Israel in the News Jun/Jul 1996

Hamas vows new terror will hit Israel

Hamas, the Muslim group responsible for 62 deaths in four recent suicide bombings, said recently it would rekindle its terror campaign against Israel.

“We will resume the wonderful martyrdom operations and light a fire again in the heart of the Zionist state,” Hamas said. “We will not negotiate. We will only talk with blood, grenades and bullets.”

Also, another militant Muslim group, Islamic Jihad, threatened its own suicide bombings against Israel.

(from USA Today)

Pope asked to return Temple menora

Religious Affairs Minister Shimon Shetreet, who met with Pope John II in Rome recently, said he had asked for Vatican cooperation in locating the 60-kg. gold menora from the Second Temple that was brought to Rome by Titus in 70 CE.

Shetreet claimed that recent research at the University of Florence indicated the menora might be among the treasures in the Vatican’s catacombs.

“I don’t say it’s there for sure,” he said, “but I asked the pope to help in the search as a goodwill gesture in recognition of the improved relations between Catholics and Jews.”

Would-be Suicide Bomber Explains His Motives

A would-be Islamic Jihad suicide bomber, captured before his planned attack in Tel Aviv, said that a payment of $6,000 to his family and the prospect of 72 virgins in paradise convinced him to carry out the attack. Allowed to give the interview…by the Palestinian Authority, he said he regretted his actions and was glad he had been stopped. “I don’t recommend that anyone commit suicide like this because you don’t know if you will be a martyr or not in the end,” said Rashid Abu Sakr, 24, from Gaza.

Plan to share Jerusalem presented to PA

A secret report commissioned by the Foreign Ministry on possible solutions to the Jerusalem question has been transferred to Oslo Accord architects Professors Ron Pundak and Yair Hirschfeld, who presented it to Palestinian negotiators.

The report, including several maps showing ways to divide Jerusalem between Israel and the Palestinians…recommends that Palestinians be allowed to set up their own police force in eastern Jerusalem, and that the holy places in the Old City become “autonomous areas” controlled by the different religions. Sources involved said a central recommendation is that Israel and the PA “suspend their claims for sovereignty, and instead talk about the possibilities of division of power.”

Prime Minister Shimon Peres said “the reports of plans to divide Jerusalem are false. There is no intention to divide the city.”

Qatari FM: No need to fear Israel

Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani, the foreign minister of Qatar, recently called on fellow Arabs to put behind them the years of conflict with Israel, saying they should not fear ties with Jerusalem. Qatar’s growing economic and other ties with Israel run against the Gulf Cooperation Council’s stance that such contacts should wait until a comprehensive Middle East settlement is in place. The Qatari minister told Beirut’s An-Nahar newspaper that “the Arab population of 150 million must be able to overwhelm the five million Israelis living among them…. We are capable of occupying Israel economically and culturally.”

(All other articles taken from The Jerusalem Post.)

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