussein said that peace between Jordan and Israel is only one of many tracks which are yet to come together.

“Jordan and Israel are at peace now, and I am determined, as is my government and the people of Jordan, not to have it become a peace between governments, but a peace between people, and we shall strive to ensure that people get to know each other and tear down the walls that have separated them for too long.”

“We are essentially the same people, with the same hopes, the same fears and the same aspirations,” the King said.

“We hope that we will contribute to peace throughout the entire region, so that Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace, and the Palestinians can enjoy their legitimate rights on their legitimate soil,” the King added, voicing hope that the Syrian and Lebanese dimensions of the peace process be addressed once and for all.

CHN Commentary 4-24-98 - See the SPECIAL REPORT at the end of this commentary.

The Mid East March to Peace

Todays Jerusalem Post is blasting this lead headline:

US AIMS TO CLOSE PEACE PROCESS IN 10 DAYS

.......and the story reveals these sentiments: "...This time Washington believes that the two sides understand the gravity of the situation and the US's desire to resolve the stalemate. The string for diplomatic decisions has run out. We want to see closure...!!!!!! "

After reading this article and the other back up articles, it would be difficult not to understand that this time around [in London on May 4] there "will be" movement on the peace process..!!

How much movement is what remains to be seen...

The preliminary ground work is in full swing. Bibi is meeting with his "cabinets", and word is leaking out that he is bringing 11% withdrawal maps to London. The US has OK'd it... Yasser has gone to Egypt and it appears that Murbarak agrees...

Naturally, the hard-liners in Israel are threatening to bring down the government if any such thing should occur. But Bibi has been preparing his Mouledet party [the hardest of the hardliners] to join his coalition by reasoning with them that if Likud falls then Labor would get in, and here we go again........and Mouledet seems in agreement.

One of the more conclusive aspects of the London meeting is how the Europeans have now positioned their union solidly behind the Palestinians [to the tune of $1.8 billion in support of the Palestinian police] , while the US is the mainstay of Israel...meaning that the decision making influence is coming from Clinton and Blair who are now in agreement with what the outcome should be.

The positioning of these two spheres of influence, at this time, regarding this issue is the most prophetically fulfilling evidence that "the MOST HIGH ruleth in the kingdom of men. Ephraim and Manasseh are in charge..!!

Meanwhile, King Hussein, who is responsible for how serious this London meeting must be taken, is waiting in the wings pledging his assistance if needed, and continuing to "tune up" his military with war games with Turkey....full well knowing that when peace is finally made he's in big trouble with the rouge Arab brothers. Iraq, Syria, and Libya..!!

He also reminded Bibi in his "letter of complaint" last Friday of how the Israeli people feel about his [the King's] desires for peace with Israel and his relationship with Israeli public opinion through the press.. This was a major "dig"..!!! But he's playing for keeps and it's time to pull out all the stops...!!

We'll keep watching............

Jesus is Lord and God is in control.........

Luke 12:37

back up articles.........

JERUSALEM POST Friday, April 24, 1998 28 Nisan 5758

US aims to close peace process in 10 days

By HILLEL KUTTLER and MARGOT DUDKEVITCH

Key Statement: "....While the US has often called on the parties to make the "hard decisions" necessary to spur the talks, this time Washington believes that the two sides understand the gravity of the situation and the US's desire to resolve the stalemate, the senior administration official said.

"We want to see closure. As long as we see the sides engaged, we'll be there," the official said. "This is a time of decisions. We are concerned about the process spinning on. The string for diplomatic decisions has run out."

WASHINGTON (April 24) - The US believes that diplomatic moves over the next 10 days will determine whether the peace process will emerge from its year-long freeze, a senior administration official said in Washington yesterday.

US special envoy Dennis Ross and Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Martin Indyk are to arrive in the Middle East this weekend to prepare for the May 4 London meetings with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. She is to meet separately with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat.

In what might be a new development, West Bank settlement leaders said yesterday they were told by senior officers in the Central Command that maps were being drawn for an 11 percent redeployment.

Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza spokeswoman Yehudit Tayar said council members were given details of the plans. She would not identify the officers who divulged them.

She said that council members drafted letters last night to cabinet ministers to protest that the plans would isolate about 20 settlements, which would be surrounded by Palestinian territory and have only a single access road.

The Central Command spokesman had no comment. Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai's spokesman said he had no information about such plans, and that any such decisions are made by the cabinet.

The council heads' letters appealed to ministers' "sense of responsibility" after learning that the issue would be raised in Sunday's cabinet meeting, Tayar said.

She warned that if indeed the details are true, the settlers would seek to topple the government.

"Even when a 9% withdrawal was being discussed, we were warned by defense officials that national security would be forfeit," she said.

Settlers plan to hold a demonstration on Sunday outside the Prime Minister's Office to urge the government to stand firm and not give in to pressures, for which Tayar said the settlers would pay a high price.

"We hope that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu fulfills his responsibilities and remains in power, but we will withdraw our support if he goes ahead with an 11% withdrawal," she said.

Council member Elyakim Haetzni warned that an 11% withdrawal would bring destruction on the entire settlement enterprise in the West Bank and Gaza. He noted that Arafat has already announced intentions to declare Palestinian statehood in May 1999.

"He expects us to provide him with an airport, seaport, safe passage, and territorial contiguity. Without these things he can't declare a state," Haetzni said.

While the US has often called on the parties to make the "hard decisions" necessary to spur the talks, this time Washington believes that the two sides understand the gravity of the situation and the US's desire to resolve the stalemate, the senior administration official said.

"This really is the process now of bringing this to an agreement," he said.

The official said that the Ross and Albright trips were being viewed as "the end game".

"We've been at this a long time. We do believe this process needs to reach a resolution."

"We want to see closure. As long as we see the sides engaged, we'll be there," the official said. "This is a time of decisions. We are concerned about the process spinning on. The string for diplomatic decisions has run out."

"This isn't being arbitrary or forcing or compelling, but recognizing we have taken this as far as it can go. This is not a surprise. The parties know our thinking. It's the time to bring it to closure," the official said.

"We've made our views clear at the highest levels. We're not interested in a rhetorical statement. We want an agreement."

The official refused to discuss what consequences might follow continued disagreement over fulfilling the US's four-part agenda: progressing to final-status talks; ceasing provocative acts; resolving Palestinian demands for a larger Israeli redeployment, and improving the PA's level of security cooperation with Israel.

He would not comment, for example, on speculation that the US is weighing the possibility of removing itself as a mediator.

"If we're not successful in moving ahead, we'll have to look at what we can do," he acknowledged, adding that the US is hoping that the next 10 days yield dramatic changes in the year-long freeze.

He added that the US is encouraged by Arafat's crackdown on Hamas and wishes that Israel were more encouraging toward Arafat for the progress he has made in fighting terrorism.

"They're in a full-blown campaign against Hamas as an institution. That's very important," the official said. "It needs to be sustained... Arafat is doing the right thing. I can add - 'at last' - but he's doing the right thing."

Indyk is to remain in the region to link up with Vice President Al Gore, who is to fly to Israel late next week to participate in the 50th anniversary celebrations.

In Gaza, Arafat met last night with cabinet members to discuss the Ross visit. A senior PA official warned Israel against trying to stop the declaration of Palestinian statehood.

Also discussed were the visit of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the London meeting with Albright.

Arafat plans to fly to Germany today for a two-day visit, during which he will meet with Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel.

PA Secretary-General Tayeb Abdul Rahim said neither peace nor stability would come to the region unless the Palestinians obtain statehood with Jerusalem as their capital. Addressing a graduation ceremony of security officers in Gaza, Abdul Rahim reiterated that statehood would be declared in another year.

He warned Israel against trying to stop the Palestinians.

"If they enter our lands, they will not leave alive," he said. "This is our decision. The Israeli side should understand that we are determined to bring about our stage next year on all our Palestinian lands according to the international laws."

Arafat aide Nabil Abu Rudeineh warned that if the London summits fail, the Arab countries would convene a summit and take a united position against Israel.

JERUSALEM POST Friday, April 24, 1998 28 Nisan 5758

Diplomatic magic or sleight of hand?

By HERB KEINON

Key Statement: "...."What Israel understands better now is that in one respect the political involvement of the EU can be useful to Israel, since the Union can apply pressure on the Palestinians. Whereas the US has a lot of leverage with Israel, the EU now has a lot of leverage with the Palestinians," he continues...."

(April 24) - Flush from his triumphant brokerage of a framework peace agreement for Northern Ireland, British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in the Middle East this week.

On the first day of Blair's Jerusalem visit, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at a joint press conference that he was prepared to "go to any location, and possibly to London, to try and advance the process."

This immediately gave way to talk of a London summit, with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, Netanyahu and Blair.

The magic was not in putting together an Arafat-Netanyahu parley, that trick has been done before, but rather in getting the Israelis to agree to accept some diplomatic input from the European Union.

The same Europe had infuriated Israel last year when it drafted the Luxembourg Declaration that committed Europe to "enhancing its support to Palestinian institutions in east Jerusalem."

The same Europe had adopted the Venice Declaration in 1980, calling for self-determination for the Palestinians - a euphemism for statehood - and active PLO participation in peace negotiations. Both ideas were deemed downright anti-Israel by Jerusalem at the time.

The same Europeans have also traditionally been viewed by Jerusalem as too biased and pro-Palestinian to deserve any real role in the peace process.

Alfred Tovias, an international relations professor and deputy director of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Helmut Kohl Institute for European Relations, says that Europe's engagement in the Middle East in 1998 is far different than in 1980.

"Eighteen years ago, at the time of the Venice Declaration, the Europeans had no leverage with the Palestinians, and only minor leverage with Israel," Tovias says. By leverage, he means influence stemming from economic assistance.

"The ones who had leverage with the Palestinians were the Saudis and the Russians," he says.

Today, Tovias says, "the Europeans have taken the place of the Saudis and Russians. My thesis is that Israel can make some capital of this."

According to EU figures, Europe has provided some $1.8 billion of aid to the Palestinians since 1993, by far the largest contribution in the world.

Although Tovias says he has not seen any willingness by Israel to let the EU get involved in political questions, "there might be a slow erosion in this regard."

"What Israel understands better now is that in one respect the political involvement of the EU can be useful to Israel, since the Union can apply pressure on the Palestinians. Whereas the US has a lot of leverage with Israel, the EU now has a lot of leverage with the Palestinians," he continues.

Tovias says that while blocking European involvement in peace talks has had the positive aspect of preventing pressure on Israel from the EU, "you also don't get pressure on the Palestinians either. When you realize that the Europeans are essentially financing the Palestinian Police, you realize they may have a lot of leverage with the other side, and begin to think that their involvement can be used for your own purposes."

Still, the summits planned for May 4 in London seem a long way from shunting the Americans aside and replacing US envoy Dennis Ross with Blair.

The dust has settled since Blair's visit on Sunday, and the four-way summit initially discussed is planned as separate meetings between Albright and Netanyahu, and Albright and Arafat, with Blair stepping in to say a cordial "hello."

Jacques Neriah, a former diplomatic advisor to late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, maintains that what happened this week with Blair is no indication at all that Israel has softened its stand toward the Europeans.

"I think it is all part of a gimmick to buy time," Neriah says. "Another conference, another meeting. More activity, but no action."

"Everyone realizes that nothing will move without the Americans, and no one will dare try to replace the Americans," he says.

Besides, adds Neriah, who heads the Israel Humanitarian Foundation which distributes two to three million dollars annually to various charitable causes, "although the Europeans may have leverage with the Palestinians, they have limited ability to coerce Israel into doing anything."

That may be true, argues Tovias, but together the US and the Europeans may make an effective team, with the US able to apply pressure on Israel, and the EU able to turn some screws on the Palestinians.

Moshe Raviv, the ambassador to Britain from 1993 to 1997, warns against placing too much emphasis on the site of the Albright-Arafat, Albright-Netanyahu meetings scheduled for May 4 in London. He says this should in no way be construed as a change in Israel's perception of a European role.

"This is not a turning point," Raviv says. "The meetings will only be significant if they produce results - unless this happens, it will just be another meeting. It does not in any way represent a change in Israeli attitudes toward Europe, but is just a matter of convenience."

Raviv says that the Palestinians, who see themselves as the weaker partner in negotiations, are always looking for third partners to assist them.

"But experience must have taught them that the best results are when we sit down face to face - as in Oslo. The major breakthroughs have been made directly between Israelis and Palestinians," Raviv says.

Yehuda Blum, the ambassador to the UN from 1978 to 1984, says that the US may be using the possibility of greater European involvement as a threat to dangle over Israel's head.

"They could be using the Europeans as a stick," Blum says, "saying to us, - if you don't get along with our proposals, there are others out there waiting to have a go - try your luck with them."

Blum says it is not clear from what transpired in Jerusalem and Gaza this week just how active the EU will be in the London talks.

"There were mixed signals," Blum says. "Blair said that the Americans are behind the meetings in London, and he is only the host.

"That means he is putting forth the facilities, Britain's good offices.

"I think that is more a gesture to the Americans, than to us. He does not want to get in any kind of confrontation with the US."

The Palestinians, Blum agrees, want to see increased EU involvement out of a belief that the Europeans would put more pressure on Israel than the Americans would. But, he said, nobody should delude themselves into believing that hosting a meeting is the same as active engagement in the process.

"[Cabinet secretary Dan] Naveh made clear that London is only a meeting place, and does not mean that the European committee is involved. I have the feeling that he was sent to clarify after Netanyahu's remarks at the press conference that the Europeans are not going to be involved like the Americans, and are not going to be the fourth leg to the chair. It really does not make a difference if they meet in London, Copenhagen or elsewhere. The site is not significant," Blum says.

Despite the success Blair had in Ireland, Blum doesn't think the British leader, whose six month turn as head of the 15-nation EU ends in June, is dying to get involved here.

"There are those in Europe who want to get involved, primarily the French and the Spanish. But I don't get the impression that Blair wants to get that actively involved, not because he is afraid of the conflict, but because of the Anglo-American friendship - he does not want to give the Americans the impression that he is acting as a competitor," Blum says.

"It seems to me what he is trying to do is balance between the Americans - who don't want too much European involvement - and other Europeans, like the French, who want to see a more active role."

Jordan Times 4-23-98 News

To avoid dangers of failed peace process, Jordan pushes for movement on PNA-Israel track

By Alia A. Toukan

Key Statement: "....King Hussein's letter was primarily directed against Mr. Netanyahu, officials say. But analysts assert that King Hussein, aware of the deep respect he enjoys with Israelis, as well as the Jewish state's notoriety for media leaks, must have also been targeting Israeli public opinion....."

AMMAN — Jordan, concerned by possible repercussions of the continued deadlock in the peace process, is trying to affirm its role as a regional peace-maker by pushing for movement on the Palestinian- Israeli track, officials and analysts say.

Reminiscent of its active involvement in the eleventh hour talks before reaching the Palestinian-Israeli Hebron accords early last year, Jordan has in the past month stepped up its diplomatic profile in ensuring that the peace process does not collapse.

The Kingdom has a vested interest in seeing the resumption of peace talks between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israel and the implementation of the second Israeli troop redeployment from the West Bank, after it has put itself out on a limb by sealing its 1994 peace treaty with the Jewish state.

Jordan, however, is walking a political tightrope in carving out a role for itself while simultaneously not posing a real or perceived threat to the PNA, analysts say.

The Kingdom’s attempts at being accepted as a regional peace-broker is part and parcel of its concern that its interests be taken into consideration in any final deal between the Palestinians and Israelis.

Seeking a role as a peace-broker has always been a difficult task as it “evokes regional suspicions and rivalry,” as one analyst concedes. Jordan’s potential involvement in a final status deal, whether direct or indirect, has always raised misgivings in some Palestinian circles.

Jordan has officially said that it will not partake in any final status negotiations. “Jordan has to be considered in the outcome of several final status issues that affect its national security, but will not take part in the actual negotiations,” a former senior official told the Jordan Times.

While the Kingdom seeks to ensure that its role in pushing the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks is sufficiently recognized both regionally and internationally, it must also constantly reassure the PNA that it has no political ambitions on the West Bank and in final status negotiations, and is not interested in politically weakening the Palestinians.

A case in point was His Majesty King Hussein’s letter to Prime Minister Abdul Salam Majali last week, in which the Monarch cited local media attempts at sabotaging Jordanian-PNA relations. The letter reiterated Jordan’s full recognition of the PNA as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and its whole hearted support for Palestinian national aspirations.

The letter came a day after a formal complaint was sent from Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to King Hussein, in which the Palestinian president cited Jordanian media reports, Hamas statements from Jordan, as well as official statements in relation to the PNA-Hamas dispute over the controversial death of Mohieddin Sharif, officials told the Jordan Times.

What particularly angered the Palestinians was what they saw as Jordan’s refusal to support the PNA’s version of who was responsible for Sharif’s death late last month. Jordanian officials had said that the Kingdom would not interfere in internal Palestinian politics. In this context, King Hussein’s letter was targeting the government as much as the local press.

The presence of a five-member Hamas office, which Jordan insists functions solely as a media outlet, has long been a sore point in relations with the PNA and Israel. During the latest internal Palestinian dispute, the PNA was angered by the fact that Jordan did not stop the Hamas office in Jordan from issuing statements.

“For Jordan to play a role in the peace process it needs to be on good terms with everyone, in particular the Palestinians and Israelis,” one analyst says, as evidenced in the many Israeli visits to the Kingdom, and Jordanian attempts at coordination with the Palestinians and Egyptians.

Others, however, contend that maintaining good relations with all the players in the arena is a mission impossible.

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hassan’s visit to Tel Aviv on March 10 was necessary to mend full ties with the Jewish state following the Mossad’s failed attack on a Hamas leader in Amman last fall, prior to His Majesty’s talks with U.S. President Bill Clinton in Washington later that month, officials say.

But considering the delaying tactics of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, Jordan’s relations with Israel, although welcomed internationally and especially by the U.S., have increasingly become more of a liability than an asset both at home and in the region.

The Kingdom, home to approximately 1.8 million Palestinian refugees, has also been suffering acute economic hardships.

One of the basic premises of Jordan’s peace treaty with the Jewish state was that there would be movement on the Palestinian-Israeli track, an assumption that has been shattered since Mr. Netanyahu came to power in May 1996.

The government is finding it increasingly difficult to convince the population of the merits of a peace process that is becoming more unpopular by the day.

“Either you give people emotional support or material benefits. But lately people have been denied both. The situation is so difficult now and we have very limited strategic options. If it wasn’t for Jordanians’ personal love for His Majesty, I dread to think what could happen,” a seasoned politician recently told the Jordan Times.

Jordan is finding that it can no longer accept Israeli excuses for not implementing its agreements with the Palestinians. It was not surprising then that King Hussein wrote a letter of protest to Mr. Netanyahu on Friday, only a day after meeting with him in Eilat.

The letter, which preceded the visits of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and U.S. Defence Secretary William Cohen to the region, reflected King Hussein’s frustration with Mr. Netanyahu’s refusal to commit to the American proposals for a troop withdrawal from 13 per cent of the West Bank at Thursday’s Eilat talks, officials told the Jordan Times earlier this week.

According to various sources, the letter which was described as “cordial but strong,” outlined all terms of reference of the Arab- Israeli conflict and all agreements signed by the Jewish State with the Palestinians, and warned of the dire consequences of failing to move ahead with the overdue second redeployment.

King Hussein’s letter was primarily directed against Mr. Netanyahu, officials say. But analysts assert that King Hussein, aware of the deep respect he enjoys with Israelis, as well as the Jewish state’s notoriety for media leaks, must have also been targeting Israeli public opinion.

At this point, Jordan firmly places the blame on Mr. Netanyahu for the continuing impasse, officials and analysts say. As such, it is believed that the onus is completely on the Israeli government to avert an absolute collapse in the peace process which would have major repercussions not only on Jordan but also on the entire region.

Meanwhile, analysts say, Jordan has little choice but to continue its present course of both pressing the Israeli government and ensuring good relations with major regional and international players so that its peace-making role is recognized in the future.

Jordan Times 4-23-98 News

Netanyahu ministers hold new debate on troop pullback

Key Statement: "....Mr. Netanyahu's right-wing coalition government has so far offered to cede only nine per cent of the West Bank at this time. But Israeli press reports said he is trying to convince hard-liners to increase this to 11 per cent...."

TEL AVIV (AFP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet held a new debate Wednesday over how much additional West Bank land Israel would be willing to cede to revive U.S.-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians, officials said.

After the meeting, Mr. Netanyahu held talks on the pullback with his “kitchen” cabinet including Israeli Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai, National Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon and Industry and Trade Minister Natan Sharansky.

Mr. Netanyahu is reportedly trying to convince ministers to accept a slight increase in Israel’s offer for the long-overdue troop withdrawal ahead of top-level talks among U.S., Israeli and Palestinian officials in London on May 4.

U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross and Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk are due in Israel Saturday to try to obtain Israeli and Palestinian agreement on a package peace deal to be finalized in London.

The U.S. proposal is reportedly centred on a staged Israeli withdrawal from an additional 13 per cent of the West Bank in tandem with Palestinian measures against anti-Israeli activists.

The U.S. plan would have the two sides then enter into negotiations on a final peace agreement.

Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition government has so far offered to cede only nine per cent of the West Bank at this time. But Israeli press reports said he is trying to convince hard-liners to increase this to 11 per cent.

The Palestinian National Authority says that interim peace accords require Israel to withdraw from 30 per cent of the West Bank now and another 30 per cent in mid-year. The Palestinians currently have full or partial control of 27 per cent of the territory and most of the Gaza Strip.

But Palestinian President Yasser Arafat said Monday that he accepted the U.S. compromise proposal in principle and called on Mr. Ross to make the U.S. ideas public during his next mission.

New impetus has been injected into the peace effort since British Prime Minister Tony Blair met with Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Arafat early this week and obtained their agreement to the London talks.

The current plan is for Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Arafat to meet separately with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Mr. Blair in the British capital.

If the two sides can agree on the U.S. peace proposals, a Netanyahu-Arafat summit could be held, although all sides have been playing down expectations of a major breakthrough after more than a year of stalemate in the negotiations.

As part of a flurry of diplomatic activity surrounding the latest U.S. peace push, Mr. Netanyahu’s office announced late Tuesday that he would meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Tuesday in Cairo.

It will be their first encounter in a year and follows sharp Egyptian criticism of Mr. Netanyahu’s hard-line stance in negotiations with the Palestinians.

Also next week U.S. Vice President Al Gore is scheduled to visit Israel for celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Jewish state on April 30. Israeli press reports say Mr. Gore will meet with both Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Arafat to press for agreement on the U.S. peace package ahead of the London talks.

Jordan Times 4-23-98 News

Egyptian-Palestinian talks focus on stalled Mideast negotiations

CAIRO (AP) — Palestinian President Yasser Arafat met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday and discussed the U.S efforts to nudge forward stalled Middle East peace negotiations.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Musa outlined the talks to reporters after the session and said the two leaders agreed to meet again following May 4 negotiations in London between Israel and the Palestinians.

Mr. Musa said Mr. Arafat was going to the London meeting in agreement with an American plan for Israel to withdraw from a further 13.1 per cent of the West Bank over 12 weeks in exchange for new Palestinian security guarantees.

“The Palestinian side has accepted the American initiative... but the problem lies with the Israeli government,” Mr. Moussa said.

Mr. Mubarak and Mr. Netanyahu are also expected to meet next Tuesday in Cairo, and Mr. Musa said those discussions would focus on “what is going in the Middle East peace and the dangers that threaten its collapse.” Mr. Mubarak, who has long tried to mediate between the Israelis and Palestinians, has repeatedly warned the entire peace process could fall apart unless Israel is willing to compromise.
 
 


CHN "special report" 4-25-98


 






Chalk up another "peace" award for the King........

Jordan's King Hussein is in Germany this weekend receiving his second award in five weeks for his efforts of bringing peace to the Middle East.

You might recall that on March 16th he was at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York receiving the Wiesenthal Centre Humanitarian Award for his efforts to bring peace to the Middle East.

The award this weekend is the 1997 German Media Award.......

Ironic as it might seem, Yasser Arafat was in attendance as well as Shimon Peres...

.......but the real topper is what German President Roman Herzog had to say about the King:

"This prize is a recognition of your intrinsic qualities: for visionary strength, for pragmatism, for readiness to cooperate and -- last but not least -- for the ability to communicate,"

"......for the ability to communicate"...this is Daniel's "little horn" character you're talking about..!! You bet he can communicate......and speak those flattering words..!!!!

Enjoy these articles.

As the King is doin' his thing...................

We're watching..

Luke 12:37

Jordan Times 4-25-98 News

King receives German Media Award King, Kohl discuss European role in peace process, sanctions toll on

By Fairouz Abu-Ghazaleh

Key Statement: "....Later on in the evening, His Majesty received the 1997 German Media Award for his dedication and commitment to peace...."

BADEN-BADEN — His Majesty King Hussein on Friday met with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and discussed with him the European role in the stalled Mideast peace process, the suffering of the sanctions-stricken Iraqi people and bilateral relations between the two countries.

The King stressed Jordan’s commitment to achieving a just and comprehensive peace in the region and helping the “Palestinian brothers in securing their legitimate rights and establishing their own state on their national soil.”

King Hussein emphasised Jordan’s principled stand towards a just, comprehensive and durable peace in the region.

The King also called for a review of the sanctions imposed on the Iraqi people.

“It is time for seriously taking into consideration the sanctions being imposed on the Iraqi people for the past ten years,” said the King.

Also during yesterday’s meeting with Chancellor Kohl, the King expressed gratitude for Germany’s continual assistance to the Kingdom’s various sectors.

Chancellor Kohl voiced his appreciation to King Hussein’s continued efforts for a better understanding among nations on the basis of justice, equality, and international legitimacy, stressing that Germany will continue its support for Jordan to enable it achieve its objectives and aspirations.

He also underlined his country’s commitment towards full implementation of all provisions of the Jordanian-European partnership agreement.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Abdul Salam Majali and Royal Court Chief Fayez Tarawneh, as well as senior officials on both sides.

Jordan represents one of the highest per capita recipients of German aid, which totaled around two billion marks since 1962.

German aid to Jordan for the 1998 fiscal year is 64 million marks. In addition, Germany contributes 30 per cent of the European Union’s budget, which has a separate aid programme for Jordan and other countries.

In a separate meeting, attended by Her Majesty Queen Noor and HRH Princess Haya, German President Roman Herzog expressed support for Jordanian efforts aimed at establishing a lasting peace in the Middle East.

President Herzog lauded the role of King Hussein in developing Jordan in spite of the scarcity of its resources and capabilities.

King Hussein also received at his residence in Bonn German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel and discussed with him means of bolstering bilateral ties in all fields.

He also discussed with Mr. Kinkel the peace process in the Middle East and means of pushing it forward.

Later on in the evening, His Majesty received the 1997 German Media Award for his dedication and commitment to peace.

The ceremony was attended by President Herzog.

More than 400 leaders, politicians and international media representatives attended the high-profile event, including Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

The King is accompanied by Prime Minister Abdul Salam Majali, Chief of the Royal Court Fayez Tarawneh and Deputy Prime Minister Jawad Anani.

The King and the Queen are scheduled to pay a state visit to Denmark from April 27-29 and then Tunis afterwards.

Upon the King’s departure Thursday for Germany, HRH Crown Prince Hassan was sworn in as Regent.

CNN 25 April 1998 Web posted at: 04:52 GST, New York time (00:52 GMT)

Jordan's king urges Netanyahu on Mideast peace

Key Statement: "...."This prize is a recognition of your intrinsic qualities: for visionary strength, for pragmatism, for readiness to cooperate and -- last but not least -- for the ability to communicate," he told the king...."

BADEN-BADEN, Germany, April 24 (Reuters) - King Hussein of Jordan on Friday urged Israel's right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to help advance the Middle East peace process.

The king, speaking at an awards ceremony in the German spa town of Baden-Baden, said Netanyahu could be sure of Jordan's support as long as he backed peace efforts.

"I hope and ask that he will commit himself to our course, the course of peace as he has promised, and we will support him in this," the king said as he accepted the German media industry's annual award for outstanding international figures.

"We see ourselves in a critical time -- a time when we can continue to build on our achievements, particularly regarding the situation in Israel and Palestine," the king said.

"We cannot afford to lose time and we cannot miss the opportunity to move forward," he told an audience which also included German President Roman Herzog, former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

Arafat himself won media prize in 1995 together with former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was awarded the honour posthumously.

Other winners of the prize, an award conferred by leading newspaper and magazine editors, include Russian President Boris Yeltsin, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and former French President Francois Mitterrand.

Herzog hailed the king's efforts to keep the peace process alive, saying the prize was a recognition of his life's work in trying to bring about reconciliation in the Middle East.

"This prize is a recognition of your intrinsic qualities: for visionary strength, for pragmatism, for readiness to cooperate and -- last but not least -- for the ability to communicate," he told the king.

The king said dialogue and understanding were the way forward in such a mission.

"How can we sort out our problems if we never put ourselves in the place of those with whom we have problems?" he asked.

He also welcomed the role of the United States and Europe in the peace process but stressed they had a supportive, rather than a dictatorial part to play.

"We cannot accept a diktat from anyone, but we welcome help from our friends in the United States and Europe who can help us with their thoughts and suggestions and support," he said.

He also called on all parties to continue the struggle against terrorism, saying those who reverted to violence were the enemies of peace.

CHN Commentary 4-22-98

The Mid East March to Peace

Optimism fills the air for the scheduled May 4 "peace talks" in London.

As news of Blair's success of arranging for the meeting hit the headlines, Egyptian President Mubarak is on the phone inviting Bibi to breakfast next Tuesday in Egypt with the sole purpose of establishing the percentage of withdrawal in the West Bank to advance the process......

It is a given that without a positive outcome this time around King Hussein's dire warning will become a reality. So, Bibi said he didn't want to raise expectations,... "but then again we all want to be able to surprise ourselves and the world."

The crux of the matter is to get to "final status issues", and to this end the ground work for this meeting seems securely in place.

Our American envoy's, Ross and Indyk are arriving Friday in Israel. Their mission apparently is meant to produce agreements which Albright will be able to endorse.

Bibi and Yasser are now voicing hopes of direct negotiations as the talks are taking on a greater urgency because U.S. officials indicated that their patience was running out and that they expected Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Arafat to make difficult decisions this time around.

It seems very likely that the process will be advanced, but to what extent..?

God's word says that the Church is holding back the identity of the peacemaker/son of perdition, and until the Church is removed [Raptured] the peace won't come.....

......and the "substance and shadow" of God's method of operation in His word demonstrates that the Rapture has a 40 day warning sign of the "dead in Christ" rising on Firstfruits..........

.......so where does that leave us for this year's window...???

Any evidence yet of the "dead in Christ" rising....??? It sure would be nice.., but it's not our call...it's all in God's hands.

For us, we'll keep "watching".........

Jesus is Lord !!!!!!!!

Luke 12:37

back up articles..........

Jerusalem Post Wednesday, April 22, 1998 26 Nisan 5758

Mubarak invites Netanyahu for Cairo talks

By JAY BUSHINSKY

Key Statement: "....Netanyahu was optimistic about the London conclave. "The point is to make significant progress and move to the core issues to facilitate a final settlement," he said. ...."

JERUSALEM (April 22) - Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu accepted an invitation yesterday from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to join him at a working breakfast in Cairo next Tuesday for talks on the regional peace process as well as bilateral issues.

Although the idea was broached a week ago by Mubarak during a telephone conversation with the prime minister, an official communiqué said, the newly-scheduled meetings in London on May 4 between Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright may have been the catalyst for the Israeli-Egyptian summit.

This assumption not only is supported by Mubarak's recent expressions of concern about the current deadlock over the depth of an IDF pullback in the West Bank, but also by remarks made by his foreign minister, Amr Moussa, at the end of the Euro-Med Forum in Majorca.

"If the London talks fail,' he reportedly said, "the threat of the peace process being considered expired would be great." With that in mind, Mubarak may hope to convince Netanyahu that it would be prudent and crucial for him to be forthcoming on the territorial issue when he goes to London.

In any case, the Netanyahu-Mubarak dialogue is likely to coincide with the presence here of US peace envoy Dennis Ross and Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Martin Indyk. Their mission, which begins Friday and may last well into next week, apparently is meant to produce agreements which Albright will be able to endorse.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair would also be able to take personal as well as official satisfaction from any such progress.

His current presidency of the European Union would be duly enhanced and the EU's status as a fellow-peacemaker alongside the US would be reinforced.

"I'd like to emphasize once again that this is a process at which the US will be making various proposals," Blair said at the end of a working breakfast with Netanyahu in Tel Aviv yesterday.

He said he did not want to compete with the Americans, but only to complement their peace initiative. The United Kingdom will "do whatever we can in whatever limited way to support the Mideast peace process."

Netanyahu was optimistic about the London conclave.

"The point is to make significant progress and move to the core issues to facilitate a final settlement," he said.

However, he hedged about the prospect of a face-to-face meeting with Arafat under the aegis of Albright and Blair, saying: "There is no meeting planned between Yasser Arafat and myself, but there are the series of meetings you know about, so we'll take it from there."

Netanyahu said he would not object to any kind of meeting. "But there has to be progress," he said.

Blair sidestepped a question about his having referred to Arafat as "President Arafat." This title differed from that of "chairman" which is regularly used by Israel and the US.

"We've really heard what I found quite a moving expression from your prime minister of the important issues at stake here," he said. "I think we should concentrate on those, really."

Both leaders dealt in similar fashion with the expectations nurtured by a major international occasion like the one due to unfold in London.

Netanyahu said he did not want to raise expectations, "but then again we all want to be able to surprise ourselves and the world."

Taking his Israeli counterpart's cue, Blair added: "As the prime minister just said, if we can surprise ourselves... let's do so."

Jordan Times 4-22-98 News

Netanyahu ready to meet with Arafat in London

Key Statement: "....Mr. Netanyahu said he didn't want to raise expectations, "but then again we all want to be able to surprise ourselves and the world." ...."

TEL AVIV (AP) — Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday he is ready to meet with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat during Mideast talks in London next month and suggested progress on a West Bank troop withdrawal was possible.

Mr. Netanyahu said he didn’t want to raise expectations, “but then again we all want to be able to surprise ourselves and the world.” U.S. Secretary of

State Madeleine Albright is to hold separate meetings in the British capital on May 4 with Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Arafat on the scope of an Israeli troop pullback.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair will host Mr. Arafat and Mr. Netanyahu, also separately, to discuss the Palestinian airport and a Gaza industrial park whose openings have been delayed because of disagreements with Israel over security arrangements.

Mr. Blair had breakfast with Mr. Netanyahu on Tuesday, wrapping up a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian areas during which he created the impression of new momentum in the stalled talks even though little actual progress was made.

Ms. Albright has summoned Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Arafat for separate meetings in the past, each time with expectations that those talks would lead to a summit. Mr. Arafat and Netanyahu last met in October.

However, Mr. Blair appeared to have won the trust of both sides with his easy charm. A new player in the process, Mr. Blair also brought with him the prestige of having negotiated a power-sharing agreement in Northern Ireland.

The British leader said Tuesday he did not want to raise expectations, but that the London talks would be very important.

“As the prime minister just said, if we can surprise ourselves...let’s do so,” he told a joint news conference.

The talks also took on greater urgency because U.S. officials indicated that their patience was running out and that they expected Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Arafat to make difficult decisions this time around.

“The time is running out for these hard decisions to be made,” U.S. State Department spokesman James Rubin said Tuesday. Mr. Rubin would not rule out that the United States would withdraw as mediator if the London talks ended inconclusively.

The United States has proposed that Israel hand over 13.1 per cent of the West Bank in several stages over 12 weeks, with each pullback met by Palestinian security gestures.

Mr. Netanyahu has said he would withdraw from no more than 9 per cent, but Israeli officials suggested Monday that Israel was willing to increase the offer to 11 per cent.

Mr. Arafat has said he would “deal positively” with the U.S. initiative.

The United States expects him to take a number of security measures, such as disarming Islamists.

Both Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Arafat said that if separate talks with Ms. Albright go well, they were willing to meet face to face.

“There is no meeting planned between Yasser Arafat and myself. We’ll have a series of meetings that we have talked about there, and we will just take it from there,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “We will see what happens.”

Mr. Arafat said Monday that he was also willing in principle to hold talks with Mr. Netanyahu, but that he would want Mr. Blair to participate in a summit, in addition to Ms. Albright.

The Palestinians have long sought a more active European involvement in the negotiations, something the United States and Israel have been wary of.

Mr. Blair reiterated Tuesday that he did not want to compete with the Americans, only to complement their peace initiative. The British would “do whatever we can in whatever limited way to support the Mideast peace process,” he said. Britain holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.

CNN 22 April 1998 Web posted at: 06:07 GST, New York time (02:07 GMT)

Israel cautious over Mideast talks

Key Statement: "...."Then again, we all want to be able to surprise ourselves and the world," Netanyahu said, adding that he hoped to make "significant progress" on interim issues that would facilitate a final peace settlement...."

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel expressed caution Tuesday over chances for a breakthrough in U.S.-sponsored Middle East talks in London.

The wary comments coincided with warnings that failure to end a year-long impasse with the Palestinians could destroy the peace process.

Echoing remarks by Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair, who flew home after a regional tour, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:

"I think (he) is wise to caution (against) raising expectations too high or indeed to raise them to levels that we might not be able to achieve.

"Then again, we all want to be able to surprise ourselves and the world," Netanyahu said, adding that he hoped to make "significant progress" on interim issues that would facilitate a final peace settlement.

In Palma de Majorca, Spain, Mediterranean foreign ministers gave a guarded welcome to the announcement Monday that Netanyahu and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat would meet U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright separately in London on May 4.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Amr Moussa, speaking at the end of two days of talks in Majorca involving ministers from 11 European and North African countries, described the planned talks as the "moment of truth."

"If London talks fail, the threat of the peace process being considered expired would be great," Moussa said at a news conference.

The peace process has been stuck over the extent of a proposed Israeli troop pullback in the West Bank in return for Palestinian moves to combat Muslim militants.

The United States is reported to have proposed a 13.1 percent withdrawal, which Israel has called unacceptable.

A top Palestinian negotiator said the time had come for the United States to make its proposals public.

"We all know that Mr Netanyahu's end-game is to waste time and to prevent the Americans from introducing their proposals publicly and officially," Saeb Erekat told Reuters in Gaza.

"We hope that in the London meetings, Madam Albright will table her proposals immediately...it's the only way to revive the peace process," he said.

The United States formally invited Netanyahu and Arafat to the London talks after both said they were ready to go to discuss new U.S. proposals. Blair held talks with Arafat in Gaza Monday.

"There is no meeting planned between Yasser Arafat and myself but there are the series of meetings you know about, so we'll take it from there," Netanyahu said. "I have no objection to any kind of meeting."

State Department spokesman James Rubin said Monday the purpose of the London talks would be to determine if U.S. peace proposals "can provide a basis for a breakthrough" leading to negotiations on the permanent status of self-rule areas.

He said the United States was looking for the two sides to make hard decisions and did not rule out that Washington could break off mediation efforts if the London meetings proved as unsuccessful as other recent negotiating sessions had been.

Nabil Abu Rdaineh, a top Arafat aide, said U.S. peace envoy Dennis Ross, due back in the region at the end of the week, should try to persuade Israel to accept the U.S. proposals to end the stalemate.

Abu Rdaineh said Blair's visit to Gaza had marked a "turning point in the Palestinian-European relationship" but "regretfully, up to this point, Israel refuses any European role in the peace process."

At a news conference with Blair Monday, Arafat said he wanted a clear role in the Middle East peace talks for the EU, a major financier of the Palestinian- governed territories.

But Blair has stressed that Britain, president of the EU until July, did not want to "cut across" U.S. efforts.

Blair said there would certainly be a role for Europe on economic issues, including the opening of a Gaza airport and an industrial zone in the area.

Jordan Times 4-22-98 News

Jordan, Turkey prepare for military exercises

Key Statement: "....According to Petra the aim of the exercises is to "exchange experience, gain knowledge, develop training proficiency and get acquainted with the capabilities and new training methods of each other."...."

AMMAN (Agencies) — Jordan and Turkey have exchanged troops for joint training as part of an effort to expand military cooperation, Jordan News Agency, Petra, said Tuesday.

The agency said a company of Turkish troops arrived here Monday and a company of Jordanian troops left for Turkey for "joint exercises that the Jordanian Armed Forces conducts with armies in brotherly and friendly countries."

Major General Tahseen Shurdum, chief of staff of the Jordanian Land Forces, deputized for Field Marshal Abdul Hafez Mirai Kaabneh, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in seeing the troops who left for Turkey Monday and welcomed the Turkish company.

According to Petra the aim of the exercises is to "exchange experience, gain knowledge, develop training proficiency and get acquainted with the capabilities and new training methods of each other."

The agency did not provide other details, and military officials were not immediately available for comment

CHN Commentary 4-21-98

The Mid East March to Peace

Working in tandem with the US, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been successful in arranging for Madeline Albright to meet separately in London on May 4 with Netanyahu and Arafat. Bibi is expressing hope that "significant progress" can be made, and would welcome direct talks with Arafat if that were to occur. Arafat is pushing for a four way conversation with Albright, Blair, Bibi, and himself.

News is now surfacing that King Hussein has been applying extreme pressure on Bibi and Arafat to move their peace efforts along 'pronto'. After his surprise meeting with Bibi last Thursday in Eliat, the King was very disgruntled with the outcome and sent Bibi a formal letter of complaint on Friday expressing the serious dire consequences for the whole region, and for Jordan particularly if progress isn't made immediately....

He reminded both parties that he has the most to lose [his kingdom], and he doesn't intend for that to happen. [Conversely, he also has the most to gain...prophetically speaking]. The pressure on the King has dramatically increased as Iraq and Syria have so overtly expressed their desire to form an alternative alliance of rogue Middle Eastern nations to supplant the West in running security on the Gulf, thereby regaining control of the power of the world's oil.

It is also now surfacing that King Hussein is backing the Iraqi National Congress headed by Dr. Ahmed Chalabi to replace Saddam in Iraq. The King met with Dr. Chalabi in Washington on his recent visit, and subsequently lobbied Clinton for INC support. This is seen as a very courageous move on the King's part, and we can begin to see the makings of the "Little Horn" eventually sitting on his throne in Babylon. [CHN will be doing a "special report" on the INC in the near further]

So, the scene now shifts to London and the May 4th meetings, as we continue to watch the intrigue of God's word come to pass.

Regarding the Rapture occurring in this next window of opportunity, only one question need be answered......... has anyone seen or heard evidence of the "dead in Christ" rising..? We haven't....

......but we'll keep "watching"..!!!!

Luke 12:37

back up articles.........

CNN April 20, 1998 Web posted at: 4:40 p.m. EDT (2040 GMT)

U.S. to hold new talks with Arafat, Netanyahu

May 4 meetings planned for London

Key Statement: "We are looking for substantive decisions from the leaders, real decisions," State Department spokesman James Rubin said in announcing the latest attempt by the Clinton administration to break a stalemate between the two sides over Israeli withdrawal from a portion of the West Bank.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will meet separately in London on May 4 with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"We are looking for substantive decisions from the leaders, real decisions," State Department spokesman James Rubin said in announcing the latest attempt by the Clinton administration to break a stalemate between the two sides over Israeli withdrawal from a portion of the West Bank.

But indicating prospects for spurring Israel and the Palestinians to resume their negotiations over the West Bank were still bleak, the spokesman said "we are not aware there has been any substantive change" in their positions.

Rubin said a three-way meeting was unlikely, but he did not rule one out. Other sources told CNN there are no plans for any kind of multi-lateral talks, and Albright plans to return to Washington May 5.

Arafat seeking European Union role in talks

British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced the U.S. invitation to meet Arafat and Netanyahu in London during his visit to the Gaza Strip on Monday. Blair said the United States "has said or is going to say shortly they will invite both the president of the Palestinians and the government of Israel to bilateral meetings in London on May 4."

But Arafat spoke of four-way talks, with the European Union, whose presidency is currently held by Britain, joining the United States and the Middle East parties.

"We are seeking a four-way meeting. Our position has always been that the European Union must have a vital, effective role in this peace process," Arafat said at a joint news conference with Blair in Gaza.

Blair, fresh from securing a peace deal in Northern Ireland, said Britain would not play any role in the talks that "cuts across the United States," the main mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The British leader said the talks would focus on U.S. proposals on ending the stalemate and that he hoped to meet with the parties to discuss economic issues.

U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross failed last month to narrow wide differences between Netanyahu and Arafat over the proposals and is due back in the region late this week for more talks.

Washington is proposing a staged Israeli troop withdrawal from more of the West Bank in exchange for reciprocal Palestinian steps to combat Muslim militants.

Israel has called the reported U.S. proposal for a pullback from 13.1 percent of the West Bank unacceptable.

Peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians broke down last year amid Jewish settlement-building in West Bank areas claimed by the Palestinians and suicide bombings in Israel by Palestinian militants.

CNN April 21, 1998 Web posted at: 7:26 a.m. EDT (1126 GMT)

Netanyahu expresses hope for 'progress' in London talks

Key Statement: "We are seeking a four-way meeting. Our position has always been that the European Union must have a vital, effective role in this peace process," Arafat said at a joint news conference with Blair in Gaza.

TEL AVIV, Israel (CNN) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday he hoped to make "significant progress" in a round of Mideast peace talks planned for London next month.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will meet separately in London on May 4 with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Netanyahu. No direct talks are planned between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, but Netanyahu said he would have no objection to such a meeting.

"There are the meetings you know about, so we'll take it from there," he said. "I have no objection to any kind of meeting."

American officials also expressed hope for the talks. "We are looking for substantive decisions from the leaders -- real decisions," State Department spokesman James Rubin said Monday.

But indicating that prospects for agreement between Israel and the Palestinians over the West Bank are still bleak, Rubin added that "we are not aware there has been any substantive change" in their positions.

Arafat seeking European role in talks

British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced the U.S. invitation to meet Arafat and Netanyahu in London during his visit to the Gaza Strip on Monday.

Blair said the United States "has said or is going to say shortly they will invite both the president of the Palestinians and the government of Israel to bilateral meetings in London on May 4."

But Arafat spoke of four-way talks, with the European Union, whose presidency is currently held by Britain, joining the United States and the Middle East parties.

"We are seeking a four-way meeting. Our position has always been that the European Union must have a vital, effective role in this peace process," Arafat said at a joint news conference with Blair in Gaza.

Blair to deal with economic issues

Blair said he would meet separately with Netanyahu and Arafat while they are in London. Albright will deal with the issue of Israeli troop withdrawals in the West Bank, while Blair said he will focus on economic and trade issues.

Blair said that among the issues he hopes to address are the operation of a Palestinian airport and the opening of a Palestinian industrial park. Both projects have been delayed for years because of disagreements over security arrangements.

"These two committees are very close to completion," Netanyahu said of the projects. "It would be, from our point of view, a very positive development if during the course of the London meetings we can bring them to a conclusion, or very close to that."

U.S. officials gave no hint of a bigger European role in the peace talks, but they took no exception to Blair's involvement because he is a close ally of President Bill Clinton.

"If, as a result of Prime Minister Blair's meetings in the region, the leaders are willing to make hard decisions they've been heretofore unwilling to make, that will be a good thing," Rubin said.

But Blair said the Europeans don't want to upstage the Americans, particularly on the critical troop withdrawal issue.

"We have made it clear all the way through that the United States should be in the lead," Blair said during the news conference with Arafat.

U.S. envoy Ross due back in Mideast

U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross failed last month to narrow wide differences between Netanyahu and Arafat and is due back in the region later this week for more talks.

Washington is proposing a staged Israeli troop withdrawal from more of the West Bank in exchange for reciprocal Palestinian steps to combat Muslim militants.

The talks are stuck over the extent of the troop pullback. The United States has reportedly proposed a 13 percent withdrawal, while Israel has offered less than 10 percent. Israeli officials said Monday that Netanyahu has softened his position and is willing to offer a pullback from 11 percent of the land.

"As far as we're concerned, there still are very significant and difficult roadblocks to restarting the peace process," Rubin said. "Hopefully we'll be able to clear away some of those roadblocks in Secretary Albright's meetings in London."

Albright, who last met Netanyahu and Arafat at the end of January, will visit London on her way home from a Far Eastern tour starting on Sunday.

The London meetings are the latest move by the Clinton administration to jump-start talks between Israelis and Palestinians. The talks broke down last year amid construction of a Jewish housing project on the outskirts of Jerusalem and suicide bombings in Israel by Palestinian militants.

JERUSALEM POST Monday, April 20, 1998 24 Nisan 5758

EDITORIAL: William Cohen's agenda

Key Statement: "....This may have been a rational consideration at the time, but to paraphrase King Hussein, now there is a viable democratic alternative to Saddam. Given the existence of this alternative, supporting it should be considered a strategic and moral imperative...."

(April 20) -- Though today's visit will be his first as US secretary of defense, William Cohen will be welcomed as somewhat of an old friend, as befits the representative of a close strategic partner. Regardless of the bumps in the diplomatic road, military relations between the United States and Israel have never been closer. Washington rightly recognizes that, besides being in America's strategic interest, the tight military ties with Israel provide a critical backdrop without which the peace process could not exist.

Cohen's visit is part of a five-nation swing through the region, originally scheduled for last December. If there is a theme to it, it would seem to be the situation in Iraq, which may have left the headlines but not the concerns of the American defense establishment. In Turkey, Cohen visited the Incirlik air force base, from which over 50 US, Turkish, and British aircraft fly out daily to police the "no-fly" zone in northern Iraq.

In Incirlik on Saturday, Cohen sent another volley in America's ongoing battle against the pressure to prematurely lift the sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime, stating the Iraqi leader has "an obligation to show proof of where, when, how and under what circumstances the materials [to produce weapons of mass destruction] were destroyed ... Until he does that, there should be no lifting of the sanctions."

The fact, however, that Cohen needs to make such statements shows that the fears of many following the latest UN-brokered deal with Iraq are becoming reality - Saddam has succeeded in shifting the international focus toward lifting sanctions.

What Cohen may be hearing in capitals as disparate as Istanbul, Amman, Jerusalem and Cairo is that keeping a lot of firepower parked outside Iraq and relying on UN inspectors may buy time, but it does not constitute an effective policy. The bravest voice in this regard is that of Jordan's King Hussein, who, as a former supporter of Saddam and current neighbor, should be listened to closely.

During a press briefing last month with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Hussein said, speaking of an Iraq freed from Saddam: "I visualize Iraq as a free country, as a democracy, as an example of pluralism ... I hope that the people of Iraq will be able to come together in dialogue to live in a democracy, which is on the way. That would ensure that Iraq can contribute a positive role to the future of the region. And we'll continue to work for that to the best of our ability."

Backing his words with action the very next day, Hussein met with the leader of Iraq's democratic opposition, Iraqi National Congress President Ahmed Chalabi. Once again, King Hussein has demonstrated what it means to be a leader, in a region fraught with uncertainty.

By contrast, official American support for Chalabi has been tepid at best. In an April 2 speech, all Albright could muster was: "We will explore ways to work more effectively with the Iraqi democratic opposition."

One good way to start would be for President Bill Clinton to meet with Chalabi, thereby opening the door for other leaders in the region - who may not be quite as gutsy as King Hussein - to help the Iraqi National Congress.

It is difficult to fathom why the US seems slavishly attached to a policy, built upon "containment" and UN inspections, that is doomed to failure.

During the 1991 Gulf War, the Bush Administration clearly decided that it would evict Saddam from Kuwait, but was not interested in overthrowing him. Not only would this have been an expansion of the war's objective, but the US was worried about upsetting the regional power balance if post-Saddam Iraq were to break into pieces.

This may have been a rational consideration at the time, but to paraphrase King Hussein, now there is a viable democratic alternative to Saddam. Given the existence of this alternative, supporting it should be considered a strategic and moral imperative.

Much of Cohen's visit will concern the many joint programs that constitute the nuts and bolts of the military relationship. One major agenda item - funding for a third battery of Scud-busting Arrow missiles - is directly related to the missile threat from the east.

Yet security against missile attacks, for example, cannot only be viewed from the narrow perspective of preparing military measures in self-defense. In the case of rogue regimes such as Iraq's, which have violated every international law and norm of civilized behavior, the first line of defense is to help the people of that nation to free themselves.

JERUSALEM POST Tuesday, April 21, 1998 25 Nisan 5758

EDITORIAL: Shift to final status

Key Statement: "....Wrapping up the interim steps envisaged at Oslo has become so difficult that the objective of the process has almost been forgotten: delivering the parties into final-status talks. Outside parties, such as the US and Europe, would do well to help shift the focus back to this overarching objective...."

(April 21) - Sometimes a little pleasantness can go a long way. British Prime Minister Tony Blair is a novice at the Mideast peace process, but he may have succeeded in nudging things forward just a bit. It was not just the aura of the Northern Ireland agreement surrounding him, but his noncoercive approach. As opposed to other visitors who come wielding diplomatic cudgels, he wrote in this newspaper, "I am not coming here to apportion blame or take sides."

In the past, Israel has resisted European involvement in the peace process, perhaps because it had all the subtlety of being beaten over the head with a stick. Yesterday a cabinet statement emphasized that, "Neither European mediation nor an international conference is in question." But Blair's visit seems to have ameliorated slightly Israel's historic aversion to European involvement. Britain only holds the European presidency from January to June, and got off on the wrong foot with Foreign Secretary Robin Cook's high-handed visit here last month. But Blair seems already to have repaired that damage, and made the idea of a May summit in London not only palatable, but attractive.

At Sunday's joint press conference with Blair, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu seemed eager for such a summit, pledging to "go anywhere, anytime" to meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. By the next morning, excitement was rising about a four-way summit in London, including US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Netanyahu, Arafat, and Blair. Now it seems that talk of a summit was premature, since the Palestinians are dismissing the idea as a Netanyahu publicity stunt, devoid of substance.

The Palestinian charge that Netanyahu is not interested in substance cuts both ways. If substance matters, not process, Arafat should share Netanyahu's enthusiasm for a summit to finally close the American-brokered deal. The outlines of the deal - and many of the details - are clear to both sides. Like the Gaza airport itself, the deal has been built up slowly, and is just waiting for the finishing touches to be put into place. Both sides know that the Israeli withdrawal will be from 10 to 13 percent of the West Bank, that the Palestinians will have to deliver substantially on compliance with their commitments under Oslo, and that the third redeployment will somehow be folded into the final-status talks.

For months now, neither side has wanted to be seen as making the final concession under pressure. But now the differences have narrowed to just the point that summits were made to bridge. It can no longer be argued that the differences are too great for a summit to be worthwhile. So far, Arafat's declarations that he will redeclare Palestinian statehood in May 1999 - he first did so in 1988 - seem not to have affected Israel's plans to redeploy before then. But already voices on the right-wing are asking, why should Israel hand over more territory if Arafat has no intention of entering into final-status negotiations?

Though Arafat might be tempted by the Ben-Gurion precedent of declaring a state before knowing what its final borders might be, it is hard to understand why such a step would be in the Palestinians' interest. Since Oslo requires that neither side change the legal status of the territory before final-status negotiations are concluded, the unilateral Palestinian declaration of a state would free Israel from its requirements under Oslo. The Palestinians might continue to claim more territory, but Israel, with or without formal annexation, would continue to control some 60 percent of the West Bank.

Most unfortunate, the peace process would lose its negotiated framework, and the danger that de facto borders between Israel and the Palestinians would be determined through open warfare would grow. Though Israel might well retain more territory under these circumstances than in a negotiated settlement, neither side should wish for such a bloody outcome.

It is in the interests of both sides to make the negotiation process work, and that means planning for its success rather than its failure. Israel's redeployment, therefore, should be designed to build momentum towards successful final-status talks, rather than minimized as a hedge against a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. But the Palestinians also have to demonstrate their commitment to the process by engaging in final-status negotiations immediately.

Wrapping up the interim steps envisaged at Oslo has become so difficult that the objective of the process has almost been forgotten: delivering the parties into final-status talks. Outside parties, such as the US and Europe, would do well to help shift the focus back to this overarching objective.

CHN Commentary 4-16-98

The Mid East March to Peace

Surprise talks were held Thursday between King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the southern Israel resort of Eilat where Bibi has been spending the Passover holidays.

The unannounced talks followed telephone conversations on Monday and Tuesday between King Hussein and President Clinton. Moving the peace process forward was the thrust of all conversations.

As previously announced, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and American Mid East envoy Dennis Ross are scheduled to arrive in the area Sunday.

"We need to kick-start the process," Blair told the Cairo newspaper al-Ahram. Yasser Arafat couldn't agree more, and is "publicly" hoping Blair can influence Israel to cede more land for peace.......

King Hussein and Netanyahu haven't met face to face since November, but the pace being set by the opposing "camps" [as reported in our previous commentary] have necessitated a "like" response from the "good guys"........

Meanwhile, Iran's naval games continue under the watchful eye of an American fighter jet and war vessel dispatched to collect info. Iran is condemning the move......

And now we learn that Tuesday, further north in the Gulf, US and British troops have joined Bahraini naval forces for a nine-day joint military exercise.

And CNN is reporting that Iraq is growing restless again and wants her sanctions lifted because she is "complying", but the UN is reporting her further noncompliance, negating any lifting of sanctions. Bad news for Iraq......good news for prophetic fulfillment.......

So, here we are again.......approaching what likely is the last few days of our "window of opportunity" for this year for the Rapture to occur, and prophetically speaking, all the "ducks are in a row" awaiting the removal of this "hindering force"..!!

God is perfect and does things in a perfect way...........and the scene appears perfect too.....

We'll keep "watching".......

Luke 12:37

back up articles........... Jordan Times 4-16-98 News

King receives call from Clinton

Key Statement: "....The conversation lasted about 10 minutes and followed a call the King made to President Clinton Monday evening, he added. No details were given on what the two said about the Mideast peace process...."

HOUSTON (AFP) — U.S. President Bill Clinton spoke by telephone briefly with King Hussein Tuesday, the White House said.

King Hussein praised President Clinton for his role in reaching an accord on Northern Ireland and for his recent trip to Africa, spokesman Joe Lockhart said.

The conversation lasted about 10 minutes and followed a call the King made to President Clinton Monday evening, he added. No details were given on what the two said about the Mideast peace process.

CNN 17 April 1998 Web posted at: 03:31 GST, New York time (23:31 GMT)

Israel, Jordan meet over peace process

Key Statement: ".... Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and King Hussein of Jordan met for surprise talks Thursday on the stalled Middle East peace process, Israeli officials said...."

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and King Hussein of Jordan met for surprise talks Thursday on the stalled Middle East peace process, Israeli officials said.

The previously unannounced meeting at a hotel in the Red Sea resort of Eilat, southern Israel, was the first between the two leaders since last November.

It marked a further thaw in relations following severe strains last September over a botched attempt in Amman by Israeli Mossad secret service agents to kill a leading member of the Palestinian Islamic militant movement Hamas, Khaled Meshal.

Netanyahu's spokesman Shai Bazak said the two hours of talks had focused on the peace process and bilateral relations.

"Both sides expressed the importance that they attach to pushing the peace process forward," Bazak said.

He said the leaders had also expressed satisfaction at the state of bilateral ties and agreed on unspecified "other steps to improve relations."

Jordan's Petra news agency said Hussein "stressed the need to achieve progress on the Palestinian-Israeli track to activate the peace process and consolidate the confidence of the region's peoples."

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been deadlocked for more than a year over Jewish settlement building on occupied land, Hamas suicide bombings and differences over the terms and extent of an Israeli troop pullback from the West Bank.

Thursday's talks in Eilat, where Netanyahu has been spending the Jewish Passover holiday, took place ahead of fresh U.S. and European Union attempts to revive the peace process.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, is due to visit Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian-ruled Gaza strip early next week.

"We need to kick-start the process," Blair told the Cairo newspaper al-Ahram in an interview published Thursday ahead of his tour, which will include stops in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

President Clinton's Middle East envoy, Dennis Ross, also returns to Israel and the Palestinian Authority at the end of next week to try to narrow positions.

Ross made a similar visit last month. U.S. officials said then that his talks had made some progress but had fallen well short of a breakthrough.

Washington is seeking an Israeli troop pullback in the West Bank in return for new Palestinian commitments to crack down on violence by Hamas and other militant groups.

Deep differences persist over how much land Israel should vacate and under what conditions.

King Hussein arrived in Eilat by boat from the port of Aqaba, where the Jordanian cabinet had met earlier in the day.

Bazak said he was accompanied to the meeting with Netanyahu by Jordan's Prime Minister Abdul-Salam al-Majali and the head of the Jordanian royal court, Fayez al-Tarawnah.

Israel's Channel One television showed footage of newly appointed Mossad head Efraim Halevy accompanying the Israeli delegation.

Halevy replaced Danny Yatom as Mossad head earlier this month, after he resigned in February. Jordan had insisted Yatom leave the agency for supervising the failed assassination attempt on Meshal.

Netanyahu and King Hussein last met Nov. 19, when they held talks near London to mend fences over the Meshal affair.

Israel was forced to free dozens of Palestinian prisoners, including the Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, in return for the release by Jordan of two Mossad agents caught trying to kill Meshal.

Jordan, Israel's friendliest Arab neighbor and partner to a 1994 peace treaty, also suspended security ties with Israel over the assassination attempt.

Jordan Times 4-16-98 News

Palestinians hope Blair can work N. Ireland magic with Israel

GAZA CITY (AFP) — The Palestinians are hoping that British Prime Minister Tony Blair can work the same magic in Middle East negotiations as he did in Northern Ireland by pressuring Israel to make concessions for peace.

But unlike in Northern Ireland, Mr. Blair must take a backseat in the Middle East to the United States, which has been reluctant to override Israeli objections and put forward a package proposal to break the year-long deadlock in negotiations.

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat welcomed the Northern Ireland peace deal and said he hoped that Mr. Blair, who arrives in the region on Thursday, “will equally succeed in establishing the peace with Israel.”

However, top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat acknowledged that the Palestinians are “realistic.” “We don’t expect Blair to be able to solve everything,” he said.

The Palestinians hope in particular that Mr. Blair, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union (EU), can promote a package peace proposal that the United States has so far balked at officially putting on the table.

“The essential thing is the American proposals. Blair should urge the Americans to go public with their plans and should pressure Israel to abide by its agreements,” especially concerning overdue troop withdrawals in the West Bank, Mr. Erekat said.

The Palestinians have expressed fears that Washington is backing away from their proposals, which reportedly would press Israel to cede 13 per cent of the West Bank to Palestinian control as the first step towards reviving negotiations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has tried to prevent the United States from announcing the package, saying the 13 per cent scope is too large and instead offering a pullback of around nine per cent.

The same week as Mr. Blair’s visit, U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross is expected to return to the region for the second time in a month in a new bid to find a compromise formula for the package.

Faced with the deadlock on the central issue of the troop withdrawals, Mr. Blair may focus instead on trying to clinch a deal on side issues which have remained unimplemented since 1995 self-rule accords, an EU diplomat said.

EU and Israeli officials say a deal is within reach on these so-called “interim peace issues,” which include the opening of an airport and seaport and of a joint Israeli-Palestinian industrial zone in Palestinian-run Gaza.

EU officials said a push from Mr. Blair could in particular finalize an agreement for the industrial zone, planned for the Karni crossing point between Gaza and Israel.

The key to meeting Israel’s security concerns and sealing an agreement could be an EU financed, Germany-produced scanner system capable of quickly checking cargo trucks entering Israel from the zone for weapons or explosives, EU officials said.

While only a detail of the broader peace process, agreement on Karni would represent the first concrete achievement in the peace talks for more than 14 months.

Mr. Blair will also sign with Mr. Arafat an agreement creating a Palestinian-EU commission on security issues, part of European efforts to meet Israeli demands that the Palestinians conduct a stiff crackdown against Islamists.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians hope the energetic Mr. Blair, fresh off his victory in Northern Ireland, will sound a moral call to Mr. Netanyahu, who the Palestinians increasingly feel simply has no interest in advancing the peace process.

“Blair must teach Netanyahu the lessons of history. We hope Blair will tell Netanyahu to look forward and not backwards,” Mr. Erekat said.

“While Blair is decisively putting all his weight behind stopping bloodshed, Netanyahu is building a future of bigotry, hatred and violence. He is creating another Northern Ireland here,” he said.

CNN Networks Egypt, Syria demand Israel's no-strings withdrawal from Lebanon

April 15, 1998 Web posted at: 6:09 p.m. EDT (2209 GMT)

CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) - The presidents of Egypt and Syria demanded Wednesday that Israel withdraw unconditionally from southern Lebanon.

At a news conference after a lengthy, unannounced meeting, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Syria's Hafez al-Assad said Israel should leave the southern strip of Lebanon it occupies without expecting anything in return.

"They (Israel) entered Lebanon without permission so they can get out of Lebanon without permission," Mubarak said. "If Israel is going to withdraw (from southern Lebanon) in accordance with (U.N. Security Council) Resolution 425, I think no one will object. But neither Syria nor Lebanon will accept that it be negotiated."

"Israel has to just withdraw from Lebanon," said Assad, whose country is the main power broker in Lebanon. "The Israelis entered Lebanon, so they can get out of it."

Mubarak and Assad were responding to a proposal, endorsed by Israel's inner Cabinet last month, to implement the U.N. resolution, which calls for Israeli troops to leave southern Lebanon. But the Israelis want guarantees that their security will be maintained if they withdraw.

Israel claims that the strip of Lebanon it holds is a security zone that protects it from Lebanese militants. But Syria and Lebanon say that Resolution 425 demands an unconditional withdrawal, and they regard Israel's initiative as an attempt to sabotage wider Middle East peace efforts.

Syria, Egypt blame Netanyahu

Israeli-Palestinian talks have been stalled for more than a year amid disputes over how to implement past agreements on redeployment and security. Negotiations with Syria and Lebanon over Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon broke off two years ago.

"The issue of security is expansive and they (Israelis) can use it as a justification for not implementing the agreements they have reached," Mubarak said.

Syria and Egypt blame Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for derailing peace moves since he came to power in June 1996 by failing to honor the land-for-peace agreement that was the centerpiece of the peace initiative launched in Madrid in 1991.

Mubarak criticized Netanyahu Wednesday for saying the Palestinian Authority must detain militants and crack down on "terrorism" before Israel withdraws from occupied Palestinian lands.

"The peace process must not be linked to the arrest of (Palestinian) leaders of the Islamist movement," he said. "It may take two centuries before such a demand is met."

Mubarak often consults with Arab and Palestinian leaders on Middle East peace efforts. Assad visited Egypt last September, and Mubarak paid a return visit to the Syrian capital in January.

After talks in Damascus Monday, Assad and his Lebanese counterpart Elias Hrawi renewed their rejection of Israel's withdrawal offer and expressed readiness to resume peace talks with Israel at the point where they left off in January 1996.

Lebanese leader to visit Cairo

The Lebanese-Syrian meeting, the third in a month, followed a letter from the U.S. administration to the Lebanese government urging it to study the Israeli offer seriously.

Egyptian newspapers said Wednesday that Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri was due to visit Egypt next week. The Egyptian government has said it would back Lebanon's stance on the Israeli proposal.

The French government weighed in with its opinion Tuesday, saying it, too, believes Israel should unconditionally withdraw from southern Lebanon.

After meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Faris Bouez in Paris, French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine said, "The (Israeli) proposal was not viable because it sets conditions that are not in the United Nations' resolution."

CNN Iran says U.S. watching its war-games in Gulf

16 April 1998 Web posted at: 03:23 GST, New York time (23:23 GMT)

TEHRAN, Iran (Reuters) - Iran Wednesday denounced U.S. forces in the Gulf, which it said were monitoring Iranian naval exercises in the waterway.

Captain Abdollah Manavi, spokesman for the exercises, "condemned the move of an American fighter jet and a vessel to collect information as well as monitor contacts among the participating units in... the war-game," the Iranian news agency IRNA said.

Manavi said Iran's navy had taken "tactical measures" to foil U.S. monitoring of the nine-day exercises which began on Sunday, according to Tehran radio. He did not say what the measures were.

The exercises are being held in an area stretching from the mouth of the Gulf to the Gulf of Oman.

Further north in the Gulf, U.S. and British troops have joined Bahraini naval forces for a nine-day joint military exercise which began Tuesday, Bahraini newspapers said.

The U.S. Fifth Fleet, with two aircraft carriers, two cruisers and other warships, is based in the region.

Iran's "Ettehad" (Unity) exercises are the first in which it has operated its three Russian-built Kilo class diesel submarines together.

It was also using two frigates, two personnel carrier vessels, two logistics vessels, and 15,000 naval and air force personnel in the exercises.

Manavi said the war-games included the frigate Sabalan, which was badly damaged by U.S. forces during clashes with the Iranian navy in 1988. Its sister ship was sunk in those clashes, while the Sabalan was repaired and relaunched in 1990.

Iranian navy officials have criticized the U.S. military presence in the Gulf region and said the code name of the exercises indicated Iran's willingness to cooperate with its Gulf Arab neighbors.

Iran's regional ties have often been tense, in part over differences concerning the presence of Western forces in the Gulf and a dispute with the United Arab Emirates over three Gulf islands.

CNN 17 April 1998 Web posted at: 03:32 GST, New York time (23:32 GMT)

Iraq calls for end to sanctions, raising threat of new crisis

Key Statement: "....The official Iraqi News Agency said following a meeting chaired by Saddam, the ruling council declared that those who oppose ending the embargo "would bear the responsibility of the future crisis and what comes to hurt our people."...."

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Raising the threat of a new crisis with the United Nations, Iraq urged Security Council on Thursday to lift economic sanctions when it meets later this month to review the status of Baghdad's weapons program.

But U.N. officials said there was little chance the council will do so when it meets, possibly the week of April 27.

The U.N. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said weapons inspectors will tell the council that they cannot confirm Iraq's claims that it has destroyed all long-range missiles and mass destruction weapons.

Inspectors also will tell the council that because of the standoff over inspections last year, U.N. teams have made "virtually no progress" in verifying Iraqi disarmament, the officials said.

That is the main condition for the council to lift the sanctions imposed in 1990 after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's troops invaded Kuwait, triggering the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

In Baghdad, however, the Revolution Command Council declared Thursday that "the time has come for the discussion of the embargo at the end of April." The talks should begin the process of lifting the sanctions "immediately and without delay."

The official Iraqi News Agency said following a meeting chaired by Saddam, the ruling council declared that those who oppose ending the embargo "would bear the responsibility of the future crisis and what comes to hurt our people."

On Feb. 23, Secretary-General Kofi Annan signed an agreement with the Iraqis in which they agreed to open all sites including Saddam's eight presidential compounds to the weapons inspectors.

The agreement averted a threatened U.S.-British military strike to force Iraq to grant unrestricted access. Iraq then allowed a U.N. team to visit all eight presidential compounds.

On Wednesday, the inspectors said they found no banned materials in the palaces. They quoted Iraqi Lt. Gen. Amr Rasheed as saying Iraq did not believe it had agreed to unlimited and repeated visits by the inspectors.

Annan told reporters Thursday that the Iraqis had clearly agreed to allow the inspectors "to go in again and go back again" as often as they believed necessary.

Annan said those terms were accepted by Iraq during negotiations with Saddam himself and signed by deputy prime minister, Tariq Aziz.

"I would hope that if there's going to be a change in policy, it will come from that level and the same source," he said.

The U.N. Special Commission, which performs the weapons inspections, submitted a report to Annan on Thursday outlining the status of Iraqi compliance over the last six months.

The report, which will be forwarded to the 15 Security Council members, has not been released. But U.N. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it would conclude that Iraq has not provided adequate evidence that it has destroyed all banned weapons.

Officials said the Iraqis have still provided little information on its suspected biological weapons program, which Baghdad only acknowledged four years after the inspections began in 1991.

Despite the embargo, Iraq has been allowed to export $2.14 billion worth of oil every six months to buy food and medicine. The Security Council voted to increase that to $5.26 billion in June.

But a team of experts working for the United Nations said Thursday that Iraq's petroleum industry is in such a "deplorable state" that it cannot meet the higher target.

The team, from the Dutch oil firm Saybol, said Iraq probably could not even produce the $4 billion of oil it had estimated. The experts said Iraq's refineries and production facilities were in poor condition due to lack of spare parts, "significant pollution" and environmental damage.

Annan told the Security Council that Iraq needed about $300 million worth of spare parts and equipment to upgrade its oil facilities, and urged diplomats to authorize their purchase.

CHN Commentary 4-14-98

The Mid East March to Peace

The "courtship" of Saudi Arabia by the separate "camps" trying to influence the balance of power in the Middle East has taken center stage in what appears to be an 'all out' effort to gain the upper hand at this crucial time in the peace negotiations.......

The main intention of the "courtship" is to convince the Saudi's to break free from their American strangle hold.

As previously reported, Iran has presented the Saudi's with their plan, and they are now in day four of a nine day live ammunition naval exercise in the Gulf code named "Unity". This is Iran's attempt to show the Saudi's that their two Muslim Nations can run security on the Gulf...with no American presence needed.

Iraq has countered this by inviting Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt to a conference to discuss an all Arab alliance for the same purpose. Saddam intentionally left out inviting Jordan, full well knowing that the King "is" America's man on the scene; therefore, the enemy.......

Jordan counters this by announcing that there is no use in holding any Arab Summit at this time if there can not be assurances going in that a unified Arab stand can be had on the main question of the Israeli/Palestinian peace track. Jordan also denies that she wasn't invited to Saddam's party.

In the mean time, Israel is standing in the wings watching how Arafat is pursuing their agreed upon goal of eliminating his terrorist factions, and is applauding what it sees so far in the arrest of upwards of 300 Hamas activists. The contention being, that if you want statehood, then you must be in control of your territory....like Egypt and Jordan are....!!

So, the flurry of high stakes diplomacy is in high gear, and it is either forcing out a solution, or forcing it's retreat at this time. There is no doubt that the scene remains "prophetically perfect" for the solution to occur at this time if the "window" is still open for the 'hindering force' to be removed...

God is in control, and we will remain vigilant and faithful to our ''watching'' .......

Luke 12:37

....back up articles

New York Times April 12, 1998

Saudis Make Nice With Iranians

By Elaine Sciolino

Key Statement: "....Saudi Arabia's close relationship with America and the large U.S. military presence in the gulf have created friction between the Saudis and the Iranians. Pentagon planners wonder whether the two countries could eventually reach an understanding on dictating limits on the U.S. military presence...."

WASHINGTON -- For half a century, the Persian Gulf has held a crucial place in U.S. policy-making. Repeatedly, its oil and its leaders have drawn the United States into its sometimes deadly games, even as its rivalries and intrigues have confounded U.S. strategy.

So the United States can end up preoccupied with the smallest events, on the assumption that they may be the prelude to something big.

This is one of those times. Saudi Arabia, America's closest ally in the Persian Gulf, and Iran, one of Washington's most bitter foes, have been busy trying to charm each other. Nobody in Washington thinks the basic relationships among the three countries have shifted.

But U.S. officials are taking notice, aware that even subtle atmospheric changes can have far-reaching psychological effects in the Middle East.

In the two decades since Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini fomented Iran's revolution, the Saudis and Iranians have never been particularly close. Khomeini asserted that all the gulf Arab monarchies -- including Saudi Arabia -- were illegitimate. Even in death, he spewed venom against the Saudis. His last will and testament called for the public cursing of the Saudi royal family for "treachery" against the House of God.

Since then, Saudi Arabia and Iran have moved slowly -- very slowly -- to shape a more normal relationship. That effort accelerated late last year, when Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah met Iranian President Mohammed Khatami in Tehran at the summit of Islamic countries. After two meetings, the Iranian cleric and the Saudi prince gave signals that they had, in a manner of speaking, bonded.

This "is the start of a new era in relations between the two big countries of the region," Khatami told Abdullah. "I truly feel that I am in my own country," the crown prince replied.

The feel-good encounters were followed by a pilgrimage by former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to Mecca in March. The pilgrimage was a kind of dry run for Khatami, who has now been invited to visit Saudi Arabia.

These days, there are no more rumblings from the kingdom that Iran might have been involved in the terrorist bombing of an apartment building in Saudi Arabia in 1996 that left 19 U.S. servicemen dead. In fact, Saudi Arabia announced last month that it would allow its national airline to fly in and out of Tehran for the first time since shortly after the revolution.

So the question in Washington is: What's up?

It's not that the Saudis no longer feel a threat from Iran. They do. They have no illusion that Iran has abandoned its long-term goal of dominance in the gulf. And in the strict religious tradition of the Wahabi branch of Islam that dominates Saudi Arabia, Iran's Shiites come close to being apostates.

But the Saudis also want to get along. It takes only 15 minutes for a fighter jet from Iran's southern port of Bushehr to reach Saudi Arabia's northern oil fields. Saudi Arabia has serious problems with its own restless Shiites. The two countries are OPEC's largest oil producers, and a coordinated oil policy is in the interests of both. And gestures of reconciliation further isolate their mutual enemy of the moment, Iraq.

So Abdullah has little reason to ignore an Iranian leader who preaches a desire to reach out and touch his neighbors.

"Does all this mean that the Saudis trust the Iranians or that the Iranians trust the Saudis?" asked Anthony Cordesman, the military analyst and author. "Hell, no. The basic power structure of the gulf is a constant balancing and rebalancing act. They are trying to exploit opportunities and jockey for power. It's basic balance-of-power politics."

And that is where the U.S. anxiety comes in, because the United States is a crucial player in the balancing act. Saudi Arabia's close relationship with America and the large U.S. military presence in the gulf have created friction between the Saudis and the Iranians. Pentagon planners wonder whether the two countries could eventually reach an understanding on dictating limits on the U.S. military presence.

The stability of the Saudi kingdom is of so much concern to the United States that since the bombing of the military housing, a special task force of analysts has been studying the kingdom under the same rigorous process used to assess the most serious potential threats to U.S. national security.

The Saudis who hold power now are not about to walk away from the United States, of course. It's just that the relationship is a lot more difficult than when King Fahd was in good health, in charge and eager to please the United States. Crown Prince Abdullah, who is running the country on a day-to-day basis, simply isn't as likely as his brother the king to say yes every time the United States asks for something.

When Defense Secretary William Cohen visited in February in a vain effort to win support for possible military action against Iraq, Crown Prince Abdullah simply made himself unavailable. Prince Sultan, the defense minister, stood in.

A week later, the crown prince did turn up for a meeting with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Ever-protective of his boss, State Department spokesman James Rubin said she found the encounter "fascinating"; other officials described it as a stern lecture by Abdullah on the failings of U.S. policy in the Middle East, followed by an equally stern defense by Ms. Albright.

The Iranians, meanwhile, are not about to embrace the United States. They have been demanding for two decades that the U.S. military leave the gulf, and that is not likely to change. But already the Saudis have urged the Clinton administration to help along Iran's new president and have offered to mediate.

One thought remains profoundly comforting to the policy planners in Washington. Whatever else is going on between Saudi Arabia and Iran, trust is not part of the equation.

Crown Prince Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain, one of Saudi Arabia's close neighbors, shared a joke recently with a senior U.S. official visiting the sheikdom. In Iran, he said, "You have three people in charge: You have Khamenei, and he is in charge of religion and terrorism," referring to Iran's ruling spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. "You have Rafsanjani, and he is in charge of business and terrorism. And you have Khatami, and he is in charge of internal politics, moderation and terrorism."

Global Intelligence Update Red Alert April 13, 1998

Iran Announces Major Naval Exercise

Key Statement: "....All of this is designed to give the Saudis food for thought in the coming weeks, as their diplomacy with Iran moves into high gear, and as alternatives to that diplomacy are generated by Egypt, Jordan and the United States...."

The Iranian news agency, IRNA, is reporting that the Iranians began a major naval exercise on Sunday. Named Ettehad, or Unity, the exercise is the largest and most complex ever undertaken by the Iranian Navy. The exercise will center on three Russian manufactured Kilo Class submarines, the Tareq, Nouh and Younes. Also participating in the war game will be two destroyers, the Sabalan and Alborz, two frigates, two troop carriers, two supply ships, several smaller craft, three helicopters, three F-4 Phantom jets and a reconnaissance aircraft. There will be 15,000 personnel participating, including a frogmen unit. The exercise, which will consist of three phases staged over nine days, will take place both within the Persian Gulf and in the Oman Sea, bracketing the Straits of Hormuz. According to Admiral Abbas Mohtaj, commander of the Iranian Navy, the purpose of the exercise will be to practice night refueling for vessels, air control procedures, air defense and electronic warfare.

In looking at the warships involved, it is clear that an additional element is being tested: amphibious warfare including special naval operations. Obviously, the Kilo Class submarines will be practicing interdiction tactics in order to demonstrate their ability to threaten U.S. warships and to close the Straits of Hormuz, through which Persian Gulf oil flows. However, it is clear that one mission they will be practicing is the landing of amphibious forces, an operation in which the submarines would be used to screen the amphibious force from enemy warships. They would also practice coordinating air control and defense to establish air superiority over the beachhead.

It strikes us as interesting that the Iranians have chosen to release such a detailed list of participating vessels as well as a list of missions to be practiced. The presence of troop carriers in the fleet and the explicit mention of frogmen clearly indicate that amphibious warfare is being practiced. Thus, while the Iranians are emphasizing that the purpose of the mission is to demonstrate their ability to project force against foreign forces (read U.S. forces), they are also clearly signaling their interest and ability in carrying out operations that threaten the security of their neighbors.

The Iranians have emphasized that these war games have been named Unity in order to signal Iranian interest in forging closer ties with other Islamic nations in the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea littoral. Indeed, these war games are taking place in the context of intense diplomatic activity in the region, focusing on an extensive exchange of visits between Iranian and Saudi Arabian officials. The Iranian interior minister just completed a visit to Saudi Arabia; senior Saudi officials are expected in Tehran this week; and a visit to Saudi Arabia by President Khatami of Iran is also anticipated.

We have maintained for a while that Iran is interested in creating a regional security system designed for two purposes. First, they wish to force the United States out of the Persian Gulf. Second, they want regional support for a reversal of the outcome of their war with Iraq. Of late, the Iranians have been working very hard to convince regional powers that they wish to improve their relations with Iraq. This has included an exchange of prisoners, exchange of holiday greetings and a willingness to allow the Russians to mediate between the two countries. However, at the same time as the exercise was launched, the Iranians pointed out that there were two things they wished from Iraq in order to continue the process of confidence building. These were that the Iraqis allow Iranians to visit holy sites in Iraq, and that the Iraqis hand over the leaders of anti- Iranian guerillas being held by Baghdad. The former would permit Iranian agents to roam over Iraq while the latter would require that Iraq give away a key asset in its confrontation with Iran simply to increase Iran's confidence. Thus, the Iranians are trying to appear accommodating in order to demonstrate to Saudi Arabia that they are not the source of tension with Iraq. Simultaneously, their demands on Iraq, while appearing absolutely reasonable, are designed to kill the deal.

Thus, we believe that these exercises have a serious military purpose in mind: to practice the sorts of amphibious and special operations that would be required in the event of an attempt by Iran to retake territory lost to Iraq. They also have a political purpose: to demonstrate to Saudi Arabia and others in the region the Iranians' growing military capability and to show non-Iraqi, Arab states in the region that dealing with Iran now would be a rational decision. There is also an implicit threat here. The Iranians are demonstrating their ability to close the Straits of Hormuz and cut the flow of Persian Gulf oil.

All of this is designed to give the Saudis food for thought in the coming weeks, as their diplomacy with Iran moves into high gear, and as alternatives to that diplomacy are generated by Egypt, Jordan and the United States. One other thing is giving the Saudis food for thought: a major political crisis has blown up inside Iran over the arrest of Tehran's mayor against the wishes of President Khatami. Apparently carried out by conservative supporters of the Ayatollah Khamenei, the affair has deeply divided the Iranian government and, if not rapidly contained, could undermine President Khatami's position and destroy his brilliant and subtle diplomatic maneuvering. And that would, of course, make the Iranian Navy's muscle flexing quite pointless.

CNN 11 April 1998 Web posted at: 01:46 GST, New York time (21:46 GMT)

Iran minister says ties with Saudi set to expand

Key Statement: "....Iran said last week Khatami would visit Saudi Arabia at the invitation of King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah and that Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal would visit Iran soon...."

TEHRAN, April 10 (Reuters) - Iranian Interior Minister Abdollah Nouri said on Friday his country's relations with Saudi Arabia were "very good" and getting better, the Iranian news agency IRNA reported.

"Nouri...stated that (Saudi Arabian) King Fahd asked for promotion of relations in political, cultural, social, technological and religious areas," the agency said after Nouri's return from Saudi Arabia.

He said relations were presently "very good, and...on an upward trend of growth."

Nouri's visit, his first to Saudi Arabia, was the latest by several senior Iranian officials since a thaw in ties after the election last year of moderate President Mohammad Khatami.

Saudi-Iranian ties soured after Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini toppled the pro-Western shah in 1979.

Iran's staging of anti-U.S. rallies during haj, the largest annual Moslem gathering in Saudi Arabia, led to further tensions between the two regional heavyweights.

In 1987, 402 people, mostly Iranians died in clashes with Saudi security forces at an Iranian-led rally. Iran boycotted the haj for three years as a result.

But Iranian officials were more conciliatory this year. As in the past few years, the rally was held earlier this week at an Iranian haj compound and Saudi authorities did not intervene.

Iran said last week Khatami would visit Saudi Arabia at the invitation of King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah and that Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal would visit Iran soon.

JERUSALEM POST Monday, April 13, 1998 17 Nisan 5758

Opinion

Are they ready for peace?

Key Statement: "....If Arafat is too weak to fight against Islamic extremism like Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak or Jordan's King Hussein, he cannot demand that Israel treat him like a head of a centralized state which can negotiate peace treaties...."

By Efraim Inbar

(April 13) - Even though it quickly became clear that Israeli agents were not involved in the killing of Hamas terrorist Muhi Sharif last month, the state of alert declared by Israeli security forces to prevent a terrorist attack on Israeli civilians was not cancelled.

The Hamas leaders in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority continue to promise revenge, i.e. Israeli casualties.

The main question hovering in the air is not whether they will be successful and more Israelis will pay with their lives to fulfill the chimera of several blood-thirsty radical Islamists.

At stake is not whether Israel can live in the shadow of terrorism. Israel has survived terrorist attacks in the past. It can and should pay the costly price of being subject to terrorist attacks if this leads to an improvement of Israel's overall strategic situation and to better relations with our neighbors.

Palestinian terrorism has always been a strategic nuisance and it is not a serious security challenge to Israel. What is at stake is whether the Palestinians in the territories are really ready for peace with Israel.

Since Oslo, Palestinian terrorism has become a litmus test for our relations with the Palestinians, our closest neighbors.

Despite their solemn promises of September 1993, Yasser Arafat and the PA leadership have failed to distance themselves unequivocally from acts of violence against Israel.

The Hamas terrorist infrastructure has remained intact. The organization's weapons were not confiscated; there is only a ban on displaying them in public. Hamas still has an undisturbed recruitment apparatus and training bases, as well as a network of workshops to produce explosives and bombs of various kinds.

The inflammatory calls for armed Jihad against the Jewish state never ceased. Moreover, PA officials participate in the funerals of terrorists and even eulogize them. The PA tolerates within the territory under its jurisdiction the existence of armed militias, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, violently opposed to the peace process and even to the existence of the State of Israel.

The PA's friends in Israel and abroad constantly tell us that we must show understanding for Arafat's domestic constraints and/or weakness. Yet this is precisely why we must also question Arafat's suitability as a partner in a peace process: The reluctance to enter into an armed struggle against fellow Palestinians - and possibly a civil war - is natural. The fear that he would lose popularity by trying to eradicate the terrorist infrastructure of Hamas and Islamic Jihad is also understandable.

What is not reasonable is to expect Israel to tolerate the emergence of a Palestinian entity next to it which resembles a militia-torn Lebanon.

Arafat has not yet passed the test of any modern state - the establishment of a political entity which has a full monopoly over the bodies that use force. If Arafat is too weak to fight against Islamic extremism like Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak or Jordan's King Hussein, he cannot demand that Israel treat him like a head of a centralized state which can negotiate peace treaties. If he cannot deliver what he promises because he is weak or inept at ruling unruly Palestinians, he is not an appropriate partner for making agreements with us.

Unfortunately for the Palestinians, as well as for the Israelis, it seems doubtful whether Palestinian society has produced a leadership that can say openly to its people that it favors peace and opposes violence against Israel - and would vigorously implement this policy.

The alternative explanation of Arafat's inaction against the terrorist cells of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad is even more disturbing: Some experts claim that he is not weak, because he has enough muscle at his disposal (approximately 40,000 soldiers), as well as political capital to deal with the terrorist infrastructure, but he occasionally lacks the will to do so.

Bleeding Israel through terror is part of his negotiating tactic, just as Syrian President Hafez Assad is using the Hizbullah in Lebanon. But Assad never sent a letter to Rabin promising to stop the violence against Israelis and to disarm the militias.

We should not expect all promises to be kept, but we should make sure that if commitments on vital matters to Israel are violated, they are corrected to our satisfaction, or their violators are punished. Otherwise, there is no reason to stick to agreements signed with Israel. Additional concessions to an Arafat who has not yet internalized this simple matter is a recipe for more violations.

Disarming hostile militias on our border is an Israeli vital interest and a test of the intentions and capabilities of the emerging Palestinian entity. If the PA is unable or unwilling to deal with those who violently try to derail the peace process, the negotiations are doomed to failure. We may have no choice but to wait for the emergence of a new Palestinian leadership - one committed to coexistence with Israel and ready to suppress those Palestinians intent on destroying the Jewish state.

Jordan Times 4-14-98 News

Ensour: Mini Arab summit is pointless at this time

By Tareq Ayyoub

Key Statement: "....Dr. Ensour ruled out news reports that efforts were being exerted to hold an Arab summit without Jordan's presence and described such reports as "unrealistic and incorrect."...."

"....Responding to a question on whether the Kingdom was planning to mediate in the dispute between the two sides during a visit by the spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, to Jordan this week, Dr. Ensour said that Jordan was not part of the row and does not want to be involved...."

"....The official, who described the Hamas leader as a "freedom fighter," said that Sheikh Yassin was welcome in Jordan. He did not rule out a meeting between The Hamas leader and His Majesty King Hussein...."

AMMAN — Jordan on Saturday said that holding a mini Arab summit at this time is pointless and unnecessary.

Speaking to reporters following the weekly cabinet session, Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said that no invitation was extended to convene an Arab summit called for by Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

The Palestinian leader called on the 22-member Arab League to hold an urgent session to discuss the deadlock in the peace process and Israel's refusal to implement agreements signed with the Palestinians.

News agencies reported that Syria was planning to invite Egypt and Saudi Arabia to hold a three-party mini-summit to discuss the stalled peace process.

Arab League Secretary General Esmat Abdul Meguid was quoted as saying that it was up to the Arab leaders to convene a summit, but not the league.

Dr. Ensour ruled out news reports that efforts were being exerted to hold an Arab summit without Jordan's presence and described such reports as "unrealistic and incorrect."

"Until this moment, there are no invitations to hold this summit... there was a belief that such a summit was useless and not necessary at this stage," Dr. Ensour said.

The deputy prime minister called upon Israel to accept U.S. proposals to make a "sizeable" pullout from the West Bank.

He was referring to a proposal brought to the concerned parties by U.S. special envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross.

Last month, Mr. Ross ended an unsuccessful visit to the region where he shuttled between Israel and the Palestinian self-rule areas to convince the Israelis and Palestinians to resume negotiations.

"I would say that they [the Palestinians] have accepted these proposals in general... but they want to see more progress. It is time for the Israelis to respond to these proposals," Dr. Ensour said.

He added that the Kingdom hopes that the scheduled visit of Mr. Ross next week would help narrow the gap between the Palestinians and Israelis.

Dr. Ensour described Mr. Ross' forthcoming visit as "crucial and important" to peace making between the two sides.

The official also described an expected visit by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to the region as a "very important" trip that comes in line with the collective efforts to revive the peace process.

Mr. Blair plans to start a regional tour that would take him to Jordan, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian self-rule areas on April 19, the first such visit since the Labour Party's come-back to power in 1997.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ensour declined to comment on the row between the PNA and the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, following the PNA's report that the killing of a Hamas leader in the West Bank came as a result of an internal feud.

Responding to a question on whether the Kingdom was planning to mediate in the dispute between the two sides during a visit by the spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, to Jordan this week, Dr.

Ensour said that Jordan was not part of the row and does not want to be involved.

The official, who described the Hamas leader as a "freedom fighter," said that Sheikh Yassin was welcome in Jordan. He did not rule out a meeting between The Hamas leader and His Majesty King Hussein.

"We cannot ignore that Ahmad Yassin is an important personality and we welcome his visit to the Kingdom," Dr. Ensour added.

The Hamas leader, who was jailed for several years in Israeli prisons, was released in October following a foiled assassination attempt on the life of Hamas top leader Khalid Misha'al in Amman on Sept. 26 of last year.

Meanwhile, the government imposed a ban on publishing any news on the killing of a prominent lawyer, his son and a well-known psychiatrist in Amman last week.

Dr. Ensour said that the ban comes upon instructions "from judicial sources" to avoid infringement on the ongoing investigation of the murders of Hanna Naddeh, his son Suhail and Awni George Sa'ad, who were shot to death by unidentified gunmen in Sa'ad's clinic in the Shmeisani neighbourhood.

"The public prosecutor has ordered the local media not to publish anything on this case," Dr. Ensour said. "The investigation is in its earlier stages and any leakage of information would benefit the perpetrators."

"We will arrest the suspects. But I do not want to give a statement on the case," the official added.

"The government does not hide anything. The public prosecutor is still working on the case and the government will not reveal anything until the investigation is over."

Commenting on the release of detainees who were allegedly involved in the anti-government unrest in Ma'an in February, Dr. Ensour said that the court will rule on the charges against them despite being released on bail.

He said that 22 people who are still at large, and who declined to surrender, will be tried in absentia.

Jordan Times 4-15-98 News

Anani says preparations should ensure Arab summit yields positive results

Key Statement: "....Dr. Anani said proper preparations must be made ahead of the proposed summit to ensure that it will come up with positive results in support of the Palestinian position...."

AMMAN (Petra) — Deputy Prime Minister for Development Affairs and Foreign Minister Jawad Anani, Tuesday, voiced Jordan’s support for convening an Arab summit to discuss the stalled Middle East peace process.

In a statement to Radio Palestine, Dr. Anani said proper preparations must be made ahead of the proposed summit to ensure that it will come up with positive results in support of the Palestinian position.

Dr. Anani also called on Israel to live up to its commitments under the agreements reached with the Palestinians.

Regarding U.S. envoy Dennis Ross’ forthcoming visit to the region, Dr. Anani said the Palestinian side has responded positively to the American ideas, which Mr. Ross presented during his previous visit, but Mr. Ross has to convince Israel of adopting a similarly positive attitude.

The foreign minister called on Washington to present its initiative soon and to urge Israel to implement signed agreements.

CHN Commentary 4-11-98

The Mid East March to Peace

How "huge" is the Ulster Accord reached Friday, and does it bear any connection to our subject matter..??

Besides the obvious resemblance of long time bitter enemies in religion, land, and politics finally coming to terms after "years" of trying....the 'key' players to this peace accord are the same two men that are now on center stage and on the same threshold with the Israeli/Palestinian accords....President Clinton and Prime Minister Blair.

As the New York Times article says...the president was deeply involved in the final hours of Ulster and when it was over said,.."Friday's pact was an important incentive for that other foreign-policy issue with a huge domestic political constituency: the foundering Israeli-Palestinian peace talks...."

"The lesson is," he said, "just don't ever stop."

If we were writing the script to bring closure to Middle East peace, we couldn't have given it any more momentum then for these two key players to come out of closing one "deal", while walking into the same "need" in the Middle East "deal".

And the meetings are now scheduled, and the dates are set and have been announced...........

Prime Minister Blair is scheduled to arrive in Israel on April 19, along with American envoy Dennis Ross.

In the first news out of Amman, since the end of the Muslim Holy days, Jordan is hailing the Belfast accord.......naturally. [and their turn is coming]

Now, in preparation for putting the Israelis and Palestinians back on track while awaiting the "envoy's" to arrive, Arafat has demonstrated that he can and will dismantle Hamas as demanded by Israel. He has placed the blame squarely on 'infighting' in Hamas for the death of their 'bomber'...and he is now seeing to it that any terrorism from Hamas against Israel will be viewed as terrorism against the PNA...

That is a major move from Arafat..!!!

And now Iraq is blasting the Britts regarding the plan for "oil for food", accusing them of anti-Iraq statements and claiming that they and America are readying for a new assault against Iraq...

And while all this is happening, King Hussein is in Egypt discussing "matters" with Murbarak, in preparation for the upcoming "full-blown" Arab Summit......

Well, as we say..."watching" is where it's at.....and this is where "watching" has brought us...

.......and now the calendar has brought us to the defining time for our "window of opportunity" for our "warning sign" to occur for this year, if this is the year for the Rapture..!!!

They can't make the peace while the Church is on the scene........

........and now the time has come to find out...hang on tight and keep watching...

We love you Lord Jesus...!!!!!!

Luke 12:37

back up articles..........

NEW YORK TIMES April 11, 1998

Clinton Deeply Involved in Final Hours Before Ulster Accord

Key Statement: "....With a boost for his own reputation as a peacemaker willing to use American influence, Clinton said, "Friday's pact was an important incentive for that other foreign-policy issue with a huge domestic political constituency: the foundering Israeli-Palestinian peace talks...."

"The lesson is," he said, "just don't ever stop."

WASHINGTON -- President Clinton, whose 1994 overture to Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein helped bring the political wing of the Irish Republican Army to the peace table, was deeply involved as the Ulster talks concluded, cajoling and prodding both republicans and Unionists to step out of their parochial interests and take historic risks for peace.

>From midnight in Washington until 5 A.M., and then again Friday morning at about 11, Clinton worked the phones and spoke to every major figure involved: Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain; Prime Minister Bertie Ahern of Ireland; David Trimble of the Ulster Unionist Party, and twice to John Hume, the moderate leader of the Social Democratic and Labor Party, and Adams, whom Clinton was most responsible for bringing to the bargaining table.

The President also had a long conversation at a crucial moment, at about 3:15 A.M. Washington time, with the former Senator George J. Mitchell, his emissary, who has overseen the Belfast talks for 22 months and whom all parties credit with extraordinary patience, firmness and fairness.

With a boost for his own reputation as a peacemaker willing to use American influence, Clinton said Friday's pact was an important incentive for that other foreign-policy issue with a huge domestic political constituency: the foundering Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

"The lesson is," he said, "just don't ever stop."

Clinton was weary but exultant Friday, calling this "the best chance for peace in a generation" for the Irish and praising the courage of the participants, who took the important risks, he said, and the fortitude of the two Prime Ministers.

He warned that the pact alone was just a step. "In the days to come, there may be those who will try to undermine this great achievement, not only with words but perhaps also with violence," he said.

Clinton was asked to intervene at two key moments, first with the Catholic nationalists, and then with the Protestant Unionists, in both cases to encourage the party leaders that he would support them if they took big risks.

Blair and Ahern called jointly to ask for his help.

The first was to deal with a threat by Adams to walk out of the talks, and the second was to deal with a similar threat by the Trimble.

According to Representative Peter T. King, a New York Republican who was on the telephone himself with Sinn Fein negotiators, Adams believed that Trimble was receiving too many concessions to keep him in the talks. Adams's key concern, shared by Hume, was that the North-South bodies that would give Dublin a say in the affairs of Northern Ireland were being weakened too much at the last minute.

So Clinton spoke to Adams at about 12:50 A.M. Washington time for 25 minutes, and then to Hume, who has helped Adams with difficult decisions, at about 1:50 A.M. for 10 minutes.

Clinton reminded Adams of the risks of failure for the children of the island, as well as for the nationalist cause.

"He helped the parties reflect on the stakes and lift themselves out of the details and see the opportunities the agreement offered," a senior Administration official said.

Clinton offered no specific aid or promise, but his long conversation with Mitchell to discuss the nationalist concerns and get a briefing on the talks prompted more intervention by the Prime Ministers. Clinton spoke again to Adams at about 5 A.M.

In the end, a compromise was found between Trimble's desire to have the North-South bodies solely dependent on the Assembly, where the majority Protestants would have greater say, and Adam's insistence that the bodies have a life of their own and go into effect through legislation in Dublin and London.

Later, at about 11 A.M. Friday, Washington time, there was another crisis, with Trimble, and Clinton spoke with him and Blair. The issues here were three: how the I.R.A. would give up some of its weapons, called "decommissioning;" how police reform would be conducted, and how prisoner releases would be treated.

While White House officials refused to be too specific about exactly what Blair asked Clinton to do, in the end Blair agreed to give Trimble a separate letter explaining exactly how the British Government views decommissioning, British and American officials said.

Clinton worked as a go-between, especially for Adams, and Blair wanted Clinton's help in insuring that accommodations to Trimble would not cause Adams to leave the talks.

British and Irish officials praised Clinton for his labors, as did key American legislators like Representative King and Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat who has been pushing for moderation in Ireland and American involvement in peacemaking there for decades, often alongside Hume.

The decision in 1994 to give Adams a visa to visit the United States -- despite furious opposition from Britain, Attorney General Janet Reno and then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher -- was "the key," Senator Kennedy said, because it allowed Adams the political space to move from alleged terrorist to statesman.

As important, said Anthony Cary, a spokesman for the British Embassy, Clinton was the first American President "genuinely involved in helping to bring about peace in Northern Ireland without playing to the domestic gallery all the time."

Clinton kept in touch, and kept pressing Blair, like John Major before him, and Ahern, like Albert Reynolds before him, while being prepared to make calls and put pressure on all parties, in particular Adams and Sinn Fein, and through them, the I.R.A. itself.

Jordan Times 4-11-98 News

Iraq blasts British plan for ‘oil-for-food’ talks

Key Statement: ".... "British officials have in February and March issued anti-Iraq statements and have taken part actively in fabricating lies and mobilised their naval forces in the Arabian gulf to set the stage for the launch of a new American-British assault against Iraq."...."

BAGHDAD (R) — Iraq on Friday blasted Britain’s move to organize a conference aimed at speeding up implementation of a U.N. plan to allow sanctions-hit Iraq to sell more oil for food.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Said Al Sahhaf urged a boycott of the conference, which British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has said would discuss how to implement effectively an increase in the amount of oil Iraq can sell to $5.2 billion every six months from the current $2 billion.

“Iraq considers the British endeavour to convene this conference a devious attempt both in its formulation and its goals because Britain is not neutral,” Mr. Sahhaf said, in remarks carried by the official Iraq News Agency (INA).

“Iraq denounces this suspect British endeavour which seems to aim to set the stage to provide the cover to make the [U.N.] embargo binding and tied to conditions contradicting the legal meaning of the Security Council resolutions,” he added.

Iraq says it cannot produce more than $4 billion worth of oil every six months because of technical problems caused by damage inflicted during the Gulf war and the sanctions imposed after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Mr. Cook said in a speech last month that the meeting, grouping all the key bodies, including U.N. agencies and various non-governmental groups, would look at the best ways of spending the money and at what programmes would be implemented.

Britain and the United States have accused Iraqi President Saddam Hussein of deliberately blocking the “oil-for-food” scheme and say he is to blame for his people’s suffering.

Mr. Sahhaf said Britain “was not committed to removing the sanctions against Iraq after making sure that it has implemented its commitments.”

He added: “British officials have in February and March issued anti-Iraq statements and have taken part actively in fabricating lies and mobilised their naval forces in the Arabian gulf to set the stage for the launch of a new American-British assault against Iraq.”

A U.S. naval armada remains poised in the Gulf, but U.N. officials now speak of a new chapter in relations with Baghdad following the successful completion last week of the first round of U.N. inspections of Iraq’s presidential palaces.

A Feb. 23 pact between Iraq and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, allowing the inspectors unfettered access to all eight sites, averted a U.S. military strike against Iraq.

Mr. Sahhaf urged all parties that have received invitations not to attend the meeting. “This conference is nothing but a mistaken attempt to create a new crisis,” he added.

“Iraq’s interest lies first of all in lifting the tyrannous embargo imposed eight years ago, which makes Britain not suitable to talk objectively of any contribution to the benefit of Iraq and the Iraqi people,” he added.

Jordan Times 4-11-98 News

Hamas rejects PNA’s demands to stop accusations on Sharif’s death

Key Statement: "....Mr. Abdul Rahim denied the authority was seeking a confrontation with Hamas, the main Palestinian group opposed to peace with Israel, but said splits within the movement were a possible "threat to Palestinian security...."

"Israel has demanded that the PNA dismantle Hamas as a condition for pursuing the peace process, which has been deadlocked for more than a year...."

GAZA CITY (AFP) — Hamas rejected on Friday demands by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) that it stop accusing Palestinian officials of killing its chief bombmaker, amid mounting tensions between Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s administration and the Islamist group.

The rejection flew in the face of demands by a top Arafat aide that Hamas toe the authority’s line over the killing of Mohieddin Sharif, as Palestinian police moved against the group and the press to silence the Hamas accusations.

Overnight, police arrested Hamas spokesman Abdul Aziz Rantissi, who accused senior Palestinian security chief Jabril Rajoub of killing Sharif and rejected the authority’s claim he was slain by a rival Hamas leader in an internal dispute.

Police expanded the push by closing down the Gaza City office of the international news agency Reuters after it broadcast an interview with a man claiming to be Adul Awadallah, the leader accused by police of killing Sharif.

In the tape, the masked man repeated the accusations that Colonel Rajoub had killed Sharif. “The Reuters correspondent intentionally broadcast news and subjects which spread divisions in Palestinian society. The closure is only temporary,” Ghazi Al Jebali, head of the Palestinian police, told journalists.

After the police moves, top Arafat aide Tayeb Abdul Rahim insisted: “Sharif’s killer must be apprehended, and we have asked Hamas to cooperate in this.”

“Hamas must also stop its media campaign against the authority,” Mr. Abdul Rahim told AFP.

But Hamas responded Friday in a statement, accusing the authority of trying to “prevent us from revealing the facts and dispelling [its] weak story” over Sharif’s death.

“We maintain the right to tell the truth to the Palestinian public. The damning truths show that [Israel] and its security services is responsible for the assassination of Sharif, with the help of Rajub,” the statement said.

Hamas said Mr. Abdul Rahim’s demands and the police moves against Mr. Rantissi and Reuters “confirmed just how fragile and ridiculous the authority’s story is.”

The death of Sharif, who was hunted by Israel for his role in planning suicide attacks which have killed dozens of Israelis since 1994, sparked a confrontation in Palestinian ranks when the authority said he had been slain by Mr. Awadallah in a fight over leadership.

Mr. Awadallah reportedly heads Hamas’s armed wing, Ezzedin Al Qassam, in the West Bank and like Sharif is wanted by Israel for his role in bomb attacks.

Hamas vehemently denied the police claim, then escalated tensions by accusing Col. Rajub of killing Sharif and accusing Mr. Abdul Rahim and other Palestinian officials of seeking to cover up the murder in a bid to appease Israel.

Mr. Abdul Rahim denied the authority was seeking a confrontation with Hamas, the main Palestinian group opposed to peace with Israel, but said splits within the movement were a possible “threat to Palestinian security.”

“We are not waging a campaign against Hamas as a political group. But this is a dangerous development and could have consequences for Palestinian security,” he said.

“We will not allow Hamas to run its own underground courts which issue death sentences and throw bodies in the street,” he said.

President Arafat’s administration and Hamas clashed previously in 1995, during a power struggle soon after the authority’s creation which climaxed when Palestinian police killed 13 Hamas members during a march by the group.

Israel has demanded that the PNA dismantle Hamas as a condition for pursuing the peace process, which has been deadlocked for more than a year.

Jordan Times 4-11-98 News

Israel on security alert for Passover

Key Statement: "....The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) cleared Israel of responsibility in Sharif's killing, saying their investigation showed the Islamist was slain by fellow Hamas members in an internal power struggle...."

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israel prepared to begin the Jewish Passover holiday Friday with its security forces on special alert for possible Islamist attacks to avenge the death of Hamas bomb-maker Mohieddin Sharif.

Hundreds of extra soldiers and police were deployed in Israeli cities, Jewish settlements and popular tourist spots, notably those in the West Bank, officials said.

The alert is expected to heighten further as of Sunday when the five-day ’Eid Al Adha, ends and the likelihood of an Islamist attack is believed to increase.

Extra soldiers will be sent Sunday to the divided West Bank city of Hebron where the zealous community of Jewish settlers organize an annual Passover street celebration.

“The higher level of alert is justified by the threats of attacks by Palestinian Islamic militants and will be maintained until the start of May after the celebrations marking Israel’s 50th anniversary,” said police minister Avigdor Kahalani.

Concern over possible bombings or other attacks was particularly high following threats by the Islamist group Hamas to avenge the death of Sharif, whose body was found March 29 at the scene of a car-bomb explosion in the Palestinian-ruled West Bank city of Ramallah.

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) cleared Israel of responsibility in Sharif’s killing, saying their investigation showed the Islamist was slain by fellow Hamas members in an internal power struggle.

Hamas has rejected this version and accused Palestinian police of collaborating with Israel to kill Sharif, considered a key figure behind a spate of suicide bombings which killed dozens of Israelis over the past four years.

Israeli security officials fear that an escalating feud between Hamas and the PNA over the affair could lead to Hamas attacks, not on Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s administration but on Israel.

In a series of statements issued this week, the armed branch of Hamas vowed massive revenge attacks against Israel and Jewish interests worldwide.

The Israeli government has warned it would hold the PNA responsible for any terror attacks, asserting that Mr. Arafat has failed to honour his commitment under peace agreements to uproot the armed opposition group.

Passover, which begins at sundown Friday and lasts eight days, celebrates Jews’ escape from slavery in Egypt in biblical times, which was considered the defining moment in the creation of the Jewish people.

The holiday begins with the festive Seder supper Friday night, a tradition observed by even non-practicing Jewish families.

Despite the security alert inside Israel and around Jewish settlements in occupied areas, the Israeli army has not followed its practice of recent years of sealing off the Palestinian territories for the holiday.

Military sources said senior generals opposed imposing a travel ban on West Bank and Gaza Palestinians, which would prevent tens of thousands of labourers from their day jobs in Israel.

“We decided as a policy that we would allow the continued movement of people as in the past few months” when the travel restrictions have been gradually relaxed, said General Yaacov Orr, coordinator of Israeli activities in the occupied territories.

Israel routinely seals the territories, sometimes for months, after big anti-Israeli attacks and during major holidays, creating widespread economic hardships which many say fuel despair and extremism among the Palestinians.

Jordan Times 4-11-98 News

Jordan hails Belfast accord

AMMAN (J.T.) — Deputy Prime Minister for Development Affairs and Foreign Minister Jawad Anani welcomed Friday the comprehensive accord reached in Belfast after a period of conflict that had engulfed Northern Ireland.

The accord crowned a week-long marathon of negotiations, Dr. Anani said in a phone call with Jordan Television.

N. Ireland breakthrough reached

BELFAST (AP) — Heralding a new era of cooperation in a land torn by national allegiance and religion, politicians reached a comprehensive accord Friday on governing British-ruled Northern Ireland.

The breakthrough — the biggest political development since conflict engulfed Northern Ireland in 1969 — capped a week-long negotiating marathon driven by the American talks chairman, George Mitchell, and the prime ministers of Britain and Ireland, Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern.

“Even now, this will not work unless in your will and in your mind you make it work, unless we extend the hand of friendship to those who were once foes,” British Prime Minister Tony Blair said, speaking directly to the people of Northern Ireland.

“Today we just have a sense of the prize that is before us. The work to win that prize goes on,” said Mr. Blair, standing next to Mr. Ahern.

“None of us has achieved all that we started out to achieve, but each of us can point to real and meaningful gains,” Mr. Ahern said.

The announcement came on Good Friday, more than 17 hours past a midnight deadline set by Mr. Mitchell to force the pace in the negotiations which began 22 months ago after years of preparation.

The British government said leaders of the eight participating parties wouldn’t be required to sign the accord.

The agreement, subject to approval by voters in both parts of Ireland next month, offers a hope of ending for good a conflict that has claimed more than 3,400 lives in Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic and Britain.

“Tonight we can say to the men of violence all across Northern Ireland, those who disdain democracy, those whose tools are bombs and bullets: your way is not the right way. You will never solve the problems of Northern Ireland by violence, you will only make them worse,” Mr. Mitchell said at a final meeting with smiling, applauding party leaders.

The key points of this agreement, if implemented, will mean substantial changes to relations between Britain and the Republic of Ireland and especially to Northern Ireland, the territory where the two nations’ interests and identities have so bitterly overlapped for decades.

Protestants and Catholics will be expected to govern their land of 1.6 million people together in a 108-member assembly.

That would end 26 years of “direct rule” from London, instituted after the British abolished a Protestant-dominated parliament that had governed Northern Ireland since its creation in 1921.

The parties would participate in a governing Cabinet, with the largest party taking the role of a prime minister. Critically, the new Belfast assembly will be expected to cooperate formally with the Irish Republic in a north-south council of lawmakers. This measure is considered essential to win support from the north’s Catholics, who generally favour the unification of Ireland.

But the Protestant bloc appeared to have won a substantial concession, because the Belfast assembly will have the right to approve decisions taken by its members in the cross-border council. Catholics had pushed for the council to wield independent powers.

Critically, the IRA-allied Sinn Fein party — brought into the talks eight months ago following an Irish Republican Army truce — appears to have accepted the agreement, which stops so far short of its traditional goal of uniting Ireland.

Before the accord was announced, however, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said he would need the formal approval of grassroots members of the party, whose annual conference is scheduled later this month.

The Ulster Unionists, Northern Ireland’s main pro-British Protestant party, will also face stern opposition from Protestants who suspect that any settlement will concede too much to those seeking Irish unification.

The accord will have to be approved by majority votes next month in both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, where voters also will be asked to approve the softening of their constitution’s territorial claim to Northern Ireland.

The agreement does not mean a certain end to shootings and bombings in Northern Ireland, since dissidents have already broken away from both the IRA and those pro-British paramilitary groups who called truces to get into the talks.

Jordan Times 4-11-98 News

PNA worried U.S. is backing off proposals on peace process

Key Statement: "....Mr. Erekat said members of the U.S. administration wanted to delay publication of the proposals "to give Netanyahu time" to overcome opposition to the pullout within his right-wing ruling coalition...."

JERICHO (AFP) — The Palestinians said Friday they were afraid the United States had bowed to Israeli opposition and decided not to press U.S. proposals for breaking the deadlock in the peace process.

“Our information suggests that the U.S. administration has decided not to go public with the proposals for the time being, which is exactly what Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu wants,” said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

The Palestinians have repeatedly called on Washington to put on the table proposals which reportedly call on Israel to conduct a troop withdrawal from 13 per cent of the West Bank.

Mr. Netanyahu has rejected that size of withdrawal as too large and has pressed the United States not to come forward with a plan.

Mr. Erekat said members of the U.S. administration wanted to delay publication of the proposals “to give Netanyahu time” to overcome opposition to the pullout within his right-wing ruling coalition.

“But whoever thinks Netanyahu will say yes to the proposals is dreaming. This is giving him more cover and more time to stall and elude his commitments,” Mr. Erakat said.

“We have told those concerned that the more time given to Netanyahu is more time wasted for the peace process,” he said.

U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross, who last month met with both sides in a bid to push the U.S. ideas, is due to return to the region the week of April 19 for a second attempt.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair is also due to arrive on April 19, to be followed by visits by U.S. Defence Minister William Cohen and Vice President Al Gore, who is attending celebrations for the 50th anniversary of Israel’s creation.

“Voices in the administration are saying the U.S. initiative must be delayed because of the large number of visitors coming to the region,” Mr. Erekat said.

Jordan Times 4-11-98 News

King, Queen visit Egypt

Key Statement: "....King Hussein and President Mubarak welcomed the Palestinian stand vis-a-vis the resumption of the peace talks and urged the Israeli side to "adopt a similar position...."

SHARM AL SHEIKH (J.T.) — His Majesty King Hussein on Friday held official talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on bilateral relations, the latest developments in the Mideast peace process and efforts exerted by the U.S. and the European Union “to end the deadlock,” particularly on the Palestinian-Israeli track.

King Hussein and President Mubarak welcomed the Palestinian stand vis-a-vis the resumption of the peace talks and urged the Israeli side to “adopt a similar position in order to find a solution to the outstanding problems and implement honestly and in full the agreements reached so far with the Palestinians.”

They also voiced their hope of “resuming the peace talks on the Syrian-Israeli and Lebanese-Israeli tracks to reach a just and comprehensive settlement which would allow the concerned people of the region to use their resources for their economic development.”

President Mubarak accompanied King Hussein to some touristic sites in the Sharm Al Sheikh area. The King was accompanied by Her Majesty Queen Noor, Prince Hamzeh, Royal Court Chief Fayez Tarawneh and Prince Ghazi Ben Mohammad, the cultural adviser to the King.

CHN Commentary 4-9-98

The Mid East March to Peace

The Arab "Mini summit", which was only a whisper 10 days ago, seems to have suddenly been shouted into a full Arab Summit with an expanded agenda, according to a GIU Red Alert.

The UAE and Egypt are calling for all Arab nations to participate, and in addition to a full discussion on the peace process, plans to launch a "new initiative of reconciliation between Iraq and the Gulf States will also be on the agenda". Ordinarily, this would have been viewed as a very provocative action, were it not for the sudden intrusion of Iran into the Arab/oil price-stabilizing formula.

It seems that with the bottom falling out from under the price of oil due to over production, Saudi Arabia is the big financial loser. She desperately needs a price reversal to keep from collapsing, and a cut of 2 million barrels a day on top of the proposed cutbacks would facilitate that. So, the Saudi Royal family is listening to Irans' sinister plan of not allowing Iraq to pump her allotment of 2.3 million barrels a day into the market place. Part of Iran's plan is to convince the Saudi's that the two of them should replace the US as the policeman of the Middle East. GIU sees a substantial possibility of unilateral Iranian action against Iraq in the coming quarter.

The Arab brotherhood is aware of Iran's intentions and thus the Arab Summit..................

The following three GIU articles give a fascinating look inside of the real life intrigue that is playing out on the stage of history as this time in the Middle East. The outcome of all of this intrigue would be quite a mystery if it weren't for God's word. In the prophecy of Daniel we are told that the ten kings will meet and one will rise up speaking flattering words and will strike the formula for peace with the Jews and Jerusalem.

Knowing what the prophecy says, and watching these events lining up with seeming preciseness, it is truly with bated breath we await what could be the opening salvo of spiritual phenomenon characterized in the Feast of Firstfruits scheduled for 4/12......

Is this the year for the Rapture.....?? Firstfruits holds the answer.......if the dead in Christ rise, God will have issued His warning.......

We will all be watching.........

Firstfruits is 3 days away......

Luke 12:37

........back up articles

#1 Global Intelligence Update Red Alert April 8, 1998

Arab States Plan Summit--Seek Reconciliation with Iraq

United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan and his Egyptian counterpart, President Hosni Mubarak, on Monday called for a full Arab summit aimed at remedying the "catastrophic situation" that has engulfed the Arab world. The two leaders raised the idea during a telephone conversation on the occasion of the Moslem holiday Eid al-Adha. Sheikh Zayed emphasized that the participation of all Arab countries was essential, and that "other countries which are hesitating to take part in such a summit must be encouraged" to attend.

The summit initiative was set in motion on March 30-31, when Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara, Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa, and Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri met in Riyadh with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal to discuss the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process. That meeting reportedly concluded with an agreement to hold an Arab mini-summit on the peace process, to include Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, and the Palestinian National Authority.

The Egyptian-UAE proposal expands not only the proposed attendance at the summit, but also the agenda. According to Doha newspaper "Al-Ahram," Sheikh Zayed also plans to launch a "new initiative of reconciliation between Iraq and the Gulf States." Al-Ahram reported that Sheikh Zayed plans to send delegates to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to discuss the issue. Iraq has been pressing its own diplomatic initiative, with particular focus on the Gulf states. Iraqi Justice Minister Shabib al-Maliki was warmly received during a March 28 visit with Sheikh Zayed in Abu Dhabi and during a visit the following day with the Sultan of Oman. A delegation of the Iraqi National Assembly also visited Qatar. Iraq has also been pressing for improved relations with Syria, and the UAE newspaper "Al-Ittihad" reported, during an early April visit of Shabib al-Maliki to Syria, that a summit would soon be held between Saddam Hussein and Syrian President Hafez al-Assad.

The Palestinian-Israeli issue will certainly be on the agenda of the proposed Arab summit, but what we find even more interesting is the likely discussion of Iraq. Iraq is trying to break out of its corner, and appears to have enlisted the support of the Gulf states and Syria. We suspect that part of the Iraqi appeal, particularly to the Gulf states, has been to raise the spectre of a regionally dominant Iran. The United States has sunk into complete irrelevance in the region, but Tehran's plan for regional stability clearly unsettles some of Iran's neighbors. We view this latest UAE-Egyptian initiative as an attempt to offer an Arab solution to the region's problems, to the exclusion of Iran.

We note with interest that Saudi Arabia, recruited to the Iranian plan over the past two months, has yet to speak out on the new Arab plan. Riyadh's difficult position has been made even more so by the UAE-Egypt offer. If Saudi Arabia rejects the Arab initiative in favor of an Iranian-dominated plan, they lose influence and status in the Arab community. However, if Riyadh joins in a regional movement whose agenda includes freeing Iraq from sanctions and isolation, they undermine their own attempts to restrain the flow of oil and they lose Iranian good-will, perhaps even regaining Iranian support for subversive elements in Saudi Arabia.

The Hajj is over, now things get interesting. With internal political conflict in Tehran and a new Arab initiative, the entire process of back- room diplomacy that consumed the Middle East during March may now unravel. We await the Saudi response.

#2 Global Intelligence Update Red Alert April 6, 1998

STRATFOR's Forecast for Second Quarter 1998

The first quarter of 1998 was highlighted by four intersecting phenomena, which will affect events in the second quarter:

* For the first time since the end of the Cold War, an international coalition blocked a major American politico-military initiative, an air campaign against Iraq.

* The Asian crisis continued to lurch along, destabilizing Indonesia and Korea and wreaking havoc on the key economies in the region -- Japan and China.

* Global oil prices fell to their lowest level in real terms since prior to the 1973 Arab oil embargo.

* The Russian government fell, with future plans and policies left in doubt.

Each of these events are part of the process, which we named in our annual forecast (http://www.stratfor.com/services/gintel/estimate/annual/), The Year of Logical Consequences.

In our 1998 forecast we wrote that: "To the rest of the world, the United States appears simultaneously arrogant and indecisive… . The growing sense of frustration with the Untied States is global. It is not yet matched to a growing sense of power. However, in Asia, Russia, The Middle East and Europe, the ongoing, increasingly open conversation consists of plans to block or supercede American power."

This anti-American coalition broke into the open during the recent American adventure in Iraq. A broad-based coalition, including Russia, China, France and Saudi Arabia, formed to block the United States from striking against Iraq. The United States, of course, had other considerations in deciding not to strike at Iraq. Nevertheless, the event was historic in the sense that, for the first time since the end of the Cold War, the United States was not only unable to organize a coalition in support of its policies, but an effective and open anti-American coalition was formed. This is not a passing phenomenon. As we have noted, the international system tends toward a balance of power in the same way that markets tend toward price equilibrium. As powerful as the United States is, the counterweight to the United States must be broad. Except for Britain and Germany, no major power supported U.S. policy.

We expect this global coalition of France, Russia and China to continue to act to thwart U.S. politico-military adventures. Indeed, we expect this coalition to gradually move toward a more formal expression. Each of these nations has their own motivation in resisting the United States. The Chinese see the Americans as trying to contain the expansion of Chinese influence in Asia, while at the same time being behind the failure of efforts to stabilize the economic situation. The Russians are increasingly concerned with reasserting their geopolitical hegemony within the former Soviet Union's borders as well as with traditional allies, particularly those in the Middle East. They see American policy as deliberately designed to thwart them in this effort, both in expanding NATO and increasing their influence in Central Asia. France, with a long tradition of resisting U.S. hegemony, sees itself with emerging interests in the Middle East, particularly in the area of energy development, and sees the United States as an obstacle.

These three powers, taken together, cannot match American economic or military power. But they do bring with them a host of other countries. The United States retains the ability to act in opposition to their wishes, but what this coalition has done is to raise the political price of such actions beyond what the United States is rationally prepared to pay. The United States could have struck against Saddam regardless of what this tripartite alignment had in mind, but the price would have been disproportional. We expect to see this alignment playing an increasing role in trying to bring the international system into balance.

At the same time, we must understand that the American decision not to strike at Saddam had other reasons behind it. STRATFOR's Global Intelligence Updates chronicled the crisis from its beginnings. It has been our consistent view that American fear of Iranian participation in the Greco-Syrian-Iraqi entente forced the United States to seek an accommodation with Iran. That process of accommodation, which we have tracked since September, continues to intensify. It has been our view that, to a large extent, American bellicosity toward Iraq was part of an attempt by the United States to convince the Iranians that the United States is committed to bringing down Saddam and to rectifying the outcome of the Iraq-Iran War.

The last quarter has seen Iran provide a tour de force of diplomacy. Tehran simultaneously manipulated the United States into courting it, while enhancing its relations with Russia, China and France. Most important, Iran has managed to dramatically increase its influence within the Persian Gulf region. The extended visit of former Iranian President Rafsanjani to Saudi Arabia resulted both in heightened tensions within Saudi Arabia's Royal Family between pro and anti-American factions, as well as a serious consideration by Saudi Arabia of what would have been unthinkable only a year ago: Saudi participation in an Iranian sponsored regional entity designed to replace the United States as regional policeman. With Iranian President Khatami planning to visit Saudi Arabia following the end of the current Islamic Hajj period, we expect the Iranian diplomatic offensive to continue unabated, and with a very real chance of success.

Driving this process is an unprecedented lever: the collapse of oil prices to levels not seen since before 1973. One of the consequences of this decline is that Saudi Arabia has been placed in an extraordinarily difficult position. Saudi Arabia has concentrated on production, with some refining and little downstream operations. It also bet heavily on the growth of the Asian market and developed strong relations there. The collapse of Asia has dealt Saudi Arabia a terrific blow, while its failure to develop effective vertical integration has left it extremely exposed to price declines. We feel that Saudi Aramco is heavily exposed financially at this point. It is already cutting back on several development projects, but we also feel that it will be facing serious debt problems by this summer and fall if prices don't rise.

The recent agreement with Venezuela and Mexico, which was confirmed at the March 30 OPEC meeting in Vienna, has not solved the problem. The market, which is oversold, tends to respond uncritically to news, such as the report that China, a net importer of crude, would cut domestic production. This indicates to us that there is now a floor under the price of crude. However, this does not mean that the price will rise and without a rather strong rise in the price of oil, which is not likely to happen by agreement alone, Saudi Arabia is in serous financial trouble.

There is one clear solution to the problem. According to the International Energy Agency, excess oil production is running about 2 million barrels a day. Current cuts, if implemented, will be less than 2 million barrels, which leaves a surplus and therefore is insufficient to boost prices. There is, however, a single source of oil which if cut off would immediately solve the problem. Iraq currently is producing about 2.3 million barrels a day. Were that oil to be taken off the market, the entire equation of energy prices would shift.

An idée fixe of Iranian foreign policy is reversing the outcome of its war with Iraq. Oil prices, while of some consequence to Iran, are not the central issue that they are for Saudi Arabia. For Iran, action against Iraq is not possible so long as the United States might intervene to restore the balance of power. Clearly, the United States would not come in to save Saddam, and a successful attack by Iran might bring Saddam down, followed by an intervention on behalf of a new government. No such intervention is possible without Saudi Arabian territory and equipment pre-positioned in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, the key for Iranian policy is to move Saudi Arabia out of the U.S. camp. The oil price collapse has provided Iran with the needed leverage.

We are of the opinion that there exists a substantial possibility of unilateral Iranian action against Iraq in the coming quarter. Saudi Arabia clearly does not want to see Iran dominating the region. On the other hand, we think that Saudi Arabia's financial condition has become so serious that it may be forced to agree to dangerous undertakings that hold open the possibility of raising the price of oil. Iraq is working hard to make such an action meaningless, by reducing the need for Turkish intervention in the North. Turkey, which wants to see Iraqi oil flowing through Turkish pipelines, would not be pleased with an attack. Hence, there has been interesting cooperation between the Iraq and Turkey on the Kurdish question. Turkey remains a problem for Iranian policy.

A final threat to Iranian plans stems from the internal struggle between conservatives and moderates in Tehran. On Saturday, Tehran Mayor Gholamhossein Karbaschi, a close ally of President Khatami, was arrested on corruption charges. This is perhaps the most overt challenge to Khatami and his reformist agenda by Iran's conservative faction to date. Should Khamenei choose this moment to rein in Khatami, the resulting inward focus may temporarily distract the Iranians from their foreign policy goals. Nevertheless, we judge the possibility of a renewal of the Iran-Iraq conflict as substantial in the coming quarter.

The resignation of the Russian government complicates matters further. We have long expected a reversal in Russian economic and foreign policy and we believe that this government reshuffle signifies this reversal. The most powerful men now remaining in the government, Boris Nemtsov and Yevgenii Primakov, represent pragmatic, moderately nationalistic perspectives. Nemtsov is the architect of Russian energy policy while Primakov is the architect of Russia's Middle East policies. Together, this indicates increasing focus on regaining influence in Central Asia, lost when the Soviet Union collapsed. Russia needs Central Asian oil and it needs Central Asia's geography to assert its influence. In the long run, this brings Russia into conflict with Iran. In the short run, it dovetails Russian foreign policy with Iranian: both want the Americans out of Central Asia.

So do the Chinese. China, on the one hand desperately trying to stave off the Asian fever, needs the U.S. economic support. On the other hand, China fears that the United States is feeding separatist movements in western China, both in Tibet and Xinjiang. Thus, the Chinese would be delighted to see the U.S. position in Central Asia dismantled. But the core concern of China is financial, which means that its foremost concerns are with the Asian crisis.

The region appears about to enter phase three of the crisis. The first phase was the long, slow deterioration of the Japanese economy. The second phase was the sudden implosion of the Korean and ASEAN economies. The third phase will be the intensification of the Japanese crisis and its spread to China. We have commented extensively on both of these problems. The Japanese are finally facing the depths of their problems. The Chinese, and Western banks and investment houses heavily invested in China, are still in denial. However, with ASEAN imports disappearing, and China's unwillingness to devalue its currency, China is now in an impossible position. Because of secrecy, we will not know how bad the Chinese situation is until it actually cracks apart, but there is no way that the ASEAN crisis and the Japanese banking crisis have left China's economy intact.

We therefore see the second quarter as a period of intensifying crisis. We see the probability of an Iranian-Iraqi confrontation as quite high, mitigated only by Turkish policy. We believe oil prices have probably bottomed, but we don't see upside potential unless some substantial source of crude is taken off-line. We think Iraq is the prime candidate for that role. We believe we will be seeing an intensification of the Asian crisis, particularly in Japan and China and believe that observers should be aware of the political consequences. Finally, and most important, we are seeing an intensifying relationship between France, Russia and China, less planned than instinctive at this point, designed to limit U.S. global power.

In the meantime, the extraordinary American boom, fueled by Asian money and extraordinary growth in productivity, continues. The strange situation in which the U.S. floats above an increasingly unsettled world remains intact.

#3 Global Intelligence Update Red Alert April 9, 1998

Could a Kurdestan be in the Works?

On March 31, the Global Intelligence Update reported on unusual political moves in progress among the Kurdish groups of northern Iraq (http://www.stratfor.com/services/gintel/region/stories/033198.html). At the time it was unclear who was behind the moves, which included high-level defections from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Reports have emerged since then which suggest that Iraq and other Arab states may be coming together to offer a settlement to the Kurds, perhaps even to include a Kurdish territorial entity.

On April 4, the Egyptian newspaper "Al-Ahram" called on Arab states to reevaluate the Kurdish issue, calling it Baghdad's greatest problem since the birth of the Iraqi state. Al-Ahram noted that a pro-Kurdish Egyptian committee will hold a conference in Cairo in May, to which Iraqi and Kurdish officials will be invited. Kurdish interests will be represented by officials of the Kurdestan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdestan (PUK). Representatives from Bahrain, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, and Syria will also be invited to attend.

It was not made clear whether this conference will take place in parallel with the full Arab summit currently being planned, or whether the Kurdish discussion will be carried out within the larger summit. As we reported yesterday, the agenda of the planned pan-Arab summit has grown to include more than just the stalled Middle East peace process (http://www.stratfor.com/services/gintel/region/stories/040898.html). The Gulf states and Egypt are now pressing for discussion of the ending of Iraq's isolation. In an interview published in a Saudi newspaper on April 8, Iraqi Justice Minister Shabib al-Maliki stated Iraq's intention to attend any Arab summit to help "reestablish Arab solidarity." Kuwaiti leaders have recently announced that they are willing to attend an Arab summit, even with Saddam Hussein in attendance.

Events on the diplomatic front have been matched by those on the military front. On Tuesday, London-based Kurdish Med TV reported that the Turkish military is redeploying its troops in northern Iraq from bases in Zakho, Dohuk, and Arbil to the Saran region. Turkish and KDP military officers are reportedly inspecting troops and briefing local commanders in the Saran region, in apparent preparation for an attack on the PKK. Also on Tuesday, Turkish Interior Minister Murat Basesgioglu stated that the recent defections had stripped the PKK of its most reliable commanders, and that Turkey intended to completely eliminate the separatist organization. Basesgioglu cryptically warned countries that support the PKK to cease, lest they face terrorism themselves one day.

So events are answering our question of last week. Progress is underway on both the diplomatic and military fronts to eliminate the PKK, to legitimize the KDP and PUK, and to fundamentally reassess the political status of the Kurds. Any discussion of normalization of relations with Iraq must address the issue of Baghdad's treatment of the Kurds. It is possible that a deal is in the works to trade land for peace in northern Iraq, creating some form of Kurdish state acceptable to Baghdad and Ankara. Tehran, however, may not be as pleased with this deal. While the Iranians agreed last month to cooperate with Turkey in fighting the PKK, the last thing they want right now is for Iraq to be welcomed back into the Arab community. The new Arab initiative is leaving Iran behind, just as the Iran-led regional initiative left behind the United States. We do not, however, expect Tehran to respond as passively as did Washington.

CHN Commentary 4-5-98

The Mid East March to Peace

King Hussein is now back at home in Jordan after a lengthy stay in the US.

At his first press conference in almost four weeks, the King, when asked about the up coming Arab Summit, stated, "I am for the coordination and preparation of a successful meeting and I hope that the meeting will take place soon."

He also informed his country that US Secretary of Defense William Cohen is expected in Amman very shortly to continue their talks of upgrading the Jordanian army with high-tech equipment.

And well he should upgrade his army, as news continues to flow out of Damascus and Baghdad of "giant strides" in the furthering of their relationship and the discussing of developments of "regional importance". Keep in mind here that the closer the "seven horns" get to making peace...the closer the "three horns" get to their uprooting.

And now, where ever you turn in the Middle East, you are reading of the "chant" of Arab solidarity and unity in preparation for the Arab Summit.....[dissenters not welcome, and there are the three dissenters].

Even though the pace to the peace table has been slowed, presently there is a real sense of urgency in the air as one can begin to feel a major break through on the near horizon. [...remember Kofi Annan's remarks regarding Bibi's ability to "surprise the whole world"...]

Bibi's "West Bank withdrawal" percentage seems to have gone to 10+% and there are rumblings that he has made compromises on Jerusalem....

As much as he is threatened by hard-liners not to "budge" on 'land for peace', he is now being threatened by the Third Way party that he must advance the peace or they'll bring him down...

The Palestinians have now accepted 'in principle' the US plan for advancing the process and are awaiting the plan in writing, and for Clinton to go public this week with his announcement.

Lebanon's Prime Minister has a much more conciliatory attitude for Israel's request to fill the void for northern border security when they withdraw in compliance with UN Resolution 425. When Prime Minister Hariri was asked whether Israel would still face security threats from guerrilla groups if it made peace with Lebanon, he told Reuters: "In this case, all of us will have a different relation. We will have interests... against anybody who will jeopardize the peace."

And, Hamas has accused the PA of the assassination of their "bomb-maker" Sharif by torturing him to death, and then blowing up his body to hide the evidence....which really means that Arafat is complying with Israel's demand that he "crack down" on terrorist.......

As we have mentioned before, things on the surface take on a "daily identity" as the power brokers sway public opinion in an effort to gain majority approval for the "deal" that is coming down. Trying to stem the flow of blood shed is a very precarious matter...

........but "peace" not war is what has been agreed upon, so they continue to weave their tangled web...!!!!

We on the other hand , by virtue of Daniel's prophecy, know the out come of all their intrigue and are watching it unfold for the "soul" purpose of gaining insight into our reward of Rapture..!!

......for the closer the peace, the closer the "catching away"......!!!

......and in the year that the Rapture happens, God will give His people a 40 day warning by virtue of the "dead in Christ" rising on the Feast of Firstfruits.

......so as we "watch" the peace develop, we also "watch" for our warning sign, as Firstfruits approaches this year..

We are "watching" Lord.........

Firstfruits is 7 days away.....................

Luke 12:37

..........back up articles

#1 Jordan Times 4-5-98 News

Upon his return home in 'excellent health,' King Hussein supports prospect of Arab summit to tackle peace

Key Statement: "....Regarding prospects of holding an Arab summit, King Hussein said: "There have been some efforts in this direction and we will pursue our efforts and I will try to learn more about developments that took place during my absence. But I am for the coordination and preparation of a successful meeting and I hope that the meeting will take place soon."...."

AMMAN (J.T.) — His Majesty King Hussein described Israel's acceptance of U.N. Security Council Resolution 425 that demands an unconditional Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon as a positive step, voicing hope that similar steps will follow in the Golan Heights and Palestine.

"I hope this could be a positive step on the way towards not only the withdrawal from Lebanon, which is an implementation of the U.N. Security Council resolution, a decision which we have so long waited for. The same should apply to the occupied Syrian Heights and also the peace process should be resumed on the Israeli-Palestinian track as soon as possible."

In a press conference upon his return, King Hussein Saturday described his trip to the U.S. and his talks with U.S. President Bill Clinton and senior administration officials as very positive and successful.

"My visit to the United States was timely and the results of my talks were very positive, particularly with regard to the delicate situation in the Middle East."

Regarding prospects of holding an Arab summit, King Hussein said: "There have been some efforts in this direction and we will pursue our efforts and I will try to learn more about developments that took place during my absence. But I am for the coordination and preparation of a successful meeting and I hope that the meeting will take place soon."

King Hussein stressed the need for great efforts to give momentum to the peace process, particularly on the Palestinian-Israeli track and to achieve a just and comprehensive peace.

Lauding President Clinton's position, the King said: "I felt that he was determined to do whatever he could to save the peace process."

Asked if he had discussed with President Clinton the Israeli withdrawal proposal, the King said: "I have had frank discussions with President Clinton but the United States is conducting direct talks with Palestinian and Israeli sides. I don't have a clear picture about the situation right now but I understand that the atmosphere is encouraging; however the American proposals are not the end of the road but are a step on the path towards a final settlement. "

Referring to his talks with President Clinton about opening direct dialogue with Iraq, King Hussein said: "I have put forth my view in all my meetings with the American officials I met with, and I believe that the situation is quiet at present and I hope we will soon see a continuous movement towards ending the suffering of the Iraqi people because this is our main objective."

Asked about his health, the King said: "Thank God, my health is excellent and I have to take antibiotics for one more week as a precautionary measure against the micro-organism I have been suffering from."

Commenting on the situation in the occupied territories where a leading Hamas leader was assassinated, the King said: "I hope that things will not move beyond this point towards violence because we will be playing into the hands of extremists who wish that to happen to destroy the chances for peace."

Replying to a question about the prospects of the U.S. announcing its initiative, King Hussein said: "I believe that the U.S. and the Palestinians are in continuous dialogue but what I have heard personally has given me encouragement that with God's help we will not have major obstacles in moving in the right direction."

#2 Jordan Times 4-5-98 News

Cohen to visit Jordan this month

Key Statement: "....The two sides also discussed upgrading Jordanian army with high-tech equipment...."

AMMAN (J.T.) — U.S. Secretary of Defence William Cohen is expected here this month to hold talks with His Majesty King Hussein and other Jordanian officials over military cooperation between the two countries, a senior official announced Saturday.

Jordan News Agency, Petra, quoted Minister of Foreign Affairs Jawad Anani as saying that Mr. Cohen's visit to the Kingdom was part of a regional tour to several Middle Eastern countries.

No date was given for the visit, that was scheduled last year but postponed during the crisis between Iraq and the U.S. over U.N. inspection activities in Iraq.

The expected visit by Mr. Cohen to Amman follows a meeting with King Hussein in Washington last month, where the two sides discussed U.S. military cooperation.

The two sides also discussed upgrading Jordanian army with high-tech equipment.

The U.S. agreed to give Jordan $225 million in assistance for the next year.

In March, the last batch of U.S.-made F-16 aircraft arrived to the Kingdom as part of American military assistance to the country in line with the "Peace Falcons" programme which President Bill Clinton announced in Feb. 1996.

#3 News from the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum ©Gulf News.

Mohammed: Iran, Iraq not a threat

Key Statement: "....Dubai Crown Prince and UAE Defence Minister General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum yesterday called for Arab solidarity and unity. "If we take a unified position, we will force Israel to be more flexible and eventually to accept real peace, so we must ignore our differences in order to confront as one the danger we are facing."

"....In an interview with the Cairo-based newspaper Al Ahram, he ruled out any threat from Iran or Iraq, and said that responsibility for Gulf security lay with the Gulf countries...."

Dubai (WAM) - Dubai Crown Prince and UAE Defence Minister General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum yesterday called for Arab solidarity and unity. In an interview with the Cairo-based newspaper Al Ahram, he ruled out any threat from Iran or Iraq, and said that responsibility for Gulf security lay with the Gulf countries.

Sheikh Mohammed reiterated the UAE's firm stand on the three islands of Abu Mousa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs saying, "we demand the recovery of the islands and our stand is clear: either the issue should be solved through bilateral negotiations or it should be referred to the International Court of Justice".

On the occupation of the three islands, he said: "We demand the return of the islands and we are working to settle the problem with our neighbour Iran through peaceful means. "Iran does not want anyone to believe that it poses a threat to us or that any danger exists, whether from Iran or Iraq, but there are some who are trying to raise such concerns through rumours".

On the UN sanctions on Iraq, Sheikh Mohammed said that lifting of the sanctions was imperative to ease the harsh suffering the Iraqi people are enduring. "The United States, under the pressure of the Zionist lobby, wants the sanctions to be maintained because that lobby believes that Iraq still poses a threat to Israel but, for us, anyone must know that those who suffer are the Arab children and the elderly people."

Reviewing the peace process, Sheikh Mohammed criticised Israeli policies and practices. "The peace process will be long drawn-out and what the Israelis want is not acceptable to the Arabs. The developments concerning Lebanon alone, or both Lebanon and Syria, are nothing but deliberate procrastination for putting pressure on the Arabs. "If we take a unified position, we will force Israel to be more flexible and eventually to accept real peace, so we must ignore our differences in order to confront as one the danger we are facing."

On Libya, Sheikh Mohammed said: "I personally don't know whether the two Libyan suspects are guilty or innocent, but they must go to trial if we want to know the truth." He went on to say that the Arabs possess the money, energy, talents and the markets, and that alliances nowadays have become commercial rather than political, adding that the recent emarati-egyptian trade exhibition held in Dubai had achieved remarkable progress in moving towards a common market and that the two countries can help each other in the fields of commercial and economic co-operation.

Sheikh Mohammed praised the steady progress made by the GCC, noting that the border problems between the GCC members were not indicative of any tension, a fact well understood by GCC officials. "Just as the border problems between the UAE and both Saudi Arabia and Oman were settled, the other outstanding problems will follow suit with the same spirit of understanding and dialogue," he stressed.

On development projects in Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed said that "we are moving rapidly and steadily towards undertaking our own projects." He went on to emphasise the unity of the UAE armed forces, adding that the former Central Military Command in Dubai was now part and parcel of the UAE Federation taking its orders from President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

#4 Jordan Times 4-5-98 News

Iraq thanks Syria for its stand over row with U.N.

Key Statement: "....Talks during the meeting, at which Syrian Justice Minister Hussein Hassoun was present, also covered some regional developments, he said without elaborating...."

DAMASCUS (R) — Iraq on Saturday thanked Syrian President Hafez Al Assad for his stand on its recent crisis with the United Nations over arms inspections.

Presidential spokesman Joubran Kourieh said the thanks were conveyed by Iraqi Justice Minister Shabib Al Maliki during a meeting with Mr. Assad at the presidential palace in Damascus.

"Mr. Maliki conveyed to President Assad the thanks of the Iraqi leadership for the efforts exerted by Syria to reach a political solution to the crisis with the United Nations," Mr. Kourieh said.

Talks during the meeting, at which Syrian Justice Minister Hussein Hassoun was present, also covered some regional developments, he said without elaborating.

The Iraqi minister told reporters before meeting Mr. Assad that he came to "convey the greetings of the Iraqi people and leadership to the Syrian people and leadership for their brotherly stand with Iraq during the crisis."

Syria strongly opposed any military action against Iraq and called for a peaceful solution to the crisis which erupted when Iraq refused to allow U.N. inspectors to search Iraqi presidential sites.

The row was defused in February when Iraq signed a deal with the United Nations that allowed inspectors to visit all sites they chose, including the palaces.

Syria's ties with Baghdad, severed at the beginning of the 1980s, improved last May when both countries agreed to reopen their borders to encourage the flow of trade and improve economic cooperation.

Health Minister Iyad Shatti became the first Syrian minister in two decades to visit Baghdad when he arrived late last month at the head of a convoy carrying medical aid to Iraq.

Since the improvement of ties, several Iraqi ministers have visited including Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz and Foreign Minister Mohammed Said Al Sahhaf.

Ties between Syria and Iraq, ruled by rival factions of the Baath Party, were severed due to the Iraq-Iran war from 1980-88 in which Syria backed Iran.

Relations deteriorated when Syria took part in a U.S.-led multinational force which drove Iraqi occupation troops out of Kuwait in 1991.

#5 Jerusalem Post Sunday, April 5, 1998 9 Nisan 5758

PA accepts US plan 'in principle'

By Jay Bushinsky, Mohammed Najib, and news agencies

Key Statement: "....Abu Rudeineh also urged the US to speed up peace efforts "to avoid any further deterioration," after the death last week of Hamas bombmaker Muhi Sharif...."

JERUSALEM (April 5) - The Palestinian Authority has accepted "in principle" US proposals for breaking the impasse over an IDF withdrawal in the West Bank, a senior Palestinian official said yesterday.

PA Chairman Yasser Arafat has also asked the administration of US President Bill Clinton to submit the proposals officially in writing, the official added.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat added that: "We have made clear our

position to the US administration. The US also knows very well Israel's position as well, so there is no need for further negotiations. It's time for the US to move with mechanisms of implementation."

PLO officials said the plan, raised by US envoy Dennis Ross during a four-day mission that ended last Monday, calls for a 13.1 percent pullback in return for Palestinian moves to prevent attacks and incitement against Israel. Israel has rejected the figure.

The Palestinians had initially demanded a pullback of 30%.

Palestinian officials added that the PA would not further negotiate US proposals after accepting them in principle.

Ross is expected to inform Clinton tomorrow of the outcome of his latest shuttle.

Senior Israeli officials were unable to confirm reports that Ross would return this week for more sessions with Netanyahu and Arafat.

Erekat said that "if Ross intends to come to the region, I don't know why he should come. What new ideas does he expect to hear from us or from the Israelis that he hasn't heard already?"

Palestinian Higher Education Minister Hanan Ashrawi said "the situation is very dangerous and the US should carry out its responsibility to present an initiative that puts the blame on the side which is trying to collapse the process."

The PA has also asked the US to present its peace initiative publicly as soon as possible.

"Time is crucial. It's time the US ideas and proposals to break the impasse are officially forwarded and it's time for the US to move from the process of negotiations only to substance," Erekat said.

"The US promised us it would formally present its initiative next week, and starting Monday we expect Washington to send us the initiative in writing," Arafat's spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said.

Abu Rudeineh also urged the US to speed up peace efforts "to avoid any further deterioration," after the death last week of Hamas bombmaker Muhi Sharif.

The Palestinian cabinet said in a statement issued by the WAFA news agency after its Friday meeting that Washington "should without delay, make public its initiative to pull the peace process from the abyss."

In a briefing to the diplomatic corps on Friday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that in considering a further IDF pullback in the West Bank, Israel had to consider threats on a number of fronts, not only from the Palestinians.

He noted the threats of ballistic missiles deployed in Iran and Iraq and the conventional armies of Syria and Lebanon. Netanyahu indicated that all these issues came up during his "businesslike" talks last week with Ross.

He told the ambassadors who assembled at the Foreign Ministry that he discussed with Ross the possible scope of the IDF's third redeployment as required by the Oslo Accords, as well as the long-pending second redeployment.

Netanyahu stressed that Israel cannot agree to "the asymmetry" in which Israel implements concrete steps while the Palestinians fail to fulfill their obligations.

He said that Israel, the US and the Palestinians should conduct serious deliberations on "the input" that went into the talks with Ross. "Our talks were not a mere photo opportunity," he said.

Netanyahu also denied that domestic political considerations, especially the survival of his coalition government, shaped his negotiating position. "Only the security considerations of the people of Israel guided me," he said.

Turning to the government's decision to endorse UN Security Council Resolution 425 on an IDF pullout from Lebanon, the prime minister called upon the envoys to urge their governments to support this policy.

The action is not meant to preempt or prejudice any of the Middle East peace process's bilateral channels, he said, adding that his allusion was to Syria and Lebanon.

Netanyahu also referred to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's visit, during which he raised the question of Israel's unique problems as a member of the international organization.

Paraphrasing what he said to Annan, Netanyahu said it was not normal that Israel should be the only member-state that does not belong to one of the UN's regional grouping.

This not only restricts the nation's involvement in UN projects, but also prevents its election to the Security Council as a non-permanent member of the 11-nation body. He asked the ambassadors to mobilize the support of their home governments to change this situation.

#6 CNN Networks 5 April 1998 Web posted at: 07:32 GST, New York time (03:32 GMT)

Saudi King Fahd receives Iranian interior minister

Key Statement: "....Saudi King Fahd on Saturday received Iranian Interior Minister Abdollah Nouri, a further sign of improved ties between the two regional heavyweights...."

DUBAI, April 4 (Reuters) - Saudi King Fahd on Saturday received Iranian Interior Minister Abdollah Nouri, a further sign of improved ties between the two regional heavyweights.

The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said King Fahd received Nouri at al-Salam palace in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah.

"His Excellency the Iranian interior minister conveyed to the Custodian of the Two Holy Shrines greetings from His Excellency Mohammad Khatami, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran," SPA said.

King Fahd was shown on Saudi Arabia's evening news chatting with the Iranian minister.

Nouri, on his first visit to Saudi Arabia, is the latest of several Iranian officials to visit the oil-rich kingdom since ties began improving last year following Khatami's election.

Saudi-Iranian ties soured after Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini toppled the pro-Western shah in 1979.

Iran's staging of anti-U.S. rallies during haj, the largest annual Moslem gathering in Saudi Arabia, led to further tensions between the two regional heavyweights.

In 1987, 402 people, mostly Iranians died in clashes with Saudi security forces at an Iranian-led rally. Iran boycotted the haj for three years as a result.

But tension appears to have given way to reconciliation this year after Iranian officials made conciliatory remarks on the haj.

Nouri has held talks with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz and Crown Prince Abdullah.

Iran's ambassador to Saudi Arabia was quoted as saying on Friday that Khatami would visit Saudi Arabia at the invitation of King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah. Earlier, the ambassador said that Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal would visit Iran after the haj.

#7 IINS News Service - 5-Apr-98 , 9th of Nisan, at 18:13:20 Israel Time

Will Netanyahu Make Compromises on Jerusalem ?

Key Statement: "....The question being asked by the Yerushalim Shelanu (Our Jerusalem) organization is, "Will the prime minister make territorial compromises on Jerusalem?"...."

(Israel-4/5) The question being asked by the Yerushalim Shelanu (Our Jerusalem) organization is, "Will the prime minister make territorial compromises on Jerusalem?"

In a statement released by Yerushalim Shelanu (YS) today, the organization condemns Prime Minister Netanyahu for linking the issue of building at Har Choma to the second withdrawal of IDF troops from areas throughout Judea and Samaria.

Ronn Torossian, the Director of YS quoted an article by Elli Wohlgelernter in the April 3rd edition of the Jerusalem Post, that Prime Minster Netanyahu has told other Likud MKs that he will only offer the tenders on Har Choma (which could have been offered months ago) after an agreement is reached on the percentage of the second Israeli withdrawal.

Torossian, added, "This news is terrifying-- is PM Netanyahu saying that we can only build in our capital if the Americans approve of how much land we give up? Netanyahu has delayed building at Har Choma for months-- Shame on him".

Torossian concluded, "Har Choma is part of Jerusalem, and Israel must build there now, so the world understands that Jerusalem is not for negotiation."

#8 IINS News Service 5-Apr-98 , 9th of Nisan, at 12:21:10 Israel Time

Third Way Threatens to Bring Down the Government

Key Statement: "....Leaders of the party reiterated their position that they were unwilling to be part of a government that does not move ahead with the peace process...."

(Israel-4/5) Leaders of the Third Way Party were reported to have told the prime minister that if the peace process does not begin to move ahead, they may withdraw their support for the coalition.

Leaders of the party reiterated their position that they were unwilling to be part of a government that does not move ahead with the peace process.

#9 JERUSALEM POST Sunday, April 5, 1998 9 Nisan 5758

Hariri: Security arrangements only after peace

By David Rudge and news agencies

Key Statement: "....Asked whether Israel would still face security threats from guerrilla groups if it made peace with Lebanon, Prime Minister Rafik Hariri told Reuters: "In this case, all of us will have a different relation. We will have interests... against anybody who will jeopardize the peace."

HAIFA (April 5) - Lebanon would only cooperate with Israel on border security arrangements once the two countries sign a peace agreement, Prime Minister Rafik Hariri said on Friday.

Asked whether Israel would still face security threats from guerrilla groups if it made peace with Lebanon, he told Reuters: "In this case, all of us will have a different relation. We will have interests... against anybody who will jeopardize the peace."

Hariri stressed that Israel, Lebanon and Syria would cooperate in many fields, including security, if peace were reached.

"All of us will be part of it. So we will become one camp against the people who are against the peace," he said in an interview which focused on Israel's recent adoption of UN Resolution 425.

"Nevertheless, if Mr. Netanyahu insists not to make peace with Lebanon as well as with Syria, so we want him to withdraw from our territory and implement Resolution 425, and then we will do what we have to do, but will be accountable only towards our people and our parliament. Not towards anybody else."

Israel has offered to withdraw from the security zone on condition that the Lebanese government agrees to deploy troops to protect it from Hizbullah attacks.

Syrian Vice President Abdel-Halim Khaddam and Foreign Minister Farouk Shara are to visit Paris today for talks on the Israeli proposal, officials and diplomats said yesterday. Officials said Khaddam and Shara would deliver a message from President Hafez Assad to President Jacques Chirac dealing with the situation in the region and bilateral ties.

"The message is a reply to one sent by Chirac to Assad in January. The message was conveyed by French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine during a visit to Damascus," one official said.

"The discussions of Khaddam and Shara will include, among other topics, talks about Israel's conditional offer to withdraw from Lebanon," one diplomat said.

Meanwhile, a South Lebanese Army soldier was badly wounded in an Hizbullah roadside bomb attack in the security zone's western sector during fighting over the weekend. Reports from the region said an explosive device was detonated alongside a SLA armored personnel carrier. The wounded soldier was evacuated by helicopter to a hospital in Israel.

The reports said Hizbullah gunmen opened fire simultaneously at an SLA outpost close to the site of the explosion, apparently to cover the retreat of those who detonated the device. There were no casualties from the mortar bombardments, and IDF and SLA gunners returned fire.

Military sources said the mortar fire had originated from close to Barasheet village, north of the zone, in breach of the Grapes of Wrath understandings.

In a separate incident, mortars hit an IDF outpost in the zone's western sector, causing some damage inside the position, but no casualties. The attack sparked heavy exchanges in the region.

The fighting continued yesterday with a long-range mortar attack on a SLA position in the zone's eastern sector. There were no casualties and no damage was caused.

Security sources noted that Hizbullah had used the same tactics in the attack near Barasheet on Friday afternoon as it had in the incident near Kawkabeh last Tuesday in which six Shi'ite workers, all residents of the security zone, were killed and another was badly wounded.

In both cases, Hizbullah activists detonated roadside bombs alongside the targets and simultaneously mortars were fired at the area to cover the retreat of the bombers.

Asked if he expected Hizbullah to halt its campaign against Israel in the event of an Israeli pullout, Hariri said: "Israel is asking this question... I will not answer this now. Not because I believe there would be an attack or not, but because I know at this particular moment anything Lebanon will say, it will be accountable towards Israel."

Israel's bid to gain security guarantees raises the question of whether the Beirut government has the capacity to impose security along the border.

Hizbullah has said it would cooperate with the Lebanese Army if Israel pulled out.

Hariri seemed confident that the Lebanese government would not face any challenges from Hizbullah if it imposed security in the south in the event of an Israeli pullout.

"I advise everybody not to bet on any conflict between [Hizbullah] and the Lebanese Army. You know they have their own political agenda, we know that. We don't agree on many things," he said. "I find that Hizbullah is acting in a highly responsible way now. Since some time."

Hariri also emphasized Beirut's closeness with its neighbors.

"If you look at the map you will see that the borders are very close between Lebanon, Israel and Syria," he said. "So how can you divide the security between the three countries?

"Everybody has to cooperate with everybody else," he added.

Hariri urged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to return to the negotiating table.

"This is the only way where everybody can live in peace and assure security," he said. "But the theory of having security without having peace, I think it is very difficult."

#10 JERUSALEM POST Sunday, April 5, 1998 9 Nisan 5758

Rantisi: PA killed Sharif to cover up his torture

By Margot Dudkevitch and Mohammed Najib

Key Statement: "....Gaza Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi charged they had arrested Sharif and tortured him to death, and in order to hide the evidence planted his body in a booby-trapped car before detonating it in Ramallah last Sunday...."

GAZA CITY (April 5) - Gaza Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi claimed yesterday that members of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service (PSS) were behind the death of bombmaker Muhi Sharif.

He charged they had arrested Sharif and tortured him to death, and in order to hide the evidence planted his body in a booby-trapped car before detonating it in Ramallah last Sunday.

Meanwhile, Hamas reiterated its warning of revenge attacks for Sharif's death at rallies in Gaza yesterday and Friday attended by thousands of Palestinians.

Amid cries from the crowd for "revenge," Rantisi yesterday called on the movement's Izzadin Kassam military units to continue its struggle against Israel.

Responding to a Palestinian Authority cabinet statement Friday claiming that the Palestinian Police is investigating the possibility that someone in Hamas killed Sharif, Rantisi said, "We do not kill each other. The Israelis are the targets of the Izzadin Kassam units."

On Friday Hamas leaders threatened revenge attacks not only in Israel, but also against Jewish targets abroad for the death of Sharif.

Rantisi said last night that Hamas is carrying out its own investigation of Sharif's death and would publish its results. He claimed Sharif had died under interrogation, after which he had been shot by security officials attempting to hide the evidence. When they saw this had failed, they decided to blow him up, Rantisi said.

"Why did Preventive Security officials arrest Hamas members, when it was Hamas that had been assaulted?" he asked.

Rantisi charged that Sharif had probably confessed or given the security officials names of contacts, according to which they started rounding up Hamas activists.

Rantisi said one of the Hamas activists arrested was 19-year-old Hassan Adasi from El Bireh, who apparently allowed Sharif to stay in his apartment.

Adasi's arrest came only minutes after the explosion occurred; in the following days another 20 Hamas activists were arrested by the PSS, he added.

Last Thursday several Hamas leaders in Gaza were threatened by the Palestinian Police that they would be killed or arrested if Hamas carried out any terrorist attacks. "We told them that we are not responsible for the actions of Izzadim Kassam and we cannot prevent revenge attacks from taking place," said Rantisi.

Palestinian officials said PA members had asked Hamas to refrain from carrying out attacks, but this was rejected by Hamas.

On Friday afternoon, 65-year-old Eliezer Frankel of Rishon Lezion was critically wounded when a number of Palestinians stoned his car near Bir Naballah.

Frankel, who works at the capital's Atarot industrial area, was driving a car without armored glass. He was admitted to Hadassah-University Hospital in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem with a fractured skull and bleeding in the brain.

Last night Frankel was still unconscious in the neurological intensive care unit and his condition is described as extremely serious.

Shortly before the attack, a settler from Beit El who drove along the same road contacted the IDF after his car was stoned. The IDF Spokesman said that after receiving the call, a Border Police unit was sent to the area and only after determining that the stonethrowing had stopped did it leave.

Clashes between IDF troops and Palestinians were reported in several West Bank locations yesterday, including Abu Dis.

A Border Police officer was lightly injured by stones in Abu Dis in the afternoon, when some 200 Palestinians stoned troops. The IDF Spokesman said the officer was treated at the scene and the troops used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the rioters.

Palestinian sources claimed six Palestinians were wounded by rubber bullets and some 30 suffered tear-gas inhalation. Clashes were also reported in Bethlehem, Kalandia, Hebron, and Ramallah.

Fearing an outbreak of violence, the IDF on Friday declared Joseph's Tomb in Nablus a closed military zone and prevented students from the Od Yosef Hai Yeshiva and other worshipers from entering the compound to pray.

On Friday afternoon OC Central Command Maj.-Gen Uzi Dayan and OC Judea and Samaria Brig.-Gen. Yitzhak Eitan visited Psagot near Ramallah, the site of clashes between Palestinians and IDF troops.

Dayan warned Palestinians against attacking Jewish settlements, saying such actions would be perceived as "crossing the red line."

CHN Commentary 4-2-98

The Mid East March to Peace

If stemming the "tide of terrorism" against Israel is one of Prime Minister Netanyahu's main concerns with the Palestinian Authority, then a major step in that direction was taken yesterday. Muhi Sharif, the Hamas bomb mastermind responsible for the killings of scores of Israelis, was assassinated.

At this time all concerned parties are blaming each other, but the bottom line is the number one name on Israel's "most wanted" list is dead..!!

Now Israel braces for the presumed retaliation, especially as Passover approaches.

On the Lebanon front, the Israeli security cabinet has approved UN resolution 425, and Bibi is calling on Kofi Annan to assist in assuring it's implementation.

The Iranian involvement in the peace process continues to come into play in a positive manner. Madeline Albright was in Qatar yesterday meeting with their foreign minister who said that he believed Iran was moving towards greater acceptance of the Middle East peace process, which Tehran has long opposed.

There was no further news on the upcoming 'Arab Summit', but this is something that we will be watching for in the near future...

As the prophetic signs of the times continue to unfold, our attention becomes ever more focused on the approaching feast of Fristfruits. Because we know that if this is the year for the Rapture of the Church, then the "dead in Christ" will rise on Firstfruits.

Firstfruits is 10 days away...

We are "watching" Lord,

Luke 12:37

.......back up articles

#1 JERUSALEM POST Thursday, April 2, 1998 6 Nisan 5758

Security sources: Sharif killed in Hamas feud

Key Statement: "....Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai said Sharif's death could have been the work of either "Palestinian elements, Jewish elements or from his own elements," a reference to Hamas...."

By STEVE RODAN and MOHAMMED NAJIB

JERUSALEM (April 2) -- Muhi Sharif, the Hamas bomb mastermind responsible for the killings of scores of Israelis and whose mangled body was identified yesterday.

Sharif was killed in Ramallah amid what Israeli security sources described as a violent rift within the Islamic movement.

Senior officials and security sources insisted that Israel was not responsible for the death of the 32-year-old Sharif, identified as the man found dead near Sunday's car bomb explosion outside Ramallah.

"We did not have a part in the event that took place," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said. "Israel did not have an active part and did not operate in this affair."

Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai said Sharif's death could have been the work of either "Palestinian elements, Jewish elements or from his own elements," a reference to Hamas.

"I am saying unequivocally that Israel and its forces were not involved," he told Channel 1.

"Sharif was a murderer and one of the greatest terrorist criminals in Judea and Samaria and responsible for many attacks. But we had no hand in the matter," Mordechai said.

"We believe that it was a work accident," Mordechai added. "The Palestinian Authority needs to investigate it, but it would be better to start locating explosives and terrorists who walk about freely under their noses."

Sharif replaced Yihye Ayyash as Hamas' number-one bombmaker after Ayyash was assassinated in January 1996.

Palestinian Authority security sources said that Sharif, was shot dead three hours before the explosion and then blown up to cover up the assassination. They said that an autopsy has determined that Sharif died from shots to the chest and leg fired from a Kalashnikov rifle.

Sharif is to be buried today in Ramallah in what is expected to turn into a huge demonstration for Hamas.

Palestinian officials met last night to plan the deployment of police to ensure that the funeral does not turn violent.

"The identification of Sharif took us completely by surprise," a senior Israeli security source said.

"We rule out that the PA did it. Our working assumption is that Sharif was killed by somebody within Hamas. Why he was killed is something we can't say, but we know there was tension in the organization over his role."

Hamas activists maintained that Sharif was killed by PA agents in coordination with Israel.

But Hamas sources told The Jerusalem Post that the Palestinian Preventive Security apparatus, headed by Col. Jibril Rajoub, arrested Ghassan Addasi, a 19-year-old Hamas student leader at Bir Zeit University, in connection with the explosion.

The sources said that Addasi's father is suspected of having rented the Al-Bira apartment in which Sharif was hiding.

A senior Hamas activist in the Gaza Strip said there has been a rift inside his organization for the past year over its role and about whether to continue with terror attacks.

The activist said that a growing number of colleagues agreed with Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, that Hamas should not mar PA chief Yasser Arafat's efforts to obtain further Israeli withdrawals from the West Bank by resuming suicide bombings or other attacks.

"There is no question that the current quiet was part of an understanding between Hamas and Arafat not to rock the boat, even after the Tarkumiya killings," a senior Hamas activist said, referring to the shooting of three Palestinian laborers whose van ran an IDF roadblock last month.

Publicly, however, Hamas leaders blamed Israel.

Abdul Aziz Rantisi, a Hamas leader in Gaza, dismissed Israeli denials of involvement in Sharif's death.

"I wasn't expecting the Israeli side to announce responsibility for this brutal crime," he said.

Rantisi said he is waiting for the results of the PA investigation, but added, "Regardless who did it, the Israeli side cannot be exempt from responsibility."

Ishak Sharif, brother of the slain bombmaker, said Palestinian security agents came to his home in the village of Hizma, near Jerusalem, early yesterday.

"They told us that there is a body we want you to identify," Sharif said.

Sharif said he identified his brother's body, even though his chin was missing and he was no longer wearing a mustache. He said he was told by the agents that Sharif was killed three hours before the car bomb explosion.

Israeli police officials, however, said that Sharif died in what were apparently two separate explosions. One was a huge explosion in what they described as a bomb factory. The second was a smaller explosion inside the car itself, set off by material similar to that found in a raid of a Hamas bomb factory several weeks ago in Nablus.

Deputy Commander Menahem Bosne, chief sapper of the Israel Police, said his unit found "lots of bullets and shrapnel in the destroyed car. It could have been that the bullets found in Sharif exploded in the car bomb."

IDF and police commanders have reinforced their presence around the West Bank and Jerusalem, bracing for Hamas retaliatory attacks.

Liat Collins adds:

MK Ephraim Sneh (Labor) said: "I don't know who to praise for the operation and whether to do it in Hebrew or Arabic, but the person responsible for eliminating [Sharif] deserves full praise and the gratitude of all Israelis."

National Religious Party whip Shmaryahu Ben-Tsur said: "The circumstances under which the terrorist Muhi Sharif met his death and by whose hands are less important. We pray this is the first of the '10 plagues' to hit the terrorists this month, and in this way enable us at long last to reach the peace we so desire."

#2 JERUSALEM POST Thursday, April 2, 1998 6 Nisan 5758

Security cabinet endorses 425 plan

Key statement: "....In a unanimous vote, the security cabinet yesterday adopted UN Security Council Resolution 425, which calls for a total Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon....."

By JAY BUSHINSKY

JERUSALEM (April 2) -- In a unanimous vote, the security cabinet yesterday adopted UN Security Council Resolution 425, which calls for a total Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon.

It was a victory for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who not only instructed Israeli embassies and consulates throughout the world to publicize the decision, but also personally informed UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Annan, who was in Beijing, reportedly welcomed the decision and said the international community must take it seriously. He promised to help implement it and said he will call on all those in a position to help as well.

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called on Lebanon to hold talks with Israel, now that it has approved 425.

While the US still wants to see a broader peace accord in the region, "we understand the importance of making progress where we can," AP quoted her as saying at a news conference. "Discussions between the two parties would be useful."

A communiqué issued after the session, in which 11 of the 18 ministers were eligible to participate, said: "The IDF will leave Lebanon with appropriate security arrangements so that the Lebanese government can restore its effective control over southern Lebanon."

It said the Lebanese government also would assume responsibility "for guaranteeing that its territory will not be used as a base for terrorist activity against Israel."

Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai denied the decision is merely rhetoric.

"This says that the cabinet made a responsible and important decision and adopted the initiative we began a few months ago. This initiative is to bring the government of Lebanon and its forces to take up responsibility over south Lebanon. I think the Lebanese are very interested in this step being implemented," he told Channel 2.

"The initiative is serious and I have presented it before various international figures in the past months," Mordechai said, adding he telephoned US envoy Dennis Ross to inform him.

National Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon reportedly said it is better to reach an agreement with Lebanon and in no way should the agreement with Lebanon be linked to the Golan Heights.

Sharon said any attempt at withdrawal must be for a limited period of time, as a test period. He warned against bolstering UNIFIL as part of an agreement.

The cabinet urged Lebanon's government to negotiate on the basis of Resolution 425 "to restore its control" over territory currently held by the IDF and "to prevent terrorist activities against Israel's northern border."

At the same time, it confirmed that the security and safety of the security zone's residents and the South Lebanese Army are "an integral part" of the resolution's implementation.

Netanyahu was undeterred by the instant rejections of the move by Lebanon and Syria. "It's a process," he said.

Mordechai said he believes Lebanon truly wants all foreign forces out of its territory. He said he has intelligence information that the Lebanese privately want to accept 425, but fear the Syrian reaction.

"We will continue to discuss various possibilities to implement this decision" he said.

Netanyahu noted that there have been 20 years during which no such decision was taken, referring to the fact that Resolution 425 was adopted by the Security Council in March 1978, five days after the Litani operation, an IDF raid into Lebanon that attempted to eliminate terrorist activity along the border.

He said none of Israel's security needs were being forfeited.

But he could not envision any security arrangements being instituted between Lebanon and Israel "that would not be the result of direct negotiations with Lebanon."

Liat Collins adds:

"Israel is seeking a way of leaving Lebanon," said Tourism Minister Moshe Katsav. "This is not a decision taken for political reasons or public relations needs."

Environment and Agriculture Minister Rafael Eitan said the decision is a good one.

"This is a major breakthrough," said Internal Security Minister Avigdor Kahalani. "The Syrians are bewildered and the Lebanese will come to bless it."

However, Meretz leader Yossi Sarid described the decision as "another case of pretense in the impressive collection of bluffs by the Netanyahu government. The government should have decided on the resumption of the negotiations with Syria and not decide to go with two birds in a tree, both of them groundless. The way this government is going, the messiah will come before it carries out a withdrawal from Lebanon."

MK Ephraim Sneh (Labor), a former commander in Lebanon, described Resolution 425 as "a bluff that the Israeli government rejected for 20 years. Why? Because it's based on the bluff that there is a sovereign Lebanese Army and sovereign Lebanese government."

He also said a serious proposal involves talking with the Syrians.

#3 Jordan Times 4-2-98

Israel asks for U.N. help in arranging withdrawal from southern Lebanon

Key Statement: "...."Netanyahu called Annan to inform him of the decision and obtain the backing of the United Nations for the Israeli initiative," the prime minister's office said...."

News

Prime Minister Ben-yamin Netanyahu asked U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan for help in implementing a plan approved by his ministers Wednesday to withdraw Israeli troops from south Lebanon.

“Netanyahu called Annan to inform him of the decision and obtain the backing of the United Nations for the Israeli initiative,” the prime minister’s office said.

Israel’s nine-member “security cabinet” approved for the first time Wednesday U.N. Security Council Resolution 425, which was adopted in 1978 and calls on Israel to withdraw its troops “forthwith” from Lebanon.

The decision however linked any withdrawal from the buffer zone Israel occupies in south Lebanon to Lebanese guarantees that the border area will not be used by guerrilla groups to attack Israel.

“We call on the Lebanese government to enter negotiations” on the security arrangements, Mr. Netanyahu said, admitting that “this could take some time.”

But Lebanese President Elias Hrawi rejected the call. “There will be no negotiations at all with Israel if it wants to withdraw from south Lebanon,” Mr. Hrawi said. “If it wishes to withdraw, then let it do so.”

“The Israeli offers regarding the withdrawal are nothing but trial balloons and Lebanon will pay no attention to them,” Mr. Hrawi told reporters at a press conference in the Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi.

“Lebanon will not negotiate with Israel over the withdrawal and Israel must withdraw from the south according to international resolutions,” he said.

Mr. Hrawi also called on Wednesday for an Arab summit to agree on an overall boycott of Israel in the absence of a comprehensive peace settlement in the Middle East.

Mr. Hrawi said all Arab states should not deal with Israel or invite it for economic meetings until it agrees to quit all occupied Arab territories.

“We do not want any Arab state to deal with Israel so long as there are occupied Arab lands and the rights of the Palestinian people are not achieved,” he told reporters during a visit to the United Arab Emirates.

“I hope that an Arab summit would be held and there would be a collective oath not to deal with Israel before all Arab lands are liberated.”

“I want to ask why we should not have a comprehensive Arab agreement which includes either the return of all Arab rights or the boycott of Israel,” Mr. Hrawi said after talks with UAE President Sheikh Zayed Ben Sultan Al Nahayan.

Mr. Netanyahu’s full cabinet was expected to approve the proposal at its weekly meeting on Sunday. Wednesday’s vote was the first official approval of proposals first made by Mr. Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai in January for ending Israel’s increasingly costly occupation of south Lebanon.

Mr. Netanyahu, who is acting foreign minister, also called on Israel’s diplomats to launch an “information campaign” to explain Israel’s initiative abroad.

Meanwhile, Yossi Beilin, an Israeli opposition MP said Wednesday the Israeli government’s plan for a conditional withdrawal from south Lebanon cannot work and called for a unilateral withdrawal based on his own plan.

Mr. Beilin, a former minister in charge of the peace process, said it was unrealistic for the government to expect Lebanon to guarantee security on their border.

“We don’t have a partner today with whom we can sign agreements,” he said.

Mr. Beilin said his “Back-to-Back” plan “combines political and security aspects and is the only one that will allow us to leave south Lebanon.”

His plan calls for erecting a 100-metre-wide barricade along the border with observation posts, anti-personnel mines and electronic-detection systems at a cost of one billion dollars.

The Beilin plan also prescribes an expansion of the U.N. Interim Forces In Lebanon, which currently consists of 5,000 soldiers, and the deployment of the Lebanese army all the way to the border.

And it recommends having the United States, European Union and Japan threaten to brand Syria a pariah state if Damascus supports any direct or indirect attack on Israel.

Mr. Beilin said his plan would be successful because it takes into account the “interests of the different protagonists.”

Israel occupies a 15-kilometre “security zone” along Lebanon’s southern border to prevent guerrilla attacks into northern Israel, primarily by the Shiite militia Hizbollah.

#4 CNN 2 April 1998 Web posted at: 03:48 GST, New York time (23:48 GMT)

Qatar minister sees Iran shift on Mideast peace

Key Statement: "...."I think the Iranians said that the peace process is belonging to the people of Palestine and the neighborhood with Israel, and if they accept something it's their own fate," he said. "I think this is a positive answer from the Iranians and I hope this will be in practice their policy for the peace process."...."

WASHINGTON, April 1 (Reuters) - Qatar's foreign minister said Wednesday he believed Iran was moving towards greater acceptance of the Middle East peace process, which Tehran has long opposed.

"I think...we can see some changes," Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim al-Thani told reporters after talks with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

"I think the Iranians said that the peace process is belonging to the people of Palestine and the neighborhood with Israel, and if they accept something it's their own fate," he said. "I think this is a positive answer from the Iranians and I hope this will be in practice their policy for the peace process."

Iran has long vilified Palestinian President Yasser Arafat for talking peace with Israel, and Israel itself believes Tehran is bent on destruction of the Jewish state.

While there have been few, if any, public statements from Iranian leaders suggesting a change of view, U.S. officials said about two months ago that the Palestinians had told them that Iran was now giving Arafat "greater space" to negotiate.

There was a similar assessment from Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini, who visited Tehran in early March.

Thani said Qatar enjoyed good relations with Iran and wanted to see U.S.-Iranian ties improve. But, in reply to a question, he denied that he was bringing any message from Iran to Washington.

For the past few months, the United States has been trying to improve its rock-bottom relations with Iran through a cautious process of cultural exchanges. The two countries have had no diplomatic relations since 1980.

CHN Commentary 3-31-98 + LATE BREAKING SPECIAL REPORT

The Mid East March to Peace

Presidential envoy Dennis Ross has now concluded his latest peace shuttle mission, and is on his way back to the US to report to President Clinton and Secretary Albright. The best rhetoric he could muster before leaving was.... "hopes for peace are diminishing".

So, for the purposes of what we are to know at this time it looks like Yasser is right when he says...."the peace is dying". Although, over these past 18 years we can testify to the fact that "looks" can be deceiving.

and.........in the hopes of an Israeli troop withdrawal from the West Bank, the Palestinians are training some 4,000 police recruits to take control of the "newly liberated" areas, just in case it should happen.

but..........Bibi continues to publicly hold firm to only a 9% withdrawal, and if that changes then his coalition is threatened. So no progress there...or is there?

because...........As he is saying that, he calls for a 'Kitchen cabinet' meeting with Mr. Ross, and lo and behold, Ariel Sharon won't attend the meeting claiming the Prime Minister has been negotiating a West Bank withdrawal deal behind his back....so there you go, we're told one thing by Bibi, but Sharon's action won't back it up...

Before concluding his visit, Ross goes to Egypt to update Mubarak on the "real deal", and that's followed up by a telephone call to Mubarak by none other than King Hussein, with the sole purpose of discussing the Israeli/Palestinian peace track.

At the same time this is going on, Jordan's Prime Minister is exuberantly informing Jordan's people how successful the King's visit to the US was, especially how the American leaders expressed their admiration and appreciation of King Hussein and his wise leadership as they displayed total confidence in the King and asked for his advice....

and........at the same time this is going on, the last three F-16 aircraft arrived in Jordan as the last batch of the $215 million "Peace Falcon" programme extended to Jordan which includes 12 F-16 A single seat air defense fighter aircraft, four F-16B air defense fighters/trainers in addition to pilot training courses in the US. That's what you call "confidence" in the King...!!!

It's at this juncture that CHN always asks the question of King Hussein,...if you're making peace, why do you need more weapons of war..?? And his answer is always the same...for the "uprooting" you silly boy...for the uprooting..!!"

because........ guess who's getting friendlier all the time as reported by todays Jordan Times..?? "...Relations between Syria and Iraq, which are ruled by rival wings of the Baath Party, have improved since last May and in June they reopened their border, closed since 1982, to trade...." And when you mention Syria and Iraq, you can throw in Libya by default..!!

So, as March '98 closes where are we regarding Middle East Peace..??

We're in Paris with Kofi Annan, who we find explaining to the French.... "that Benjamin Netanyahu is very intelligent. He is young, understands international situations and is pragmatic and realistic. He is a clever man capable of springing a 'pleasant surprise' on the world.."

Hey world, are you up for a "pleasant surprise"......??!!!!

Firstfruits is 12 days away....

Come Lord Jesus......!!!!!

Luke 12:37

.............back up articles

#1 Jordan Times 3-31-98 News

Netanyahu’s aides shoot down reports on deal; Sharon boycotts meeting with Ross

Key Statement: "....Meanwhile, the leading hawk in Israel's government, Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon, boycotted a meeting with Mr. Ross Monday, claiming Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu was negotiating a West Bank withdrawal deal behind his back...." [Jerusalem] A U.S. diplomatic offensive to rescue Israeli-Palestinian negotiations neared its end on a bleak note on Monday, with presidential envoy Dennis Ross citing diminishing hopes for Middle East peace.

“Obviously the stalemate begins to diminish the hopes that people have for seeing a very different Middle East and for building and achieving peace,” Mr. Ross said at the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh after briefing President Hosni Mubarak.

In Cairo, Egyptian state television quoted informed sources as saying Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria would soon hold a high-level meeting to discuss the U.S. role in Middle East peacemaking and the latest American initiative to revive it. It gave no date and provided no details.

Meanwhile, the leading hawk in Israel’s government, Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon, boycotted a meeting with Mr. Ross Monday, claiming Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu was negotiating a West Bank withdrawal deal behind his back.

Mr. Netanyahu invited Mr. Sharon and Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai, considered the cabinet’s main moderate, to a meeting with Mr. Ross to discuss the scope of a long-overdue troop withdrawal from the West Bank, the prime minister’s office said.

But Mr. Sharon refused to go, complaining that Mr. Netanyahu was preparing a compromise pullback plan without consulting him or other ministers in government, Mr. Sharon’s office said.

Mr. Ross, wrapping up a four-day Mideast shuttle, on Monday failed to win agreement from Israelis and Palestinians on U.S. proposals.

The deadlock triggered new clashes between Palestinian stone throwers and Israeli troops. Palestinian protesters chanted “Death to America” and burned U.S. flags.

In the West Bank towns Bethlehem and Al Bireh, Israeli troops fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at hundreds of Palestinian school students, and several were injured.

Mr. Ross returned later on Monday to Israel where he held another round of talks with Mr. Netanyahu.

Prior to his departure, Mr. Ross was scheduled to speak by phone with Palestinian second-in-command Mahmoud Abbas since Palestinian President Yasser Arafat was abroad, Palestinian officials said.

Mr. Ross has been trying to win support for a U.S. proposal for an Israeli withdrawal in stages from 13.1 per cent of the West Bank, with each step accompanied by Palestinian security gestures.

Mr. Netanyahu denied Israeli media reports that a compromise was being worked out and that he had increased his initial withdrawal offer from nine per cent to 11 per cent.

“We have not discussed specifics on percentages, and therefore reports of a supposed agreement are not true,” Mr. Netanyahu said, adding that he did not expect Mr. Ross to conclude a deal on this trip.

Palestinian officials said they were concerned that the United States was ready to modify its own initiative under Israeli pressure. “We feel that this is a real test for American political will and the ability to withstand Israeli intransigence,” said Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian cabinet minister for higher education. “Ross has failed to extract from the Israelis a compliance with the requirements of the peace process and implementation with the agreements.”

In a U.S.-backed agreement signed last year, Mr. Netanyahu had pledged to carry out three troop pullbacks by this summer. However, he later said he would go ahead with only one withdrawal before launching talks on final borders. The Palestinians have said they would not accept any changes in agreements already signed.

Mr. Netanyahu hinted Monday that he was softening his position, saying he was ready to discuss an additional withdrawal with the Palestinians. However, the Palestinians reportedly insisted that the Americans be present at such talks, an idea Mr. Netanyahu rejects.

Mr. Netanyahu denied a report in the Maariv daily that he was considering a partial freeze on Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank in exchange for Palestinian acquiescence to a large-scale Jewish settlement project on occupied land in Jerusalem.

“We are not talking about a settlement freeze at any stage,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “That is not part of the agreement and so it wasn’t raised.”

On Sunday, Mr. Ross had met with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat who, according to Israeli officials, has not signed on to the idea of Palestinian reciprocal steps for Israeli troop pullbacks. In a demonstration of just how violent the climate is, a carload of explosives that authorities believed was meant for use in a terror attack went off prematurely on Sunday in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

A Palestinian man was killed in the blast. Palestinian police said Monday they have not identified the body, and have not established a connection to one of the activist groups that have carried out attacks on Israel in the past.

Monday’s Palestinian marches and protests were ostensibly held to mark Land Day, an annual commemoration of a 1976 protest against land confiscation in which six Israeli Arabs were killed by Israeli troops.

However, some of the anger was aimed at the United States.

“Death to America,” chanted hundreds of high school students in Bethlehem as they marched toward an Israeli enclave, Rachel’s Tomb, on the outskirts of town. Near the enclave, dozens of Palestinian teen-agers threw stones at Israeli soldiers who responded with tear gas and rubber-coated bullets, injuring several people, including a Palestinian policeman.

In Al Bireh, Palestinian riot police clubbed dozens of Palestinian protesters to keep them away from Israeli lines. Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets from a nearby hilltop. “We are out here today because it’s Land Day, and we need to remind the Palestinian Authority that the road to liberation is still a long one,” said stone-thrower Odeh Hussein, 18.

Throughout the West Bank, Palestinians observed a partial commercial strike, and in some towns, traffic stopped for five minutes in observance of Land Day. In the West Bank town of Nablus, about 4,000 Palestinian joined a Land Day march, carrying banners reading “No peace with settlements.” Some burned Israeli and U.S. flags.

#2 Jordan Times 3-31-98 News

Palestinian policemen prepare for Israeli pullout

Key Statement: "...."They're ready to move into the newly liberated areas immediately, once we get the word, even in the middle of the night," Abu Al Fahd told AFP...."

JERICHO (AFP) — As the United States tries to push Israel to conduct a troop withdrawal from the West Bank, the Palestinians are training some 4,000 police recruits to take control of the "newly liberated" areas, officials said Monday.

In a training ground in the West Bank town of Jericho, candidates to join the Preventive Security Service practice storming buildings, crawl along the ground as live bullets are fired over their heads and train in camouflage.

"We have between 3,000 and 4,000 new soldiers being trained in preparation for the redeployment which Israel is due to implement," said their head trainer, known only by his nom-de-guerre, Abu Al Fahd.

"They're ready to move into the newly liberated areas immediately, once we get the word, even in the middle of the night," Abu Al Fahd told AFP.

But the wait could be long.

U.S. peace envoy Dennis Ross was on the fourth and probably last day of a mediating mission Monday, so far unable to overcome Israeli opposition to a U.S. plan for conducting the troop withdrawal.

"They will be prepared to protect the Palestinian people from all threats, no matter where they come from," he said.

The recruits, aged 17-33, ran through a series of military-style exercises, starting with the basics of firing automatic weapons and sidearms.

In one exercise, they stormed a house, leaping through windows and breaking down the door in a simulated rescue of civilians kidnapped by militants.

Recruits applied face-paint and covered their heads in foliage, and others crawled belly-down across the sand while officers fired automatic weapons over their heads.

#3 Jordan Times 3-31-98 News

King Hussein, Mubarak discuss peace process

AMMAN (Petra) — His Majesty King Hussein and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Monday discussed the latest developments in the peace process, particularly on the Palestinian-Israeli track.

The King and President Mubarak also discussed bilateral relations during the telephone call. King Hussein assured Egyptian president about his health condition.

#4 Jordan Times 3-31-98 News

Majali: U.S.-Jordan ties are at their best

Key Statement: "....According to the prime minister, King Hussein and the U.S. administration discussed Jordanian-U.S. relations which he described as at their best. He added that the American leaders have expressed their admiration and appreciation of King Hussein and his wise leadership as they displayed total confidence in the King and asked for his advice...."

AMMAN (J.T.) — Prime Minister Abdul Salam Majali has described His Majesty King Hussein’s visit to the U.S. as very successful and that it contributed towards further promoting bilateral relations.

Speaking to reporters upon his return to Amman, Dr. Majali said King Hussein also underwent medical checkups which proved him to be in very good health.

According to the prime minister, King Hussein and the U.S. administration discussed Jordanian-U.S. relations which he described as at their best. He added that the American leaders have expressed their admiration and appreciation of King Hussein and his wise leadership as they displayed total confidence in the King and asked for his advice.

“Bilateral relations are excellent militarily and economically,” said Dr. Majali, adding that the U.S. has pledged to provide Jordan in 1999 with $225 million in economic and military aid as they did in 1998. He also said the U.S. has agreed to supply the Jordanian Armed Forces with needed modern weapons.

Referring to the peace process, Dr. Majali said that the King feels that the Americans are seriously exerting efforts to bridge the gap between the Palestinians and Israelis.

Dr. Majali said the King discussed the Iraqi question with the U.S. leaders, stressing that a direct American-Iraqi dialogue was a basic requirement for solving the outstanding issues. The prime minister said the Americans are not totally against this idea and will study it.

#5 Jordan Times 3-31-98 News

Last batch of F-16 fighters arrive in Amman

AMMAN (J.T.) — Three F-16 aircraft arrived at King Abdullah Air Base in Marka, the United States Information Service (USIS) said in a press release.

The airplanes are the last batch of the $215 million “Peace Falcon” programme extended to Jordan and announced by Former U.S. Secretary of Defence William Perry during his visit to the Kingdom on Jan. 7, 1996.

The Peace Falcon programme includes 12 F-16 A single seat air defence fighter aircraft, four F-16B air defence fighters/trainers in addition to pilot training courses in the U.S.

#6 Jordan Times 3-31-98 News

Iraqi, Syrian ministers hold talks in Baghdad

Key Statement: "....Relations between Syria and Iraq, which are ruled by rival wings of the Baath Party, have improved since last May and in June they reopened their border, closed since 1982, to trade...."

BAGHDAD (AFP) — Iraqi Health Minister Umid Medhat and his Syrian counterpart Mohammad Iyad Al Shatti examined ways to strengthen cooperation in their field at the beginning of a Syrian-Iraqi medical week here Monday.

Mr. Medhat informed Mr. Shatti, the first Syrian minister to visit Baghdad since a thaw in ties last year, of his ministry’s activities under the U.N. embargo in force since the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, official Baghdad radio said.

Mr. Shatti pledged “Syria’s support for the brotherly Iraqi people in their struggle for a lifting of the unjust embargo,” the radio reported.

A day after he arrived with a convoy of 12 trucks loaded with food and medical supplies, the Syrian minister took part Monday in the opening of a week-long medical seminar between the two countries.

Relations between Syria and Iraq, which are ruled by rival wings of the Baath Party, have improved since last May and in June they reopened their border, closed since 1982, to trade.

Ties have been severed since the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, when Damascus sided with Tehran. Syria also took part in the U.S.-led multinational coalition which evicted Iraqi troops from Kuwait in 1991.

#7 CNN 30 March 1998 Web posted at: 06:10 GST, New York time (02:10 GMT)

Annan says Netanyahu may prove 'positive' surprise

Key Statement: "...."Benjamin Netanyahu is very intelligent. He is young, understands international situations and is pragmatic and realistic. He is a clever man capable of springing a pleasant surprise on the world, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said in an interview released on Sunday...."

PARIS, March 29 (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a clever man capable of springing a pleasant surprise on the world, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said in an interview released on Sunday.

Annan met Netanyahu during a visit to Israel last week. "I had good talks with the prime minister and his team," Annan was quoted as saying in an interview with Le Figaro newspaper released ahead of Monday's publication.

"Benjamin Netanyahu is very intelligent. He is young, understands international situations and is pragmatic and realistic. He is a man more than capable of surprising us in a positive sense," Annan added.

The U.N. chief told Le Figaro that since he brokered a peace deal over weapons' inspections in Iraq, everyone now expected him to sort out all the world's problems. "But I am not a magician," he said.

One of the areas which caused him concern, was central Africa and he warned that the United Nations could not guarantee that it could prevent the sort of horrifying massacres witnessed in Rwanda in 1994.

He called for governments around the world to create rapid deployment units in their armies to intervene if violence flares in Africa again.

"I do not think that these African crises should just be left to the Africans alone. It is up to the United Nations to assume its international responsibilities," he said.

And Annan criticised world powers for having allowed the Rwandan genocide to go unchecked. "We saw something happen that we thought we would never see again. I do not know what is the problem with mankind," he said.

CHN "special" Report 3-31-98

Tomorrow morning's news is online tonight, and the story coming out is allowing the fine filter of prophecy to be used to see some minute details being fulfilled.

The "ten kings" of Daniel are setting the date for an "Arab summit", to take matters into their own hands and solve the Arab/Israeli conflict by resolving the "security issue" so harshly criticized by Netanyahu.

King Hussein of Jordan will have a prominent seat that this table, and ultimately he will emerge as the one speaking the "pompous words" of Daniel's 'little horn' character. Who uproots three of the horns and the others give him power.

The US is either allowing itself or not, to be pushed aside in order for this old 'medo-persian', reconstituted Roman Empire to step in and finish making peace, so that the "buying and the selling" can get on.

Iran has now formed it's necessary Arab alliances, and has gone as far as to say that, had Arabs and Iranians cooperated to confront Iraq, there would have been no need for an American military presence in the region.

"Iran has also led calls lately for regional action against weapons of mass destruction, a idea that could just as easily be applied to Iraq as to the stated offender, Israel." [GIU 4/1/98]

So, as our first article from the MED speaks of the "dying peace", the second article from GIU speaks of the emergence of the new group that's taking the lead in finishing the peace....by providing the "security", for Israel, so the Palestinians can get their land and their state.

And if this is what's happening, then Bibi is getting ready to make "a deal with the devil" as prophecy continues being fulfilled.

And let's not forget the "surprise" that Kofi Annan offered us yesterday in France...as he reminded everyone of how smart Bibi is and how capable he is of "surprising the whole world".

.....and we all like surprises........!!!

11 days ' til Firstfruits....

Come Lord Jesus..

Luke 12:37

MED 4-1-98 PEACE PROCESS IN "DIRE STRAITS"

US State Department spokesman James Rubin declared that the peace process in "dire straits." Rubin said that the US had been unable to bridge the gaps on the hard questions.

He said that while the US had not made a decision to walk away from its role as Middle East peace mediator, it remained an option. He noted that Washington had worked hard to develop negotiating proposals that would be acceptable to Israelis and Palestinians but, Rubin added, in the absence of a decision by the leaders to resolve differences, there was not much the US could do.

Meretz and Labor declared Ross‚ mission a "failure." They blamed the continued impasse on Prime Minister Netanyahu's policies and warned of an increased danger in terrorist attacks. Labor and Meretz said the Knesset should be recalled from its recess for an urgent session, and plan to assemble the thirty signatures required to convene the House during a break. {KOL ISRAEL 3/31 H}

Global Intelligence Update Red Alert April 1, 1998

Arab "Mini-Summit" Planned to Address Stalled Peace Process

The foreign ministers of Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia on Tuesday completed two days of talks in Riyadh, aimed at shaping a coordinated response to the stalled Middle East peace process.

The surprise meeting was prompted by recent failed attempts by representatives of the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, and United Nations to breathe life into the Palestinian-Israeli dialogue.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa reportedly briefed Syria's Farouq al-Sharaa and Saudi Arabia's Saud al-Faisal on talks held Monday between US envoy Dennis Ross and Egyptian leaders.

The three also met with Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri, who unexpectedly arrived in Riyadh on Monday.

Coincidentally with the Riyadh meeting, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak telephoned Jordan's King Hussein on Monday night to discuss recent developments in the peace process.

According to diplomatic sources in Riyadh, the three foreign ministers agreed to hold a mini-summit of Arab leaders in Cairo next month, to include Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, the Palestinian National Authority, and Morocco.

With the United States clearly unwilling or unable to pressure the Netanyahu regime into making concessions necessary to restart the peace process, Washington's Arab allies have joined with more hard-line Arab leaders and resolved to take matters into their own hands.

Washington is being shoved aside as ineffective as the Arab states attempt to shape a regional response to the issue. This not only threatens

to complicate the situation by increasing the number of players and turning it back into a confrontational pan-Arab versus Israeli issue, but also lays the groundwork for pan-Arab cooperation in other realms, including the Persian Gulf.

Indeed, one of the central features of the region in recent months has been the emergence of an assertive Iran seeking closer ties to Arab countries.

A central feature of Tehran's agenda has been the call for a regional security framework for dealing with crises without American or European involvement.

Iran has charged that Middle Eastern problems should face a Middle Eastern response, and has gone as far as to say that, had Arabs and Iranians cooperated to confront Iraq, there would have been no need for an American military presence in the region.

Iran has also led calls lately for regional action against weapons of mass destruction, a idea that could just as easily be applied to Iraq as to the stated offender, Israel.

As we reported on February 25, the abrupt conclusion of the latest US-Iraqi confrontation over UN arms inspections set off a sudden flurry of diplomatic initiatives throughout the Middle East.

(http://www.stratfor.com/services/gintel/region/stories/022598.html)

Diplomatic efforts continue unabated, with Saudi Arabia drawing ever closer to Iran, and Egypt moving closer to Syria, with both Riyadh and Cairo pulling away from their American moorings.

With Washington appearing increasingly impotent in the region, the stage is set for Arab-Iranian coordination and cooperation on security issues, with possible support from the Russians and maybe the French.

Three questions remain:

Has Washington:

1-completely lost control of Middle Eastern events?

2-Can it regain control?

3-And how far will this new regional cooperation extend?

CHN Commentary 3-28-98

The Mid East March to Peace

Dennis Ross, the US envoy to the Middle East, has concluded his first round of talks with both Bibi and Arafat, and less than enthusiastic results are being reported.

The purpose of his mission is to get them to agree on ''key issues'' that are stalling the peace process so that President Clinton can call for a Summit to finalize the process.

American ''patience'' is growing very short, and it has been reported that Clinton expressed that in no uncertain terms last week end to Bibi in a phone conversation. Tempers flared to the point that observers thought they would hang up on each other.

The President is quoted as having said, "Maybe it's hard for you to understand this, but this is a direct, vital American interest, and in the long run also an Israeli interest."

The pressure is mounting, and something or somebody is gonna' have to give ............and with all the preparation and effort that has been put into this Ross mission, it seems very likely that US resolve will get it's intended results ..!!

While this is going on in Israel, Israeli defense minister Mordechai met in Washington with US defense chief Cohen, but failed to win US support for an Israeli offer to withdraw from southern Lebanon if Beirut recognized the Israeli-backed South Lebanese Army rights in the region. Cohen informed Mordechai that the US is going to insist that Israel comply with UN Resolution 425 which calls for Israel's unconditional withdrawal.

Couple this insistence with Kofi Annan's ''staged'' rhetoric last week that all UN resolutions pertaining to the peace process be complied with, and it now becomes apparent what the underlying strategy of the US position toward Israel is..........and why Bibi so fears Clinton going public with America's proposal for getting the process started again.........namely, let Israel's noncompliance become a UN issue and put it on display for the world to see why peace can't be achieved in the Middle East. In other words, blame it on Israel. That is something to be feared by Israel, and if it has the backing of Israel's friends in America then you can bet it's time for peace...!!!!!!

And as we know, if it's time for the Rapture on God's calendar, then it's time for peace for the Jews and Jerusalem...!!

We are instructed to "watch", and ''watching'' is what we are doing.............

Come Lord Jesus....!!!!!!!

Luke 12:37

........back up articles....

#1 CNN March 27, 1998 Web posted at: 10:21 p.m. EST (0321 GMT)

Ross reveals new U.S. peace plan to Arafat, Netanyahu

In this story: •'We have made some modifications' •Netanyahu in a tight spot •U.S. leans on Netanyahu

Key Statement: "....Ross said he would report back to President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who would "make the decision on how to resume with the final procedures."...."

RAMALLAH, West Bank (CNN) -- Dennis Ross, the U.S. envoy to the Middle East, said Saturday that he has presented Israeli and Palestinian leaders with a modified American peace initiative that he hopes will revive peace talks between the two.

"Our concepts are still basically the same, but we have made some modifications and that's what I've been going over with the leaders today," Ross said after meeting for three hours with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. Their meeting began at midnight.

Ross met for four hours Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and says they did not discuss one of the key issues: how much of the West Bank Israel will ceding to the Palestinians.

"I'll have a chance within the next couple of days...to hear back from them," Ross, who is expected to meet again with Netanyahu Saturday.

Ross said he would report back to President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who would "make the decision on how to resume with the final procedures."

The United States has reportedly planned to ask Israel to give 13.1 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians. Israeli officials have said nine percent is the most Israel will cede to the Palestinians, who are demanding that the Israelis give them 30 percent.

In return for any land, the Israelis will demand that the Palestinians act vigorously to prevent violence and terrorism by Islamic militants.

Netanyahu in a tight spot

Arafat did not speak to reporters after the meeting with Ross. When asked before the meeting if he thought Ross could persuade Netanyahu to surrender more than 9 percent of West Bank land, Arafat replied, "I don't think so."

If Ross made any headway in persuading Netanyahu to change his mind, there was no indication of it following their lengthy meeting.

"We have nothing to say," was the only comment after the meeting, and it came from a Netanyahu spokesman.

Netanyahu, who ran for office on a pledge that he would not trade land for peace, is in a tenuous position.

On Sunday his Cabinet rejected the anticipated U.S. proposal of 13.1 percent, calling the it "unacceptable." And hard-line lawmakers in the Knesset, where Netanyahu has only a 61-59 parliamentary majority, have threatened a no-confidence vote against the government if the Israeli leader hands over more than 9 percent.

Ten of the lawmakers ran an open letter to Netanyahu in the English-language Jerusalem Post newspaper on Friday.

"Mr. Prime Minister, do not force us to proclaim 'no confidence' in you and the government," the letter said. "Stand steadfast on the integrity and security of Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel)."

U.S. leans on Netanyahu

President Clinton has turned up the heat on Netanyahu, too.

If Ross's efforts yield no breakthrough, the administration is reportedly prepared to release a statement setting forth its own remedy for reopening the peace talks.

The Israelis don't want Washington to release such a statement, because they fear the statement may blame Israel for the breakdown in the talks.

The Yediot Ahronot daily reported that Netanyahu and Clinton discussed the U.S. proposal over the phone last week, and the conversation was so heated that it was feared that they might hang up on each other.

The paper also quoted U.S. officials as saying that Netanyahu committed to a two-digit withdrawal during his White House visit in January.

Officials at the U.S. State Department have indicated that Clinton may be open to a compromise in which Israel would cede less than the proposed 13.1 percent, but the land would be contiguous to areas that are already autonomous.

The Palestinians currently have full or partial control over 27 percent of the West Bank and Gaza, but the land is mostly disconnected. Creating larger autonomous blocks would be a step toward the Palestinians' goal of statehood.

Arafat has refused comment on the U.S. proposal circulated by the media, but has said that he wants "both quality and quantity" in an Israeli pullback.

Jerusalem Bureau Chief Walter Rodgers, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

#2 CNN 28 March 1998 Web posted at: 03:17 GST, New York time (23:17 GMT)

Envoy doesn't disclose U.S. proposal on size of Israeli withdrawal

Key Statement: "....The Yediot Ahronot daily said when Netanyahu and President Clinton discussed the U.S. proposal by phone last week, tempers flared and it seemed for a time they might hang up on each other.

During the call, Netanyahu complained to Clinton that the U.S. initiative was only hurting the peace talks. Clinton responded, according to Yediot: "Maybe it's hard for you to understand this, but this is a direct, vital American interest, and in the long run also an Israeli interest." ...."

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) Contrary to expectations, U.S. peace envoy Dennis Ross did not tell Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday the size of the withdrawal that the United States thinks Israel should make in the West Bank.

The Clinton administration wants Israel to withdraw from 13 percent of the West Bank, but the State Department has suggested Ross would be willing to consider a proposal that would trade quality for quantity.

"There was no talk of numbers. There was no talk of percentages," Cabinet Secretary Danny Naveh said after the four-hour meeting in Jerusalem.

"Clearly the number about which there has been talk 13 percent is totally unacceptable to the government," Naveh told Israeli Channel 1 television. Another meeting was scheduled for Saturday evening.

Netanyahu has said he would hand over no more than 9 percent, but has hinted he may sweeten any deal by giving the Palestinians land adjacent to areas they already control. He described this is "a qualitative rather than a quantitative" withdrawal.

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who was to meet with Ross later Friday, said he expects "both quality and quantity" in an Israeli pullback.

Arafat has not rejected the U.S. proposal, despite many misgivings among Palestinians.

Netanyahu told Ross that Israel must have a role in monitoring Palestinian compliance with the security clauses in the Oslo agreement, Israel radio reported. Netanyahu also demanded that the Palestinians be required to disarm Islamic militants and hand over suspects in killings of Israelis.

Concerning a withdrawal, the Maariv newspaper said Netanyahu would give back land that would link the autonomous towns of Jenin and Nablus in the north, and the towns of Bethlehem and Ramallah in the center.

The creation of larger autonomous blocs would be a step toward the Palestinians' goal of statehood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Palestinians currently have full or partial control over 27 percent of the West Bank, most of it scattered islands.

As Ross and Netanyahu met, peace activists and Jewish settlers staged small rival demonstrations outside the prime ministry Friday. A dozen supporters of the Peace Now group urged Netanyahu to accept the U.S. proposals, while a dozen settlers asked him to abort the peace talks and not hand over any land.

Ten right-wing Israeli lawmakers, most members of Netanyahu's coalition, took out newspaper ads threatening to bring down the government if any land was handed to the Palestinians.

Under the American proposal, Israeli troops would withdraw from 13.1 percent of the West Bank over 12 weeks, with each step met by Palestinian security concessions such as outlawing incitement against Israel and providing an accurate list of all members of the Palestinian security forces.

The United States would monitor Palestinian compliance. State Department spokesman James Rubin suggested Thursday that Ross would be open to Israeli proposals to reduce the scope of the pullback somewhat. "The better the quality, perhaps less the quantity" of West Bank territory Israel would have to turn over, he said.

Unless Ross salvages the stalled peace process, the Clinton administration is preparing to set out its own prescription for reopening talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Netanyahu desperately has tried to avoid such a public statement, which Israelis fear might cast blame on them.

The Yediot Ahronot daily said when Netanyahu and President Clinton discussed the U.S. proposal by phone last week, tempers flared and it seemed for a time they might hang up on each other.

During the call, Netanyahu complained to Clinton that the U.S. initiative was only hurting the peace talks. Clinton responded, according to Yediot: "Maybe it's hard for you to understand this, but this is a direct, vital American interest, and in the long run also an Israeli interest."

During a White House visit in January, Netanyahu committed himself to a withdrawal of at least 10 percent from the West Bank.

#3 Jordan Times 3-28-98

Israeli fails to win support for Lebanon withdrawal scheme

Key Statement: "....U.S. Defence Secretary William Cohen said the proposal "was a positive contribution and a very significant step forward" but the United States "stands solidly behind U.N. Resolution 425," which he said calls for Israel's unconditional withdrawal...."

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Israel's defence minister failed to win U.S. support Friday for an Israeli offer to withdraw from southern Lebanon if Beirut recognized the Israeli-backed South Lebanese Army rights in the region.

U.S. Defence Secretary William Cohen said the proposal "was a positive contribution and a very significant step forward" but the United States "stands solidly behind U.N. Resolution 425," which he said calls for Israel's unconditional withdrawal.

On the plus side, talks here between Mr. Cohen and Israeli Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai concluded with an U.S. agreement to help finance a third Arrow anti-missile battery.

Mr. Mordechai said Israel was "looking forward" to change in the situation in Lebanon and was ready to withdraw if the Lebanese government and army "give the right to the South Lebanese Army and the south Lebanese people."

"If they do that we are ready to withdraw from south Lebanon," he said at a joint news conference with Mr. Cohen. Mr. Mordechai said he was asking Washington to provide political support for the initiative and to support the Lebanese army if it is needed.

"I am not asking to send even one soldier from the United States or any other country to Lebanon and to the Middle East, just to encourage Lebanon and some other country to join this initiative to change the situation in Lebanon," he said.

CHN Commentary 3-27-98

The Mid East March to Peace

At our last writing, King Hussein had concluded his talks with Clinton but they weren't revealing the content of their conversation.

But now, one key part of the conversation has surfaced... Clinton asked King Hussein to urge Netanyahu to make the serious decisions necessary to advance the process...That is very significant, when you know that ultimately the King will be credited with being the ''peacemaker''..!!

Today the King is still in the US on ''private business''.

Kofi Annan has completed his Mid East tour of duty, and everyone agrees that he related his message just as the US had instructed him to do....holding firm on compliance to UN resolutions where they apply.

Dennis Ross, our Mid East senior American mediator, is now in Israel after having met with Israeli defense minister Mordechai in Florida before leaving the US.....

While Ross is in the region, Mordechai will hold talks in Washington. He is due to meet today with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan has been to Germany to meet with Chancellor Kohl to further the peace conversation........ and it's being suggested that he was given a draft plan on an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank by Israeli Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon. If that's true, that rates a WOW..!!

Yasser Arafat has been running around the Mid East trying to convince the Arab world that if the US doesn't publicly announce their ''peace plan'' for Israel to implement, then the peace is ''gonna' die''...

The US plan has been unofficially announced and Israel, as expected, is rejecting it......but has offered to give ''quality'' of land rather than ''quantity''...and Arafat is listening.. What it means is rather than increasing the size of the ''islands of land'' that the Palestinians are being given, give less land, but give land that connects these islands and makes them contiguous...to have more the appearance of being a ''state''.........

If Dennis Ross can get an ''agreement to agree'' on the issues, then Clinton is ready to hold a summit and invite five ''heads of state'' to participate.... Bibi & Yasser of course, but the third name mentioned by the President is King Hussein.........''hello peacemaker''..!!!!!!

........but it is an ''up and down'' situation. One day it's positive.....next day peace is dead..!! All we can do is keep ''watching''..knowing that if this is the year for the Rapture, then this is the time for peace..!!

We will all know very soon now.....as Firstfruits is only 16 days away.

Luke 12:37

.....back up articles....

#1 Jerusalem Post 3-26-98 Israel agrees to two-digit pullback

By JAY BUSHINSKY

Key Statement: "....In their White House meeting two weeks ago, Clinton asked King Hussein to urge Netanyahu to make the serious decisions necessary to advance the process, the Times said...."

JERUSALEM (March 26) - Israel will withdraw from 10.5 percent to 12% of the West Bank in a bid to convince Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat the peace process can be put back on track, a senior government official confirmed yesterday.

This proposal was attributed to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu by The New York Times as part of a detailed analysis of the US mediation effort and the positions being taken by the contending parties.

The official also verified the Times' disclosure that the areas to be evacuated would be contiguous rather than scattered "pockmarks" among which travel would be difficult and hazardous.

He attributed the contiguity to National Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon and implied that Sharon is aware of the 10.5% to 12% offer.

Netanyahu's support of these ideas evidently was expressed in a letter he sent President Bill Clinton more than a week before their two lengthy telephone conversations last weekend.

Well informed sources said the new chances of breaking the deadlock with the PA prompted Clinton to instruct State Department peace envoy Dennis Ross to fly to Israel along with his deputy, Aaron Miller.

Another official attributed the Times' disclosures to "briefings conducted by American officials." He said they reflected "American perceptions" and Israeli offers.

Ross may have been instructed to present a US plan - designed to accommodate Israeli and Palestinian concerns - to Netanyahu and Arafat. But this prospect evinced a bitter reaction from the senior aide.

"What the Americans have done was to pour a bucket of cold water on the principle of direct negotiations," he said. "Their mistake was to tell the PA they would not intervene if progress was made, but would intervene if there were a freeze."

The Times account contends that "Netanyahu is now talking of withdrawals from areas that will leave Arafat in charge of a more coherently formed area of land that would look more like an embryonic state."

Hillel Kuttler adds from Washington:

According to the Times, the compromise proposal Netanyahu has sent Clinton falls short of what the Americans proposed, but may be enough to enable a deal to be struck.

The proposal accounts for the decision announced last week for Ross to return to the region to meet with Netanyahu and Arafat, the paper said. Ross is due to arrive today and could stay through Sunday. He met last night in Miami with Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai before heading to the region. According to Itim, Mordechai proposed an 11% withdrawal to Ross.

Prior to receiving Netanyahu's letter and speaking with him twice by telephone late last week, Clinton was leaning toward not sending Ross back to the region, and instead presenting to Netanyahu and Arafat an American proposal for a 13% redeployment, along with increased Palestinian steps against terrorism, the Times reported, adding that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was prepared to make the American suggestions public in an upcoming speech.

Instead, Ross will arrive to ascertain from Netanyahu "how much of this is real and how much of this is spin," the article quoted a senior administration official.

In their White House meeting two weeks ago, Clinton asked King Hussein to urge Netanyahu to make the serious decisions necessary to advance the process, the Times said.

MARGOT DUDKEVITCH adds:

At a stormy emergency meeting of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza last night, settlement leaders declared they will return to the streets to protest further withdrawal from the West Bank.

Council members will ask MKs to sign a letter by the Land of Israel Front threatening to topple the government if any withdrawal from the West Bank takes place. They also plan to intensify Knesset lobbying activities to obtain a majority against any further withdrawal.

The settlers said they will also embark on a campaign to alert the public of the dangers if the government goes ahead and grants Palestinians land contiguity, claiming the government is ignoring the total lack of Palestinian compliance with the Oslo Accords.

Council spokeswoman Yehudit Tayar said reports of a proposal that Netanyahu is considering to grant the Palestinians land contiguity and a possible 10% withdrawal are inconceivable.

"Each percentage point comprises 50 square kilometers of land and we are against any kind of concession when compliance is nonexistent," she said.

Council members are to hold a protest vigil outside the Laromme Hotel when Ross meets with Netanyahu tonight.

#2 Jordan Times 3-26-98 News

U.S. envoy to propose 14 per cent Israeli redeployment in W. Bank — diplomats

By Ghadeer Taher

Key Statement: "....If the U.S. proposals are accepted by Tel Aviv, American President Bill Clinton will convene a summit with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, according to diplomats.

President Clinton will also invite five heads of state to the summit, likely to include His Majesty King Hussein and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak...."

AMMAN — U.S. Middle East envoy Dennis Ross will propose to Israel that it hands over 14 per cent of the West Bank to full Palestinian authority in addition to another 13 per cent to be jointly controlled, diplomats said Wednesday.

Mr. Ross, due in Israel today, will also propose that Palestinian-Israeli final status talks conclude within one year and that the third and final Israeli withdrawal will be discussed through a trilateral commission, said a diplomat.

"In the 14 per cent redeployment from Area B to A, the Palestinians will have full control," said the diplomat explaining that under the Oslo peace accords, Area A is Palestinian controlled, whereas Area B is jointly administered by the Israelis and Palestinians, and C is under total Israeli authority. "In the 13 per cent redeployment from Area C to B, security responsibility will stay in Israel's hands while the administration will be transferred to the Palestinians."

If the U.S. proposals are accepted by Tel Aviv, American President Bill Clinton will convene a summit with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, according to diplomats.

President Clinton will also invite five heads of state to the summit, likely to include His Majesty King Hussein and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Washington will also call on both sides to implement what has already been agreed upon in the interim period, including the airport, seaport, industrial zone and the safe passage. Mr. Ross will also propose creating a tripartite Israeli-Palestinian-American Committee for economic coordination to help push the peace process forward, according to the diplomat.

In public statements, Prime Minister Netanyahu has rejected the American plan. Israelis are proposing a nine per cent withdrawal insisting that more would be detrimental to the country's security. The Palestinians, while expressing deep reservations about the U.S. proposal, have agreed to consider it.

Israeli officials have publicly said they would work to scuttle the American proposal. One diplomat said that Israel "does not want the Americans to make the proposal public before they have a chance to introduce adjustments rendering the plan acceptable to Israel."

Israeli Defence Minister Yitzhak Mordechai on Wednesday made a counter-proposal to Washington in which Israel would pull back from 11 per cent of the West Bank, the French news agency AFP quoting Israeli television reported.

The television said that Mr. Mordechai, who met with Mr. Ross in Miami, Florida, proposed this in exchange that Israel does not conduct a third pull back from the West Bank called for in the Oslo accords.

According to news reports out of Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu is seeking to neutralise and appease the right-wing extremists who oppose a West Bank withdrawal. Israel's daily Ha'aretz newspaper said that Mr. Netanyahu will attempt next week to push a decision through the cabinet whereby Israel will agree to increase its proposed withdrawal in a bid to meet the U.S. demand for a double-digit pullback.

The paper said Mr. Netanyahu has delayed a decision until the Knesset recess which begins Wednesday in order to neutralise the threat of 17 right-wing deputies who could bring down the government if a West Bank withdrawal is approved.

Before the Knesset reconvenes on May 3, Mr. Netanyahu will order the resumption of construction on the controversial Jabal Abu Ghneim settlement in Jerusalem in a bid to appease the angry extremists, the influential Ha'aretz reported Wednesday.

A senior Palestinian official told the Jordan Times recently that the Palestinians are "damned if they accept the American initiative and damned if they don't." In any case, the official said, the Palestinians are banking on the downfall of Mr. Netanyahu in whatever course he chooses to take, explaining that whether the Israeli premier decides to withdraw or not, he will be faced by insurmountable opposition by his coalition members and/or international pressure.

Jordan Times 3-26-98 News

Annan defends U.N. against barrage of Israeli criticism

Key Statement: "....Since his three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories began on Monday, Mr. Annan has urged Israel to implement a range of U.N. Security Council resolutions on withdrawal from occupied Arab territories...."

TEL AVIV (AFP) — U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan was forced to defend the world body against a barrage of Israeli criticism Wednesday on the final day of his historic visit to Israel.

Mr. Annan, on the first official visit to Israel by a U.N. chief, was met at a special parliamentary session in his honour by fierce criticism from Speaker Dan Tichon of 50 years of "hostile" U.N. action against the Jewish state.

"The U.N. strategy of isolating and de-legitimising Israel will only bear spoiled fruit," said Mr. Tichon, a member of the ruling right-wing Likud Party.

His speech drew howls of protest from opposition deputies, who demanded a non-political welcome for the U.N. chief.

But Mr. Tichon renewed his criticism of the world body at a subsequent banquet for Mr. Annan, listing U.N. resolutions over the past decades which he said had been "biased" and "hostile" to Israel — notably a 1975 motion equating Zionism with racism.

"This was a humiliating slap in the face which effectively denied Israel its right to exist," he said, claiming that if the United Nations was to repeat today its 1948 vote which led to the creation of Israel, the outcome would have been different.

"The U.N. has actually become an obstacle in our relationship with our Arab neighbours," Mr. Tichon said.

Mr. Annan diplomatically rejected the criticism and called on Israel to "take a second look and make room for the U.N."

"We have put some of the most horrible chapters behind us," he said. Mr. Annan noted that Israel's founding father, David Ben-Gurion, liked to dismissively refer to the United Nations in Hebrew as "Um Shmum" — "the U.N. thing."

Using a play on words with the Hebrew word for "nothing" (cloum) he added: "I think you will all agree that in today's interdependent world, without the Um, we will all have 'cloum.'"

The General Assembly has earned Israel's mistrust by adopting numerous resolutions over the years condemning Israel's occupation of Arab lands and Jewish settlement policies, usually with only Israel, the United States and a handful of other states voting against.

Since his three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories began on Monday, Mr. Annan has urged Israel to implement a range of U.N. Security Council resolutions on withdrawal from occupied Arab territories.

At a speech later Wednesday to the Israel Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Annan issued his most pointed criticism of Israel's policies.

"It gives me no pleasure to recite a list of the grievances which the international community has against Israel," he said.

"The great majority of the member states of the United Nations regard Israel as having been responsible, directly or indirectly, for provocative acts that undermine good will and spark hostility," he said.

Referring indirectly to Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu's unwillingness to withdraw fully from occupied Arab territory as required under U.N. resolutions, Mr. Annan added: "Land for peace is the only principle that has a chance of bringing peace to this land."

Mr. Annan also riled Israelis by planning to meet Wednesday evening with Faisal Husseini, the top Palestine Liberation Organisation official in Arab east Jerusalem, the Arab-majority sector of the city which Israel occupied and illegally annexed in 1967.

Israel objects to foreign dignitaries meeting Palestinian officials in Jerusalem, because they believe such encounters enhance Palestinian claims on the city which Israel has declared its "unified capital."

"It's unfortunate that the secretary general felt obliged to pay lip service to the Palestinians by meeting Husseini," Jerusalem mayor Ehud

Olmert told reporters after meeting Mr. Annan earlier in the day.

#3 Jordan Times 3-26-98 News

Annan meets Husseini in Jerusalem

Key Statement: "....But he said: "If there are meetings with Israelis in Jerusalem, there must also be meetings with Palestinians in Jerusalem."

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP) — U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan held talks Wednesday night with Palestinian officials in Arab east Jerusalem, who called for the United Nations to play a greater role in the Middle East peace process.

"The meeting shows balance in the [U.N.] position on Jerusalem," Faisal Husseini, the top Palestine Liberation Organisation official in Arab east Jerusalem, told reporters afterward.

Mr. Annan met a delegation led by Mr. Husseini at the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) offices in Arab east Jerusalem, which irritated Israeli leaders.

But he said: "If there are meetings with Israelis in Jerusalem, there must also be meetings with Palestinians in Jerusalem."

Mr. Annan completed Wednesday his two-day visit to Israel. Mr. Husseini said the Palestinians had said their people needed protection from Israeli measures such as the confiscation of identity cards of Jerusalemites, the demolition of homes and settlement activities.

The U.N. secretary general refrained from commenting. Hanan Ashrawi, the number two in Arab east Jerusalem, also participated in the meeting. "We saw eye-to-eye on all issues," she said.

"We discussed the need for the U.N. [to play] a more effective and immediate role in the peace process," Ms. Ashrawi added. Israel showed its irritation by sending several dozen police officers who sealed off the street of the UNDP building and systematically checked the identification of passers-by.

"The U.N. considers Jerusalem occupied territory," Mr. Husseini told reporters before the meeting.

Israel, which says Jerusalem, including the eastern sector, is its eternal capital, protests against foreign dignitaries meeting Palestinian officials there.

The Palestinians want east Jerusalem, occupied and illegally annexed by Israel in 1967, to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

#4 Jordan Times 3-26-98 News

Crown Prince denies receiving Israeli redeployment draft plan

Key Statement: "....His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hassan has denied in a television interview that Israeli Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon had brought him a draft plan on an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank but he said that the Israeli minister has voiced his government's desire to enlist neighbouring countries in ensuring peace and security...."

LONDON (J.T.) — His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hassan has denied in a television interview that Israeli Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon had brought him a draft plan on an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank but he said that the Israeli minister has voiced his government's desire to enlist neighbouring countries in ensuring peace and security.

Speaking in an interview with the London-based Middle East Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), the Crown Prince referred to the Khaled Misha'al fiasco of last September when Israeli Mossad agents tried to assassinate the Hamas leader in Amman.

"We defend the life of every Jordanian citizen and if Misha'al or any other Jordanian citizen is killed by Israel, our position will be clear. We cannot continue living under threat on our streets and our environment. We are an independent and sovereign state oriented towards peace for which

Jordan has signed a treaty with the Israelis."

Referring to Mr. Sharon's recent statement in which the Israeli minister was quoted as saying that Israel is determined to assassinate Mr. Misha'al, and whether Mr. Sharon has written a message explaining himself, the Crown Prince said: "Let us judge the man by his actions."

Mr. Sharon was reported to have told Israel's Channel Two Television on March l4 that Israel had informed Jordan that it intended to finish off the job and assassinate Hamas leader Khaled Misha'al but not on Jordanian soil.

Acting Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour blasted Mr. Sharon's threats as "rude and irresponsible threats" and told a press conference last week that the Jordanian government has summoned the Israeli ambassador to Jordan, Oded Eran, and protested the threat.

Last Monday Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Jawad Anani told reporters that Jordan has accepted Mr. Sharon's clarifications made in a letter to Prince Hassan following his recent threats.

Replying to a question concerning the Palestinian-Israeli peace track, Prince Hassan said: "Jordan is not a mediator nor does it represent any party but it is concerned with opening a Palestinian-Israeli dialogue that would benefit the Arab nation."

"While Jordan is keen on protecting the independent Palestinian identity, Jordan will never accept any political or security moves taken at the expense of the Kingdom's pivotal role in the region," stressed the Crown Prince.

Regarding peace with Israel he said that he supports peace with Israel provided each party secures its own rights but not if based on sheer ideological considerations.

Replying to a question on Jordan's position regarding the settlement of refugees, Prince Hassan said: "Jordan adopts a firm stand vis-a-vis this question and is demanding that the refugees have the right to compensation or repatriation."

Asked about Jordan's participation in the Israeli-U.S.-Turkish military exercises early this year, Prince Hassan said: "By sending a single army officer to the exercises Jordan wanted to retain ties with Turkey."

Prince Hassan called on the counties of the region to adopt a new policy based on dialogue which can safeguard their respective interests and prevent any Balkanisation of the region, adding that the question of water in the region can only be solved through regional integration and quiet diplomacy and dialogue.

Prince Hassan described the Gulf war as to have broken the nation's back saying that "we are now facing the consequences of that war."

Asked if the shadow of war in the Gulf is over, the Crown Prince said: "I don't think so because the issue has been internationalised and was preceded by a series of preparations. The danger will not be over unless this military force has been transformed into a diplomatic one."

Asked about his Majesty King Hussein health, Prince Hassan said that the King enjoys a very good health and that he pursues his activities in an excellent manner.

#5 CNN 27 March 1998 Web posted at: 03:38 GST, New York time (23:38 GMT)

US: Israel, Palestinians must make moves to keep peace process going

Key Statement: "....Rubin suggested the two sides consider refining their positions. "The better the quality, perhaps less the quantity" of West Bank territory may have to be turned over to the Palestinians, he said...."

WASHINGTON (AP) Declaring Mideast peacemaking is in "dire straits," the Clinton administration is urging Israel to consider adjusting its stand on a West Bank withdrawal and the Palestinians to move quicker on security measures to avert a collapse.

With Israel unwilling to add more than about 9 percent of the West Bank to the 27 percent of the land already placed under Yasser Arafat's control, the administration is suggesting the Palestinians may be receptive if the land Israel gives up is contiguous.

As for Arafat's Palestinian Authority, the administration is suggesting that new measures to stem terrorism against Israeli civilians be adopted swiftly to persuade Israel to resume negotiations.

As senior American mediator Dennis B. Ross held talks in Israel, the State Department spokesman, James P. Rubin, registered U.S. despair.

"The peace process has been moribund for too long... It is in dire straits," Rubin said.

While Ross is in the region, Israel's defense minister, Yitzhak Mordechai, will hold talks in Washington. He is due to meet Friday with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

The United States has been "trying very, very hard ... to get a bridge between the views of the Palestinians and the views of the Israelis on what is necessary to meet each of their objectives," Rubin said.

Unless Ross can persuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Arafat "to make some hard decisions," Rubin said, "we face the real prospect of disillusionment, of an inability to ever restore the peace process."

Much of the deadlock concerns Netanyahu's refusal to add to the 9 percent of the West Bank he says Israel can safely relinquish now to the Palestinians. Israel is also dissatisfied with Arafat's handling of terrorists.

Rubin suggested the two sides consider refining their positions. "The better the quality, perhaps less the quantity" of West Bank territory may have to be turned over to the Palestinians, he said.

And "the better the security procedures, the quicker it can be implemented," the spokesman said.

Unless Ross salvages the process, the administration is preparing to set out in a high-profile policy statement its own prescription for reopening productive talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The main ingredients are already well-known. They include a U.S. demand that Israel give up another 12 percent to 15 percent of the West Bank, stop building new homes for Jews in east Jerusalem or on the West Bank and that Arafat do more to counter terrorism.

President Clinton talked twice to Netanyahu by telephone last week.

CHN Commentary 3-20-98

Mid East March to Peace:

The long awaited meeting between King Hussein and President Clinton took place Thursday, as scheduled, and the ''best news'' possible came out.........NO NEWS..!!!!

The meeting was held in private and their conversation is being kept secret. There was no news conference afterward, no photo opps, and as the King left the White House he refused to answer any questions.....!!!

Somehow that raises the thought that something very private and very secret is going on....and there is no doubt about it..!!! The "deal" certainly looks like it's coming down..!!!

Bibi's attempt to mussel any US pressure on Israel looks like it has fallen on deaf ears...and the word keeps coming out that next week the administration will announce it's proposal on the withdrawal.....

The Palestinians are "rootin' " for it, and the Israeli's are "sweatin' " it.....

Kofi Annan is doing the ''peace trot'' around the Mid East right now, and continues to announce that the United Nations resolutions should be the basis for peace in the Middle East and the countries involved should be urged to compromise if needed. So, he boldly speaks "compromise"....'cause that's what's gonna' get the job done........"I'll do this, if you'll do that"...and the ''compromise'' is coming..!!!

With our eighteen years of experience of ''watching'' the Mid East scene on a daily basis, we only have one conclusion....everything that should be happening for ''peace to come'' is happening....all the pressure is being applied that has ever been applied at these ultimate levels of authority...and there truly seems to be only one thing ''holding back'' it's conclusion....and that's the CHURCH...

........you remove the Church...and you get ''peace''..!!!

And again we say, God always warns His people....and in the year that the Rapture happens, it will be preceded by the ''dead in Christ'' rising on Firstfruits.. 40 days prior to the "Ascension of the Body of Christ".. [just like it did the first time it happened]..!!!

Ascension/Rapture....the ''new knowledge'' in the last days...!!!!! [Daniel 12:4]

......and we are told to ''watch'', ...as our redemption draws near..!!

We are ''watching'' .........come Lord Jesus..!!

Luke 12:37

........back up articles.....

#1 CNN March 20, 1998

King Hussein Meets Clinton in White House

By REUTERS

Key Statement: "....The White House press secretary, Michael D. McCurry, described the talks as "a conversation that the President is going to want to keep mostly private."

WASHINGTON -- King Hussein of Jordan met with President Clinton Thursday as the United States pressed its search for ways to revive the Middle East peace talks.

The White House press secretary, Michael D. McCurry, described the talks as "a conversation that the President is going to want to keep mostly private."

The private nature was underscored by the fact that reporters and photographers were not permitted to attend the beginning of the meeting, which is customary when a head of state visits the White House.

When the King emerged from the White House after 45 minutes, he declined to talk with reporters.

A White House official said Clinton had brought King Hussein up to date on discussions that American officials have had with Israelis and Palestinians since talks in Washington in January with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yasir Arafat.

#2 CNN Netanyahu unable to stave off U.S. peace initiative

'Only Israel' will make the decisions

In this story: •U.S. announcement next week? •'A very reasonable possibility' •Also pressured by Israeli cabinet •Spokesman denies freeze on project

March 19, 1998 Web posted at: 6:30 p.m. EDT (1830 GMT)

Key Statement: "....After failing to persuade the United States to shelve its new initiative --- which sources say could come as early as next week -- Netanyahu acknowledged the United States' role, but added "one thing is clear: it is Israel who will decide its security needs, and only Israel can do this."

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Pressured by impending U.S. plans to announce a new Mideast peace initiative, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that "only Israel" will make the decisions regarding its security.

After failing to persuade the United States to shelve its new initiative --- which sources say could come as early as next week -- Netanyahu acknowledged the United States' role, but added "one thing is clear: it is Israel who will decide its security needs, and only Israel can do this."

Diplomatic sources say Netanyahu has privately told the Clinton administration that he is opposed to its new initiative, which would ask Israel to give 13 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians during a three-month period.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has also demanded that Israel freeze construction on Jewish settlements and housing projects in the West Bank and on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

The United States reportedly wants "credible and significant" troop withdrawals by Israel in return for greater efforts by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to stop attacks on Israel by Islamic militants.

Ha'aretz, an Israeli newspaper, says Albright will invite Netanyahu and Arafat to separate meetings in Europe where she will explain the plan and try to get them to accept it before going public with it.

The newspaper said the United States could go public with the proposal next week.

'A very reasonable possibility'

Netanyahu said he was "not aware of an American plan as such. I'm aware of American ideas, and we're always eager to exchange ideas with the United States about advancing the process," he said.

"As far as the extent of the territories ... that is something of course that remains to be seen," he said. "But we have charted out what I think is a very reasonable possibility, one that will give the Palestinians additional land provided they live up to their commitments to us."

Natan Sharansky, Israel's minister for trade and industry, was in Washington Thursday, reportedly appealing to Albright to keep from making the proposal public.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Netanyahu of sending envoys to Washington "to obstruct the U.S. initiative."

"This is something that Netanyahu has been trying to do for a while, with both the European and American efforts," Erekat said. "He has chosen settlement and the destruction of the foundation of the peace accords."

He added, "I think he's chosen to keep the territory rather than to maintain the peace, and I think he's now just looking for excuses to blame it on Palestinians."

Erekat said any U.S. proposal must include the three further withdrawals from the West Bank promised in the Israel-Palestinian accords.

Also pressured by Israeli cabinet

Netanyahu's response was that the Oslo peace accords have become "a deal for nothing. We want land for something, and we insist that the Palestinians carry out their obligations to fight terrorism."

Netanyahu's right-wing cabinet has warned him not to give more than 10 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians, and Israeli cabinet ministers say he has offered 9 percent.

His dilemma is that if he offers more, he will run afoul of his cabinet, whose support he needs to keep his governing coalition together. But if he offers only 9 or 10 percent, he risks alienating the U.S. administration.

Adding further fuel to the fire Thursday, Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert accused Netanyahu's government of quietly freezing construction on disputed land on the outskirts of Jerusalem, apparently to appease the Americans.

Olmert said Netanyahu has postponed distributing bids to building contractors since infrastructure for a Jewish housing project on the site was completed in December.

"I think there was a decision to freeze it," said Olmert, a member of Netanyahu's Likud Party and one of the staunchest supporters of the project. Netanyahu's right-wing coalition partners have threatened to leave the government unless the construction proceeds.

Spokesman denies freeze on project

Netanyahu's senior adviser, David Bar-Illan, denied there was any decision to freeze construction. "The delay in issuing (bids) is purely bureaucratic and has nothing to do with any political pressures," he said.

The construction site, known to Israelis as Har Homa and Palestinians as Jabal Abu Ghneim, was in the news earlier this week when British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook met a Palestinian lawmaker near the construction.

The visit infuriated Israeli leaders, who viewed the tour as a direct challenge to Israel's claim of sovereignty over all of Jerusalem.

The site is part of land captured from the Arabs in the 1967 war. The area is also claimed by the Palestinians as a future capital.

Israel began work on the project last year, triggering suicide bombings by Islamic militants and violent confrontations between Jewish settlers and Palestinians that brought peace negotiations to a standstill.

Jerusalem Bureau Chief Walter Rodgers and Reuters contributed to this report.

#3 CNN Annan: UN resolutions basis for Mideast peace

20 March 1998 Web posted at: 05:16 GST, Dubai time (01:16 GMT)

Key Statement: "....U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Thursday that United Nations resolutions should be the basis for peace in the Middle East and the countries involved should be urged to compromise if needed...."

CAIRO (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Thursday that United Nations resolutions should be the basis for peace in the Middle East and the countries involved should be urged to compromise if needed.

Annan said he had ideas for the Middle East peace process but now was not the time to propose them.

"We have our resolutions which are the basis of peace agreements and should continue to be the basis for other settlements," he told a news conference after talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa.

Annan arrived in Cairo Wednesday on a tour of the Middle East. He has said he plans to listen to the protagonists in the Arab-Israeli dispute during his nine-day regional tour, which he had to postpone last month because of the Iraq crisis.

He met Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Thursday and also held talks with his Arab League counterpart Esmat Abdel-Meguid.

Referring to the U.N. resolution on Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon, Annan said:

"We are for the implementation of (resolution) 425. A lot has happened in 20 years since the resolution was passed. This is one of the reasons why I said I am going to the region to listen to the parties.

"I would want to see it implemented but I want to talk to all the parties concerned and see what ideas they have and what specific details they have in mind when they talk of implementation of 425 and then move forward," Annan said.

"What we have to do is to urge the parties to take this issue forward with energy, seriousness, purposefully and to have the courage and the wisdom and the vision to make the compromises necessary to attain peace."

Moussa said their talks focused on the Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian tracks of the peace process.

The United States has been leading efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks stalled since Israel broke ground on a new settlement in Arab East Jerusalem a year ago.

Annan said he had no plans to offer an alternative to U.S. peace-broking in the Middle East. He is due to fly to Lebanon Friday.

Annan also wants to gather support for the agreement he reached with Iraq that defused a crisis over U.N. weapons inspections and averted threatened U.S.-led military action against Baghdad.

Under last month's deal, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein agreed to open eight "presidential sites" to inspectors of the U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM), accompanied by diplomats.

Asked if he might repeat his brokering effort in the addressing Middle East peace deadlock, Annan said:

"I don't think the two are identical and the circumstances are also quite different. I cannot say that today that can be repeated with the Palestinian problem. It's very complex and long drawn-out negotiations and we are not out of the woods yet. There is still quite a lot of work to be done.

"The circumstances of the Iraqi agreement, the nature of the discussions and the conditions under which the negotiations took place were quite different from the Palestinian situation," Annan said.

Annan will also visit Syria and the Palestinian areas on his regional tour.

CHN Commentary 3-18-98

The Mid East March to Peace:

The long awaited visit to Israel by British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook turned into a diplomatic incident. The Britt's had promised that they would only visit Har Homa with Israeli's, but as it turned out Cook greeted and spoke to some Palestinians while he was there and that set Bibi "off"... He canceled dinner, photo opps, and the joint press conference with Cook in protest....... We'll see how badly it interrupts the EU/Israeli relationship......

Now the concern centers on the American's anticipated ''withdrawal'' proposal scheduled for the end of this month.... Bibi hopes we get the message by virtue of his reaction to Cook, and still insists on direct talks with Arafat.....

Ultimately, direct talks will be the way that it all gets accomplished, but Arafat is waiting for every effort to made on his behalf to gain as many concessions for the PNA as possible...

Today finds Kofi Annan [the UN chief] in Jordan beginning a 10 day visit to the region in an effort to restart the peace process. He will meet with Prince Hassan with whom he is well acquainted from their recent meetings in Paris where Jordan played a major role in defusing the Iraqi crisis. As the Middle East Peace Process keeps rising in world media attention, Kofi's visit is viewed as the height of shuttle diplomacy....and will definitely bring "timely" attention to resolving this matter.

As his Thursday meeting with Clinton approaches, King Hussein will meet with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright today in preparation...

Monday night found the King at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York receiving the Wiesenthal Centre Humanitarian Award for his efforts to bring peace to the Middle East.. Knowing the ultimate crown he is heading for, I would say that this had meaning...wouldn't you..!!

On the south Lebanon front, Syria is desperately trying to get out of the box that Israel has put her in by agreeing to withdraw Israeli troops... and now with the new Sharon plan gaining backing in Israeli power circles, this is really getting interesting.. We'll keep watching this........

And speaking of Ariel Sharon, he has definitely ruffled some Arab feathers with his recent remarks to "liquidate" the Hamas leader... Leave it to Ariel to "wrinkle the sheets".......

And as a final thought regarding how close things are to being resolved, it was announced yesterday that the Vatican issued the long awaited letter of "confession" regarding their silence during the holocaust... This as viewed as extremely meaningful to the Catholic/Jewish relationship. It was one of the major "I'll do this if you'll do that" bones of contention between them..... and now it's accomplished...

So, how close are we to knowing if this is the year for the peace with Israel/Arabs..?????

We're as close as Easter Sunday.......

.....because Easter Sunday falls on the Jewish Feast of Firstfruits this year [which in itself is a mind blowing "coincidence"], and it's on Fristfruits that the "dead in Christ" will rise and be seen by many in the Holy City... and if that happens then the Rapture will follow in 40 days, and when that happens...the "restrainer" will have been taken out of the way, and then the ultimate "son of perdition" can be revealed....and the "peace" will be announced.....

So, our "watching" for ... "is this the year" is winding down rapidly, and we'll all have our answers very soon......as Easter is April 12....

Let's keep "watching"..........

Luke 12:37

....back up articles

#1 Jordan Times 3-18-98 News

Cook meets Palestinians at Jabal Abu Ghneim site Netanyahu reacts by cancelling dinner, photo session and joint press conference

Combined agency dispatches

Key Statement: "....Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu cancelled a planned dinner with Mr. Cook as well as the customary photo session or joint news conference to show his anger over what he saw as a challenge to Israel's claim of sovereignty over Arab east Jerusalem...."

British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook sparked a diplomatic incident with Israel and was nearly mobbed by Jewish radicals when he met with Palestinians Tuesday at a controversial new Jewish settlement in Arab east Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu cancelled a planned dinner with Mr. Cook as well as the customary photo session or joint news conference to show his anger over what he saw as a challenge to Israel’s claim of sovereignty over Arab east Jerusalem.

Israel said Mr. Cook reneged on an agreement to go only with Israeli officials to the site of the planned 6,500-unit settlement project for Jews on a hilltop in southeastern Jerusalem called Jabal Abu Ghneim, known as Har Homa to Jews.

Mr. Cook said he had agreed not to be briefed by Palestinian officials at the site but made no promise to shun Palestinians during his visit to the site.

Mr. Cook, whose one-day visit began with talks in Gaza City with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, said he visited Jabal Abu Ghneim to underscore EU disapproval of Israel’s policy of expanding Jewish settlements on disputed land.

He first met with Israeli officials at Jabal Abu Ghneim and heard their defence of the housing project. In pouring rain he then went to an army checkpoint next to the site which marks the boundary between Arab east Jerusalem and Palestinian-ruled land on the West Bank to meet a delegation of Palestinians led by Salah Tamari, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

That encounter was cut off after a handshake and a few words when a group of radical Jewish protesters shouting “Cook Go Home” and a crowd of journalists pressed in on Mr. Cook’s party, leading Israeli police to urge the visitors to leave.

Israel saw Mr. Cook’s even brief meeting with Palestinians as an unacceptable affront to its sovereignty over Arab east Jerusalem, which was occupied in 1967 and then illegally annexed as part of the Jewish state’s capital.

Eitan Ben-Tsur, director general of Israel’s foreign ministry, charged that Mr. Cook “violated all the prior agreements on the organisation of his visit.”

But after meeting with Mr. Netanyahu for over an hour, Mr. Cook rejected the protest.

“I have scrupulously carried out what was agreed between us,” he said, explaining that he had altered his itinerary several times in response to Israeli objections and had met with Israeli officials at Jabal Abu Ghneim as requested.

“They wanted a briefing [by Israelis] at the site, and we had the briefing at the site,” he said. “I don’t recognise a crisis here” between the two governments, Mr. Cook told a news conference, adding that Mr. Netanyahu told him he was “looking forward” to a planned visit to Israel next month by British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Mr. Cook went on to say Mr. Netanyahu “would have been wise to accept that the international community has a particular concern for settlement expansion. This is not an issue either he or I can ignore.”

Speaking separately to reporters, Mr. Netanyahu said there had been “some misunderstandings with Cook. I was surprised by his visit to Har Homa.” “We cannot accept public pressure or the principle of any redivision of Jerusalem,” he said.

“Israel is prepared to accept a role for the European Union in the peace process, but not in place of direct talks with the Arabs,” he said.

In addition to the Jabal Abu Ghneim dispute, Israel has strongly rejected a peace plan being promoted by Britain as the current president of the European Union which demands that Israel carry out “significant” and “urgent” troop withdrawals from the West Bank and halt settlement building.

Some analysts suggested Israel’s strong reaction to Mr. Cook was above all a message to the United States, which is considering going public with a similar initiative to break the deadlock.

U.S .President Bill Clinton’s proposals reportedly would involve Israel withdrawing from an additional 13 per cent of the West Bank and freezing settlement growth in exchange for specific Palestinian action against armed activists.

“This crisis shows Israel’s total international isolation and bodes ill for when Clinton is expected to announce his peace proposals at the end of the month,” said the political commentator for Israel’s Channel Two television.

When asked by reporters about Netanyahu’s decision to cancel the dinner ceremony, Mr. Cook said: “I’m not sorry to have lost a dinner. I’ve had three four-course meals already since I came to the Middle East. It is something of a mercy to be spared of a further full meal.”

Mr. Cook began his whirlwind visit to Israel and the Palestinian areas Tuesday by offering the Palestinians a multi-million-dollar security package to improve the fight against terrorism.

The security aid package comes as a sweetener for a European initiative pushed by Mr. Cook, who also called on Israel to halt the expansion of Jewish settlements in a bid to end the year-long deadlock in the peace process.

After meeting Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in Gaza City, Mr. Cook announced that the European Union (EU) and Palestinian National Authority (PNA) would create a committee “to cooperate and exchange information to improve security.”

Europe would provide over five million pounds ($8.3 million) to train Palestinian security forces so they can “demonstrate a 100 per cent commitment” in the fight against anti-Israeli militants, he said.

The security aid package is directed to address Mr. Netanyahu’s demands that the Palestinians launch a stronger offensive against anti-Israeli militants as a precondition to any progress in the peace process.

But Mr. Netanyahu has in the past strongly rejected the other proposals Mr. Cook is bringing, particularly a halt in the expansion of settlements and full implementation of a three-stage troop redeployment in the West Bank.

The British diplomat, speaking in a press conference with Mr. Arafat, insisted Israel must call a halt to building new homes for Jewish settlers in the Palestinian territories in order to break the enduring deadlock.

“I [will] express the anxiety of the European Union about the expansion of settlements and our insistence that there must be a halt to such expansion if the peace process is to thrive,” Mr. Cook said.

Before heading from Gaza City to Jabal Abu Ghneim, Mr. Cook insisted on his right to visit the site. “I am going. I will see it for myself and I will make our message clear,” he told journalists.

Dozens of left-wing Israeli activists and right-wingers held demonstrations for and against the visit on Tuesday ahead of Mr. Cook ‘s arrival.

“Cook go home,” chanted protesters from the right-wing group Women in Green. “Robin help us Save the Peace,” countered members of the left-wing anti-settlement group Peace Now.

#2

Jordan Times 3-18-98 News

Annan arrives in Amman, to hold talks with Regent today

By a staff reporter

Key Statement: "....Mr. Annan told reporters upon his arrival that he looked forward to meeting with Prince Hassan and the other leaders of the region in order to work together on Middle East issues, foremost of which, the question of Palestine...."

AMMAN — U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan arrived here Tuesday night for talks with HRH Crown Prince Hassan, the Regent, on ways to achieve regional stability jeopardised by the stalemate in Palestinian-Israeli peace talks and last month’s Iraqi crisis, officials said.

Mr. Annan was received at the airport by Acting Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour who commended Mr. Annan’s efforts to resolve the Iraqi-U.N. crisis.

Mr. Annan told reporters upon his arrival that he looked forward to meeting with Prince Hassan and the other leaders of the region in order to work together on Middle East issues, foremost of which, the question of Palestine.

Crown Prince Hassan and Mr. Annan, who is on the first leg of a 10-day tour of the Middle East that will take him to Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and the Palestinian self-rule areas, are scheduled to meet today.

Prince Hassan and Mr. Annan met twice last month — in Paris and in Amman — as part of Jordan’s intense diplomatic efforts led by His Majesty King Hussein to defuse Iraq’s recent standoff with the U.N. over weapons inspections.

Talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled since hard-line Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu started construction works for a Jewish settlement in Jabal Abu Ghneim, in Arab east Jerusalem, one year ago.

An emergency special session of the U.N. General Assembly reconvened Tuesday with Arab states seeking to enforce a convention barring settlements on occupied land and apply it to Arab territories occupied by Israel.

Prince Hassan, accompanied by Minister of Water and Irrigation Munther Haddadin, was expected to take Mr. Annan on a tour of water projects in northern Jordan, officials said yesterday.

They will have breakfast in the ancient Roman city of Um Qais, overlooking Israel and Syria’s occupied Golan Heights, seized by the Jewish state in 1967.

Prince Hassan and Mr. Annan are also scheduled to address an afternoon press conference today before the U.N. secretary general leaves for Cairo.

Mr. Annan’s “goodwill” tour was scheduled for last month, but it was postponed due to the U.N.-Iraq standoff over weapons inspections, a U.N. statement said. The 60-year-old U.N. secretary general flew to Baghdad instead, on a last-ditch mission in which he stroke a deal with the Iraqi leadership, averting the catastrophic consequences of a U.S.-threatened military action.

Mr. Annan told international news agencies earlier this week that he intended to emphasise with Arab leaders “the need for all of us to keep the pressure on [Iraqi] President Saddam Hussein” to honour its international obligations.

Mr. Annan expected Arab leaders to bring up concerns over “double standard policies” vis-a-vis the Middle East. Many have been enraged by the international community’s resolve to put pressure on Iraq, while condoning Israel’s violations of U.N. resolutions 242 and 338 — demanding the Jewish state exchange land for peace with the Arabs.

However, Mr. Annan has denied he was about to take a mediator role in the Middle East peace process and was quoted earlier this week as saying that “the Middle East conflict already has a mediator... the U.S.”

Mr. Ensour told a press conference Monday that Jordan planned to raise the issue of Palestinian refugees and emphasise the need for maintaining the operational services provided by U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

The agency, affected by a crippling chronicle deficit, has repeatedly been on the verge of giving up its humanitarian activities in the fields of health and education.

Jordan is home to more than 1.35 million refugees registered with UNRWA. The agency counted another 800,000 Palestinians as either displaced persons from, or following, the 1967 war, and returnees who were forced to flee the Gulf countries because of the 1990 crisis.

Dr. Ensour also said that Jordan planned to stress during Mr. Annan’s visit the need for speeding up the work of the multilateral group on refugees.

Set up in Moscow in 1992 following the launching of Arab-Israeli peace talks at the 1991 Madrid conference, the multilateral working group on refugees is one of five working groups in the multilateral phase of the peace process.

It includes delegates from Jordan, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), Egypt, Israel, the U.S., Russia and Canada.

Other working groups deal with water, the environment, regional economic development, and arms control.

Delegates have agreed that the working group on refugees has achieved the least so far because of differences over the thorny issue of the definition of “refugees” and “displaced persons.”

While the Arabs agree on considering “displaced persons” all Palestinians driven from their homes in 1967 along with their wives, children born afterwards, and relatives who were not in the territories at the time of the war, Israel has used much stricter criteria in the counting of displaced persons.

The adoption of a definition will determine who holds the right to return and/or compensation as upheld by U.N. Resolution 194.

#3 Jordan Times 3-18-98 News

King arrives in Washington

Key Statement: "....King Hussein speaks after receiving the Wiesenthal Centre Humanitarian Award at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York on Monday. King Hussein was honoured for his efforts to bring peace to the Middle East...."

WASHINGTON (J.T.) — His Majesty King Hussein arrived here on Tuesday and is expected to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to discuss bilateral relations and issues of common concern, particularly the peace process in the Middle East.

King Hussein will also meet on Thursday with U.S. President Bill Clinton and other senior U.S. officials.

King Hussein will review with President Clinton the scope of cooperation between Jordan and the United States as well as other issues of common concern.

A State Department spokesman described the King’s visit to Washington as important and said that it will give the U.S. administration the opportunity to exchange views with the Monarch on the Mideast peace process.

<Picture: Article Image>

AWARD FOR KING’S EFFORTS FOR REGIONAL PEACE: King Hussein speaks after receiving the Wiesenthal Centre Humanitarian Award at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York on Monday. King Hussein was honoured for his efforts to bring peace to the Middle East (AP photo)

#4 Jordan Times 3-17-98 News

Sharon's threats 'rude, irresponsible' — Ensour

By Tareq Ayyoub

Key Statement: "....He [Sharon] is only convincing those who are not part of the peace process to refrain from joining the march towards peace...."

AMMAN — Jordan on Sunday blasted as "rude and irresponsible" threats by Israel's Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon to liquidate the head of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) Khaled Misha'al.

"Minister Sharon's statements were irresponsible, ill-timed and rude,"

Acting Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour told a press conference a day after Amman summoned Israeli ambassador to Jordan, Oded Eran, to protest the threat.

Mr. Sharon was quoted by Israel's Channel Two television as saying on Saturday that Israel's secret service (Mossad) was determined to kill Mr. Misha'al, a Jordanian citizen.

Two Mossad agents were arrested after a failed attack on Mr. Misha'al in Amman on Sept. 23.

Mr. Sharon also said that Israel had informed Jordan then that it intended "to finish off the job" of assassinating Mr. Misha'al, but not in the Kingdom.

"He did not discuss with any Jordanian official at any stage that Israel will prefer to assassinate Khaled Misha'al outside Jordan...," Dr. Ensour said.

"How rude and humiliating are the statements that were made by Minister Sharon. They hurt our feelings," added the acting premier.

"Such statements provide another reason for those who are reluctant to join the peace process. He [Sharon] is only convincing those who are not part of the peace process to refrain from joining the march towards peace. We do not want to hear such statements from anyone," Dr. Ensour said.

Acting Foreign Minister Talal Sata'an Hassan on Sunday summoned Mr. Eran and demanded an official explanation of Mr. Sharon's statements. Amman told him that it considered any attack on any of its citizens, regardless of whether it took place on Jordanian soil or not, as targeting its own stability.

Dr. Ensour said Jordan would provide Mr. Misha'al, who lives in Amman, with all "moral and material protection," but he did not elaborate.

Asked whether Jordan would receive Mr. Sharon, Dr. Ensour said the government's reaction depended on the Israeli reply to Jordan's request.

"We did ask for an explanation from the Israeli government. We will not tell you anything until after we receive the answer," he told a reporter.

"We should receive an answer."

Officials said Jordan was particularly angered by Mr. Sharon's remarks which came a few days after His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hassan held talks in Tel Aviv with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.

It was the first visit by a Jordanian leader since ties worsened after the Misha'al attack.

Israel was forced to free jailed Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin to obtain the release of its agents.

Dr. Ensour accused Israel of being an "obstacle" in the path towards peace in the Middle East.

The seven-year process has stalled since Mr. Netanyahu, a Likud leader, took over in June 1996.

"Israel has frozen peace making and Jordan does not see any real intention on its part to revive the process."

Mr. Misha'al, in a statement sent to the Jordan Times earlier on Monday, said he was not surprised by statements made "by terrorist Sharon."

"His threats are a sign of weakness haunting the enemy and are a cheap attempt to raise the morale of the Israeli Mossad which is swimming in a pool of failures and mistakes," Mr. Misha'al said.

"We call on the Arabs, the Muslim and the international community to take a stand against state terrorism practised by the Zionist government," Mr. Misha'al said.

Mr. Sharon, who visited Jordan earlier this month to discuss bilateral development projects, helped secure the release of the two Mossad agents captured in the bungled bid to kill Mr. Misha'al in Amman.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ensour indirectly criticised recent anti-Jordanian statements made by Syrian Vice-President Abdul Haleem Khaddam at a meeting of Arab health ministers in Damascus earlier in March.

Mr. Khaddam reportedly mocked Jordan's peace policies with Israel and insinuated that the Jewish state would eventually "occupy" the Kingdom and push Palestinians to settle in Jordan.

"Suppose that I was in a meeting with Arab ministers and started lashing out at Syria, would they accept such things?" Dr. Ensour said. "Is it something good?"

Jordanian-Syrian ties have been tense since Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994.

"The time when Arab officials used to engage in a war of words through media platforms has gone," Dr. Ensour said. "We have to look for factors that bring us together, not factors that take us apart," he added.

"We have no answer to his comments," Dr. Ensour said.

"We respect our brother in Syria but we will never accept any harm to a brotherly state whatever the pretext is."

"If the statements that were attributed to him are correct, then we leave it to the others to judge his words."

#5 JERUSALEM POST Tuesday, March 17, 1998 19 Adar 5758

Vatican: We regret errors of Holocaust

By Lisa Palmieri-Billig and news agencies

Key Statement: "....We pray that our sorrow for the tragedy which the Jewish people has suffered in our century will lead to a new relationship with the Jewish people...." John Paul II

VATICAN CITY (March 17) -- The Vatican yesterday expressed deep regret for the "errors and failures" of Roman Catholics during the Holocaust.

However, it strongly defended wartime Pope Pius XII in a statement promised a decade ago to Jewish groups.

The document disappointed many Jewish leaders, however, because it stopped short of apologizing for any failures by church leaders, as bishops in several European countries have done in recent years.

"We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah" is the title of the 14- page document issued by the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with Jews. The long-awaited document had taken over 10 years to produce.

Cardinal Edward I. Cassidy, president of the commission, said the document was "addressed to the Catholic faithful throughout the world" and hoped that all Christians will meditate "on the catastrophe which befell the Jewish people, on its causes, and on the moral imperative to ensure that never again such a tragedy will happen. At the same time it asks our Jewish friends to hear us with an open heart."

He said it was "more than a request for pardon." It was "an act of repentance, of teshuva - a word used in the text."

He said the document was not "a conclusion" but rather "another step" for further development.

In a preface to the document, Pope John Paul II expresses his hopes that it will "enable memory to play its part in the process of shaping a future in which the unspeakable iniquity of the Shoah will never again be possible."

The text concludes: "We pray that our sorrow for the tragedy which the Jewish people has suffered in our century will lead to a new relationship with the Jewish people...

"The victims from their graves, and the survivors through the vivid testimony of what they have suffered, have become a loud voice calling the attention of all humanity... the spoiled seeds of anti-Judaism and antisemitism must never again be allowed to take root in any human heart."

The document includes a statement on Pius XII.

"During and after the war, Jewish communities and Jewish leaders expressed their thanks for all that had been done for them, including what Pope Pius XII did personally or through his representatives to save hundreds of thousands of Jewish lives."

A footnote lists statements made in his favor by prominent Jews of the time.

The document did not move the pope's position beyond what he expressed last fall to a seminar on anti-Jewish relations:

"In the Christian world - I do not say on the part of the Church as such - erroneous and unjust interpretations of the New Testament regarding the Jewish people"engendered "feelings of hostility toward this people...

"We cannot know how many Christians in countries occupied or ruled by the Nazi powers or their allies were horrified at the disappearance of their Jewish neighbors and yet were not strong enough to raise their voices in protest," the document said.

"We deeply regret the errors and failures of those sons and daughters of the Church."

The document did take to task "governments of some Western countries of Christian tradition, including some in North and South America" for being "more than hesitant to open their borders to the persecuted Jews."

Many Jewish leaders were not impressed.

Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, a Holocaust survivor, demanded an "explicit apology for the shameful attitude of the pope [Pius XII] at the time."

Instead, the document defended Pius XII for using his first encyclical, in 1939, at the start of his papacy, to warn "against theories which denied the unity of the human race and against the deification of the state," and which could all lead to a real "hour of darkness."

"The document rings hollow," said Abraham Foxman, US national director of the Anti-Defamation League. "It is an apologia full of rationalization for Pope Pius XII and the Church. It takes very little moral and historical responsibility for the Church's historic teaching for the contempt of Jews. It talks about the past in question marks rather than providing answers.

"We are perplexed how the Vatican, under the leadership of Pope John Paul II, could have finalized a document that lags behind the unequivocal statements of the German and French bishops."

Last fall, French bishops apologized for their silence during the deportation of Jews, and German bishops have said that the Church did not do enough to fight Nazism and condemn the Holocaust.

Rabbi David Rosen, director of the ADL's Israel office welcomed the Vatican's reflection on the Shoah as "part of a historic process of self-criticism on the part of the Church of its past teaching and conduct."

But he expressed "regret that the document has not gone as far as the pope himself," noting that the document was a step backwards from the pope's apostolic letter, "Tertio Millennio Adveniente"

Paragraph 36 of the letter speaks of the "acquiescence shown by many Christians concerning the violation of fundamental human rights by totalitarian regimes."

The Shoah document asks only, "Did anti-Jewish sentiment among Christians make them less sensitive, or even indifferent, to the persecutions launched against the Jews by National Socialism when it reached power?"

Rabbi Mark Wiener, chief rabbi of the West London Synagogue, said, "There are positive aspects, but the Shoah document is weak in a number of areas. It obviously had to be filtered through the more conservative elements of the Curia, which are far behind the pope himself."

"Now there must be a massive thrust for opening the archives on World War II," Weiner said.

But Tullia Zevi, president of the Federation of Italian Jewish Communities, called the document "an important step forward in the right direction."

"The Church is slow moving," she said. "One must know its language, and if it speaks of teshuva this means it recognizes its past errors."

Regarding the Jewish testimonies in support of Pius XII, she said, "These were given in 1945, before people could get a view of the general picture. But I don't know why people expect the Church to speak against Pius XII. If the Church is calling for teshuva, this itself means that not everything was right under Pius XII's papacy."

The Australian Cardinal Cassidy defended his commission's work.

"It's more than an apology. We feel we need to repent... for those members of our church who failed" to do enough, he said at a news conference.

CHN Commentary 3-15-98

The Mid East March to Peace

If we were to use Yasser Arafat as our pulse on the peace process, we would be packing our bags, while having someone hold the elevator door for us so we could bolt down to the lobby to check out....

.......'cause according to Yasser the party is all but over...

Sunday found him in Qatar addressing Islamic leaders, woefully telling them that the peace process is near death. And that Israel was escalating their aggression against his people and he is ready to ask for international protection.

Of course, all of this conversation is taking place on the eve of the British Foreign Secretary's arrival and subsequent meeting with Yasser on Tuesday...

I am embarrassed for him as to the number of times he has hollered "wolf" on the near death experience of the peace process. Everyone expects it of him, and he continues to oblige them..

But, fortunately Ariel Sharon wasn't attending Yasser's funeral procession so he was casting a little truer light on the process and furthering it's cause, as he put forward a plan for a staged withdrawal of Israeli troops from south Lebanon. And this coming from the general who orchestrated Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

......but, just in case anyone thought Ariel had gone "soft", he hastened to add that Israel would try again to kill Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal. However, he said he's promised Jordanian officials the act would not be carried out on their soil.

Turning back to British Secretary Cook's visit, he is believed to be bringing a proposal of larger percentage numbers of land for Israel to withdraw from in the West Bank than that which the US had been suggesting.

But now it surfaces that the US and the Britt's are in an alliance to make Israel believe that the US deal wasn't so bad after all and that they should go for it...but Bibi is on to them.

Bibi keeps insisting that he's ready to go face to face with Yasser and conclude it....so we'll just have to keep watching as this develops...

......and on the other hand, if this is the ''the time'' that we're all waiting for, then it would be time for the King to step in with his formula for peace...

And speaking of King Hussein, he was given a clean bill of health by the Mayo Clinic, and was last seen looking up the word "flattery" in an English dictionary while studying his lines for his Thursday meeting with Clinton......

So, until these boys make more news for us to keep "watching'', I'm just 'gonna keep thinking about that "marriage feast", and pray the Lord remembers I like raisins in my meatballs......!!! Amen....

I love you Lord and I pray my faith is pleasing to You.......

Luke 12:37

......back up articles...

#1 CNN March 15, 1998 Web posted at: 10:52 a.m. EST (1552 GMT)

Arafat: Peace accord 'uttering its last breath'

Key Statement: "....The peace of the courageous which we have signed is today imperiled in many ways ... I may even say that this agreement is almost uttering its last breath,...." Arafat said.

DOHA, Qatar (CNN) -- Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat told a gathering of Islamic leaders on Sunday that the troubled Middle East peace process is near death.

"The peace of the courageous which we have signed is today imperiled in many ways ... I may even say that this agreement is almost uttering its last breath," Arafat said.

Arafat's comments about the Israeli-Palestinian peace accords were made during the opening session of the foreign ministers' meeting at the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Qatar.

Israeli "arrogance" is to blame for the stalled peace process, Arafat said.

Other developments:

Israeli Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon told Israel's Channel Two Television on Saturday that Israel would try again to kill Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal. Sharon said he's promised Jordanian officials the act would not be carried out on their soil.

#2 Jordan Times 3-15-98 News

Arafat attacks Israel for 'aggression' amid continued unrest in West Bank

Key Statement: "...."I am sorry to say they're escalating their aggression against our people and we are asking for international protection very soon," Mr. Arafat told reporters in Gaza...."

and...

"...."We are extremely concerned about the situation in the Middle East right now," State Department spokesman James Rubin told a regular briefing.

He reiterated the U.S. stand that, although U.S. President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright have worked hard to mediate, it is up to the regional leaders to make the decisions that will lead to peace...."

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat accused Israel on Saturday of escalating "aggression" against Palestinians and called for international protection for his people as the West Bank seethed with fresh unrest.

Scores of Palestinians have been wounded in four days of violent confrontations between Palestinian stone-throwers and Israeli troops, sparked by Tuesday's killing of three Palestinian labourers at an Israeli checkpoint west of Hebron.

"I am sorry to say they're escalating their aggression against our people and we are asking for international protection very soon," Mr. Arafat told reporters in Gaza.

Palestinian youths and Israeli troops clashed in the West Bank on Saturday, leaving 16 Palestinians injured, in the fifth day of riots sparked by the killing of three Arab workers.

Over 200 youths pelted Israeli soldiers with stones in the West Bank town of Hebron, bringing heavy volleys of tear gas and rubber-coated bullets which lightly injured three protesters and a Palestinian policeman, witnesses said.

Palestinian security reinforcements linked arms in a line across the street and pushed back the youths in an attempt to prevent them from throwing stones at the soldiers, witnesses said.

Similar clashes broke out in the morning in the nearby town of Dura, where seven protesters were injured.

In clashes in Bethlehem, a Palestinian security officer was shot in the stomach by Israeli soldiers who were firing on a mob of around 100 protesters who were pelting them with stones and iron bars, witnesses said.

As the officer was bundled into an ambulance, another Palestinian officer fired in the air with his Kalashnikov automatic rifle to warn back the Israelis, witnesses said.

Palestinian security forces then pushed back the protesters to put an end to clashes, which also left four protesters lightly injured by rubber-coated bullets.

The injured officer, Major Badie Al Atfi of the National Security Forces, underwent an operation in a Bethlehem hospital and was in moderate condition, hospital officials said.

The Israeli army said two officers were lightly wounded after being pelted with stones near Dura.

The U.S. State Department said on Friday that Washington was "extremely concerned" about the upsurge of violence and was searching for ways to revive deadlocked Middle East peace moves.

"We are extremely concerned about the situation in the Middle East right now," State Department spokesman James Rubin told a regular briefing.

"The reaction on the ground to the use of lethal force which resulted in the deaths of three Palestinians is a strong indicator of the underlying resentment that exists there that is a function of the crisis of confidence that has evolved so tragically in the Middle East peace process," Mr. Rubin said.

He reiterated the U.S. stand that, although U.S. President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright have worked hard to mediate, it is up to the regional leaders to make the decisions that will lead to peace.

"We are actively talking amongst ourselves about what the best way is to revitalise the Middle East peace process. Clearly, it's not making any progress right now," he said.

"What we're doing, therefore, is looking at our options and analysing the situation and when we have some new proposal or new ideas, as opposed to an American plan, we will share those with you," Mr. Rubin said.

In Hebron, Palestinian journalists staged a protest after Israeli troops on Friday wounded nine reporters covering clashes there, including two working for Reuters.

"We Palestinian journalists view with grave concern the recurrent and deliberate shooting of Palestinian and other journalists and cameramen by Israeli army soldiers and Jewish settlers," the Hebron journalists said in a statement.

At least two other Palestinians were wounded in the violence, which erupted on Friday night after dozens of radical Jewish settlers entered the Palestinian-ruled side of divided Hebron for a protest march, ignoring army orders to turn back.

The army said its forces did not notice the journalists during the clashes, but reporters said they had shouted to troops that they were members of the press.

The army said that soldiers had been re-briefed on riot control procedures "in order to ensure that innocent people won't be hurt."

Israeli police said a number of known settlers would be summoned for questioning on a number of charges, including holding an illegal demonstration, disturbing public order, endangering public security and ignoring army orders.

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) said in a statement released on Saturday that unrest would continue until Israel put on trial the soldiers involved in the shooting deaths.

"The state of popular outrage will not stop without sending the killers to court and declaring the results of the [Israeli army] investigation in public," the statement said.

The Israeli army says the soldiers responsible for Tuesday's killings believed they were under attack when a vehicle driven by the workers swerved towards troops at the roadblock.

Israel has since accepted that there was no violent intent and opened a probe into the killings.

Meanwhile, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) called on the PNA on Saturday to stop using its self-rule forces to stop clashes which have raged in the West Bank for five days.

"We are greatly sorrowed by the authority's position, sending policemen to block our angry people from the criminal enemy," the Hamas said in a statement received by AFP.

"All free men among our people are pained to see Palestinian police forces work to protest the occupiers from our people's anger and our stones," the statement said, asking the PNA to "reevaluate" its stance.

Palestinian police worked on Friday and Saturday to prevent stone-throwing youths from clashing with Israeli soldiers in demonstrations which have raged for five days after the killing of three Arab workers by Israeli soldiers on Tuesday.

#3 JERUSALEM POST Sunday, March 15, 1998 17 Adar 5758

Sharon offers staged Lebanon withdrawal

By David Rudge

Key Statement: "....' We are prepared to implement a pullout in stages while monitoring any results that might ensue,' said Sharon, adding that Israel would make it clear in advance that it would hold Lebanon responsible for any future cross-border attacks...."

"....Israel is seeking US support for its 425 initiative, as well as the backing of the UN and the French. According to Channel 2, Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai met with US Ambassador Edward Walker at the Defense Ministry offices in Tel Aviv on Friday. Mordechai informed Walker of his intention to visit the US at the end of the month in an effort to persuade the US administration to give its full backing to the Israeli initiative...."

JERUSALEM (March 15) -- National Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon plans to submit his own proposal for solving the Lebanon problem via a unilateral, gradual IDF withdrawal.

Sharon, who announced his intention during a Channel 2 interview Friday night, declined to go into details prior to presenting the plan to the cabinet later this week.

He stressed, however, that a key element would be a warning that any attacks launched from Lebanon into Israeli territory following a withdrawal would be met with severe retaliation.

Meanwhile, Lebanese leaders met yesterday with Syrian President Hafez Assad and senior officials in Damascus to forge a united stance in response to Israel's proposed withdrawal from southern Lebanon under UN Security Council Resolution 425.

The entire Lebanese government hierarchy - President Elias Hrawi, Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Foreign Minister Farez Bouez, and Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri - was summoned to Damascus for the meeting.

Diplomatic sources in Paris reportedly said Damascus is willing to explore Israel's Lebanon-first ideas, provided the Netanyahu government resumes negotiations with Syria from the point where Labor government stopped them.

"We are prepared to implement a pullout in stages while monitoring any results that might ensue," said Sharon, adding that Israel would make it clear in advance that it would hold Lebanon responsible for any future cross-border attacks.

"We would put different rules before [the Lebanese government] under which the IDF would be able to give answers to [ensure] the security of the northern region. We would also warn beforehand against any harm of any kind befalling the South Lebanese Army and residents of south Lebanon."

A senior aide to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rejected the notion that the IDF pullout might be linked to a resumption of Israeli-Syrian negotiations from the point where they left off two years ago.

"One thing has nothing to do with the other," he said. "Our position is that we can start negotiations without any preconditions. We always have been willing to do so and still are willing to do so."

Assad is concerned that Israel's initiative is aimed at splitting the Syria-Lebanon axis and that he would lose his best bargaining chip in negotiations over the Golan Heights. An Israeli withdrawal from the South would also bring international pressure on Syria to follow suit and remove its own forces from Lebanon, a move which would considerably weaken Assad's control.

The Damascus summit took place amid reports that Israel is seeking US support for its 425 initiative, as well as the backing of the UN and the French. According to Channel 2, Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai met with US Ambassador Edward Walker at the Defense Ministry offices in Tel Aviv on Friday.

The report said Mordechai informed Walker of his intention to visit the US at the end of the month in an effort to persuade the US administration to give its full backing to the Israeli initiative. He also reportedly asked Walker to relay a message to Damascus that Israel has no intention of bypassing Syria and that an agreed IDF withdrawal from south Lebanon would further future negotiations with the Syrians.

Senior defense sources said the 425 initiative would also be raised with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is to visit Israel later this month.

Concerning Sharon's remarks, a security source said last night that a unilateral withdrawal coupled with the threat of retaliation for any future cross-border hostilities was a "recipe for escalation and even a war."

The source said Syria would not give up the use of terror as a means to try and achieve its political aims vis-a-vis the Golan Heights. In such circumstances, a mortar round or Katyusha rocket fired across the border, or even a long-range attack on a bus traveling along the northern road, would be sufficient to force Israel to either make good on its threat or eat its words.

The source noted that at present the fighting in south Lebanon is contained within the framework of the Grapes of Wrath understandings, which ban deliberate firing at civilians on both sides of the border.

These would be destroyed in the event of a unilateral IDF withdrawal without any kind of alternative security arrangements, the source said.

The 425 initiative relies on a clause in the resolution which calls for the restoration of international peace and security in south Lebanon following an IDF withdrawal. This clause opens the door for negotiations on arrangements that would ensure quiet along the northern border as well as safeguarding SLA soldiers and their families, as part of the restoration of international peace and security.

The security source said that Sharon's unilateral withdrawal proposal also has the potential for dealing a major blow to the morale of the SLA and even bringing about the collapse of the security zone.

The source said that such a proposal coming from a senior member of the government has far greater significance in the eyes of the Lebanese than similar suggestions put forward by MKs.

"If this proposition is not outrightly rejected by the cabinet we are likely to find ourselves in trouble in the security zone," the source added.

Jay Bushinsky contributed to this report.

[Note.......... [This is the same story but from the Jordan Times...]

#4 Jordan Times 3-15-98 News

Sharon spells out Lebanon pullout plan

Combined agency dispatches

Key Statement: "....It was the first time that the burly ex-general who orchestrated Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon had given public support for a withdrawal...."

Israeli Cabinet Minister Ariel Sharon spelled out on Friday a plan for a staged withdrawal of Israeli troops from south Lebanon.

It was the first time that the burly ex-general who orchestrated Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon had given public support for a withdrawal.

If no agreement could be reached with Beirut, he said, Israel should pull troops out of its south Lebanon occupation zone in stages while warning the Lebanese government of reprisals if Islamist guerrillas staged cross-border attacks.

"We will be ready in stages, with supervision of the results, to carry out an evacuation in Lebanon," Mr. Sharon told Channel Two television.

"We say in advance [to the Lebanese]: "we see you as responsible.' This has to be done in stages. We'll establish new rules in which the Israeli army will be able to provide the responses for the security of the northern area."

In a separate interview with Israel Television, Mr. Sharon said he would raise his proposals at this week's meeting of the Israeli government's inner security cabinet.

"I propose a redeployment after a warning — setting very clear rules, withdrawing from a portion of the area, allowing the Lebanese to enter, announcing in advance what we're about to do, warning them in advance what we will do if it doesn't happen," he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has said he is prepared to withdraw Israeli troops from Lebanon if an agreement can be reached with Beirut for the Lebanese army to deploy in the south and disarm Hizbollah guerrillas.

The Lebanese government and Syria, the main power broker in Lebanon, have rejected this, saying Israel must withdraw unconditionally.

Israel set up a 15-km wide occupation zone in south Lebanon in 1985 to protect its northern border.

Around 1,000 Israeli troops patrol the zone, which has come under frequent attacks from Hizbollah.

A sharp rise in the army's death toll, which reached 39 last year, has fuelled a campaign in Israel to bring the soldiers home.

Meanwhile, Syrian President Hafez Al Assad held talks here on Saturday with Lebanese leaders on future peace moves, both having rejected the conditions on which Israel has offered to withdraw from south Lebanon.

Presidential spokesman Joubran Kouireh said the meeting was attended by Lebanese President Elias Hrawi, Prime Minister Rafik Al Hariri, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Foreign Minister Faris Bouez.

Present on the Syrian side were Vice-President Abdul-Halim Khaddam and Foreign Minister Farouq Al Shara.

Officials said Mr. Assad and Mr. Hrawi were expected to renew their rejection of the Israeli offer and to reiterate their rejection of any attempt to separate the Lebanese and Syrian tracks at the peace talks with Israel which opened in 1991.

Officials said the two leaders would also review issues to be discussed with British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook during his visits to Lebanon and Syria on Wednesday as part of a Middle East tour.

Mr. Cook, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, will present a fresh EU initiative aimed at reviving the stalled Arab-Israeli peace talks. He will also visit Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian self-ruled areas and Egypt.

Mr. Cook's visit also precedes U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's tour of the Middle East, during which he will meet the Syrian and Lebanese leaders to review developments in Arab-Israeli relations and activities of U.N. peacekeeping forces in the Golan Heights and south Lebanon.

Syria, the main foreign power broker in Lebanon where it has some 35,000 troops, and Lebanon itself have held sporadic peace talks with Israel since 1991 but no tangible progress has been made.

Syria, whose peace talks with Israel broke off in early 1996, has condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu for refusing to withdraw fully from the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel in 1967.

#5 JERUSALEM POST Sunday, March 15, 1998 17 Adar 5758

Cook's plan to visit Har Homa upsets government

By Jay Bushinsky

Key Statement: "....Netanyahu would limit the evacuation to nine percent of the West Bank area still controlled by the IDF. There is talk in official circles of "an obvious alliance between the British and Americans to create pressure on Israel."

Underlying this initiative purportedly is a joint desire by the Foreign Office and the State Department to show that the kind of arrangement that might be obtained through the European Union's good offices would be "worse for Israel" than that proposed by the Americans...."

JERUSALEM (March 15) -- British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook's reported intention to begin his visit to Jerusalem on Tuesday with a tour of the Har Homa housing project with the Palestinian Authority's Faisal Husseini as his escort has aggravated government officials.

A visit to the site with Husseini at his side would be "doubly provocative," a senior aide said.

"This is a political statement," he went on, noting that the Foreign Ministry submitted a formal protest to Whitehall.

Husseini was vague about the exact itinerary and his role in it.

"Something is in the program," he said. "There will be a meeting between the foreign secretary and me. If he asks me to go there I will go with him."

The plan for a further IDF redeployment, which Cook is believed to be bringing to Israel, is another prospective irritant. It evidently calls for an immediate troop pullback from 20 percent of the West Bank's Areas B and C.

Netanyahu would limit the evacuation to nine percent of the West Bank area still controlled by the IDF. There is talk in official circles of "an obvious alliance between the British and Americans to create pressure on Israel."

Underlying this initiative purportedly is a joint desire by the Foreign Office and the State Department to show that the kind of arrangement that might be obtained through the European Union's good offices would be "worse for Israel" than that proposed by the Americans.

Cook's visit, during which he will be accompanied by the European Union's peace envoy, Miguel Moratinos, is particularly significant due to the United Kingdom's current presidency of the EU.

His objective is being interpreted as a bid to show that while Netanyahu may have enjoyed European hospitality during his four-nation tour last weekend, the EU's foreign policy is one of "toughness" insofar as the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is concerned.

#6 Jordan Times 3-15-98 News

King in good health, to meet Clinton Thursday

Key Statement: "....Mr. Toiv said the King would meet Mr. Clinton on Thursday. The King will also meet Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Defence Secretary William Cohen and members of Congress, although the schedule for those meetings is not known, he said...."

AMMAN (Agencies) — His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hassan, the Regent, was reassured, during a phone call from Mayo Clinic in the United States on Saturday, that His Majesty King Hussein enjoys good health and that the results of the medical tests he underwent were excellent.

King Hussein left for the U.S. on Thursday for medical checkups and for talks with U.S. President Bill Clinton and senior U.S. officials.

The White House has said that Mr. Clinton would meet next week with King Hussein, who has urged a direct dialogue between the United States and Iraq to resolve their differences.

"The president is looking forward to greeting King Hussein of Jordan here," White House spokesman Barry Toiv told reporters Friday. "They'll be meeting here to discuss Iraq and the Middle East peace process."

Mr. Toiv said the King would meet Mr. Clinton on Thursday. The King will also meet Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Defence Secretary William Cohen and members of Congress, although the schedule for those meetings is not known, he said.

The King is in the United States on a private trip, White House press secretary, Mike McCurry, said.

"But as he often does when he is here and if he has occasion to be in Washington, the president likes to spend time with him [King Hussein]," he said.

King Hussein last week said a dialogue was the best means to prevent the crisis that brought the United States to the verge of attacking Iraq last month over U.N. weapons inspectors, and Baghdad responded that it agreed with the idea. However, the U.S. has taken a dim view of the idea, saying Iraq's obligations to comply with U.N. resolutions were clear, and a dialogue would only be necessary if there were issues that still needed clarification.

"We don't really see any value in direct dialogue at this point," said a U.S. official.

Also on Friday, the U.S. Senate approved a non-binding resolution branding Iraqi President Saddam Hussein a war criminal and calling for his indictment by an international tribunal to be set up under United Nations authority.

Mr. McCurry said the administration had not formally joined in charges against President Saddam.

"You certainly could make a good argument that he deserves that designation and we are going to study the resolution passed by the Senate carefully," he said.

At the U.S. State Department, the chances of U.N. Security Council approval of such a war crimes tribunal were seen as slim by spokesman James Rubin. But he said it was possible if the crimes were documented that support for indictment would grow. "We do support an effort to document Iraqi war crimes, including those of Saddam Hussein," Mr. Rubin said.

CHN Commentary 3-14-98

The Mid East March to Peace:

Further confirmation for the urgent need for peace came on Tuesday when Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinian workers at a check point as they were returning from a hard days labor.. The way the driver swerved and panicked the soldiers and caused them to fire on the vehicle. Israel called it an unfortunate accident, and the PNA called it deliberate... Bibi called Arafat to apologize, but seemingly to no avail as their hoped for face to face summit has experienced a timely set-back. Timely for the enemies of peace..!!

However, it is precisely these kinds of "accidents", while interrupting the negotiations, demonstrate the urgency to make peace... These incidents create "againstness", and peace is the "cessation of againstness"..

As it turned out, this incident was taking place as Prince Hassan was meeting with Bibi and explaining that these very kind of things could happen, and unfortunately it made a prophet of the Prince.

But, the march toward peace continues on the calendar as scheduled.

As reported, King Hussein is in America in preparation for his 3/19 meeting with Clinton. [He not only brought is wife, the American born Queen Noor, but a large entourage of family and diplomats, probably for "March Madness Days" at Macy's"].

Arafat, while publicly praising Jordan's peace efforts and thanking the King profusely, is also calling on the EU to intervene to put pressure on Israel, saying that America is not doing enough and more help is needed. He is coordinating this with the British Foreign Minister Cook's scheduled trip to Har Homa on Tuesday 3/17, where Cook will meet with Arafat.

The Britt's have stated that Israel "must" get off the dime and get this "peace thing" going and quickly.!!

Bibi's response to the Britt's is anything but low key..... He basically said.. "sit down and shut up.." He has made it very clear that they'll be no outside pressure to finalize the deal...and reiterated his call for direct talks with Yasser...

And now additional pressure is being applied by the UN. Tuesday they convene an emergency meeting to condemn Israeli settlement building, and debate a draft resolution on illegal Israeli actions in occupied east Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory...which folds neatly into the "pressure package" that all of Israel's foes and friends alike are exerting on her right now....

Again, we say that if this is the year for the Rapture to happen, then all of these events are in perfect harmony with setting the stage. And the reason they are is because peace has become an urgent necessity, but the peace/peacemaker can't be revealed until the Church is gone..!!! And we base that on the authority of IIThes.2:6,7,8.....

So, as next week opens we will be watching the outcome of Cook's trip to the Mid East and, of course King Hussein's meeting with Clinton on Thursday..

We must also continue to remind you that in regards to the Rapture, God always warns His people,,,,and His warning will occur on Firstfruits [Easter Sunday...40 days before the Rapture happens] when news of the "dead in Christ" rising will be echoed around world....

Jesus said in Luke 12:37...."Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes will find watching. Assuredly I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them."

He comes for us at the Rapture, and He serves us at the marriage feast of the Lamb...in Heaven.......!!!!!!

We will be WATCHING !!!!!!!

.....back-up articles.......

#1 Jordan Times 3-14-98 News

West Bank shooting dampens hopes of new talks

Key Statement: "....But his meeting with Mr. Netanyahu and the day before with Mr. Arafat strengthened the supposition by many Palestinians that Jordan is still playing a pivotal role in pushing the peace process forward out of the present muddy stalemate...."

By Elias M. Zananiri

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Minutes before the deadly shooting near Hebron on Tuesday, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hassan told Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu during their meeting in Tel Aviv that time is running out and that something has to be done because "everything is stuck."

The Crown Prince expressed his deep concern because "the situation is not good and because there could be an explosion at any moment."

It did not take long to prove the Prince's warning right. The telephone rang and Mr. Netanyahu received the first report on the shooting in which Israeli troops shot dead three Palestinian workers who were heading back to their hometown of Dura in the Hebron district after a long day of labour in Israel.

According to Israeli sources just before the report on the shooting, the Crown Prince was explaining to Mr. Netanyahu how prepared Palestinian President Yasser Arafat was to meet with the Israeli prime minister, "provided such a summit is not merely to pass time but rather to make progress."

But the glimmer of hope soon evaporated to be replaced with clouds of pessimism. Palestinian sources said a summit meeting between Arafat and Netanyahu was not possible after the shooting, because the incident put them back to square one.

In the joint press conference, Prince Hassan openly said his visit to Tel Aviv was not that of a messenger bringing letters from Arafat to Netanyahu or vice versa. But his meeting with Mr. Netanyahu and the day before with Mr. Arafat strengthened the supposition by many Palestinians that Jordan is still playing a pivotal role in pushing the peace process forward out of the present muddy stalemate.

"We are very much relieved at the level of Jordanian involvement in the process. We know that Jordan has its own differences with Israel, mainly in the aftermath of the Mishaal affair, but still Jordanian officials seem to be determined to do their best to help the PNA," a Palestinian official told the Jordan Times Wednesday in Ramallah.

Jordan played a major role in bringing Israel to sign the Hebron Agreement, which was the first and last agreement the current Israeli government signed with the Palestinian National Authority. Since then, the Palestinian official noted, nothing has moved forward.

The Palestinian official ruled out a new agreement on Israeli redeployment in the West Bank despite Crown Prince Hassan's statement that 1998 will be the year of the implementation of Israeli redeployments.

The reason, according to the Palestinian official, is Mr. Netanyahu's weakness and unwillingness to accept the concept of the Oslo accords. He said Mr. Netanyahu's right-wing coalition government, mainly after the resignation a few months ago of Foreign Minister David Levy, makes it almost impossible for him to implement the three phases of troop redeployment in the West Bank.

"Let us not forget that the problem we face in this context is not how influential is the Jordanian role, or, for this matter, the role of any other party, but how prepared the Israeli government is to honour its commitments," he said. But Jordan's influence is still welcomed and Palestinian circles do not hide their hopes that in his upcoming visit to the U.S., His Majesty King Hussein will bring up the need for Israel to implement its commitment to the interim agreements.

#2 Jordan Times 3-14-98 News

U.N. emergency session on Israel due Tuesday

Key Statement: "....He said that the emergency session, which was first called in April last year to condemn Israeli settlement building, would debate a draft resolution on "illegal Israeli actions in occupied east Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory."...."

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — The U.N. General Assembly is expected to meet Tuesday in emergency session to discuss "illegal Israeli actions" in occupied territories, a U.N. spokesman said Friday.

Alex Taukatch, spokesman for U.N. General Assembly President Hennadiy Udovenko, announced at a news briefing that following a request from Arab group chairman Syria, "it is expected that the 10th emergency special session will resume next Tuesday."

He said that the emergency session, which was first called in April last year to condemn Israeli settlement building, would debate a draft resolution on "illegal Israeli actions in occupied east Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory."

In a letter on Thursday to U.N. chief Kofi Annan, the Palestine observer to the United Nations, Nasser Al Kidwa, expressed concern about "current dangerous developments regarding the deteriorating situation on the ground."

He notably pointed to Tuesday's incident at an army checkpoint when Israeli soldiers shot dead three Palestinians, and subsequent unrest that left more than 40 people wounded.

The Palestinians also hope that the 185-nation U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday will consider an Arab-backed request to upgrade the status of the Palestine observer mission.

That move failed to win General Assembly approval on a first attempt on Dec. 9 for procedural reasons, amid resistance from the United States and European Union.

#3 Jordan Times 3-14-98 News

Palestinians say U.S. peace efforts insufficient

Key Statement: "...."American efforts are no longer enough to save the peace process. We see the need for the European Union to coordinate efforts with the United States," said Nabil Abu Rudeina, a top aide to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat...."

GAZA CITY (AFP) — Palestinian officials said Thursday that mediation by the United States was not enough to revive deadlocked negotiations with Israel and called on Europe to take a greater role.

"American efforts are no longer enough to save the peace process. We see the need for the European Union to coordinate efforts with the United States," said Nabil Abu Rudeina, a top aide to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

Mr. Arafat received letters Thursday from U.S. Secretary Madeleine Albright, French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine and Italian President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro regarding efforts to revive negotiations, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

"American efforts have brought no results. The Americans promised Arafat to put forward an initiative, but they have stepped back and now say they will only present ideas. We are still waiting for these ideas," Mr. Abu Rudeina told AFP.

"If there is not a serious European-American movement to save the peace process, the region will come into a real political crisis. There is no peace or security unless the Palestinians get their rights," he said.

The United States threatened earlier this year to introduce its own proposal to break the year-long deadlock in the peace process after Israel and the Palestinians failed to reach agreement on a long overdue Israeli troop pullback from the West Bank.

But Washington's mediation in the peace process has slackened off since the Iraq weapons crisis.

#4 Jordan Times 3-14-98 News

Cook to visit Abu Ghneim

Key Statement: "....Israeli Cabinet Secretary Danny Naveh, however, said Israel would not allow the EU to "dictate" the terms of peace moves. "Europe can contribute but not... dictate," he said...."

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (R) — British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook will visit the site of the most controversial Jewish settlement project with a senior Palestinian official when he is in Jerusalem next week, British diplomats said on Friday.

They said Tuesday's stop at the hilltop site of Jabal Abu Ghneim, known in Hebrew as Har Homa, would allow Mr. Cook to see for himself one of the most sensitive issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians.

At the site on the edge of Arab east Jerusalem, Mr. Cook will meet Faisal Husseini, the official in the Palestinian National Authority responsible for Jerusalem.

"Our policy on settlements is very clear. Anywhere beyond the green line they are illegal," a senior British diplomat said.

The green line is the pre-1967 border between Israel and the West Bank including Arab east Jerusalem, which Israeli forces occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.

Peace moves between Israel and the Palestinians have been deadlocked since March last year, when Israel's right-wing government gave the go-ahead for work to begin on Jabal Abu Ghneim.

Mr. Cook will leave Britain on Sunday on a four-day tour of the Middle East. He will meet Palestinian President Yasser Arafat on Tuesday morning in self-ruled Gaza and hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem later in the day.

Mr. Cook has said the tour, in Britain's capacity as holder of the European Union's rotating presidency, is intended to breathe new life into the flagging peace process.

A six-point initiative he has drawn up includes a call on both parties to honour commitments made under interim peace deals and on Israel to halt all expansion of settlements.

Israeli officials had no immediate comment on Mr. Cook's plan to visit the settlement site.

Israeli Cabinet Secretary Danny Naveh, however, said Israel would not allow the EU to "dictate" the terms of peace moves. "Europe can contribute but not... dictate," he said.

Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its "united and eternal capital" and insists it has a right to build wherever it wants.

Palestinians regard Arab east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.

#5 Jordan Times 3-14-98 News

King visits U.S. for talks with Clinton

AMMAN (J.T.) — His Majesty King Hussein on Thursday left for the United States where he will undergo routine medical check-ups and meet U.S. President Bill Clinton and other senior officials. King Hussein's talks in Washington will touch upon bilateral relations, and the latest developments in the Middle East, particularly the agreement between Iraq and the U.N.

The King will also discuss the peace process and ways of giving impetus to it. The King, who is accompanied by Her Majesty Queen Noor, Princess Zein, Princess Rania Abdullah, Prime Minister Abdul Salam Majali, Royal Court Chief Fayez Tarawneh, Minister of Health and Health Care Ashraf Kurdi, was seen off at Queen Alia International Airport by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hassan, Royal family members and other senior civil and military officials. Prince Hassan was sworn in as Regent.

CHN Commentary 3-12-98

The Mid East March to Peace:

The King is on his way to the USA.........

King Hussein has left Jordan bound for a crucial week long visit to Washington. He will be holding meetings with all the high ranking Senators, Congressman, VIP's, and ultimately president Clinton.

The president's meeting is scheduled for March 19, and by then the King should have all his "ducks in a row" to present to Mr. Clinton.. This is a critical meeting, as progress must be made to avoid what is building up to be another disaster in the West Bank. The news conference that follows the meeting on the 19th will give us a pretty good idea of how to read the temperature...

On the Lebanon/Syria front it seems that Kofi Annan is "secretly " reading a plan that would allow Israel to pull out of South Lebanon and be acceptable to both Syria and Lebanon.... Kofi met with Clinton yesterday and that was part of the discussion... We'll be watching for more news on this..

The Jordan Times is expressing cautious optimism regarding the overall chances of peace, based on Prince Hassan's meetings with both Arafat and Bibi.... The Prince wants all involved to focus on the positive results of the past...and reminds both of his audiences that the "glass is half full" not half empty...

When considering that all the party's have walked this road before, and they all know very well what's expected of them to have to give in order to get...this opportunity to finalize it is very real..!!

We continue to find ourselves "very" optimistic that peace is very close, which for Christians really only means one thing....our "reward" of Rapture is even nearer...as the Church is holding back [restraining] the revealing of the peacemaker, so she has to go home for the peace to finalize....!!

........but once again we remind all of us that we will have a 40 day warning from God if the Rapture is this year by virtue of the "dead in Christ" rising on Firstfruits..........

We'll keep watching....!!!

Luke 12:37

#1 Jordan Times 3-12-98 News

King off to Washington to ‘spell out dangers of deadlock in peace process’

By Ghadeer Taher

Key Statement: "....Jordanian officials described the upcoming Washington talks, which will be crowned by a meeting between the King and U.S. President Bill Clinton on March 19, as crucial towards assessing the chances for a breakthrough on the Israeli-Palestinian front, and prospects for a permanent solution to the crisis between Iraq and the U.N...."

AMMAN — His Majesty King Hussein leaves today on an official visit to the United States with two pressing regional crises on his agenda: the faltering peace process and the ever-volatile relations between Iraq and the United Nations Security Council.

Paving the way for the Washington trip, the King concluded a six-day Arab tour that included talks with the leaders of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, while His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hassan held talks Monday and Tuesday with Palestinian and Israeli leaders on deadlocked negotiations between the two sides.

The King’s talks in Washington follow a string of Israeli official visits to the Kingdom including talks with Israel’s National Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon and Industry Minister Natan Sharansky. Iraq’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Said Sahhaf, en route to meetings with the Security Council in New York, also held talks in Amman earlier this week.

Jordanian officials de-scribed the upcoming Washington talks, which will be crowned by a meeting between the King and U.S. President Bill Clinton on March 19, as crucial towards assessing the chances for a breakthrough on the Israeli-Palestinian front, and prospects for a permanent solution to the crisis between Iraq and the U.N.

A senior Jordanian official said that the King would be pressing the need for Israel to implement the next phase of redeployment in the West Bank in line with U.S. proposals put forward by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

“His Majesty will be spelling out the dangers inherent in the continuation of the deadlock on the Palestinian front, and the crisis in Iraq,” one official told the Jordan Times. “We are caught between an explosive situation to the west of the Kingdom and a volatile situation to the east,” he explained. According to the official, current Israeli policies “have turned the West Bank into a time bomb that could explode in our faces, unless a breakthrough is achieved.” His Majesty had openly warned of a potential fourth Palestinian exodus to Jordan that would destabilise the Kingdom and turn it into an alternative Palestinian state.

Severe clashes erupted in Hebron Wednesday as Palestinians attacked Israeli soldiers with rocks and firebombs to protest the killing of three Palestinians Tuesday at an Israeli roadblock in the West Bank. The clashes underline Jordan’s fears of violence on the West Bank creating a new wave of refugees flooding into the Kingdom.

The talks in Washington come on the heels of the high-level talks in Amman and Tel Aviv which signaled the warming of ties after a period of tense relations following the Israeli assassination attempt against Hamas leader Khaled Misha’al in Amman last fall.

Israeli officials said the talks also paved the way for restoring full security cooperation between the two sides in accordance with the 1994 peace treaty. This followed the resignation of Mossad chief Danny Yatom, who was replaced by Ephraim Halevy, the man who served as contact man between Jordanian and Israeli officials prior to the signing of the peace treaty.

“It makes sense ahead of the Washington talks to improve Jordan’s relations with Israel,” a Western diplomatic source said. “It would otherwise be difficult for Jordan to make the argument for advancing the peace process on the Palestinian front or to act as a facilitator in the process.”

Jordan’s Ambassador to Washington Marwan Muasher said the stalled peace process “does not only affect Palestinians and Israelis, but also deeply affect us. We cannot accept the status quo situation.” Dr. Muasher told the Jordan Times from Washington that the King will be “urging the U.S. administration to move forward and to move more assertively.”

Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Martin Indyk said Tuesday that Washington “has no intention of imposing a U.S. plan” on the two sides in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

The talks in Washington are also expected to touch on Jordan’s “ideas” for an end to the crisis between Baghdad and the Security Council based on the full implementation of U.N. resolutions and the signed agreement between U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz.

While Jordan denied it was carrying an initiative for a direct dialogue between Iraq and the U.S., Western diplomats said the U.S. administration and Congress “were not ready for any dialogue with Baghdad.” On the economic level, Dr. Muasher said that fiscal year 1998 has witnessed a dramatic increase in U.S. aid levels to Jordan.

“The increase is a result of the administration and Congress’ appreciation of Jordan’s role in the peace process and the Kingdom’s clear economic objective that it is trying to achieve,” he said. He explained that Jordan was expected to receive around $200 million in U.S. aid.

The King will be having extensive meetings on Capitol Hill with Senate and House leaders, in addition to the meeting with the president and high-level administration officials.

Jordanian officials said the King’s busy schedule in Washington reflects the U.S. appreciation of Jordan’s constructive role in backing the peace process on the one hand, and the Jordanian leadership’s appreciation of Congress’ role in endorsing American aid to the Kingdom on the other.

#2 JERUSALEM POST Thursday, March 12, 1998 14 Adar 5758

Annan said preparing Lebanon plan

By DAVID RUDGE

Key Statement: "....UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is reported to be secretly drawing up a proposal that would enable the withdrawal of the IDF from southern Lebanon and that would be acceptable to Israel, Lebanon, and Syria...."

HAIFA (March 12) - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is reported to be secretly drawing up a proposal that would enable the withdrawal of the IDF from southern Lebanon and that would be acceptable to Israel, Lebanon, and Syria.

According to reports, Annan will be bringing the proposal when he visits the region in less than two weeks. He is scheduled to visit Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, and Israel.

Annan was hosted at a meeting at the White House by President Bill Clinton yesterday.

There have been reports in the Lebanese press that Annan will be coming with a proposal based on Security Council Resolution 425, which calls for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from south Lebanon, for the Lebanese government to reassert effective authority over the region, and for the restoration of international peace and security.

According to Channel 2 news, Annan's proposal consists of five main clauses: Israel's acceptance of 425; the Lebanese Army would deploy in areas vacated by the IDF and Hizbullah; the Grapes of Wrath understandings would continue; UNIFIL would be significantly expanded; and Israel would work for peace accords with Syria and Lebanon.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was asked in the television report about the reported Annan proposal. "I have not received any details about this, so it's too early to say," Netanyahu was quoted as saying. "But if a proposal were to be made in relation to our recent initiatives, proposals which fit with our security, I would certainly view it with interest."

UNIFIL spokesman Timur Goksel said that "UNIFIL is not aware of any secret initiative by the secretary-general."

Syria, meanwhile, claims that it has thwarted Israel's efforts to create a split between it and Lebanon by proposing a withdrawal. Newspapers in Damascus maintained that the united front displayed by Lebanon and Syria had also foiled Israel's attempts to seek European support for the initiative.

Nevertheless, other reports said that Lebanese leaders had made it clear in meetings with a senior US official that Lebanon could not accept Israel's terms, although it would not be in a position to refuse if the proposal were to come from the UN.

In the security zone, two IDF soldiers were lightly wounded in an Hizbullah mortar and anti-tank missiles attack on the Dlatt position on Tuesday night. They were taken to Haifa's Rambam Hospital.

The Grapes of Wrath monitoring group is continuing its discussions on complaints by Israel and Lebanon over recent breaches of the understandings.

Jay Bushinsky adds:

The cabinet held its first meeting on the proposed withdrawal from southern Lebanon yesterday, hearing experts on the Syrian and Lebanese governments' attitudes.

It could not be determined, on the basis of the data presented, whether the Lebanese authorities genuinely seek the IDF's departure or whether the Lebanese Army has the capability to control the area.

CHN Commentary 3-10-98

Mid East Peace Watch

In our last report, Arafat was getting ready to meet with Prince Hassan of Jordan. They have met and the Prince has assured Yasser that Jordan pledges full support for their cause. Arafat is banking on Jordan's close contact with Israel and the U.S. to further the process. Jordan expects Israel to fully honor its commitments to the Palestinians, in particular its troop redeployments from "most Palestinian areas.

The Prince also met with Bibi today in Tel Aviv and they have patched up their differences that stemmed from the botched assassination attempt earlier in Jordan by the Israeli Mossad. Bibi said that it was time for he and Arafat to over come their differences and finish the process....he once again called for direct talks with Arafat and said that Hassan had brought word that Arafat was ready for a summit.

Syria's Assad has been caught off guard by Israel saying it is ready to pull out of South Lebanon, and he has called a summit in Damascus with the Lebanese.. He's afraid of secret negotiations between Israel and Lebanon that would leave him out in the cold...and his fears will be confirmed..!!! Ultimately, he will be uprooted..!!

While this was going on King Hussein and Ariel Sharon both vowed to focus on the Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts in an attempt to speed up the process towards a final settlement...

In eighteen years of closely following any and all attempts to bring peace to the Mid East, we have never witnessed anything quite as dramatic and convincing as what is going on in the headlines today.

God said that the prophecy of Daniel could only be seen when it was unsealed at the "time of the end". The on stage events that are playing out today leave no doubt that Daniel is on the scene...!!!

"Final settlement" is what it's all about.........but, as a reminder, there can't be a final settlement until the Church is gone...Raptured !!! This next window is becoming very obvious as "the" window...!!!!

.....but we will have the 40 day warning by virtue of the "dead in Christ" rising on Firstfruits ...!!!

We will keep watching.....!!!!!!!!

Luke 12:37

......back-up articles

#1 Key Statement: "...."Let me remind you that we expect a large scale redeployment from the West Bank in 1998," he said.

Hassan added that the Jordanians will also demand "the full and precise implementation of the texts that were agreed upon."...."

JERUSALEM POST Tuesday, March 10, 1998 12 Adar 5758

Jordan's Hassan pledges full support for Palestinians

By MARGOT DUDKEVITCH and MOHAMMED NAJIB

RAMALLAH (March 10) - Seeking to move the peace process forward, Jordan's Crown Prince Hassan met with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat during a lightning two-hour visit to Ramallah yesterday.

While Hassan pledged Jordan's unflagging support for the Palestinians he told reporters that at his meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv this evening he will demand that Israel implement the signed agreements and redeploy in the West Bank.

"Let me remind you that we expect a large scale redeployment from the West Bank in 1998," he said.

Hassan added that the Jordanians will also demand "the full and precise implementation of the texts that were agreed upon."

Arriving by helicopter, Hassan, accompanied by Jordanian officials and journalists, was greeted by Arafat and PA officials.

Meeting briefly with reporters before Hassan's return to Amman, Arafat said he was encouraged by Hassan's brotherly visit and that he hoped to overcome the obstacles and current deadlock in negotiations.

Arafat said he was sure that Jordan's King Hussein's visit to Washington on March 19 would bring results not only on the Palestinian track but also on the Syrian and Lebanese track.

While demanding that Israel implement the signed accords, Arafat reiterated his call for an Arab summit and demanded that the international community intensify its efforts to move the process forward.

"The accords we signed at the White House are not bilateral accords but were signed by Jordan, Egypt and Norway, the European Union and the two sponsors, Russia and the US, in the presence of Japan. This means that the accords are international and the international community is bound by them and must ensure that the peace process moves forward," he said.

PA negotiator Saeb Erekat charged that Netanyahu was to blame for the current deadlock.

"There is nothing wrong with the peace process or the Oslo accords, but with the practices of Mr. Netanyahu," he said.

Hassan, however, declared "as long as we believe in the rights of all Arabs we will continue to renew ideas, opinions and proposals in order to protect the peace process and ensure its continuance. When we talk about alternatives to peace, we should focus on the full half of the glass and not the empty half and to remember all the achievements made so far."

PA Minister of International Cooperation Nabil Shaath said that Hassan also updated Arafat on his meetings with National Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon on Sunday and with Industry and Trade Minister Natan Sharansky yesterday.

#2 Key Statement: "....Mr. Arafat is hoping to use Jordan's close contacts with the Americans and the Israelis to push the stalled peace process forward, a senior Palestinian official said, requesting anonymity...."

Jordan Times 3-10-98 News

Prince Hassan: 1998 is year of Israeli redeployment in W. Bank

By Alia A. Toukan

RAMALLAH — Jordan expects Israel to fully honour its commitments to the Palestinians, in particular its troop redeployments from "most Palestinian areas," His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hassan said following talks with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in Ramallah yesterday.

"Let me reiterate that 1998 is the year of [Israeli] redeployment from most [Palestinian] areas," Crown Prince Hassan told reporters after his discussions with Mr. Arafat and other senior Palestinian officials.

During the talks Mr. Arafat told Crown Prince Hassan that he is seeking King Hussein's assistance, top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said.

Mr. Arafat is hoping to use Jordan's close contacts with the Americans and the Israelis to push the stalled peace process forward, a senior Palestinian official said, requesting anonymity.

"We listened to the Crown Prince's good advice... especially since we are facing some difficulties in the peace process... that we can hopefully overcome," Mr. Arafat told journalists, after thanking His Majesty King Hussein and His Royal Highness for their efforts in support of the peace process.

Dr. Erekat said that talks between the two sides focused on the stalled peace process and bilateral relations, particularly in the economic field.

Both sides believe that "there is nothing wrong with the peace process, the negotiations, or with the Oslo accords. What is wrong are the practices of the government of [Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin] Netanyahu," Dr. Erekat said.

Crown Prince Hassan and Mr. Arafat called for a more concerted effort on behalf of the international community in pushing forward the peace process, deadlocked since the Hebron accords of January 1997.

"We are going through an acute phase in the region... and expect a political initiative from the international community," the Crown Prince said, stressing that the Arab World still has the "political will" to reach a comprehensive peace, despite the obstacles.

Mr. Arafat echoed the sentiment, saying that agreements reached between the Palestinians and the Israelis were not bilateral, since they were also signed by Jordan, Egypt, the U.S., the EU, Norway and Russia.

"On this basis, we expect that the international community move fast to protect the peace process," he said.

The Crown Prince, who hailed Mr. Arafat's "courage, determination, and that of [his] people," said that despite the obstacles, there have been many accomplishments in the peace process, and that "we can look at the glass as half- full."

Asked about Mr. Arafat's comments last month that restarting the Intifada was an option, Crown Prince Hassan answered that Arabs in general continuously express despair in relation to the peace process.

"This is the right of every citizen," he said. "But it is also the right of those responsible to remind people that resorting to violence is not necessarily an option," and that there is another alternative, albeit a more difficult one, which is to pursue diplomatic initiatives.

Mr. Arafat responded: "without a doubt the situation is very difficult, but we have many options," adding that he has been calling for an emergency Arab summit.

However, the Palestinian official who requested anonymity, cast doubt on the benefit of re-starting the Intifada. "Our message for the first time since 1948 that has brought the international community to our side, is one of peace."

He said that such a move would cost the PNA a heavy price, giving Israel the chance to re-enter Palestinian cities again.

In response to the new American initiative, Dr. Erekat said that the Palestine National Authority (PNA) has "heard" of it, but has not been formally approached about it by the U.S. government.

The U.S. is currently calling for an Israeli troop withdrawal from 13 per cent of the West Bank, while Israel is offering less than 10 per cent.

According to the Oslo peace accords, the second Israeli redeployment is meant to encompass approximately thirty per cent of the area.

The PNA has not yet made a decision about the U.S. initiative, said Dr. Erekat. The main stipulation by the Palestinians is that the proposal be "within the framework and terms of reference of the agreements, also signed by the Americans," he said.

But, the Palestinians are "damned if they accept the American proposal, and damned if they don't," said one Palestinian official.

In any case, he said, the Palestinians are banking on the downfall of Mr. Netanyahu in whatever course he chooses to take, explaining that whether the Israeli premier decides to withdraw or not, he will be faced by insurmountable opposition by his coalition members and/or international pressure.

He saw Jordan's role as pressuring Mr. Netanyahu to implement the peace accords, and exposing his belligerent policies.

"The most country that has been embarrassed by Netanyahu is Jordan. How many times did he make promises to the Kingdom, and then failed to deliver?" he asked.

In talks with Mr. Netanyahu in Tel Aviv today, discussions will focus on the need to "respect the requirements of the Palestinians... and the full implementation of the accords agreed upon," said the Crown Prince.

Dr. Erekat said that Prince Hassan will be "putting Israel in the picture" during his talks with Mr. Netanyahu.

#3 Key Statement: "....Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan's Crown Prince Hassan also told a joint news conference in Tel Aviv that the time had come to put fresh energy into long-deadlocked peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians...."

CNN Israel, Jordan patch up ties after failed hit

March 10, 1998 Web posted at: 8:14 p.m. EST (0114 GMT)

TEL AVIV, Israel (Reuters) -- Israel and Jordan said on Tuesday that they had opened a new chapter in their relations after a bitter dispute over a botched Israeli assassination attempt on Jordanian soil last year.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan's Crown Prince Hassan also told a joint news conference in Tel Aviv that the time had come to put fresh energy into long-deadlocked peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

"We have today a new beginning between Israel and Jordan. We can have a new beginning between Israel and the Palestinians," an upbeat Netanyahu said.

Hassan held two hours of talks with Netanyahu in a Tel Aviv hotel, a day after he met Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in self-ruled Ramallah.

The crown prince called his talks with Arafat "fruitful, upbeat" and said the Palestinian leader had shown a "commitment to the rejuvenation of the peace process."

Netanyahu again called for direct talks with Arafat to end a year-long peacemaking stalemate. He said Hassan had brought him a message from Arafat indicating the Palestinian leader's desire to work with Israel on peace.

Netanyahu offers olive branch

Netanyahu said Israel would have to check in the coming days whether Arafat was ready to enter direct talks.

"There is no other way to get peace. You cannot impose it. It has to come from within. It is the attempt to get outside intervention to absolve the Palestinian side from negotiating that is misplaced," Netanyahu said.

The right-wing leader sounded uncharacteristically dovish on the need for peace with the Palestinians.

"No one has suffered more as a result of the regional wars here than the Palestinians. Thousands have lost their lives, hundreds of thousands have lost their homes, their dignity and their self-esteem," he said.

"It is time to put an end to all this. ... It is time that we devote all our energy and ingenuity to bringing peace, security and prosperity to all the peoples of the region."

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks ground to a halt last year after Netanyahu broke ground on a Jewish settlement in a section of Jerusalem on land claimed by Palestinians. Islamist suicide bombings deepened the crisis.

Israel's ties with Amman, its friendliest Arab neighbor and partner to a 1994 peace treaty, took a plunge last September when Jordan caught two Israeli secret agents who tried to murder Khaled Meshal, a leader of the Islamic Hamas group.

Countries agree to expand business ties

Hassan called the Meshal affair a "tragic episode in our relations" but said that Tuesday's meeting marked "a landmark change for the better."

Israel freed dozens of Palestinians and Hamas founder Sheik Ahmad Yassin to secure the release of the agents. King Hussein suspended security ties with Israel.

Analysts said the resignation last month of Mossad chief Danny Yatom helped clear the air.

Israel replaced him with Efraim Halevy, a former Mossad deputy chief who was instrumental in making peace with Jordan.

Hassan's visit caps a week of meetings between Israeli and Jordanian officials, including visits to Jordan by Industry and Trade Minister Natan Sharansky and National Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon.

The two countries agreed Monday to expand business ties and joint ventures after concluding talks on removing hurdles to trade.

#4 Key Statement: "....Netanyahu cited Hassan's rejoinder to those who have lost hope or confidence in the peace process, be they Palestinian, Jordanian, or Israeli: "Lighting a candle is better than cursing the darkness. Today we lit a candle," Netanyahu said...."

JERUSALEM POST Wednesday, March 11, 1998 13 Adar 5758

Netanyahu: Arafat is ready for a summit

By JAY BUSHINSKY

TEL AVIV (March 11) - Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu revealed yesterday that a "message" has been transmitted by the Palestinian Authority to the effect that Chairman Yasser Arafat is willing to participate in a summit conference.

"I heard a message in this direction," Netanyahu said when asked about the prospects of his proposal for a face-to-face meeting with Arafat. "We will examine it in the next few days."

Netanyahu spoke at a joint news conference with Jordanian Crown Prince Hassan in Tel Aviv.

Hassan, who conferred with Arafat in Ramallah on Monday, denied that he has been acting as a "mediator" or "representative." But he said that his session with Arafat and other Palestinian leaders was "fruitful" and "upbeat."

Carefully choosing his words in an apparent bid to uphold the confidences given him by the two sides, Hassan said that "there certainly was a commitment [on the Palestinians' part] to the rejuvenation of the peace process."

He reacted to a question about whether Arafat considers Netanyahu "too tough" as a negotiator by drawing from his knowledge of the Bible. He quoted the Hebrew saying, taken from Proverbs 18:21, "Mavet v'haim b'yad halashon" (Death and life depend on the tongue).

Netanyahu picked up immediately from where he left off, saying, "We heard certain things. I prefer of course to adhere to the framework of our contacts."

Earlier, at a special cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that he intends to honor the Oslo Accords and demands that the "other party do so as well."

Briefing the ministers about his trip to Spain, Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom, Netanyahu said he emphasized in his talks there that the fulfillment of commitments made by the Palestinians is the immediate and necessary condition for resuming the peace process.

The cabinet communiqué quoted him as saying Israel is trying to advance the work of the interim agreement committees and contending that the European countries can contribute to this by encouraging the Palestinians to reach agreement with Israel on these matters.

National Infrastructure Minister Ariel Sharon said that the transfer of up to 6 percent of Area C to the Palestinian Authority would not cause excessive damage to Israel's security. But he said "substantial damage would be caused" by the transfer of 9 percent. He referred to the military installations and strategic positions on the slopes overlooking the Jordan River which would be forfeited.

He warned that the PA is stockpiling Strella and Stinger shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles for use against planes taking off or landing at Ben-Gurion Airport and said this is sufficient reason to hold the terrain in question.

Sharon and Industry and Trade Minister Natan Sharansky, who visited Jordan on Sunday and Monday respectively, were present at the joint news conference and heard Hassan and Netanyahu refer repeatedly to the positive outcome of their talks in Amman.

They also reported to the cabinet on their contacts in Jordan.

Netanyahu cited Hassan's rejoinder to those who have lost hope or confidence in the peace process, be they Palestinian, Jordanian, or Israeli: "Lighting a candle is better than cursing the darkness. Today we lit a candle," Netanyahu said.

Among the joint projects agreed upon by Hassan and Netanyahu were: reconstruction of the Allenby Bridge; utilizing funds contributed by Japan; analyzing the economic feasibility of constructing a canal between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea; construction of a railway between the Dead Sea and Red Sea "for the mutual benefit" of Israel and Jordan; and the landing of more international flights to Eilat at Akaba Airport in accordance with a decision taken on March 1 by the Jordanian government.

#5 Key Statement: "....But the legend of all-powerful Syria in Lebanon is likely to be debunked, as was the idea that Hussein wouldn't sign a peace treaty with Israel without Syria...."

JERUSALEM POST Wednesday, March 11, 1998 13 Adar 5758

Assad's bargaining card

By MOSHE ZAK

(March 11) - What did Israel achieve by the diplomatic initiative in which it announced its readiness to retreat from the south Lebanon security zone, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 425, after the establishment of appropriate security arrangements in the border region?

Why did the prime minister and the defense minister take the trouble of rushing around the capitals of Europe in an attempt to gain support for the plan, even though they knew in advance that the Lebanese government wasn't free to accept the proposal without first gaining approval from Syria?

The government's opponents, both at home and abroad, tried to explain this step as an attempt to distract attention from the central issue of the frozen negotiations with the Palestinians to a side channel.

This interpretation is stupid. The Palestinian question easily outranked the Lebanon proposal and remained at the center of the European Union's diplomatic activity in its contacts with Israel.

However, Israel did gain something from its initiative. The Lebanese government was forced to reveal to its citizens that Israel had made a proposal concerning an IDF withdrawal from southern Lebanon, which it couldn't accept because of its dependence on Syria. For the time being this was the first result of the Israeli initiative.

Five years ago the Lebanese government closed down a Beirut newspaper for publishing a communication that Lebanon had received from Israel containing details of a plan for IDF withdrawal from southern Lebanon. The Lebanese president denied that the government had received the Israeli plan. The Beirut press declared a sympathy strike with the newspaper that was punished for daring to publicize the existence of an Israeli proposal for withdrawal.

But now the Lebanese authorities have been forced to admit that they have indeed received such a proposal from Israel, and that they totally reject it, since the withdrawal from southern Lebanon must be linked to an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan.

The Syrian and Lebanese governments even issued a joint statement in Damascus, saying an IDF withdrawal from the Golan is a precondition for a settlement in southern Lebanon. It meant the Lebanese were saying that the Golan Heights, claimed by Syria, is higher on its list of priorities than southern Lebanon, that they were rejecting the Israeli proposal from criteria originating not in Lebanon but in Syria.

In theory, it's all over. The Beirut government has publicly rejected the Israeli plan. But in practice the file isn't closed: not all Lebanese belong to Hizbullahwhose members are willing to suffer, and even to be killed, in order to win a ticket to paradise. The rest of the population wants peace on the frontier, and doesn't want the Israeli Air Force bombing their homes.

And when they find out that their government missed the opportunity to bring peace to the area, not for their sake but because of Syria, they will then dare to pressure the government to take steps for the pacification of southern Lebanon through negotiations.

The Russians and the French don't have the same experience as the Americans concerning linkage between Israeli-Syrian peace and peace with another Arab country. They take seriously Damascus' outspoken statements that there will be no settlement in Lebanon as long as Israel holds on to the Golan Heights.

The Americans made a similar mistake in the past. Five years ago American experts explained that Jordan's King Hussein wouldn't dare sign a peace treaty with Israel as long as there was no peace with Syria. On the basis of this assessment the Americans urged Yitzhak Rabin to make a hypothetical offer to the Syrians saying, "Let's assume that you'll get back the Golan. Will you be willing to give us the next nine clauses in a peace settlement?"

But Warren Christopher, then American secretary of state, came back empty-handed from Damascus. Later it was proved that the concept of Jordan's dependence on Syria - that it wouldn't sign a peace treaty without it - was totally unfounded.

Syria has more leverage on Lebanon than on Jordan. Syria has not yet recognized Lebanon's de jure independence. When the Arab League was founded, Syria objected to the inclusion of Lebanon among the founding members.

But the legend of all-powerful Syria in Lebanon is likely to be debunked, as was the idea that Hussein wouldn't sign a peace treaty with Israel without Syria.

The peace treaty with Jordan was signed, and Assad is now searching for the hypothetical proposal that he missed five years ago, when he refused to commit himself to give anything in return. Now Assad is trying to play the Lebanon card in order to make good his loss. But he can't be sure the Lebanese will be willing to suffer forever to be the bargaining card that will bring him the Golan.

#6 Key Statement: "....There has been speculation, however, that Syrian President Hafez Assad is concerned about reports that Israel and Lebanon have opened a secret channel of communications over the 425 initiative...."

JERUSALEM POST Tuesday, March 10, 1998 12 Adar 5758

Assad calls Lebanese for special summit

DAVID RUDGE, JAY BUSHINSKY, and news agencies

JERUSALEM (March 10) - Lebanese government leaders have been summoned to Damascus to take part in a mini-summit this week, apparently as part of an intensive Syrian diplomatic effort to head off Israel's proposal to withdraw from the security zone under the auspices of UN Security Council Resolution 425.

Officially, the meeting has been called for Syria and Lebanon to coordinate their positions on the eve of upcoming visits to the region by European Union leaders and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

There has been speculation, however, that Syrian President Hafez Assad is concerned about reports that Israel and Lebanon have opened a secret channel of communications over the 425 initiative.

Assad's decision to summon Lebanese leaders to Damascus was seen by Israeli analysts yesterday as proof that the Israeli proposal had taken him by surprise.

According to several reports, Assad has been acting in a way that indicates he is under pressure because of the Israeli initiative, which also calls for Lebanon to ensure security arrangements along the northern border and security for the South Lebanese Army in the event of an IDF pullout.

Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Shara led a top-level delegation to Beirut last week that met with Lebanese leaders, including President Elias Hrawi and Foreign Minister Farez Bouez.

Later, Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri met in Damascus with Syrian Vice President Abdel Halim Khaddam. The two rejected Israel's proposal, saying they would not accept anything less than Israel's unconditional withdrawal from south Lebanon and the Golan Heights.

Since then, Syria has launched a counter-initiative calling for all matters relating to peace in the Middle East to be handled by the UN Security Council, because of the latter's success in dealing with the recent crisis in Iraq.

The aim of the Syrian meeting, apparently, is to try and put pressure on Israel, via the international community, to honor all UN Security Council resolutions, including those relating to the Golan Heights.

Syria is pressing for the UN to use the same kind of assertiveness with Israel that it used in dealing with Iraq. The main aim, however, according to Israeli analysts, is to divert attention from Israel's proposal and prevent a split in the Lebanon-Syria track.

The Lebanese leftist daily As-Safir reported yesterday that all of Lebanon's leaders, including Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, had been invited to the summit.

Former ambassador to the US Itamar Rabinovich, an expert on Syria, described Assad's action as "a show of strength."

The Tel Aviv University expert said Assad's advantage always has been his ability to do things like this. He contended that Assad has decided to take this action because he does not like the Israeli initiative and wants to "nip it in the bud."

"He is in a serious dilemma," said Reuven Merhav, a former director-general of the Foreign Ministry who specializes in Middle Eastern affairs. "If the Lebanese exert pressure on him to let them accept Israel's offer he will be in great difficulty."

Merhav, who set up Israel's quasi-embasssy in Beirut during the 1982 Lebanon War, said he assumed that the Lebanese may tell Assad that "Now we have a chance: We are the ones who fought against the Israelis in the south and therefore should be able to decide whether to go for this deal."

Merhav pointed out that Assad is a signatory to the 1989 Taif Agreement on the basis of which Israel was supposed to withdraw from southern Lebanon and the Lebanese authorities were to have reasserted their authority there.

He contended that the most realistic arrangement for both sides - Israel and Lebanon - would be one based on the 1949 armistice agreement, which, in his opinion, should be reconstituted in toto.

A senior Israeli official who deals with the current situation in southern Lebanon contended that Assad "simply does not know how to relate to our proposal." He said the government made an offer that the Lebanese are finding hard to refuse.

"Actually, the issue is between us and the Lebanese," he went on. "It is not really his business," he said, referring to Assad.

The current diplomatic standoff was described by him as "the beginning of a process" in which the contending parties are seeking ways to come to terms.

The idea that the Israeli proposal created a new framework for a potential solution also was expressed by Foreign Ministry Director-General Eytan Bentsur.

"We have to be patient, while we hold to our position, reiterate it and drive our point home," he said.

Meanwhile, Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah hinted there would be a softening of the organization's stance in the aftermath of an IDF withdrawal from south Lebanon.

Asked about Hizbullah's position in the event of a withdrawal, Nasrallah told the French newspaper Le Figaro: "When the day comes it would only be natural that all the government institutions would be represented in the area; the Lebanese Army is responsible for security and we will not intervene. This point is clear unto itself."

However, in an interview with The Associated Press and APTV, he said that "the Israeli maneuver is doomed to failure."

Nasrallah also said that Israel might use Lebanon's rejection as a "pretext for a specific military action" to impose a settlement.

Meanwhile, after meeting with Shara in Damascus, the EU's Middle East envoy Miguel Moratinos told reporters that "without Syria, it will be difficult to strike an effective and permanent application" of Resolution 425.

European leaders must urge Lebanon to guarantee security and fight terrorism before Israel will pull its troops out of southern Lebanon, Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai said yesterday.

Mordechai stressed that Israel is prepared to withdraw from Lebanon only if security is assured.

"We have to be clear that we're not going to change our position in the area until we identify that there are real activities to achieve this idea of security," he said, on a one-day visit to the Netherlands.

"I think what is needed is for European countries and leaders to encourage Lebanon to do what they can do with their security forces to fight terrorism, and to control their areas," Mordechai said.

#7 Key Statement: "....In the statement, they vow to focus on the Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts in an attempt to speed up the process towards a final settlement...."

Mid East Dispatch 3-10-98

SHARON AND KING TO PROMOTE PEACE

Ariel Sharon and King Hussein of Jordan have pledged to do what they can to push the peace process forward. The two issued a joint statement after a meeting last night in Amman.

In the statement, they vow to focus on the Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts in an attempt to speed up the process towards a final settlement.

They also agreed on a number of joint projects. Among them a canal joining the Dead Sea and the Red Sea as well as a train route between Aqaba, Eilat and the Dead Sea.

Sharon said he had brought a message of peace from the Prime Minister to Crown Prince Hassan.

Sharon said there is a deep desire in Jordan to cooperate with Israel in all areas. He told reporters that beyond the bi-lateral agreements achieved at the meeting, there was a positive atmosphere. {KOL ISRAEL 3/9 H}

3-9-98

CHN Commentary on todays news of the Mid East Peace Watch.........

All conversation coming out of the Middle East has everything to do with the peace process..

As you know, yesterday King Hussein met with Ariel Sharon, while today Prince Hassan [King Husseins' brother] is meeting with Arafat. Tomorrow the Prince will meet with Bibi and Mordichai in Tel Aviv.

Also, Madeline Albright has know made it official...the U.S. has no new peace plan to offer Arafat, so she advises him to settle it directly with Bibi... that's bad news for Yasser, but good news for advancing peace.

Arafat has been hoping for the U.S. to apply pressure to Israel to give the PNA more land, and now it seems that it's not going to happen. Even Tony Blair [EU] has opted for direct talks between Arafat and Bibi.... So the hand writing is on the wall....and Yasser is going to have to settle for the best deal that King Hussein can make for him... And to that end, the King made a surprise trip to Egypt Sunday to talk with Mubarak while he kept Sharon waiting for the answer the King brought back for Egypt. And remember, Hosni speaks for Arafat, and the King speaks for Israel and the U.S....so Arafat's fate is in their hands...and the conversations are getting "often" and centered on the "key" phrase..."final status"..!!!!

The Jerusalem Post has a very interesting analysis of the Syrian/Assad position at this time what with Bibi having made the offer to pull out of Lebanon... It seems that his old ploy of speaking for Lebanon is probably going to hit a dead end this time, as the writer demonstrates... This, of course, would fit perfectly into the "end time" scenario that is truly playing out in spades right now.......

And now, while all the "heavies" are running around finalizing their, "we'll do this, if you'll do that" compromises, more than 1,500 Israeli army reserve officers, including 216 generals and colonels, published an open letter Sunday calling on Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to save the teetering peace process by handing over more land to the Palestinians. Chalk up another one for the "peace" camp..!!!

What this all continues to mean is the closer the peace gets, the closer the revealing of the peacemaker gets, and we know he can't be revealed until the Church is gone....and we even get a 40 day notification on the "for sure" of that by virtue of the "dead in Christ " rising on Firstfruits...right around Easter..!!

Come Lord Jesus......!!!!!!!

Luke 12:37

#1 Key Statement: "....The two leaders emphasised the need for the achievement of peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis in accordance to the agreements already signed by the two sides before beginning final status negotiations and in a manner that would safeguard the Palestinian people's rights in their homeland...."

Jordan Times 3-9-98 News

King, Mubarak discuss means to resolve peace impasse, bilateral ties

AMMAN (Petra) — His Majesty King Hussein Sunday made a brief visit to Egypt where he held talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on bilateral relations and cooperation in the political and economic fields.

The two sides discussed the Middle East peace process and obstacles that hinder progress on the Palestinian-Israeli track and emphasised the importance of maintaining close cooperation and coordination between their countries in the various fields.

The two leaders emphasised the need for the achievement of peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis in accordance to the agreements already signed by the two sides before beginning final status negotiations and in a manner that would safeguard the Palestinian people's rights in their homeland.

King Hussein and President Mubarak held a closed door session and an expanded one attended by officials from the two countries.

The King and President Mubarak stressed that comprehensive peace cannot be achieved except through the resumption of the peace process on all tracks including the Israeli-Syrian and the Israeli-Lebanese tracks.

They expressed their satisfaction with the Iraq-U.N. agreement on arms inspections and reiterated the need for full compliance with the agreement so as to pave the way for the lifting the sanctions. The King and the Egyptian president called for joint Arab efforts and higher level of coordination among Arab countries to serve the nation's causes.

The King who returned to Amman Sunday evening was accompanied by Prime Minister Abdul Salam Majali, Royal Court Chief Fayez Tarawneh, the King's Adviser Salah Abu Zeid and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Jawad Anani.

#2 Key Statement: "....In case Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat was not listening, what Albright meant was there is no point in his waiting for further pressure on Israel...."

Jerusalem Post Monday, March 9, 1998 11 Adar 5758

EDITORIAL: Undoing the stalemate

(March 9) -- In a hearing last week, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright reassured Congress that "There is no such thing as an American [peace] plan. ... what's essential is for the leaders to figure that out and make the hard decisions."

In case Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat was not listening, what Albright meant was there is no point in his waiting for further pressure on Israel. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, fresh from an ironic pilgrimage to Oslo, wants to meet Arafat and finish off the deal that has been simmering for months. What remains is for Arafat to stop declaring the process dead long enough to revive it.

For now, the US seems to have come to the conclusion that officially revealing its proposal to bridge the gaps between Israel and the Palestinians would be counterproductive. Indeed, it is instructive in this regard to remember that when US involvement was minimal, - as in the Oslo process and the Jordan peace treaty - negotiations were successful, and where that involvement was more extensive, - as with Syria - they were not.

The threat of such a step has served to concentrate minds on both sides. The problem with actually releasing a plan is that neither side wants to accept it before the other, thereby compromising its own position with no guarantee that the other side will follow suit. The only way around this catch-22 is for the parties to close the remaining gaps in direct talks. This does not work when the gaps are too deep, but months of furtive and snail-like negotiations have worn down the parties to spitting distance from one another.

Spitting, rhetorically speaking, does seem to be a favored form of communication. Though security cooperation, according to the US, is improving, Netanyahu has yet to give Arafat any credit. And Arafat has accused Israel of "choking our livelihood," though the number of Palestinian workers in Israel has risen substantially since 1996.

But now Netanyahu, speaking in Oslo, is reiterating his commitment to implementing the agreement negotiated in that city, and is calling on Arafat to sit down face-to-face and finish the deal.

To be sure, Arafat is not happy with the deal that is shaping up. The contemplated "second redeployment" will be less than what he expected from the previous government. But Netanyahu will not have an easy time selling his side of the bargain to his coalition, given that this initial withdrawal could go up to, or cross, the "red lines" proposed by ministers Mordechai and Sharon as defining Israel's critical security interests in a final-status settlement.

What is increasingly clear is that Netanyahu is ready for whatever internal battle is ahead to sell an agreement with Arafat, and, more importantly, to proceed immediately to final-status talks. What is not clear is whether Arafat really wants the process to move forward.

Few would argue with Netanyahu's assertion that on two matters, the airport at Dahaniya and the industrial park at Karni, the two sides are only "one centimeter" apart. Netanyahu is reportedly now proposing that these issues be resolved immediately, to be immediately followed by other interim status issues, such as the second redeployment and security cooperation. He then wants to move to final-status negotiations.

Arafat, it seems, does not want to resolve anything, because then he will not be able to say the process is stuck, or even moving "backwards," as he told the Palestinian Legislative Council on Saturday. But this is like holding a door shut with one hand and bemoaning that it will not open with the other. Arafat, in short, is stalling for time, believing that a stalled peace process results in more pressure on Israel than on the Palestinians.

The Albright denial that a US plan would be released is a good start toward disabusing Arafat of the notion that stalling tactics will work to his benefit. So far, however, the US message is not getting across.

The US is not usually in the business of accusing one side or the other of holding up the works. But the US could strengthen its message, without taking sides, by backing Netanyahu's proposal for a summit with Arafat. It is no longer credible for Arafat to refuse direct negotiations on the grounds that nothing will come of it. At this point, it is Netanyahu who clearly wants the process unstuck, and Arafat who does not.

Direct negotiations are not a panacea, but almost every breakthrough in the peace process - with Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinians - has been accomplished through such direct talks. Israel and the US are for such negotiations, but the US must make its voice even clearer, or Arafat will continue to predict a stalemate of his own making.

#3 Key Statement: "....Nonetheless, Assad is in a predicament; he must explain to the Europeans and Americans why he is preventing Lebanon from exercising its full sovereignty over an area which is under occupation. This is not something that he cannot handle; it's just a new and troublesome element in a situation which hitherto offered him only advantages and paid him good dividends...."

JERUSALEM POST Monday, March 9, 1998 11 Adar 5758

No change in Damascus

By YOSSI OLMERT

(March 9) -- The recent Israeli initiative concerning south Lebanon caught Hafez Assad off guard. For years, the Syrian president called all the shots in Lebanon, in the face of a passive Israel whose political and military reactions to the increasing success of Hizbullah terrorism offered no inspiration, imagination or adaptation to changing circumstances.

Finally, Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai's initiative of accepting UN Security Council Resolution 425 of March 30, 1978, put some pressure on Assad. Both Lebanese and international quarters are likely to ask some questions about Syria's refusal to allow Israel a dignified and complete withdrawal from occupied Lebanese territory.

Clearly, Assad has a ready-made answer: that the fate of the Golan Heights and south Lebanon are closely related and there should be no separate deal between Lebanon and Israel at a time when the latter shows no willingness to abide by Syria's diktat regarding the Golan Heights, i.e. a return to the pre-June 1967 lines.

In Syrian political terminology, a separate deal is anathema, a painful reminder of the Camp David and Oslo accords, both signed, according to Syria, behind its back and in flagrant avoidance of its rights and interests. This time, Hafez Assad is determined to prevent this from happening in his backyard.

Here lies the most fundamental Syrian obligation to any diplomatic initiative concerning Lebanon: Syria's deep-rooted conviction that Lebanon is an integral part of the Great Syrian Homeland, hence its very existence and political fate are dependant on Syria's good will.

In 1943-44, the British negotiated with the emerging Arab states the formation of the Arab League, and Syria's leaders were told in no uncertain terms that their own independence was linked to their acceptance of a separate Lebanese state. The Syrians listened, made some unpleasant noises about Lebanon's rights, Maronite aspirations and the injustice caused to Syria by colonial machinations and, finally ratified the League Covenant, recognizing de facto Lebanese independence.

But it was a qualified recognition. Syria never formally accepted Lebanon's independence; to this very day there are no regular, formal diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Assad did not initiate this tradition, but he inherited it and has never shown any desire to deviate from it. On the contrary, since his rise to power, and more so since Lebanon's Civil War of 1975-6 and the Israeli withdrawal of May-June 1985, he relates to Lebanon as a Syrian colony whose foreign and military policies are completely subjugated to Syria's.

Those Lebanese who dared challenge Syria paid with their lives, and the long list consists of such illustrious names as Kamal Junblatt, Bashir Gemayel and Dany Chamoun. Each had his own vision for Lebanon's future, but all paid the ultimate price for presenting Lebanese policies contrary to Syria's.

Assad is not going to change this time. He already summoned Lebanon's leaders and dictated to them his reaction to Israel's initiative. Moreover, it should come as no surprise if, on this unceremonious occasion, Syria again uses terrorism as a means of coercing and frightening those elements in Lebanon which might show even the slightest interest in Israel's proposals (which, under normal circumstances, should be greeted with fanfare by every Lebanese patriot, regardless of his sectarian affiliation.)

The Lebanese know it, too, and will necessarily take precautions, something which will almost certainly make the Israeli initiative irrelevant. The Syrians might also encourage Hizbullah to intensify its attacks against Israeli targets, so we are likely to see more trouble in Lebanon in the near future.

Nonetheless, Assad is in a predicament; he must explain to the Europeans and Americans why he is preventing Lebanon from exercising its full sovereignty over an area which is under occupation. This is not something that he cannot handle; it's just a new and troublesome element in a situation which hitherto offered him only advantages and paid him good dividends.

(The writer is a Jerusalem Post columnist.)

#4 Key Statement: "...."We believe that in these times when there is an opportunity to achieve peace it is our duty to call on you to avoid steps which could be a disaster for generations to come," said the letter, signed by 1,554 reserve army officers and published in most Israeli newspapers...."

Jordan Times 3-9-98 News

Israeli officers tell Netanyahu not to miss chance for peace

TEL AVIV (AFP) — More than 1,500 Israeli army reserve officers, including 216 generals and colonels, published an open letter Sunday calling on Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu to save the teetering peace process by handing over more land to the Palestinians.

"An historic chance for peace could slip through our fingers and lead to war or a new intifada [Palestinian uprising] if the Israeli government does not pursue the peace process launched by the Oslo accords and carry out required troop withdrawals" from the West Bank, the letter said.

The officers said that "only true peace can bring security" to Israel and they warned Mr. Netanyahu against a policy of "preferring to keep Jewish settlements [in Palestinian areas] rather than reaching a peace settlement."

"We believe that in these times when there is an opportunity to achieve peace it is our duty to call on you to avoid steps which could be a disaster for generations to come," said the letter, signed by 1,554 reserve army officers and published in most Israeli newspapers.

The signatories included former army chief of staff Tzvi Tsur, 52 generals and a former national police chief, Joseph Narmihas.

The petition was sent to Mr. Netanyahu to mark the 20th anniversary of a similar letter submitted in March 1978 to then Prime Minister Menahem Begin calling on him to respond to peace overtures from Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

The next year Begin and Sadat signed Israel's first peace treaty with an Arab state.

Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations have been deadlocked for a year, largely due to Mr. Netanyahu's failure to carry out promised troop withdrawals from the West Bank or to halt construction of Jewish settlements in disputed areas.

Mr. Netanyahu for his part has accused the Palestinians of violating signed peace accords by failing to rein in armed militant groups responsible for killing scores of Israelis.

CHN Commentary on the news of the Mideast for 3-8-98. Enjoy, Sal

"Watching" a rapidly concluding Mid East Peace...........

Today finds Prime Minister Netanyahu in England on the last stop of his European tour. He is expected to get a "chilly" reception from Cook and Blair....they are advocating swift movement in the peace process while Britain holds the EU presidency...and they are publicly agreeing with the Arab stand that Bibi is the problem. But don't expect anything but "hugs and kisses" to come out of their meeting from what the media will be told. But here are giant steps being taken toward the bottom line right now...!!!

Bibi is letting it be known that no matter what...only he and Arafat can finish it, and that's what it's heading for....[probably at Camp David]. when all pre-agreements are accomplished.

All this saber rattling and political rhetoric will continue in the headlines through March and into April...and by then we'll know if this is the year for the Rapture by virtue of the "dead in Christ" having risen and the "sightings" reported...[ as a reminder, that occurs on Firstfruits... early to mid April]...and if this is the year for the Rapture then they'll prepare to go to Camp David, and we'll prepare to go to heaven !!!!!!!!

In the mean time we'll keep watching...and there is much to watch........

The date for King Hussein to meet with Clinton is set for March 19th..

In preparation for their meeting the King's brother, Prince Hassan, will be very busy..

Today he will meet with Ariel Sharon and Nathan Sharansky in Amman..........

He has meetings scheduled with Arafat tomorrow in Ramallah, and with Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Yitzhak Mordechai on Tuesday in Tel Aviv. Mordechai has just returned from France where he has been discussing the Lebanon pullout...

Because the King is "brokering" the peace all information must flow through him, especially as he prepares to report back to his sponsor the US...

In preparation for their meeting, President Clinton has sent the King a most welcome signal of appreciation for the King's efforts...on Friday the industrial park in Irbid, Jordan was granted duty-free access to U.S. markets as part of a program to encourage economic cooperation between Jordan and Israel....this had been pending for 2 years. "Economic cooperation" is the basis for the whole peace process........."the buying and the selling"... That's what it's all about.....!!!!!

Quoting from article #4 below....

"The momentum for peace will strengthen when the people and the leadership in the Middle East realize that working with their neighbors will lead to their own prosperity," Barshefsky said. "The designation of Irbid will make a concrete contribution to this process." ..."

The King will also continue his proposal of "direct dialogue" between Sadaam and Clinton as a pretense for showing his concern for the Iraqi people. But, as he emphasizes, only the Iraqi people have a right to say who governs them....and all his "concern" will continue to strengthen "his" case......with the Iraqi people...!!!!

We'll keep "watching".............

Luke 12:37....

#1 Key Statements: "....Netanyahu also called for a meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, contending that this would be the best way to give the peace process new impetus.

"Arafat and the PA must understand that no one will do the work for them - not the Americans, not the Europeans and not the Arab League," Netanyahu said after a meeting with Bondevik.

"The way to [make peace] is through direct negotiations. This is what I have been telling European leaders."...."

JERUSALEM POST Sunday, March 8, 1998 10 Adar 5758

Netanyahu calls for meeting with Arafat

By JAY BUSHINSKY and DOUGLAS DAVIS

JERUSALEM (March 8) - If the government had wanted to abandon the Oslo process, it would have had dozens of opportunities to do so, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in Oslo last night.

"It is not useful to talk about the death of the peace process or to foster an attitude of gloom," Netanyahu told a joint press conference with Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik.

"If my government wanted to get rid of Oslo, we would have had dozens of opportunities. We have had dozens of terrorist attacks, including many under my government," he said.

"I think what we need to do is implement Oslo and the way is to implement the interim agreement so that we can get on to the final settlement."

Netanyahu also called for a meeting with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, contending that this would be the best way to give the peace process new impetus.

"Arafat and the PA must understand that no one will do the work for them - not the Americans, not the Europeans and not the Arab League," Netanyahu said after a meeting with Bondevik.

"The way to [make peace] is through direct negotiations. This is what I have been telling European leaders."

The Europeans are in a position to be helpful with regard to nailing down an agreement on the projected industrial zone at Karni adjacent to the Gaza Strip and the airport at Dahaniya, he went on.

They also can assist in implementing the interim agreement insofar as the IDF redeployment, fulfillment of security commitments and revival of the multilateral committees are concerned, he said.

Netanyahu stressed it would be impossible to settle these issues without direct talks with Arafat.

Netanyahu also made this point to Spain's Prime Minister Jose Maria Anzar and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl during visits to Madrid and Bonn last week.

Netanyahu was especially enthusiastic about the role Kohl is willing to play in advancing the peace process. The chancellor is prepared to tell Europe's leaders that a meeting with Arafat is essential, he said.

Kohl also was credited with being able to convince Russian President Boris Yeltsin that Moscow should not be supplying ballistic missile technology and expertise to Iran.

The prime minister contended that there is no substitute for "eye-level" discussions with European leaders, which will culminate in today's session in London with his British counterpart, Tony Blair.

He said these leaders are not necessarily receiving an accurate assessment of the situation from their respective ambassadors or the news media.

Netanyahu came under heavy criticism on the eve of his arrival in Norway.

"Israel has much stronger cards and could afford to be more generous," said Marianne Heiberg, a Middle East researcher and widow of foreign minister Johan Joergen Holst, one of the Oslo Accords' architects.

"It's very hard to see what the Palestinians can now give - security cooperation is not as bad as is sometimes claimed," she told Reuters.

Deputy Foreign Minister Jan Egeland was quoted as saying, "the stronger party usually has the biggest responsibility for getting the peace process back on track. It's very clear who the stronger one is."

Netanyahu is likely to get a chilly reception during his three-hour stopover in London today.

The visit comes just three days after Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, in the words of an official at the Foreign Office, "re-launched the relationship between Britain and the Arab world, "and stated he does not believe that Israel and the Palestinians could work things out alone.

In a speech at a reception to mark the 50th anniversary of the Anglo-Arab Association, Cook stressed the "strong partnership based on long understanding" between Britain and the Arab world.

Emphasizing that "a key international priority for the British presidency of the European Union" is the peace process, Cook also hinted that the EU was poised to take a more active and interventionist approach.

The peace process would not work, he said, "if either side tries to unpick the bits of the agreement they do not like. Nor will it work if the parties are left to work out arrangements on their own.

"Europe has an important part in the peace process," said Cook.

"The European Union provides more than twice as much assistance to the Palestinians as the United States. As the nearest neighbor to the Middle East, Europe has a major stake in peace."

This week, he said, he would meet European counterparts to discuss how they could inject new impetus in the peace process and would then travel to the region "to take to its leaders our ideas for breaking the stalemate."

#1-A Key Statement: "...."Others can help, facilitate or encourage but ultimately it is up to the both of us to move it (the peace process)...and the sooner we do that the better."...."

Netanyahu sees no need to abandon Oslo accords

CNN 8 March 1998 Web posted at: 06:15 GST, Dubai time (02:15 GMT)

OSLO (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday he did not want to abandon the so-called Oslo accords on peace with the Palestinians, but there was an urgent need to get them back on track.

"What we need to do is implement Oslo (accords)," Netanyahu told reporters at a news conference. "I think the right thing to do is to sit down and discuss the ways to unblock (the deadlock) and implement the interim agreement, so that we can then move to the final settlement agreement."

The Oslo accords were signed after secret talks hosted in Norway in 1993.

Netanyahu, on his first visit to Norway since becoming prime minister in 1996, arrived in Oslo on Friday saying he had some ideas about how to get the stalled Middle East peace process back on track.

These included the opening of the Palestinian airport in Gaza and an industrial park, agreeing an interim settlement, negotiations for a final settlement and re-initiating multilateral talks.

Earlier on Saturday Palestinian President Yasser Arafat said in Gaza that the peace process had not only stalled, but was now moving in reverse.

Netanyahu said such talk served only to cast gloom in the region.

"If my government wanted to stop Oslo (peace process) we've had dozens of opportunities because there have been dozens of violations by the Palestinians," he said, referring to Islamic suicide bombings in Israel.

"The fact that I am in Oslo is the best statement of our commitment to completing the peace process with the Palestinians."

He said he would like to meet President Arafat soon. "I think this (a meeting) is highly desirable and necessary for a simple fact: the issues are such that only Israel and the Palestinians directly can create any movement.

"Others can help, facilitate or encourage but ultimately it is up to the both of us to move it (the peace process)...and the sooner we do that the better."

Norwegian Foreign Minister Knut Vollebaek said he was encouraged by his talks with Netanyahu and hoped that Norway could again play a role in facilitating talks.

Neither Netanyahu nor Vollebaek would give any details of their talks.

Netanyahu reiterated that Israel wanted to withdrawal from South Lebanon, but only so long as the Beirut government prevented attacks by the Hizbollah guerrilla group.

"We believe the Lebanese army is fully capable of dismantling Hizbollah and preventing its re-emergence in the south of Lebanon because we've seen it dismantle all other militias in Lebanon without any difficulty," Netanyahu said.

The pro-Iranian Hizbollah is fighting to oust Israeli troops and their local SLA militia allies from a 15-km (nine-mile)-wide south Lebanon border zone. Israel has occupied parts of South Lebanon since 1978, saying it was necessary to protect its border area.

#2 Key Statement: "...."Jordan wants to discuss the American proposal with the Palestinians, to see where they stand on this matter," the official told the Jordan Times.

He added that Jordan will adapt its position according to the preferences of the Palestinians. "Whatever the Palestinians accept, we will accept," said the official...."

Jordan Times 3-8-98 News

Prince Hassan, Arafat to meet tomorrow

AMMAN — His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hassan is expected to meet with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in Ramallah on Monday, to discuss the latest American proposal for Israel's troop withdrawal from the West Bank, a senior official said.

"Jordan wants to discuss the American proposal with the Palestinians, to see where they stand on this matter," the official told the Jordan Times.

He added that Jordan will adapt its position according to the preferences of the Palestinians. "Whatever the Palestinians accept, we will accept," said the official.

The U.S. is currently calling for an Israeli troop withdrawal from 13 per cent of the West Bank — a proposal that has been flatly rejected by the Palestinians, while Israel is talking about less than 10 per cent.

Talks between Crown Prince Hassan and Mr. Arafat are also set to tackle Israel's delay in implementing the Hebron Accords of 1997, in particular those pertaining to the Gaza airport and safe-passage between the West Bank and Gaza, the official said.

#3 Key Statement: "...."We do not just want another photo-op [opportunity] with the Israelis," one official said. "We are looking for movement on several outstanding issues."..."

Jordan Times 3-8-98 News

Crown Prince, Netanyahu meeting Tuesday signals a warming in ties

By Alia A. Toukan

AMMAN — Pending the outcome of bilateral talks set for this week, Jordan is set to resume "normal" relations with Israel, after five months of strained ties following the Mossad's failed assassination attempt on a Hamas leader in Amman last autumn, Jordanian officials said.

His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hassan is scheduled to visit Tel Aviv on Tuesday, where he is set to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defence Yitzhak Mordechai. The visit signals a warming of relations between the two countries, after the Mossad's botched attack on Khalid Misha'al on September 25, officials said.

But the talks between the Crown Prince and the Israeli officials will have to produce tangible results for bilateral ties to be characterised as "normal" again, officials told the Jordan Times.

"We do not just want another photo-op [opportunity] with the Israelis," one official said. "We are looking for movement on several outstanding issues."

Jordan will be seeking two commitments from Israel this week: a "real plan" to resolve bilateral outstanding water and trade- related issues, and a renewed commitment to implementing the Palestinian- Israeli Hebron Accords of January 1997.

Also on the agenda, Israeli Minister of Infrastructure, Ariel Sharon, is expected in Amman today for talks with the Crown Prince, Prime Minister Abdul Salam Majali, and Minister of Water and Irrigation Munther Haddadin, on water issues and Jordan Rift Valley (JRV) projects.

Trade relations will also be tackled tomorrow in talks between Minister of Industry and Trade Hani Mulki and his Israeli counterpart, Natan Sharansky.

Both Mr. Sharon and Mr. Sharansky's visits were originally scheduled to be held two weeks ago, but were cancelled due to tension in the region caused by the Iraq-U.S. stand-off over weapons inspections, and pro-Iraqi riots in Ma'an.

Mr. Haddadin and Mr. Sharon's meeting set for today is a follow- up to discussions held between the two officials in Israel last month. Amman's talks are aimed at increasing Jordan's utilisation of its share of joint water resources, and for providing the Kingdom extra amounts of drinking and irrigation water, Mr. Haddadin recently said.

Monday's talks between Mr. Mulki and Mr. Sharansky will "concentrate on the expansion of the list of products exchanged between the two countries," said one senior official. Jordan will present Israel with an expanded trade list, drawn up by the Palestinians and Jordanians, the official said.

He added that the reconstruction of the King Hussein Bridge, one of two bridges controlled by the Jewish State connecting Jordan to the Palestinian territories, will also be discussed between the two officials.

Mr. Sharon will be the first Israeli minister to meet with Jordanian leaders following Israel's probe findings into the Mossad's botched attack on Mr. Misha'al.

Although Jordanian-Israeli ties have been marred since the standstill on the Palestinian-Israeli track, deadlocked since the Hebron Accords, relations reached their lowest point after the Mossad's attempt on Mr. Misha'al's life.

Official ties remained intact following the attack, but Jordan cut security cooperation to a minimum.

Israel's probe into the Misha'al fiasco, released last month, concluded that the Mossad has the right to attack the Jewish State's enemies wherever they are. It also failed to call for the resignation of Mr. Yatom — a move reportedly requested by King Hussein for the resumption of security cooperatioin.

The findings were blasted by Jordan. Two weeks ago, Mr. Yatom resigned after a series of blunders by his organisation.

The appointment of Ephraim Halevy as the new head of Mossad has been greeted positively by Jordanian officials.

"Jordan is satisfied with the appointment of new Mossad chief, Ephraim Halevy, who has excellent relations with Jordanian leaders and who [previously] played the role of mediator between King Hussein and Yitzhak Rabin," one official told AFP.

Jordan is now "ready to improve its relations with Israel," the official was quoted as saying.

But one official cautioned against reading into Mr. Halevy's appointment. "He was chosen for Israeli public consumption, to restore confidence in the Mossad, and not for Jordan's sake," he told the Jordan Times.

He added that Mr. Halevy will only serve for six months to a year, after which he will be replaced by his deputy Amiram Levine.

#4 Key Statement: "...."In the long run, the road to a secure and lasting peace in the Middle East will require greater economic cooperation," Barshefsky said at a signing ceremony in Washington. The ambassadors of Israel and Jordan witnessed the signing.

"The momentum for peace will strengthen when the people and the leadership in the Middle East realize that working with their neighbors will lead to their own prosperity," Barshefsky said. "The designation of Irbid will make a concrete contribution to this process." ..."

CNN

7 March 1998 Web posted at: 03:36 GST, Dubai time (23:36 GMT)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky on Friday granted an industrial park in Irbid, Jordan, duty-free access to U.S. markets as part of a program to encourage economic cooperation between Jordan and Israel.

The Irbid park became the first so-called "qualifying industrial zone" under a U.S. program passed by Congress in 1996 which authorized President Bill Clinton to eliminate import tariffs on goods produced in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and qualifying industrial zones in Israel, Jordan and Egypt.

"In the long run, the road to a secure and lasting peace in the Middle East will require greater economic cooperation," Barshefsky said at a signing ceremony in Washington. The ambassadors of Israel and Jordan witnessed the signing.

"The momentum for peace will strengthen when the people and the leadership in the Middle East realize that working with their neighbors will lead to their own prosperity," Barshefsky said. "The designation of Irbid will make a concrete contribution to this process."

The U.S. trade office said that as a result of the designation, six new Israeli-Jordanian joint ventures were expected to join eight firms already producing in the zone.

#5 Key Statement: "....Referring to Jordanian-Iraqi relations, the prime minister said: "...although we neither support nor condemn the Iraqi leadership, we believe that only the Iraqi people have the right to have a say in its leadership, while we try to alleviate their suffering."...."

Jordan Times 3-8-98 News

King will present views on direct Iraq-U.S. dialogue to Clinton — Majali

MUSCAT (Petra) — Prime Minister Abdul Salam Majali told a press conference in Muscat that His Majesty King Hussein will present his views on a direct Iraqi-U.S. dialogue to the U.S. administration.

Speaking before his return to Amman with the King after visits to the United Arab Emirates and Oman, Dr. Majali said the King will discuss his views with U.S. President Bill Clinton in Washington during a meeting scheduled for March 19.

He said King Hussein did not propose a meeting between the two presidents but rather an idea designed to reduce tension.

"Through direct contacts and dialogue, the two sides can better understand each other. This method could be very fruitful, especially since many Iraqis have expressed a desire to have such contacts," the prime minister pointed out.

Dr. Majali said in the event of a military strike, Jordan would be the prime victim after Iraq.

"Every time a crisis in the region emerges, we in Jordan are adversely affected. Although Jordan is not a party to the crisis, we regrettably pay a high price," he stated.

Referring to Jordanian-Iraqi relations, the prime minister said: "We do not have any problem with Iraq, and although we neither support nor condemn the Iraqi leadership, we believe that only the Iraqi people have the right to have a say in its leadership, while we try to alleviate their suffering."

Asked whether Jordan was trying to find a source for oil other than Iraq, Dr. Majali replied: "Jordan is always searching for new and alternative sources for its energy needs."

On relations with Syria, the prime minister said "we respect Syria's own policies as we respected their decision not to attend the multilateral phase of the Middle East peace process."

Referring to the peace treaty with Israel, the prime minister said: "We find something beneficial for us and for Syria in this treaty, because the Kingdom is now in a better position to ensure peace on all Arab-Israeli tracks."

The prime minister said the King's talks with Sultan Qaboos of Oman were constructive and were designed to serve the Arab Nation. He expressed hope that Oman and Jordan would further strengthen their bilateral economic and trade ties.

Expressing satisfaction with the achievements of the peace process so far, the prime minister said that had it not for the peace process, the Palestine Liberation Organisation would not have established its foot on Palestinian soil.

"Since the start of the peace process, more than 160,000 Palestinians have returned to the self-rule areas. The Palestinian [National] Authority is responsible now for 95 per cent of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and for the first time, Israel has recognized the Palestinian people on Palestinian soil."

But Dr. Majali criticised the present Israeli government's policies with regard to the peace process, noting that the it is currently facing many problems.

He pointed out that European nations have realized the seriousness of the situation and are planning to put forth a new initiative to give it momentum.

CHN Commentary March 7, 1998

Watching the Middle East Stage and it's Players.........

His Majesty King Hussein has just completed his visit to Oman in his continued effort of unifying the Arab nations......

He continues to call for direct dialog between the US and Iraq...and as usual, on the surface, his intentions seem honorable... However, as you'll read in an ensuing article, he is taking this stand because the US hasn't performed to it's threats to remove Saddam...as far back as August ' 95....and it continues to put Jordan in the middle of "no man's land" in the conflict, and have enormous economic consequences on him, and more...!!

The US is not listening to his pleas...but it will be discussed when he visits Clinton in late March..

Bibi is in the midst of his European swing where he is emphasizing the EU importance in the peace process......and made an interesting comment at a news conference while in Spain...regarding the peace process he said ..."it could move forward very quickly"....

On the Lebanon track, Israeli Defense Minister Mordechai is in France discussing troop withdrawal.

But the most important development on the European scene is the serious effort the European Union has undertaken to advance the peace process now that Britain is holding the rotating presidency....

Both Foreign Minister Cook and PM Blair are pushing hard for solution, and both are scheduled for trips to the region this month....!!!

Two weeks ago the Gulf crisis seemed to have stalled the peace process into the far distant future....but it is actually further advanced now then when the crisis in the Gulf began....and seemingly racing to conclusion...

Again, all we can do is "watch"...knowing what to "watch and who to watch for"...

We have to watch for the "peace and the peacemaker"....because that's what places us in the biblical time that scripture says that the Church's presence is restraining both from being revealed...and that the Church must be removed .....RAPTURE..!!

Key Statement; "...."We respectfully considered the King's views, but I am not aware of any plans to change the status of our diplomatic relations or, that is, the lack of diplomatic relations, with Iraq," White House spokesman Michael McCurry said...."

Jordan Times 3-7-98 News

King, Qaboos discuss unifying Arab position on peace process

MUSCAT (Petra) — His Majesty King Hussein held talks with Sultan Qaboos Ben Sa'id of Oman on bilateral ties and ways to bolster inter-Arab solidarity and unify Arab countries' positions on the peace process.

The two leaders demanded the implementation of the Palestinian-Israeli accords and pledged continued support for the Palestinian people to regain their full rights and establish their independent state on their national soil.

The two leaders reviewed the recent U.N.-Iraqi accord, expressed their satisfaction with the agreement and stressed the need for its implementation so as to open the way for direct dialogue that would pave the ground for lifting sanctions imposed on Iraq.

However, AFP reported that the U.S. said Thursday it had considered the King's appeal for direct dialogue with Iraq, but there are no plans to change their current diplomatic standing with Iraq at this time.

"We respectfully considered the King's views, but I am not aware of any plans to change the status of our diplomatic relations or, that is, the lack of diplomatic relations, with Iraq," White House spokesman Michael McCurry said.

King Hussein plans to discuss his proposal with U.S. President Bill Clinton in a meeting expected to take place late March.

The meeting on Thursday was attended by the Jordanian delegation accompanying the King. They include HRH Prince Abdullah, Prime Minister Abdul Salam Majali, Royal Court Chief Fayez Tarawneh, HRH Prince Talal Ben Mohammad, head of the National Security Council, HRH Prince Ghazi Ben Mohammad, the King's cultural secretary, King Hussein's adviser Salah Abu Zeid and Jordan's ambassador to Oman, Nabil Barto.

The King went to Oman from the United Arab Emirates where he held talks with its president, Sheikh Zayed Ben Sultan Al Nahayan.

Key Statement: "....Mr. Netanyahu did not explicitly rule out a new international peace conference like the one held in Madrid in 1991. "In Madrid, in Gaza or elsewhere, what counts is to revive the peace process," he said.

"It could go forward very quickly."..."

Jordan Times 3-7-98 News

Kohl asks Israel for 'concrete progress' in Mideast peace

Combined agency dispatches

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu began a two-day visit to Norway on Friday for talks on the stalled Middle East peace process with top Norwegian officials.

Mr. Netanyahu, arriving from a brief visit to Germany where he held talks with Chancellor Helmut Kohl, was met at Oslo's Fornebu airport by his host, Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik.

"The purpose of my visit to Norway is two-fold. One is to get better acquainted with Premier Bondevik, the other is to seek new ideas for the Middle East peace process," Mr. Netanyahu said on arrival.

Asked if he had any new proposals with him, he replied: "I have some ideas. I think we still can do a lot."

However, the contentious issue of Jerusalem is not up for discussion, he said. "Jerusalem has been a Jewish city for 3,000 years, in other words it will not be part of any negotiations."

Mr. Kohl asked for "concrete progress" in the Middle East regarding Jewish settlements and military withdrawal from the West Bank in talks in Bonn Friday with Mr. Netanyahu.

While expressing understanding for Israel's desire for "peace with security," Mr. Kohl impressed upon Mr. Netanyahu his "growing concern at the freezing of the Middle East peace process," according to a statement by government spokesman Peter Hausmann.

The chancellor called on both the Israeli government and the Palestinian leadership to "remain faithful to the peace process begun in Oslo and to exploit every opportunity for dialogue and progress."

The Israeli premier, currently on a European tour, left Germany for Norway after a two-hour meeting with the chancellor.

Mr. Netanyahu, who arrived from Madrid and will be going on to London after Oslo, has called on the European Union to help restart the peace process and has not ruled out a new international peace conference.

But he has repeatedly rejected any Jewish settlement freeze in the occupied territories and insists Israel will carry out only a limited further troop withdrawal from the West Bank and then only after the Palestinians meet a long series of conditions.

During his first day of talks in Madrid on Thursday, Mr. Netanyahu asserted that he remained committed to the Palestinian peace process, but indicated no flexibility on the central issues of land and settlements.

"If it were not the case, I would not be here," he said.

In contrast with an interview he gave to El Pais newspaper in which he was quoted as saying Europeans were ignorant about the Middle East but the United States understands the situation well, Mr. Netanyahu said Thursday that Europe, with its long experience in the Middle East, can help revive the Middle East peace process.

"Europe has good relationships with both the Arabs and the Israelis [and it] has a long experience in the Middle East," Mr. Netanyahu told a press conference with Spanish Premier Jose Maria Aznar.

"Europe can do three things: Assist the Palestinians economically," boost the multilateral negotiating track and engage in the permanent status negotiations, he said.

Mr. Netanyahu did not explicitly rule out a new international peace conference like the one held in Madrid in 1991. "In Madrid, in Gaza or elsewhere, what counts is to revive the peace process," he said. "It could go forward very quickly."

Key Statement: "....Britain, current holder of the rotating European Union presidency, believed firmly that the process set out in the Oslo agreements held the best prospects for a solution, Mr. Cook said,..."

Mr. Cook, who leaves next week for a Middle East tour, said there were key ways in which Europe can help get the peace process back on track.

Mr. Blair would also be visiting the Middle East soon, he added.

Jordan Times 3-7-98 News

Cook pledges to help restart Mideast peace

LONDON (AFP) — British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook announced in a speech late Thursday an intensive European effort to stimulate progress in the stalled Middle East peace process.

Britain, current holder of the rotating European Union presidency, believed firmly that the process set out in the Oslo agreements held the best prospects for a solution, Mr. Cook said, but he warned that "it will not work if either side tries to unpick the bits of the agreement they do not like."

Mr. Cook, who leaves next week for a Middle East tour, said there were key ways in which Europe can help get the peace process back on track.

"First, we can set out the immediate political decisions that are needed to unblock the peace process.

Second, we can continue vital practical work to give the process momentum. And third, we can give the process a helpful nudge in the right direction by increased diplomatic commitment." Mr. Cook spelled out the steps London believed must be taken "to get the process back on track and restore trust between the parties."

"The Israelis must make substantial, credible and urgent further redeployments" of troops in the West Bank, coupled with a commitment by the Palestinians to a 100 per cent effort on security, he said. In addition, he called for a halt to all expansion of Jewish settlements, the opening of the Gaza airport, Gaza industrial estate and southern free passage, and an agreement to begin work on the seaport.

Talks on the final status of the Palestinian territories should begin as soon as there is progress in these areas, Mr. Cook said.

Noting that the EU was the main supplier of financial aid to the region, with loans and grants totalling $1.848 billion since 1993, he added: "We want to play a fuller role in the talks on these vital economic issues"

Mr. Cook said British Prime Minister Tony Blair had launched the European effort by writing to Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Mr. Blair would also be visiting the Middle East soon, he added.

Mr. Netanyahu said in Spain earlier Thursday that Europe, with its long experience in the Middle East, can help revive the peace process.

"Europe can do three things: assist the Palestinians economically," boost the multilateral negotiating track and engage in the permanent status negotiations, he said.

Jordan Times 3-7-98

Israelis want greater diplomatic effort on Lebanon pullout — poll

TEL AVIV (AFP) — Most Israelis want the government to step up diplomatic efforts to obtain the withdrawal of Israeli troops from south Lebanon, but a large majority oppose a unilateral pullout, according to opinion polls published on Friday.

Mr. Netanyahu and his defence minister, Yitzhak Mordechai, were discussing the new ideas on Lebanon during separate visits to Europe which began Thursday.

Mr. Mordechai was discussing the proposal with officials in France, seen as the key address for any dealings with Beirut due to its close traditional ties to Lebanon.

Key Statement: "....Jordan's position could not have been made clearer when, upon the defection of Hussein Kamel to Amman in August 1995, the King and Crown Prince exerted an effort by calling on Washington to make it known how it intended to deal with Iraq:

If the idea is to remove Saddam Hussein, then why not go about it through open means and get it over with the same manner and fashion Washington dealt with Panama.

If the U.S. is not inclined to do that, then it should accept reality and deal with the present regime in Baghdad, as well as move, through diplomatic means, towards a dialogue similar to that which U.S. Lt. Col. Oliver North used to conduct with Ayatollah Khomeini's men, or a continuation of the same dialogue that Washington had had with Baghdad in the late 80s during the final stages of the Iran-Iraq war...."

Jordan Times 3-7-98 Opinion

U.S. facing dilemma on direct dealing with Iraq

By Dr. Musa Keilani

BRUCE RIEDEL, the U.S. national security advisor, revealed more about U.S. policy objectives than official spokesmen usually care to, or care to admit.

Last Wednesday, the United States Information Service, in a professional, clever initiative, was kind enough to host Riedel in Amman for a television interview during which he clearly defined the strategic interests of his country.

Though the State Department has not yet announced its stand officially, no doubt, His Majesty King Hussein's effort to initiate a dialogue between the U.S. and Iraq is the centrepiece of the Monarch's upcoming talks with U.S. President Bill Clinton. But there is skepticism of Washington's mood to accept the initiative in the spirit and meaning it is intended.

The King and HRH Crown Prince Hassan have been calling for such a dialogue since the very beginning of the Gulf crisis, and Washington strategists, including former President George Bush, were not exactly enthusiastic about the idea if only because discussing the real issues with the Iraqi leadership did not suit American policies and its approach to the Middle East at that time. Destruction of Iraq as a military power in the region was one of the objectives of Washington's policy, or rather, as Riedel put it, "Iraq is a repeat offender that has to be disarmed."

Having largely achieved that purpose, the question that now faces the U.S. is whether the time is opportune for a dialogue with Baghdad.

>From what we have heard from our officials, Clinton did not reject the idea out of hand when the King proposed it at the height of the recent crisis over U.N. inspection of Iraq's weapons programme, but what has not been heard in response is much encouragement from the White House press spokesman on Thursday. One can only hope that his statements, which are neither "a red no or a green yes," are an indication that Washington is keeping an amber open mind to study and evaluate the pros and cons.

Still, what is required is a calculated guess at how American thinking would be in terms of fine-tuning Washington's determination to assume a key role in Iraqi politics. Whether the Arabs and Iraqis like it or not, we can discern a dedicated pattern of U.S. behaviour aimed at determining the future of Iraq. Recent calls from U.S. senators, as well as the national security advisor, that Washington set the ouster of Saddam Hussein as Iraqi president are clear signal of a part of Washington politicians' thinking.

Given those mounting calls, is it possible that Clinton, already facing serious problems with Congress over many issues, might be willing to entertain the idea of dealing with Saddam Hussein with a view to ending the crisis once and for all?

However, the reality remains that the U.S., despite its reported efforts and campaigns, has been unable to topple the regime in Baghdad, and it will remain that way for the foreseeable future unless nature plays its mysterious hand in the affair. That is, of course, assuming the present situation suits U.S. strategies and policies well enough and serves American political and economic interests.

Hypothesising there was no Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the United States could not have that "convenient" a stranglehold on all Arab oil fields in the Gulf, nor could U.S. troops stay in the region and scare Tehran into "moderate Khatami political stands." But can Washington afford to let the situation continue for many years and shoulder the consequences of a troubled Middle East region.

Jordan, being in the middle of the crisis from the day Iraq entered Kuwait in August 1990, has always called for dialogue to replace confrontation.

But no one was willing to listen including Saddam Hussein himself, who, in fact, did not have the courtesy to return the King's telephone calls, and it was the people of Jordan who paid a dear price for their principled stands and positions which were very conveniently misinterpreted as representing an endorsement of Iraq's actions.

Jordan's position could not have been made clearer when, upon the defection of Hussein Kamel to Amman in August 1995, the King and Crown Prince exerted an effort by calling on Washington to make it known how it intended to deal with Iraq:

If the idea is to remove Saddam Hussein, then why not go about it through open means and get it over with the same manner and fashion Washington dealt with Panama. If the U.S. is not inclined to do that, then it should accept reality and deal with the present regime in Baghdad, as well as move, through diplomatic means, towards a dialogue similar to that which U.S. Lt. Col. Oliver North used to conduct with Ayatollah Khomeini's men, or a continuation of the same dialogue that Washington had had with Baghdad in the late 80s during the final stages of the Iran-Iraq war.

Obviously, Jordanian calls are not intended as an open challenge to U.S. policies in the Middle East. Therefore, we are surprised to see some circles resorting to hiding behind ambiguous interpretations of U.N. Security Council resolutions which, judging from what we have seen so far, are designed to prolong the crisis rather than restore normalcy to the region.

That Washington has recognized that the best means to resolve the problem is dialogue with the Baghdad regime on the basis of international legitimacy and all related norms and practices that guide relations between the two countries, and Arab public opinion sees military action is not the answer and would lead to increased rejection of Washington's double standard policies, Washington and the world community will benefit from a stable region.

So far, recent developments contributed to rehabilitating, Baghdad in Egyptian, Syrian and three Gulf capitals. Moreover, Saddam Hussein was glorified in Arab streets. Nothing could have brought forth the new Saddam Hussein, the way he has always been hoping for, like the British- American threats and bombers.

Dealing with Israel, which refuses Security Council Resolution 425 on Lebanon, and Iraq, which announced total compliance with resolution 1154 should have moved a reluctant Clinton administration to see dialogue as the means to resolve the crisis. What happens next?

Will the White House move to ease congressional opposition to dealing with the Saddam Hussein regime? Can it accept telling the American public that after all it might be a good idea to launch a dialogue with a regime and people which have been cleverly dehumanised and demonised by the U.S. media to the extent that a majority of Americans, at the moment, would not even mind if the U.S. decided to nuke Iraq?

But what is more surprising is that U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright came out to announce on Thursday that Washington has no diplomatic plan to solve the logjam in the area, creating the impression that Arabs understand only the political language of Stealth bombers and Cruise missiles.

CHN Commentary 3-5-98

In today's news from the Middle East we find:

Bibi is on his way to Europe to meet with five heads of state to continue to lobby his points of a negotiated peace settlement. And now he has opened up his latest issue of addressing the Lebanon withdrawal so he'll have new ground to cover on this trip.

Syria has responded to the withdrawal, as expected, in a negative manner, accusing Israel of using this initiative as a 'malicious' ploy.. and on the surface Lebanon is agreeing with Syria...naturally..! Syrian Foriegn Minister Shara said a withdrawal from Lebanon must be part of a comprehensive peace, including Syria, without which there will be "no stability" in the region. When he says no stability he confirms Syria's role as a "trouble maker"...and "trouble makers" gotta' go..........

Meanwhile, King Hussein has concluded his visit to UAE and now is on his way to Oman.. In the UAE, he emphasized how urgent it is for Saddam to allow full cooperation with the UN inspectors so that sanctions can be lifted and the "suffering of the Iraqi people can cease"...... He is making the issue of the "suffering" the cry from a unified Arab brotherhood to their renegade brother Saddam...Ultimately it will be this issue that will unite the Arabs against Saddam and lead to his down fall...

But, the King's mission at this time is one of "unification" of the Arab world...and he is shouting it loudly on this trip....The Bible calls it the unification of a loose confederacy of 10 nations of the old Roman Empire which is where these Arab nations are....the "eastern" branch of the old Roman Empire....

At this time CHN would like to remind our readers that the foremost reason that we continue to follow King Hussein's every move is because of our contention that the prophecy of Daniel is unsealed and playing out on the stage of history in the headlines right now, and because it is true then there has to be someone filling the role of the "peacemaker"....without doubt it is King Hussein....

......but trying to make anyone believers of that is not our mission...our mission is to show that because Daniel is on the scene.....that means that the Rapture is getting closer all the time. And you know our position on the timing of the Rapture, that the window of opportunity comes every year at the "Feast of Ascension" time......the time when Jesus ascended....!!! 40 days after Firstfruits..!!

......and as this rush to peace is forcing the peacemaker to surface...and the Church being the restraining force holding it back.....we can see a very definite possibility of this next window being ''the" window for the Rapture to happen....

.....but we will have the 40 day warning of the "dead in Christ" rising on Firstfruits and being seen by many...........

........and "Firstfruits" is drawing near........so we'll keep watching... Remember what Jesus said in Luke 12:37........

............here are the back up articles....

#1 Key Statement: "I am going in my alternate capacity as foreign minister," Netanyahu said. "It is important that the European leaders understand our position and perhaps as a result they may agree with it."

JERUSALEM POST Thursday, March 5, 1998 7 Adar 5758

Netanyahu embarks on European tour

By JAY BUSHINSKY

JERUSALEM (March 5) - Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's four-day trip to four Western European capitals, which is due to begin today, is primarily an exercise in political persuasion. He hopes to explain Israel's current effort to resuscitate the Middle East peace process and implement UN Security Council Resolution 425 so that IDF forces can evacuate Lebanon.

"I am going in my alternate capacity as foreign minister," Netanyahu said. "It is important that the European leaders understand our position and perhaps as a result they may agree with it."

The prime minister will fly first to Madrid and then to Bonn, Oslo and London. Although US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will be in the United Kingdom when Netanyahu gets there, "nothing has been said and nothing arranged" insofar as a rendezvous is concerned, he said.

Foreign Ministry Director-General Eitan Bentsur, who will be accompanying Netanyahu, said the trip's objective is to enlist European support in reactivating the multilateral committees spawned by the Oslo Accords.

The prime minister said that despite the great importance of Israel's relationship with the US, "Europe must not be abandoned."

He is scheduled to be back in Israel on Sunday.

#2 Key Statement: "....Shara said a withdrawal from Lebanon must be part of comprehensive peace, including with Syria and the Palestinians, without which there will be no stability in the region...."

JERUSALEM POST Thursday, March 5, 1998 7 Adar 5758

Syria: Pullout offer 'malicious' ploy

By JAY BUSHINSKY and news agencies

JERUSALEM (March 5) - Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Shara yesterday rejected Israel's proposals to withdraw from South Lebanon as a "malicious maneuver."

He said in Beirut that the offer is aimed at ending "the Lebanese resistance in South Lebanon without actually achieving a withdrawal."

Lebanon has already rejected the offer, saying it will not negotiate over a 1978 UN resolution, which calls for an unconditional Israeli withdrawal.

Shara said the Israeli campaign is also meant "to absorb anger on the Arab street" in light of the recent crisis between Iraq and the UN over weapons inspectors.

Arab nations have complained that while the UN, led by the US forces Iraq to implement Security Council resolutions, it turns a blind eye to Israel's violations of the 1978 resolution.

"[Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu wanted to get out of this predicament and so he invented this issue to tell the world that he wants peace... But he is dishonest," Shara told reporters at the Foreign Ministry after meeting with his Lebanese counterpart, Fares Bouez.

Shara said a withdrawal from Lebanon must be part of comprehensive peace, including with Syria and the Palestinians, without which there will be no stability in the region.

Meanwhile, Industry and Trade Minister Natan Sharansky said the Lebanon issue came up during his meeting in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov.

Sharansky quoted Primakov as having said the situation in southern Lebanon is linked to Israel's dispute with Syria.

If the IDF evacuates the Golan Heights it will be possible to seek a solution to the Lebanon problem, he said, suggesting that "first, Israel must pull its forces out of the Golan Heights.

#3 Key Statement: "....He said that he was keen on ending the suffering of the Iraqi people...."

"....He also underlined the need for inter-Arab consultations and coordination in order to unify the Arab nations' ...."

Jordan Times 3-5-98 News

King urges Arabs to address the world with a unified tone

ABU DHABI (Agencies) — His Majesty King Hussein has expressed satisfaction with the U.N.-Iraq accord on arms inspection but urged Iraq to abide by U.N. resolutions to help ease the suffering of the Iraqi people and open the way for a direct dialogue with the U.S.

Addressing a meeting with Arab countries' ambassadors to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Abu Dhabi, King Hussein expressed hope that "the world will deal with our Arab issues by the same criteria as it deals with problems elsewhere in the world."

"Arab states should adopt a unified tone to clarify to the whole world that global interests necessitate the adoption of standards in all cases," the King told the Arab envoys.

"The crises that the Arab Nation is passing through raises questions about the joint Arab position which could safeguard our rights and defend our causes," the King added.

Diplomats who attended the meeting at the presidential palace in Abu Dhabi said the King was referring to the tough U.S. stand against Iraq to force it to implement U.N. resolutions on arms inspections.

The U.S. came under fire in the Arab World for threatening to launch military strikes against Iraq last month, before Baghdad signed a deal with the U.N. on Feb. 23 defusing the crisis on inspections.

The Arab countries argue that Washington has not taken the same tough stand against its ally Israel, which they accuse of sabotaging the Middle East peace process sponsored by the U.S.

King Hussein discussed ending a Gulf war rift within the 22-member Arab League during talks here on Tuesday with the UAE president, Sheikh Zayed Ben Sultan Al Nahayan.

The King who was to fly to Oman later Wednesday said the standoff between Iraq and U.N. could have been averted if Baghdad had complied in full with U.N. Security Council resolutions.

His calls for direct dialogue between Washington and Baghdad were aiming at easing the suffering of the Iraqis by clearing the way for lifting the sanctions imposed on Iraq for its invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

"A dialogue is the best solution instead of following detective style arms inspections," the King said.

"If we want to finish with the issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a dialogue could lead to an understanding that is acceptable and binding to all," said the King.

King Hussein made it clear that he was not requested by anyone or any party to help achieve such a dialogue and that he was motivated only by the need to end the suffering of the Iraqis.

He said the Iraqis have the desire to launch direct dialogue with the U.S. and the world at large, not through a third party.

The King added: "It is not right for any party to impose who should be in power because it is the people's right to decide on this matter."

He said that he was keen on ending the suffering of the Iraqi people and safeguarding Iraqi sovereignty and its territorial integrity, otherwise the whole region and Iraq will face disintegration and a situation far worse than the situation that has prevailed until now.

Regarding relations with Turkey, he said the Arab countries have displayed satisfaction with Ankara's stand and it is in our interest to maintain good neighbourly relations with Turkey.

King Hussein denied reports alleging that he was carrying a four point agenda for discussion, adding that he was not acting on behalf of any other party.

Referring to the Iraqi-U.N. agreement, the King said it was a victory for all parties.

King Hussein expressed appreciation of Sheikh Zayed for his continued support to Jordan and the Arab world. He also underlined the need for inter-Arab consultations and coordination in order to unify the Arab nations' stand with regard to the Palestinian question and for the purpose of giving momentum to the peace process, as well as backing the Palestinian people in their struggle to regain their legitimate rights and establish their independent state on their national soil with its capital in Jerusalem.

In his talks with President Zayed, King Hussein discussed bilateral ties and pan-Arab relations. The King and the UAE president also discussed developments in the peace process and efforts to revive it. They expressed concern for the difficulties facing peace and affirmed the need for world powers, especially the U.S., to take up their responsibilities in compelling Israel to submit to U.N. resolutions. The King's meeting with the ambassadors was attended by His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah Ben Al Hussein, Prime Minister Abdul Salam Majali, Royal Court Chief Fayez Tarawneh, the King's adviser Salah Abu Zeid, and Jordan's ambassador to the UAE, Samir Hmoud.

Earlier Wednesday, Dr. Majali met representatives of the Jordanian community in the UAE and briefed them on the latest developments in the region, particularly the Iraq-U.N. crisis. He also talked about efforts exerted by the King and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hassan towards reaching a settlement to the crisis.

#4 Key Statement: "....King Hussein said his proposal was also aimed at easing the suffering of the Iraqi people by clearing the way for lifting crippling sanctions imposed on Baghdad since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait...."

Jordan Times 3-5-98 News

'U.S. not interested in direct dialogue with Iraq'

By Francesca Ciriaci

AMMAN — The U.S. has "no plans and no interest" in opening a direct dialogue with the Iraqi leadership, a senior American administration official said Wednesday.

"The problem is between the U.N. and Iraq, and not a bilateral dispute between the two countries," said Bruce Riedel, special assistant to U.S. President Bill Clinton and senior director for Near East and South Asia Affairs at the U.S. National Security Council.

"Iraq's obligations are to the [U.N.] Security Council and to the international community, it is not a matter between Iraq and the U.S.," Mr. Riedel reiterated.

The U.S. official was speaking at a Worldnet dialogue via satellite on "U.S. Policy and Regional Prospects After the Annan Agreement."

His Majesty King Hussein, who last week proposed that Iraq and the U.S. start dialogue, is currently in Oman after the United Arab Emirates (UAE), pushing for the Jordanian initiative in order to achieve long-term stability in the region after the recent U.N.-Iraq standoff over weapons inspections.

King Hussein said his proposal was also aimed at easing the suffering of the Iraqi people by clearing the way for lifting crippling sanctions imposed on Baghdad since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

"My call was prompted by the suffering of the Iraqi people... We should not give a chance to those who want to fish in dirty waters. I cannot speak on behalf of anybody," the King was quoted by international news agencies yesterday as saying, without elaborating.

The King earlier said that Jordan's "direct dialogue" initiative was based on the fact that "direct dialogue between the concerned parties is far better and more productive than dealing through inspectors, monitors or following police-like methods."

Jordanian officials had said the initiative was expected to be the focus of an upcoming meeting between the King and Mr. Clinton, scheduled in Washington for mid-March.

Yesterday's remarks by Mr. Riedel were the first U.S. official reaction to the proposal.

Stressing that Iraq has to live up to its obligations and destroy its weapons of mass destruction, Mr. Riedel stated: "this is not a question about whether the U.S. and Iraq are talking to each other. It is a question about whether Iraq lives up to its obligations."

"[U.S.] President [George] Bush took the right decision and began 'desert storm' in order to expel the Iraqi forces from Kuwait. [U.S.] President Clinton will not hesitate if he feels that the responsible thing to do is to take [military] action in order to force Iraq to comply with the Security Council resolutions or if he feels that is the only way that we can keep the threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programme under control."

He said the U.S. believed it already had a U.N. mandate to take military actions against Iraq under U.N. Resolution 687 (1991), which authorised military action in 1991 under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter.

The mandate, he said, did not require the U.S. to coordinate with the other four permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — Russia, France, China, and Great Britain — before launching an attack against Iraq.

Iraq averted a U.S.-led military strike by striking an arms inspection deal with the U.N ten days ago granting unlimited access to weapons sites.

It has maintained it would comply with the provisions of the deal in order to get sanctions lifted. Official sources said Jordan intended to present its direct dialogue proposal to the Arab League to muster official support among its 22 members.

Jordan believes that any thaw in American-Iraqi ties, marred since the 1990 Gulf crisis that was sparked by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, could encourage Gulf Arab states to mend fences with Baghdad after an eight-year rupture.

Jordan Times 3-3-98 News

King to visit UAE, Oman to push Jordan's 'direct dialogue' initiative

By Francesca Ciriaci

Key Statement: "....Jordanian officials said the initiative, proposed by the King to U.S. President Bill Clinton in a recent telephone conversation, has not been rejected out of hand by Washington though the idea needed further development...."

CHN Commentary: The "initiative" he brings to Clinton is for "direct dialogue" between Bill and Saddam......?? ....like the old saying goes....."if you believe that, then I've got a bridge I'd like to sell ya'..."

When he says..."I believe there is a need for dialogue to give each party a chance to offer its views and define its stand," and adds,.... "This will pave the way for removing disputes and reaching satisfactory results for all sides," ....that is "hog wash and pickle juice", in the words of a preacher I know.

Give us a break!!!!! We have been "watching" King Hussein and his conversation since 1981........!!!

Those are "NAIVE" statements he makes......and the King is "not" a naive man...

He has been on his throne for "45 years" !!!!!!!!

........and one doesn't stay in power that long anywhere, let alone in the mine field of the Middle East.........by being naive.....

He has survived countless assassination attempts, a Palestinian attempt to oust him in 1970-71, Arab-Israeli wars, political confrontations and coup plots---including poison in his nose drops.

King Hussein is a man of "destiny" and he knows it.......!!!

........he has known it since that day of July 20,1951.. On this day his first brush with death came when he was 16. He was standing next to his revered grandfather, King Abdullah, when the king was assassinated by a Palestinian gunman outside the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, after he had annexed the West Bank, part of historic Palestine.

After slaying the king, the assassin fired a shot at the boy, Hussein. The bullet ricocheted off a medal he wore over his heart..!!!

He was crowned King less then 2 years later....on his 18th birthday---May 2, 1953..!!! He is destined and he knows it...... Destined for his "ultimate crown".....in these "last days"..!!!...and we know it..!!

AMMAN — His Majesty King Hussein today starts a five-day visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman to explain his initiative to open a dialogue between arch-foes Washington and Iraq to achieve long-term stability in the region, officials said.

King Hussein, who will be accompanied by Prime Minister Abdul Salam Majali, newly-appointed Royal Court Chief Fayez Tarawneh, and other high-ranking officials, is scheduled to hold talks with UAE President Sheikh Zayed Ben Sultan Al Nahayan on bilateral ties and regional issues.

>From there, he is expected to leave for Muscat on Thursday for talks with Sultan Qaboos of Oman.

Jordanian officials said King Hussein was expected to promote his recent initiative to launch a dialogue between Iraq and the United States in the wake of Baghdad's recent standoff with the U.N. over weapons inspections.

"Direct dialogue between the concerned parties is far better and more productive than dealing through inspectors, monitors or following police-like methods," King Hussein said in an interview with Radio Monte Carlo on Sunday.

"I believe there is a need for dialogue to give each party a chance to offer its views and define its stand," he added. "This will pave the way for removing disputes and reaching satisfactory results for all sides," he said.

Jordanian officials said the initiative, proposed by the King to U.S. President Bill Clinton in a recent telephone conversation, has not been rejected out of hand by Washington though the idea needed further development.

His Majesty is expected to pursue the initiative with President Clinton during an upcoming meeting in Washington around March 15.

However, the King said he did not know when and how the proposed dialogue will happen.

Iraq, which averted a U.S.-led military strike by striking an arms inspection deal with the United Nations eight days ago granting unlimited access to weapons sites, has not commented on the King's plan.

Many officials in private say they are buoyed by a perceived new attitude in the Iraqi leadership suggesting Baghdad would comply with the provisions of the deal in order to get sanctions lifted.

Official sources said Jordan also intended to present its direct dialogue proposal to the Arab League to muster official support among its 22 members.

Jordan believes that any thaw in American-Iraqi ties, marred since the 1990 Gulf crisis that was sparked by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, could encourage Gulf Arab states to mend fences with Baghdad after an eight-year rupture.

News of the Jordanian initiative was broken in Amman on Friday by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Jawad Anani.

"The idea is still being developed and we believe that his majesty's initiative will eventually win the day because it is the only way to resolve the Iraqi problem once and for all," Dr. Anani said.

Jordan's ties with the UAE have improved in recent years after hitting record lows because of differences over the 1990-91 Gulf crisis.

Jordan refused to send troops to the U.S.-led Western military alliance that ended Iraq's seven-month occupation of Kuwait in February 1991, angering Gulf Arab and Western allies.

The King last visited Abu Dhabi in December 1997.

Jordan's relations with Oman have always been close.

Jordan Times 3-3-98 News

Only people of country can make changes in its leadership — King

Key Statement: "....His Majesty King Hussein said in a radio interview that only the people of a country can change its leadership, in a reference to calls demanding that the U.S. oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein...."

CHN Commentary: This is an interview with King Hussein conducted by Monte Carlo Radio on a talk program, with listeners calling in and asking him questions........

The listeners covered the board in their subject matter [as you'll read in the article], but the lead statement in the article reflects the degree of hostility people in that part of the world have for Saddam.........

.........calls came in "demanding" the US oust him....!!! and the Kings' answer is worthy of a person who speaks "pompous" words [Daniel 7:8]..!!

"....that only the people of a country can change its leadership, and I will fight to my last breath against the idea that any entity in the world can change or replace the government of another country,"

I have to feel that "by his last breath" he means, regarding this subject, not his last breath of life...because in another article we read that he is scheduled to be in Washington to see President Clinton around March 15.........to discuss this whole situation, and to offer his opinion..but it sure sounds good to his Arab brothers and most certainly sounds reassuring to Saddam... [yeah, right]

Remember, the Bible says that the "little horn" is "spin master"..[in today's language]...

AMMAN (Petra) — His Majesty King Hussein said in a radio interview that only the people of a country can change its leadership, in a reference to calls demanding that the U.S. oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

"In my view there is no alternative to dialogue among the concerned parties and I refuse and will fight to my last breath against the idea that any entity in the world can change or replace the government of another country," the King told Monte Carlo Radio.

"Only the people of the country can make changes in its leadership and therefore I believe dialogue is needed to offer the chance to the concerned parties to express their views openly and reach satisfactory results," he added.

Asked about how Jordan can remove misunderstanding that mars relations between Jordan on the one hand and Iraq and Syria on the other, King Hussein said: "There is no reasons for such clouds which cannot remain and will vanish soon."

Asked if he wishes to send a message to President Saddam Hussein, the King said: "There is no specific message except to say that we, as responsible leaders, should work for the benefit of the coming generations and implore God to help us succeed in this mission."

In reply to a question on ways to revive the peace process, particularly on the Palestinian-Israeli track, the King said: "We should return to the principles on which the whole concept of the peace process was founded. We must go back to Resolutions 242 and 338 and the exchange of land for peace. We have to see the agreements implemented so that people can feel the results."

Referring to the Arab stand vis-a-vis perceived U.S. double standards in its Mideast policies, the King said: "We in the Arab world feel that the two issues in the region are being dealt with two different criteria, and this is unacceptable and unjustified." He said that he has already discussed this issue several times with the Americans and other international parties.

Calling on the Arab countries to provide sufficient support and backing for the Palestinians, King Hussein said that this is needed to help the establishment of a just, honourable and comprehensive peace and the creation of an independent Palestinian state on Palestinian soil with its capital in Jerusalem as well as the restoration of the occupied Golan Heights and the Lebanese territories.

Referring to Jordan's reaction to the recent developments in the region, King Hussein said: "Jordan is always affected by these developments and has been paying heavy prices every time. Jordan shoulders heavy burdens," but he added that Jordan hopes to set a good example in democracy for the other countries because lack of democracy and freedom lies behind the general weakness and the pain as well as the suffering of people in this region.

As to ways to improve Arab-Turkish relations, he said: "Turkey is our neighbour with whom we have established strong relations. Furthermore, Turkey has supported the Arab view that Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected. Our relations with Turkey and other countries in the region should be strengthened because we have common interests and we have to establish relations based on mutual respect, clarity and frankness."

On Jordan's relations with the Gulf states, King Hussein said: "Jordan maintains very strong relations with all of them expressing hope that these relations will be further bolstered in the future."

JERUSALEM POST Monday, March 2, 1998 4 Adar 5758

PM offers Lebanon pullout for security

By JAY BUSHINSKY

Key Statement: "....The apparent policy shift could be detected by the omission of Syria from Netanyahu's frame of reference. He did not make the pullback contingent on Damascus' consent or define it as a byproduct of a projected peace treaty with Syria...."

CHN Commentary: "........by the omission of Syria...", this speaks volumes as to what makes the "peace" work, instead of the always present reason why the "peace" can't happen.....

Things are happening at a torrid pace....concessions are being made, and the "I'll do this, if you'll do that" compromises of past potential agreements are lining up and falling into place...

As Christians, we are interested in only "one thing" in the "timing" of it all.......and that is, our reward of Rapture......they can't reveal their "peacemaker" until the Church is Raptured..!!!

The article informs us that Cabinet secretary Dan Naveh and Netanyahu's foreign policy adviser, Uzi Arad, are in Paris because of diplomatic signals that Syria is interested in renewing negotiations. She has to get in or get out....and Assad is trouble maker....but his brother [who is next in line] may have been influenced, while in exile, to be president of a friendly regime...if his brother were eliminated....

And the article tells us that Netanyahu and Mordechai are expected to press the government's case on Lebanon in separate trips to Europe this week. Netanyahu will be visiting Norway, which has peace keepers in south Lebanon. Mordechai has plans to travel to France, which has long-standing interests in Lebanon and is a member of the Grapes of Wrath monitoring committee. Lots of Action....!!!!

JERUSALEM (March 2) -- Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu offered to withdraw from Lebanon yesterday if the Lebanese government provides the requisite security backup. He based the proposal on UN Security Council Resolution 425.

The apparent policy shift could be detected by the omission of Syria from Netanyahu's frame of reference. He did not make the pullback contingent on Damascus' consent or define it as a byproduct of a projected peace treaty with Syria.

"If the government of Lebanon cooperates with us in the establishment of appropriate security arrangements in southern Lebanon, we will be delighted to depart from Lebanon in the framework of implementation of Resolution 425," Netanyahu told the cabinet.

Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai elaborated on Netanyahu's formulation by saying: "The IDF will continue to operate in southern Lebanon and to defend the northern border settlements. At the same time, the government accepts UN Resolution 425 according to its interpretation, namely that the government of Lebanon will act to assure its control in Lebanon and prevent hostile activities against Israel from being perpetrated from Lebanon."

But the Syrian aspect was not totally eliminated from the picture.

Cabinet secretary Dan Naveh and Netanyahu's foreign policy adviser, Uzi Arad, reportedly were in Paris because of diplomatic signals that Syria is interested in renewing negotiations.

A French Foreign Ministry spokesman said he knew nothing of the visit, but French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine said France is willing to do what it can to help any dialogue.

"We could offer a service to Israel, Lebanon, and Syria, because the three questions are interlocked, and they know this," he said.

Netanyahu and Mordechai are expected to press the government's case on Lebanon in separate trips to Europe this week. Netanyahu will be visiting Norway, which has peacekeepers in south Lebanon. Mordechai has plans to travel to France, which has longstanding interests in Lebanon and is a member of the Grapes of Wrath monitoring committee.

Science Minister Michael Eitan welcomed Netanyahu's stand, describing it as a substantive change in Israel's position.

"We will defend the northern part of our country from the international border," Eitan said.

An official source said Netanyahu's statement "certainly is a change in position." He contended that until this change came about, the conventional wisdom was that "we are in a peace process and that the moment the Syrian channel reached the point that permitted it, Lebanon would be invoked."

The source said that throughout this stage of intermittent negotiations Israel "did not want to upset the Syrian apple cart. We did not talk about Resolution 425 because we relied on the peace process."

The sea change in policy, as enunciated by Netanyahu and supported by Mordechai, he went on, is that "now we are talking about 425, which Lebanon has always wanted us to implement."

Resolution 425 was adopted by the UN body in 1978 after Operation Litani - an incursion that brought the IDF to the southern banks of the Litani river. It called for the IDF's withdrawal and interposed the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) as the intended peacekeeping buffer.

The source summarized the current initiative as a three-phased progression: IDF withdrawal, restoration of Lebanese sovereignty over the evacuated area, and the establishment of peace and security along the international border. "One is dependent on the other," he said.

He differentiated between the new approach and the former one to the extent that now "we are not talking about peace or normalization, but only about security." This requires that Israel and Lebanon sit down and discuss the requisite arrangements, he went on. UNIFIL could serve as a facilitator, but not as the guarantor of tranquility along the border.

The source assumed that since the arrangements needed for peace and security directly relate to the local inhabitants, this would inevitably lead to mutually-acceptable assurances for the safety of the South Lebanon Army's officers and men.

MK Ephraim Sneh (Labor), a former IDF commander for the south Lebanon area had some criticism yesterday for the proposed withdrawal. He said that "accepting the UN resolution means abandoning the security of the northern communities."

Senior Syrian officials described Netanyahu's proposal as the "Lebanon First" idea in a new guise and another attempt by Israel to split the Lebanon and Syria tracks.

Both Lebanon and Syria made it clear that the only interpretation of 425 that they would accept would be a full and unconditional withdrawal without any security arrangements.

Vedrine supported their view. "Israel wants an undertaking on security, which until now Lebanon has refused to give because it is not compatible with the reconstitution of its sovereignty," he told Reuters yesterday.

"We can't tell Lebanon to accept something it does not want. But if it's a question of talking, listening, and passing on messages, we are of course willing."

Jordan Times 3-2-98 News

U.S. senators urge Clinton to oust Saddam

Key Statement: "...."I would first of all speak to the 22 million Iraqis who have been terrorized... by this dictator and say: 'we're going to liberate you.' The goal is democracy in Iraq and we believe that you can govern yourself," Sen. Kerrey added on "Meet the Press."...."

CHN Commentary: First of all, take special note that this article with it's "bold" headline "to oust Saddam" is from the Jordan Times.. There is much meaning in that alone...... Iraqi's get the Jordanian news.......

And then the magic word finally appears, "liberate"..."we're going to liberate you"...and so the campaign to influence Iraqi public opinion has begun...

CHN has always made it very clear that the eventual act of replacing Saddam will be viewed as "liberating " the Iraqi people...and it is now in the headlines.. With this kind of talk dominating our House and Senate how long do you think it will take to "bring it to pass"...remember...the guns are in the Gulf.

Also remain mindful of how "all" of the events relating to the "end time scenario" continue on a simultaneous track...

The move to further and conclude the peace with Israel and PNA has shifted into full swing...

Madeline sent a letter to Yasser yesterday promising him that he has not been forgotten and peace for him is near...

Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel was prepared to withdraw from south Lebanon, 20 years after it first invaded, as long as Beirut cooperates on its security demands....

Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai is scheduled to visit France and Holland later this week.....

Cabinet Secretary Danny Naveh and diplomatic advisor Uzi Arad left Israel on Sunday morning for a European capital, on a "secret" mission linked to the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process....

Mr. Netanyahu himself is to embark on a tour of Europe at the end of the week, taking in Britain, Germany, Norway and Spain....

There is no doubt that the USA has drawn the line in the sand and is demonstrating it's resolve to flex it's military muscle and finally get this Middle East stabilized....and get on with the "buying and the selling"...

All the past conversations and potential agreements of the peace partners i.e. "if you'll do this then I'll do that" are in high gear because the US has drawn that "line in the sand"....Bibi agreeing to pull out of Lebanon is total confirmation of that..!!! Major concessions are being made in a hurried fashion.....

We have posted the articles that verify that America is unchallengeable in the world militarily...therefore, what we [USA] say "goes"...and we say "finish it"... this is our window of opportunity and we're taking it........

All of the "scurrying around" that we will continue to report on will lead to one destination.....Camp David..!!

When the headlines finally report that the parties have agreed to go into Camp David, then you know the Peace is accomplished....they go in with prior agreement to come out with it accomplished..!!! That's the way Camp David works...it's the final conversation.... remember Saddat and Begin...!!

So, with the understanding of all things happening in a simultaneous manner, let's turn our attention to the "Spiritual" scene and see what is happening there.........

We know that the peace maker can't be revealed until the Church is Raptured..[2Thess.2:7]...so what is occurring for the Church in preparation for it's reward of Rapture...?

......something very interesting and "very connected" started March 1.....

Pat Roberston and Bill Bright have called on 2,000,000 Christians to fast and pray for 40 days for revival in America, and for a "spiritual awakening" to take place .......[ we are two days into this fast as of this writing..]

..........their fasting will end during Easter week....

The "very connected" part of this 40 day fast in it's call to "spiritual awakening" has a dual purpose ....if this is the year for the Rapture...

1)...this 40 day fast precedes and ends just prior to the time for those who have "fallen asleep" in Christ, "to awaken"......acting as their spiritual "wake up" call ..[so that they may be "seen by many" in fulfillment of Matt.27:52,53]...

2)...it would also act as preparation for those who are "alive and remain" to "understand and believe" the news of the "sightings" as evidence of their redemption drawing neigh...............Rapture..!!

.....because the devil will continue to try and hide it's meaning to those for whom it's intended...as he has done with the truth of Ascension/Rapture...

So, what do we have to do next........?? The same as we have been doing.........WATCH...!!!!!!!

Luke 12:37 "Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that He shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them."

This is the marriage feast in heaven for the Church..!!! How did we get there..??? RAPTURE.......

Come Lord Jesus.........

WASHINGTON (R) — Key U.S. senators called on U.S. President Bill Clinton on Sunday to reverse course and make ousting President Saddam Hussein a stated U.S. goal in Iraq.

"I would say it's our goal to remove him from power because... as long as he's there, we're faced with this enormous challenge," John McCain, an Arizona Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said on the NBC Television programme "Meet the Press."

Bob Kerrey, a Nebraska Democrat who is vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said the Clinton administration must change its stated objective, which is containing President Hussein, not removing him.

"I would first of all speak to the 22 million Iraqis who have been terrorized... by this dictator and say: 'we're going to liberate you.' The goal is democracy in Iraq and we believe that you can govern yourself," Sen. Kerrey added on "Meet the Press."

Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, agreed on the same programme that Mr. Clinton should press for President Hussein's removal. But Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said the difficulty of overthrowing the Iraqi president meant the United States might have to stick to a policy of containment.

Key Statement: ".... One would imagine that, the cosmopolitan life-style, and the contacts that Mr Rifa'at had developed during his stay in Europe, has opened his eyes and mind to many opportunities and various scenarios, that would have been inaccessible otherwise.

Being known as the second man in Syria, and the brother of President Assad, must have exposed him to many Middle East planners, strategists, and dabblers in Arab politics. Therefore, one may conclude, that his stay in Europe may have influenced his political orientation, and philosophical outlook, to an unacceptable level in Syrian politics...."

CHN Commentary: Assad is one of the "three" trouble makers to peace in the Middle East....and the trouble makers have got to go to "give peace a chance", as Senator Trent Lott advocates...

Now, we find out that President Assad's brother [who is next in line for the presidency] has been exiled for the second time by the President....primarily due to the influence of his political orientation and philosophical outlook while in Europe........now, wouldn't it be just like those Europeans to have influenced him to become a friendly regime to the West once his brother is "uprooted"........??!!

We don't know the method by which the trouble makers will be rooted out, but the time is at hand..!!!

.........and just for safe measure...the guns are in the Gulf....!!

Star Editorial

IN A recent change of heart, President Assad eased out his brother Rifa'at from the position of deputy president. The name of Mr Rifa'at Al Assad is not exactly obscure in the region, nor on the international arena. He had played an instrumental role in supporting the regime in Syria, in the late 70s, and early 80s, but the threat of a head-on collision with his brother the president, in the mid 80s, had led to his first exile in Europe.

His first unceremonious exit, unceremonious return, and exit again from public and political life in Syria, explains the nature of the power structure inside the country. It is noteworthy to indicate that Mr Rifa'at Al Assad holds a high military rank in the Syrian army, and the only one as such, among the other two deputy president.

Since the main arbiter in Syria Ba'ath politics has become the army, as the established pattern set up by President Assad's advent to power, the only logical candidate for the presidency would be Mr Rifa'at, especially after the accidental and premature death of Major Bassil Al Assad. From this logic, while staying out of the public eye, and trouble spots, Rifa'at's path to the leadership transition seemed natural and uneventful.

But the recent decree to ease him out from this sensitive position, has created plenty of rumors and speculation. A seemingly straightforward succession, became a much rumored affairs, especially when it is evident that President Assad is an excellent planner, and not given to rash decisions. This must have been on his mind for some time. One would imagine that, the cosmopolitan life-style, and the contacts that Mr Rifa'at had developed during his stay in Europe, has opened his eyes and mind to many opportunities and various scenarios, that would have been inaccessible otherwise.

Being known as the second man in Syria, and the brother of President Assad, must have exposed him to many Middle East planners, strategists, and dabblers in Arab politics. Therefore, one may conclude, that his stay in Europe may have influenced his political orientation, and philosophical outlook, to an unacceptable level in Syrian politics.

One recalls that the Arabic publication published by him in Paris was much sympathetic in tone towards Iraq and President Saddam during the 1991 Gulf conflict, when Syria was actually an effective partner in the military coalition against Iraq. At that point, Mr Rifa'at was developing his own political path, which was becoming more divergent from that of the Syrian leadership. His subsequent return to Syria, and his appointment as a deputy President, had in effect put plenty of pressure on him to be more silent, and become part of the crowd that follows the policies initiated by President Assad. Nevertheless, this fact could not change his political orientation, but there was not much he could do about it.

All what was left for him to do, is to preserve himself in good mental and physical health, until the time comes, and he assumes power in his country, and perhaps take it then into a different path, than that of his brother. Hence, one assumes that it was this particular issue which had started worrying President Assad, and this point must have been nagging at him for some time.

It seems he is determined that his legacy, and Syria's political path must not change even after his death, and it is those closest to him who will follow the same pattern of policies, long after him, seem to be groomed for the next presidency. Mr Rifa'at must have seemed as the weakest link in the future command in Syria, as the influences which he may have been averse towards, had already started worrying President Assad.

To clarify this thought, we are talking here about integration in the world economy, as well as the all important issue of peace with Israel.

THE STAR 26 February 1998

King Hussein in a televised interview

"We have no political ambitions in Iraq or anywhere else"

Key Statements: "....The King denied allegations that Jordan had political ambitions in Iraq. "There are no ambitions at all, neither in Iraq nor in any where," His Majesty said. "There is no kingdom in Baghdad and no domination on Jerusalem," the King clarified...."

"....In response to a question regarding Israeli allegations that the Palestinian National Authority is incapable of fulfilling security in the Palestinian territories, and demanding that Jordan should supervise security there, His Majesty affirmed Jordan's rejection to this role...."

CHN Commentary: By the King denying "allegations" of his political ambitions in Iraq, it confirms that it has been a subject of discussion.......and for him to state that there is "no kingdom in Baghdad" could only mean that without a "king" there is no kingdom, or he is playing semantics, as Babylon is the throne not Baghdad..

Secondly, Jordan supervising the security of the PNA is "the" main issue that is left to accomplish for the peace to happen...as there will be "no peace without security".......that has been Israel's main concern from the beginning....so, it's time for the King to give in on the issue, which has always been his sticking point...and what this all means is, the road to peace is in the King's hands...and that's what allows "him" to be the "peace maker"......!!!!!!!!!

............and you can bet your last "dinar" he'll give in...!!!!!!!!!!

AMMAN (Star)-His Majesty King Hussein affirmed that following the last Iraqi positive stand regarding the acceptance of the UN General Secretary proposals matters should be moved to a new stage that is a stage of American Iraqi dialogue.

"We hope that we will be successful in convincing both concerned sides to initiate this dialogue as soon as possible," His Majesty said in a TV interview transmitted by the Jordanian TV and Orbit Network Tuesday. "Because it is the sole way to avert any collisions in the future, and it gives us a clear vision for the future prospects regarding Iraq's full implementation of what was agreed upon with the Security Council," then, the King continued, "this should be accompanied by initiating work for lifting the Iraqi people's suffering caused by the sanctions."

Responding to a question regarding the US hegemony on the world His Majesty said "This is unaccepted from my point of view... In our dialogue with the US we always say we may agree or disagree," he added that if we want to remain in good terms we have to accept this principle.. "and our friends should understand that we have our own opinion and our own stand regarding our interests and the interests of this region and the Arab world.

"I believe that the strike of the 1990 had broken our backs.. and it had consequences that went beyond the limited boundaries of the battle," the King said. "We had not been with or against, but we had an opinion and fears regarding the future in this region. And I had a feeling that we were going to lose.. this was the real situation."

His Majesty stressed that Jordan considers peace as the goal towards development. "The role of Jordan is the supporter and the country to which the Palestinians rely in their demand for their national soil."

The King hoped that a situation will occur in which the world would look to the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian rights on the Palestinian soil, and to the issues of Syrian occupied lands and the Lebanese lands, adding that "these are the bases on which peace can be built on."

His Majesty commented on the possibility of achieving this under the light of the Likud saying that "without achieving this there would be no outcome and there will not be a genuine peace."

Again on the Iraqi issue, He pointed out that Secretary General Annan contacted him following the press conference in Baghdad and thanked His Majesty for his efforts to bring the concerned parties views closer to achieve this solution. "I think that the Secretary General rejected to go to Baghdad unless attaining the agreement of the Security Council's five members and having an authorization to move in a certain framework," His Majesty said.

Responding to a question regarding the possibility of holding a meeting between the Iraqi President and the American President or between officials in both leaderships, His Majesty said "Without such a meeting the march will be stopped."

"There should be a following up.. and the main issue should be dealt with, that is, the issue of the Iraqi people's suffering and maintaining Iraq's integrity and sovereignty," the King said.

In response to a question about if the US will accept that President Saddam remains in power and the possibility of dialogue with him, the King said "I believe that dialogue should be conducted with him since he represents the regime in Baghdad. However, the future is left to the Iraqi people to decide, it should not be decided by any outside power."

The King clarified that his attempt to open dialogue between the Iraqi and American governments took place due to what the Iraqi leadership was repeatedly asking. "When the Iraqis take some decisions relevant to the future of the region we have the right to discuss them," His Majesty said.

The King denied allegations that Jordan had political ambitions in Iraq. "There are no ambitions at all, neither in Iraq nor in any where," His Majesty said. "There is no kingdom in Baghdad and no domination on Jerusalem," the King clarified.

In response to a question regarding Israeli allegations that the Palestinian National Authority is incapable of fulfilling security in the Palestinian territories, and demanding that Jordan should supervise security there, His Majesty affirmed Jordan's rejection to this role.

"The Palestinian side shoulders the responsibility regarding the Palestinian future and right on the Palestinian soil... and we have to fully support them," His Majesty said.

The King added "that when we talk about chemical weapons there are a lot of questions that should be put .. how to eliminate for good such poisonous materials, how to eliminate mass destruction weapons from the entire region within a framework of peace and a stability."

Responding to a question about the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu which are based on strategic rejection to peace, His Majesty said "We wanted to give Netanyahu a chance, and we are still obliged to deal, in a way or another, with this reality."

"We have to differentiate between some people in Israel who might be a minority or a majority in a certain stage, and the rest of the people, and I believe that there are many people who feel that peace is the target and peace should prevail because there is no future without peace," His Majesty said.

"Why don't we put to the world that we are ready for full peace in return of withdrawal from the occupied territories, and the establishment of the Palestinian state whose capital is in Jerusalem.. and in return of withdrawal from the Golan and the Lebanese lands," His Majesty wondered.