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News for Sociology of Religion--Fri Feb 28 07:48:53 EST 1997

  • IN WEST CHINA, TENSIONS WITH ETHNIC MUSLIMS ERUPT IN RIOTS,
    BEIJING—As Muslim ethnic minorities chafe under Chinese rule, a simmering revolt and seething ethnic conflict have turned much of Western China into a heavily armed garrison ready to crush (New York Times) (*)

  • ON BOSNIA'S ETHNIC FAULT LINES, TENSIONS ARE HIGH BUT THE WORLD IS
    MOSTAR, Bosnia-Herzegovina—The local Croatian authorities insist that the two huge pits being dug along the old confrontation line in the center of Mostar will hold the foundations of a theater (New York Times) (*)

  • SWISS TO SHARE CONTROL OF HOLOCAUST FUND WITH JEWISH GROUPS
    BONN, Germany—After 18 months of tortuous and sometimes secret negotiations that flared into public bitterness, the Swiss government agreed Wednesday to share control of a Holocaust (New York Times) (*)

  • MILITANT GROUP'S BOOK DETAILS VIOLENT WAYS TO FIGHT ABORTION
    KANSAS CITY, Mo.—On the cover of the Army of God manual is a picture of a sad girl, innocently clutching a Raggedy Ann doll. But inside the 125-page document, anti-abortion militants  (*)

  • U.S. OFFICIALS DISPUTE POLICE ABOUT FAILURE TO FIND BOMB
    The State Department and police officials in Jacksonville, Fla., traded accusations on Wednesday about who was responsible for not finding a crude pipe bomb that was planted in a Jacksonville (New York Times) (*)

  • No headline.
    Albright had been pained to read in this space a week ago that I and others questioned the credibility of her account of how recently she discovered both her Jewish origins and her (New York Times) (*)

  • ISRAEL TO BUILD NEW SETTLEMENT ON CAPTURED LAND
    In sharp contrast to the abrupt opening of a tunnel beneath the Muslim quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem last year, provoking violence in which 61 Palestinians and 15 Israelis died, the  (*)

  • WORLD NEWS IN BRIEF
    SWISS AGREE TO SHARE CONTROL OF HOLOCAUST FUND BONN, Germany (NYT)—After 18 months of tortuous and sometimes (New York Times) (*)

  • ARAFAT AND HIS FOES SEEK COMMON PALESTINIAN GROUND
    NABLUS, West Bank— Islamic and leftist Palestinian groups opposed to Yasser Arafat's self-rule accords with Israel joined his supporters on Thursday in a ``national dialogue'' conference headed (New York Times) (*)

  • ISRAEL PLANS JEWISH HOUSING IN EAST JERUSALEM
    JERUSALEM—The Israeli government on Wednesday approved the development of a large new Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem, drawing a chorus of Arab and international denunciation and defying (New York Times) (*)



    IN WEST CHINA, TENSIONS WITH ETHNIC MUSLIMS ERUPT IN RIOTS,

    By PATRICK E. TYLER<

    c.1997 N.Y. Times News Service<

    BEIJING—As Muslim ethnic minorities chafe under Chinese rule,a simmering revolt and seething ethnic conflict have turned much ofWestern China into a heavily armed garrison ready to crushsporadic, spontaneous and seemingly futile acts of rebellion.

    On Wednesday, the Western capital of Xinjiang was under a highsecurity alert after terrorist bombs ripped through three publicbuses, killing 5 people and wounding 60. The attacks, which wereapparently in response to a broad security crackdown ordered by theCommunist Party leadership in Beijing to quiet the restive borderregion, were a grave embarrassment to Chinese authorities on theday of a memorial service to Deng Xiaoping.

    Earlier in February, riots erupted in the frontier city ofYining after Chinese police officers arrested dozens of Muslims.Young Muslims battled the police, smashed storefronts and attackedethnic Han Chinese; the official death toll was nine, but Muslimsinsist it was far higher.

    More than four decades after the Communists' victory, Beijing'srelentless struggle to tame and assimilate its border territoriesis still under way. By all accounts, it is succeeding, but at aterrible cost to those Muslims, Tibetans and other minorities whochallenge the harsh terms of Chinese rule.

    Deng's death last week and the return of Hong Kong to Chinesesovereignty this summer has incited many Chinese to begin thinkingabout the limits on their freedom. In the western regions of China,where the collapse of the Soviet Union already had set off a newpolitical alignment in Central Asia, a determined Muslim minorityhas begun to reassert its demands for greater autonomy—evenindependence—from its Chinese rulers.

    The bomb attacks in Urumuqi and the rioting at Yining are onlythe latest signs of rebellion against Beijing's campaign to keepthe country's 20 million Muslims under tight control as theirancestral lands and national identity give way to a policy ofassimilation by the Han Chinese, whose migration into the restivefrontier lands is supported, and partially funded, by Beijing.

    Three days after the violence in Urumuqi, the central governmenthas made no public statement reassuring the thousands of foreigntourists and businessmen who travel to Xinjiang each year that theregion is safe.

    The resentment is palpable among Muslims interviewed in a swingthrough the region last week. In Xinjiang, the largest of China'sprovinces, ethnic Uighurs, (pronounced WEE-gurrs) who are Muslimand speak a distinct Turkic language, make up 60 percent of thepopulation of 16 million in what is called the Uighur AutonomousRegion.

    ``We Uighurs will fight for our liberty and independence and wewant to be as free as the other Asian republics of the old SovietUnion,'' said Azat Akimbeck, who was born in Yining and whoseancestors once ruled in western China and fought unsuccessfully toestablish the Republic of East Turkestan in the late 1940s.

    Chinese authorities have blamed the violence in Yining on a``small number of enemy elements,'' as a government spokesmanasserted, adding that the protesters were ``trying to overthrow thepolitical power of the people and split the unity of themotherland.''

    But visitors to the neighboring Kazakh capital of Almatycharacterized the violence as a spontaneous uprising againstpolicies that persecute the region's Muslims by excessive force,police intimidation and by denying them access to mosques orreligious teaching.

    Muslims also say they are becoming increasingly impoverished bythe diversion of state investment funds for irrigation andagricultural improvements to areas settled by Han Chineseimmigrants.

    In one example, the former mayor of Hetian, near Kashghar on thehistoric Silk Road, said Beijing is investing hundreds of millionsof dollars in a large irrigation project that would allow 1 millionSichuan immigrants to move into the region. None of the fundingwill benefit Uighur lands, he said.

    Last week, residents interviewed in the border town Khourgosnear Yining said that Muslims living in Xinjiang had told them thatheavily armored military units remain garrisoned throughout thecity and that one central park looks like a parked lot for armoredpersonnel carriers. At checkpoints leading into the city, policeare closely screening traffic, allowing only residents to enter.

    Western diplomats in Beijing said they continue to receivereports that ``excessive force'' was used to put down the riot.

    A number of Uighur leaders of the exile community in Almaty saythey believe China's leaders have undertaken a broad suppressioncampaign in the Far West to enforce a rigid stability during thesensitive months ahead when Hong Kong returns to Chinesesovereignty and when the political succession to Deng is ratifiedat the 15th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in the fall.

    Several Uighur officials who have fled Western China in recentmonths say that an internal Communist Party document, entitledCentral Party Document No. 8, warned last May that ``nationalseparatism and unlawful religious activities'' are the key problemsendangering the stability of Western China.

    State-controlled television in the region broadcast a warningthat same month that the party must ``wage a concerted battle andruthlessly clamp down'' on ``those criminal elements who dare goagainst the wind'' by promoting Muslim nationalism and ``strongreligious feeling'' in the region.

    Such feelings are most evident in Xinjiang, where a brief Muslimrepublic was declared in 1944, only to be crushed by the communistsin 1950. Still, Xinjiang was named a Uighur Autonomous Region inrecognition that ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities make up60 percent of the population.

    For many Uighurs, however, Chinese promises of autonomy havenever been fulfilled.

    ``The promises of the Chinese Constitution guaranteeing freedomof religion are a fraud,'' said Babur Makhsut, a former CommunistParty member and Muslim mayor of Hetian who fled China last year toseek political asylum in the West.

    Western diplomats say assassinations, bombings and gun fightsare rising in the region. In many areas, unarmed Han Chinese darenot stray into Muslim neighborhoods. And, in recent weeks, beforelarge bombs went off on Tuesday, other bombs had been discoveredand defused on public buses in Urumuqi.

    Spontaneous riots have now shaken a number of cities in Xinjiangand have led to at least 3,000 arrests since April 1996, Chineseand Uighur leaders say.

    The latest riots began on the frigid night of Feb. 4th, whenPublic Security police forces swept into Muslim neighborhoods inYining and began making dozens of arrests over the next 24 hours.Many residents were in the city's mosques or in extended prayergroups at private homes chanting the traditional all-night prayerof Oraza, which promises personal fulfillment.

    On the morning of the 6th, hundreds of Muslim youths gathered atcity intersections demanding that Chinese authorities disclose thefate of friends and relatives in detention.

    ``These were absolutely peaceful demonstrations,'' said MuhitdinMukhlisi, a Muslim opposition leader in Almaty. ``But the ferocityof the police'' in the subsequent assault on the demonstrators``was so great,'' he added, ``that the local people could not bearit.''

    Mukhlisi said that the violence had been spontaneous. ``It wasyoung people with stones against soldiers with guns,'' he said.``The young people there are very hot-headed and no one was readywhen the violence started and soon Uighurs were killing Chinese andit turned into an ethnic riot.''

    Police officers waded into the crowds with truncheons and beganbeating the mostly youthful crowd, which included many women.

    ``The witnesses saw police grabbing women by the hair to beatthem and when they were finished, their hands showed the hair thathad been ripped from people's heads,'' said Ahmedjani Kori, anexile leader in Almaty who has been debriefing eye witnesses, mostof them businessmen, who travel between Yinging and the Kazakhcapital.

    The police opened fire with tear gas, water cannon and liveammunition. Communist Party officials ordered the city sealed offwith troops and the border with Kazakhstan closed for the next fivedays.

    For several days after the riots, the local state-run televisionstation broadcast images of burned-out or smashed store fronts,smoldering automobiles, and corpses in the streets.

    ``We have seen these pictures, but only God knows the truthbehind them,'' said one Muslim shop owner.

    Chinese officials say that 9 people died, but exile leaders heredispute this figure, asserting that more than 100 were killed,including 31 young Muslims who were said to have been secretlyexecuted in the yard of the Public Security headquarters on Feb.8th.

    The executions were discovered, they assert, because in thetense, and fearful aftermath of the riots, the 31 bodies, coveredin white shrouds, were observed by several elderly witnesses whowere praying at Yining's Gulik Mosque when a caravan of army truckspulled into the courtyard and disgorged a shocking cargo: dozens ofcorpses on funeral pallets. They were lowered only long enough forthe imam to read the prayer for the dead. Then the trucks carriedthem away.

    Last April, riots broke out in the border city of Aksu, south ofYining. Thousands of Uighurs were arrested without charge, whilemore than 20 were executed, exile leaders say.

    In July 1995, police in the desert city of Hetian, on thesouthern rim of the Taklimakan Desert, sought to prevent thousandsof Muslims from attending a Friday prayers service by the localimam. The imam's arrest sparked rioting in which many hundreds ofUighurs were injured and many more arrested, according to thecity's former mayor, Makhsut, who is now seeking political asylumin the West.

    Exile leaders say the largest uprising in recent years was inBarin in 1990 near the ancient Silk Road city of Kashghar, whereMuslim rebels seized municipal office buildings and declaredself-rule only to be crushed in a full-scale assault by Chinesemilitary forces that left hundreds dead and thousands imprisoned.

    The annual death toll from the many riots and spontaneousrevolts remains impossible to confirm. Foreign correspondents andhuman rights organizations have been effectively barred from theregion.

    Chinese authorities maintain that the sudden crackdown is partof the nationwide ``strike hard'' campaign against major crimes,such as drug trafficking and gunrunning, that was launched lastspring.

    But Uighur leaders say the anticrime campaign is being used as acover for repression.

    ``Their strategy is to keep all Uighurs from enjoying their mostfundamental human rights to practice their religion withoutpersecution and to hold office in their own local governments,''said Babur Makhsut, a former Communist Party member who says he washounded out of office in Hetian by a local Communist Party chiefsent in 1993 to break Uighur self-rule.

    ``Their policy is to leave the Uighurs barefooted and so poorthat they cannot even buy pants to wear,'' he said.

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    ON BOSNIA'S ETHNIC FAULT LINES, TENSIONS ARE HIGH BUT THE WORLD IS

    By CHRIS HEDGES<

    c.1997 N.Y. Times News Service<

    MOSTAR, Bosnia-Herzegovina—The local Croatian authoritiesinsist that the two huge pits being dug along the old confrontationline in the center of Mostar will hold the foundations of a theaterand a Catholic cathedral. To their Muslim enemies on the other sideof town, they look like the beginnings of fortified bunkers and anattempt by the Croats to seize territory in the desolate no man'sland that separates east and west Mostar.

    The international peacekeepers here say they suspect the Croatsare building forts, but they show no inclination to do anythingabout it.

    It used to be that such questions, typical of the dizzyingcontretemps between ethnic Croats and Muslims in Mostar,preoccupied and concerned the outside world, which invested tens ofmillions of dollars to unify this divided city of 70,000 people.

    But no more. Exhausted and frustrated by the repeated refusal ofSerbs, Croats and Muslims to honor the December 1995 peaceagreement, the international organizations have begun a silentretreat from Bosnia.

    An international peacekeeping force, 30,000 strong, remains inBosnia, but its commanders insist that the force will leave asplanned in the spring of next year.

    The European Union, which donated more than $150 million inreconstruction aid, withdrew in disgust in December. The UnitedStates, which brokered a federation of Muslims and Croats inBosnia, has yet to get it to function.

    And the Spanish peacekeeping force stationed here, which lost 17soldiers in the Bosnian war, recently received orders from Madridto avoid violence, senior NATO officials say. Those commanders saySpanish patrols, which have been fired on twice this month, havebegun turning away when confronted by groups of armed Croats.

    Mostar, a city split down the middle between ethnic Croats andMuslims, has always been one of the country's most visible anddangerous fault lines. But its current crisis, rather than ananomaly, exposes what by general agreement is the failure of theinternational effort in Bosnia.

    The World Bank spent only a third of the $1.8 billion it raisedfor Bosnia because of repeated failures to institute economicreforms or honor the terms of the peace agreement. And the UnitedNations High Commissioner for Refugees was only able to raise athird of the money it solicited for this fiscal year because ofwhat refugee agency officials described as ``donor fatigue.''

    ``We have been abandoned,'' said Ivan Prskalo, the CroatianMayor of west Mostar. ``The European Union rebuilt theinfrastructure but didn't give us the money to maintain it.International aid has virtually ceased. Things are beginning tofall apart. We are in crisis. The world needs to come back andfinish the job.''

    But the days when the international community saw this as theirjob are overcials say that at best, Bosnia willlimp along with a tense partition, as in Cyprus, and at worst willplunge again into war.

    Mostar saw savage fighting in 1994, when Muslims and Croatsbattled house to house, leaving some 2,000 dead and the city'scenter a desolate, gutted wreck. Muslims are now bottled up on theeastern bank of the Neretva River, which divides the city; theCroats control the west and access to Croatia and the coast.Nervous Croatian and Muslim troops eye each other along theopposite banks, often just a few hundred yards apart.

    The Croatian construction activity along the dividing linespeaks volumes about the attitude of confrontation that prevailshere. The Croats have filled in the windows in the old high schooland several other roofless hulks with cement blocks. But thebuilders have left narrow gun slits in each bricked-up frame.

    Abandoned Muslim homes in the no-man's land west of the river,although already heavily damaged, are flattened in nightlyexplosions. And in defiance of the outside world, the Croats inwest Mostar have renewed a campaign to evict the dwindling andelderly population of some 3,000 Muslims from their sector.

    In late November, Croatian police seized the municipal building,renovated with half a million dollars of European Union money, andhave locked out the Muslims who under the federation agreementshould share offices with them. West Mostar officials refuse tospeak or meet with their Muslim counterparts.

    On Feb. 10, Croatian police officers opened fire on a peacefulcrowd of Muslims who walked into west Mostar to visit a cemeteryduring the Muslim holiday of Eid al Fitr. Spanish troops, stationedat the crossroads where the shooting took place, withdrew momentsbefore the firing began and ignored pleas by unarmed U.N. policeobservers who witnessed the attack to return to restore order,according to an internal International Police Task Force report.

    The U.N. police monitors have released a series of colorphotographs showing Croatian police officials, including westMostar's deputy police chief, Ivan Hrkac, firing pistols at thefleeing Muslims. But they have been unable to get the Croats toremove the police officers, who killed one man and left more than20 wounded.

    ``We interviewed the police officers who fired on the crowd,''said the international police commissioner, Robert Wasserman, ``andevery single one of them lied to us. They told us they were notarmed, even though we have photos of them firing on the retreatingcrowd.''

    The Bosnian Croat leadership, who defend the police action, saythe Muslims were carrying knives and were preparing to ``attackCroatian children.''

    NATO officials say the orders they get from Washington and mostEuropean capitals is to maintain the current cease-fire and stayout of disputes that could draw peacekeeping soldiers into a localconflict. This greatly emboldened the defiance of militants on allsides.

    ``The situation has become ludicrous,'' said a senior Westernofficial in Mostar. ``We are handing out pictures of Croat policeshooting women in the back and nothing is done. It illustrates howweak and futile our presence has become. It exposes where not onlyMostar but Bosnia and Herzegovina is headed.''

    The Muslims, who say the shooting is too egregious an act toignore, warn that it will end their attempts to reach out and builda united city and a workable federation government.

    ``If these Croat police officers are not arrested and chargedfor firing into an unarmed crowd, it will end any hope ofcooperation between us and the Croats,'' said Dziho Sefkija, eastMostar's police chief. ``This, however, is probably their goal.''

    The Croatian leaders in Mostar, backed by Zagreb and closelylinked with organized crime gangs that deal in drugs andprostitution, seem beyond caring what the outside world wants orthinks.

    The sprawling aluminum factory five miles outside the city, setto begin operation next month after being closed for five years, isperhaps the most visible symbol of why the Croats have no desire tolink themselves with the rest of Bosnia and will protect their defacto integration with neighboring Croatia.

    The $650 million plant, which was hooked up this week to theCroatian electrical grid, should be the property of the federationgovernment. Instead, it looks set to become the property of thelocal Croatian political leadership.

    Miro Brajkovic, who was director of the plant before the war andis one of the highest-ranking politicians in west Mostar, dismissedthe protests by the Muslims that under the federation agreementthey should also share in the ownership of what was once a Yugoslavgovernment plant that employed 5,000 workers.

    ``The Muslims have their own factories,'' he said. ``This isours. I have seen these reports by the international police andothers about our police, about our city. We are tired of theinternational community always taking the side of the Muslims. Ifthere is another war here it will be the fault of all theseinternational groups.''

    For those caught in the middle of the fracas there is littlehope that much in their lives will be impartial or fair. In thelast year more than 80 Muslim families have been driven from theirhomes and apartments, often by uniformed Croat police or military,who then swiftly sell the apartments to friends.

    The suffering of those driven from their homes is a smallreminder of the widespread terror that gripped this city during warand could, with just a spark, grip it again.

    Sadeta Rebac, a 64-year-old invalid, sat wrapped in a blanket inher sister's tiny apartment in east Mostar. She was dragged a fewweeks ago by her arms from her apartment in west Mostar by threeyoung Croats in military uniform. They dumped Mrs. Rebac, a widow,with her crutches on the dividing line and left her to find her wayat night, with none of her belongings, into the eastern part of thecity.

    ``I hear from neighbors that my apartment, where I lived for 20years, was sold by these men to a Croat soldier for $3,000dollars,'' she said. ``He and his family live there now. The restof my life will be spent here.''

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    SWISS TO SHARE CONTROL OF HOLOCAUST FUND WITH JEWISH GROUPS

    By ALAN COWELL<

    c.1997 N.Y. Times News Service<

    BONN, Germany—After 18 months of tortuous and sometimes secretnegotiations that flared into public bitterness, the Swissgovernment agreed Wednesday to share control of a Holocaustmemorial fund with leading Jewish groups. The fund was set up aftercriticism of Switzerland's financial dealings with Nazi Germany.

    The decision was announced in Bern, the Swiss capital, byForeign Minister Flavio Cotti. It represents a further shift awayfrom events late last year when a high Swiss official rejected alltalk of a Holocaust compensation fund as ``extortion andblackmail'' by American Jewish groups.

    The shift illuminated Switzerland's worries that adversepublicity concerning both its gold trading with Nazi Germany duringWorld War II and its obstructive postwar attitude toward claims ondormant Jewish-owned bank accounts would seriously damage itsbanking industry.

    The decree by the Swiss government, which becomes effective onMarch 1, shed no further light on the likely size of the fund.Switzerland's three largest private banks made an initialcontribution of around $70 million last month.

    But both the government and the Swiss National Bank, which wasresponsible for trading in monetary gold with the Nazis, have bothsaid they will await the findings of a historians' inquiry expectedbetween April and June before contributing.

    The agreement Wednesday said the fund would be used to ``supportpersons in need who were persecuted for reasons of their race,religion or political views or for other reasons, or otherwise werevictims of the Holocaust.''

    Others who suffered Nazi persecution included Gypsies,homosexuals and disabled people, but Swiss officials said the bulkof the fund would be distributed among Jews who survived theHolocaust, many of them in Eastern Europe, where they were cut offfrom previous compensation by the cold war.

    Israel Singer, secretary general of the World Jewish Congress,who negotiated the deal with Swiss officials in Bern this week,said in a telephone interview from New York that the agreementrepresented an ``unprecedented breakthrough.''

    Swiss officials, he said, had ``come to an understanding thatsomething needs to be done.''

    The agreement Wednesday—formally between Switzerland and anumbrella group called the World Jewish Restitution Organization, inassociation with Israel—said the fund would be managed by anexecutive body made up of seven people, four nominated by the Swissand three by the World Jewish Restitution Organization.

    One of the Swiss nominees will be Rolf Bloch, the head of theprincipal Swiss Jewish representative organization, Swiss officialssaid.

    Singer said payments from the fund would not prejudice otherJewish claims being pursued by a commission led by Paul Volcker,the former head of the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is investigatingthe whereabouts and extent of dormant accounts left by some of thesix million Jews killed by the Nazis.

    In previous negotiations, Swiss and American Jewish officialshave spoken of a fund of more than $250 million, and Wednesday theSwiss private bankers' association urged its 400 members tocontribute. Other Swiss companies have already pledged unspecifiedamounts.

    The agreement with Switzerland is the most lucrative in a stringof compensation deals that the World Jewish Congress is seeking orhas struck with several European countries, including Norway,Sweden, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Romania.

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    MILITANT GROUP'S BOOK DETAILS VIOLENT WAYS TO FIGHT ABORTION

    By JUDY L. THOMAS

    c. 1997 Kansas City Star

    KANSAS CITY, Mo.—On the cover of the Army of God manual is apicture of a sad girl, innocently clutching a Raggedy Ann doll.

    But inside the 125-page document, anti-abortion militantsdescribe dozens of illegal ways to shut down abortion clinics _including how to make and detonate bombs.

    Now federal authorities are investigating whether the Army ofGod is behind the weekend bombing at a gay nightclub in Atlanta andtwo Jan. 16 explosions outside an Atlanta area clinic whereabortions are performed.

    The FBI received a letter claiming responsibility from the groupMonday. The letter says that abortion will not be tolerated andthreatens ``total war'' against the federal government.

    On Tuesday it was revealed that the gay nightclub's owner had abrother, James T. McMahon, who was well known for pioneering amethod of performing late-term abortions. Federal agents arelooking into his connection to the lounge's owner.

    McMahon, who died of a brain tumor in 1995, taught obstetricsand gynecology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Hewas among a handful of doctors performing intact dilation andevacuation, a procedure that abortion opponents call``partial-birth'' abortion.

    The Army of God recently was the subject of a federalinvestigation into a possible conspiracy of anti-abortionterrorists whose aim is to kill doctors and shut down clinics. Theinvestigation began after an anti-abortion activist shot and killedan abortion doctor and his bodyguard in Pensacola, Fla., in 1994.

    ``We are just stunned that this has resurfaced,'' said AnnGlazier, director of clinic defense for the Planned ParenthoodFederation of America.

    The Army of God first surfaced in 1982, when an abortion doctorand his wife were kidnapped in Edwardsville, Ill., near St. Louis.Two days later, a man called the FBI claiming to be a member of theArmy of God and saying he was holding the couple for ransom.

    The doctor and his wife were released after eight days and theFBI caught the kidnappers three months later. The leader, Don BennyAnderson, also was convicted of three abortion clinic bombings inFlorida and Virginia.

    The Army of God resurfaced during a string of clinic bombings in1984, when a man saying he was with the group telephoned newsagencies and claimed responsibility for several of the blasts.

    And in October 1984, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun,the author of the 1973 Roe vs. Wade opinion that legalizedabortion, said he received a threatening letter from a group bythat name.

    The Army of God again came to light in 1993, when authoritiesdug up a copy of the group's manual in the back yard of RachelleShannon, the Oregon woman convicted of trying to kill Wichitaphysician George Tiller.

    Shannon is serving a 10-year sentence in a Topeka prison forshooting Tiller in August 1993. In 1995, she also was convicted andsentenced to 20 additional years for six clinic arsons in thePacific Northwest.

    At her sentencing hearing, federal authorities said that evenwhile in prison, Shannon had sent copies of the Army of God manualto several activists, including one in the Kansas City area.

    Shannon was a friend of Paul Hill, now on death row for the twoPensacola abortion-clinic killings. In an interview in the FloridaState Prison last week, Hill told The Kansas City Star that he wasfamiliar with the Army of God manual.

    ``It encouraged and inspired me,'' Hill said.

    The manual, a copy of which The Star has obtained, detailsactivities that range from acquiring a putrid-smelling liquid thathas been used to close clinics for days at a time to making anddetonating bombs.

    ``We, the remnant of God-fearing men and women of the UnitedStates of Amerika(sic), do officially declare war on the entirechild killing industry,'' the manual states.

    The anonymous author describes it as ``a How-To Manual of meansto disrupt and ultimately destroy Satan's power to kill ourchildren, God's children.''

    Under the heading ``99 Covert Ways to Stop Abortion,'' themanual describes ways that anti-abortion activists—called``termites''—can shut down clinics. One of the more destructivetactics described is the use of a demolition agent which candestroy a building.

    The final sections show how to make and use explosives. Amongthose recommended is ammonium nitrate, the kind of fertilizer usedin the Oklahoma City bombing.

    The manual concludes with an interview with ``an undergroundleader'' of the Army of God.

    In the interview, the leader says that every abortion opponent``should commit to destroying at least one death camp, or disarmingat least one baby killer.'' The author also calls the use ofexplosives ``a most wondrous method, and my personal favorite.''

    Michael Bray, an abortion opponent imprisoned for thefirebombings of 10 abortion-related facilities in the 1980s, saidTuesday that he didn't know whether today's Army of God has anyconnection to the Army of God of the past.

    ``Who would know? And who would tell you if he did?'' said Bray,a pastor with the Reformation Lutheran Church in Bowie, Md.

    ``I would say it's reasonable to suppose there's an associationof people out there.''

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    U.S. OFFICIALS DISPUTE POLICE ABOUT FAILURE TO FIND BOMB

    By KEVIN SACK<

    c.1997 N.Y. Times News Service<

    The State Department and police officials in Jacksonville, Fla.,traded accusations on Wednesday about who was responsible for notfinding a crude pipe bomb that was planted in a Jacksonvillesynagogue only hours before former Prime Minister Shimon Peres ofIsrael gave a speech there on Feb. 13.

    At the same time, in Jacksonville, a Duval County Circuit Courtjudge set bond at $1 million for Harry Shapiro, the 31-year-oldOrthodox Jew who was charged on Tuesday with planting the bomb andmaking the 911 call warning of it.

    Law-enforcement officials searched the synagogue, theJacksonville Jewish Center, on Feb. 13, but did not find thedevice. The bomb, which did not explode, was found last Saturday bya group of children.

    At the bond hearing, Shapiro's lawyer, Henry Coxe, said thebomb, at the time it was found, ``was incapable of detonating orexploding or harming anyone.'' Coxe did not elaborate, andlaw-enforcement officials have declined to discuss the bomb'smechanics or potency.

    Officials with the Jacksonville Sheriff's office said that aftera bomb threat was received on the afternoon of Feb. 13, the StateDepartment asked the local police to search the synagogue, but onlyin the areas where Peres was expected to be that evening.

    ``We were requested to do a search with a bomb dog, which we didin the areas that they asked us to search,'' said Mark Bowen,assistant chief of the sheriff's office, which serves as the policedepartment in Jacksonville. ``They didn't want the whole thing,just the areas where they thought he would be.''

    That search found nothing. But nine days later, children foundthe bomb hidden behind a wall of memorial plaques, an areaseparated by a wall from the sanctuary where Peres spoke. Thechildren began playing with the bomb before it was seized byadults, who hurriedly carried it outside. The police evacuated thebuilding and blew up the device in a nearby wooded area.

    The State Department, which provides security in the UnitedStates for visiting dignitaries, said it asked the sheriff's officeto search the synagogue but never told the local authorities tolimit the search.

    ``We would not have told the Jacksonville police not to sweepthe whole building,'' said Andy Laine, a spokesman for thediplomatic security service at the State Department. ``We don'thave that authority. What may have happened is that our agentsrequested that the sweep be done specifically of the areas of thesynagogue that Peres would have been using or walking along.''

    One law-enforcement official, who spoke on condition ofanonymity, said the State Department told the police that it didnot want a full search because it did not have enough agents onhand to secure the areas that had already been searched.

    Laine responded, ``I don't think that's true.''

    The law-enforcement official also said the police felt pressuredto search the building quickly because the evacuation had forcedpeople outside into a driving rainstorm.

    Shapiro, with his hands cuffed and wearing a bright red jailjumpsuit, did not speak during the brief bond hearing before JudgeKaren Cole. He is charged with felony counts of placing adestructive device and making a threat to place a bomb. After thehearing, the prosecutor, Richard Brown, said it was possible thatShapiro would also face federal charges.

    Shapiro's friends described him on Wednesday as a good-heartedman who was troubled by the failure of a business and the death ofhis parents at a young age. They said he could be outspoken aboutalmost any issue, particularly his skepticism of the Middle Eastpeace process that Peres embraced.

    After growing up in Jacksonville, Shapiro attended YeshivaUniversity in New York in 1988 and 1989, university officials said.He returned to Jacksonville and opened a kosher butcher shop, whichfailed after about two years, leaving him in debt, said his formerrabbi, Yitzchok Adler, who now has a congregation in West Hartford,Conn.

    Adler said Shapiro returned to New York, working in the koshermeat trade. He went back to Jacksonville last year and took a jobat a service station.

    ``Having lost both his father and his mother, Harry was a youngman with a tremendous amount of energy,'' the rabbi said, ``but itappears that he lacked the support and direction that he needed tomake good decisions.''

    A spokeswoman for Peres, Aliza Goren, said the Israeli leaderhad been informed of the bomb incident but had little reaction tothe apparent breach of security.

    ``Look,'' Ms. Goren said, ``he has had threats before and hetrusts his security guards and he is not afraid, not really.''

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    By FRANK RICH<

    c.1997 N.Y. Times News Service<

    ``I'm deeply hurt that people think I'm lying,'' said MadeleineAlbright Tuesday afternoon, an hour after her plane touched down inWashington, bringing her home from her 11-day international tour.``I have never been secretive about anything in my life. If ashrink wanted to deal with me, it would be primarily about the factI talk too much.''

    Albright had been pained to read in this space a week ago that Iand others questioned the credibility of her account of howrecently she discovered both her Jewish origins and hergrandparents' fate as Holocaust victims. Calling to speak her piece_ ``It may not make sense but it's the truth''—she attributed thecontradictions some of us heard in her previous public statementsabout her new-found history to her casual use of differentadjectives.

    ``I didn't have a lawyer,'' she said. ``I haven't written out myanswers. I'm trying to piece it together myself. I am deeplyregretful of having caused confusion on this ... '' Then sheaddressed what many have found to be the fault lines in her storyso far.

    Albright said that although she had received letters fromCzechoslovakia alluding to her Jewish background while she servedas the United Nations representative, she discounted them becausethey contradicted not only her parents' oft-told autobiographiesbut some of their official papers. Other letters were from``Serbians who hated my guts and said I was a whore and I was Jewish; I figured that was invective ...

    ``Finally I stopped reading the mail,'' she said, citing thehuge volume flooding her U.N. office. She says she simply neverreceived the conclusive letters about her origins sent by the mayorof her father's hometown—or the letter her first cousin, DagmarSima, recently tried to give her bodyguards when Albright visitedPrague. When Albright and her cousin met in Prague after the Berlinwall came down, Albright says, Ms. Sima never mentioned either thefamily's religious background or its concentration-camp casualties.

    It was only in mid-November of last year that Albright says shesaw new and more persuasive letters—and ``stuff in the Jewishpress''—detailing her family's roots. And so on the subject ofher Jewish ancestry, she was not quite as shocked by The WashingtonPost's revelations as her first public statements suggested. ``WasI totally surprised about my Jewish background? No. I had hintsalong the way. But I feel pretty stupid. It's like seeing a bunchof dots and when a person puts it all together, it makes sense ...I had not been sensitive enough to signs that my background wasdifferent than I thought it was.''

    But she says she ^was@ shocked to learn from The Post's MichaelDobbs that a number of members of her family had died in Terezinand Auschwitz. Given that she had already surmised her ancestors'Jewishness, and that the Holocaust has been central to her publicworld view, why didn't she immediately investigate or even guessthe most likely cause of their wartime deaths? ``I feel stupid anddeeply regretful at not having seen things that are obvious, andI'm going to do my damnedest to make it up ... Had I not beenimmersed in the work I was doing, I probably would have put thistwo and two together. I wish to God I had. If I'd been a professoror unemployed, I would have looked at this.''

    Last night she met with her sister and brother to learn of theirfindings in Czechoslovakia, where they traveled last week to meetwith Ms. Sima and others to gather facts. ``I would like thedefinitive story to be written,'' Albright said, and then despairedwhether anything she says now will put her ``incredibly sad andcomplex story'' to rest.

    Perhaps no closure is possible. Theodore Rabb, a historian atPrinceton who is a Czech Jewish emigre born the same year asAlbright, points out that the Holocaust's pull is deepeningthroughout the culture—as seen everywhere from the internationalrise of university chairs for Holocaust studies to the struggleover Swiss gold to Sunday night's extraordinary network audience of65 million Americans for ``Schindler's List.''

    Judging from my own response and those of so many vocal readers,even those well versed in the Holocaust have been roiled by theAlbright affair in one way or another. The violent reactions to herstory demonstrate that it's not only her relationship to theHolocaust that remains painful and unresolved.

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    ISRAEL TO BUILD NEW SETTLEMENT ON CAPTURED LAND

    c.1997 The Independent, London

    ISRAEL TO BUILD NEW SETTLEMENT ON CAPTURED LAND: From PATRICKCOCKBURN JERUSALEM - Israel yesterday (Wednesday) approved theconstruction of a new Jewish neighourhood on a tree-covered hill atHar Homa in East Jerusalem in the face of Palestinian andinternational protests. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli primeminister, made strenuous efforts to limit the politicalrepercussions of building 2,600 homes for Jews on land captured bythe Israeli army in 1967 by announcing more housing forPalestinians.

    In sharp contrast to the abrupt opening of a tunnel beneath theMuslim quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem last year, provokingviolence in which 61 Palestinians and 15 Israelis died, thegovernment is eager to downplay the significance of the Har Homaproject. ``It is a civil project which intends to alleviate thehousing shortage,'' said David Bar-Illan, the prime minister's headof communications. ``It is good for the Jews. It is good for theArabs.``

    Other members of the government were more forthright about themotives for building at Har Homa. Avigdor Kahalani, the Minister ofInternal Security, said construction would ``make unequivocallyclear that Jerusalem is the Jewish capital, and we can build withinits municipal boundaries.'' In response to Palestinian protests hesaid: ``We will do all we can to ensure none of us open fire. Ifsomeone opens fire, we will respond.``

    Overnight an Israeli undercover squad posing as Palestinianskilled Mohammed Abdel Haziz al-Halawi, 60, the father of tenchildren in the village of Hizma north of Jerusalem. Another threevillagers were wounded by gunshots when they stoned the squadreportedly under the impression that they were thieves or Israelisettlers. The dead man was shot through the knee and villagers saidhe bled to death because soldiers stopped his immediate evacuationto hospital. Jibril Rajoub, the head of Palestinian PreventiveSecurity in the West Bank, told Palestinians to stay in their homesto prevent the incident escalating.

    Ahmed Tibi, adviser to Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader,said: ``This is an abominable crime carried out by executionsquads, who are acting today as they did at the height of theoppression, as if there were no peace agreements and no politicalnegotiations.'' The Israeli civil and security police believe thatMr Arafat has no interest in provoking violence, but may be unableto prevent it. In order to prevent demonstrations the body of MrHalawi had not been released to his family by late afternoonyesterday.

    In order to take the edge off Palestinian anger the governmentis expected to announce that 3,500 building permits would be issuedto Palestinians in Jerusalem to build in the city. The promise willprobably have little impact since similar pledges have been made inthe past but without result. A poll at the week-end in the dailyMa'ariv found that 46 per cent of Israelis favour building at HarHoma, 29 per cent oppose and 25 per cent do not know.

    Har Homa, a long hill between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, wasexpropriated for the building of a settlement by Israel in 1991. Itwill complete a line of Jewish settlements in the south of the cityand will act as a wedge cutting into centres of Palestinianpopulation inside and outside the city boundaries.

    In order to reduce Arab anger Mr Netanyahu spoke by phone withEgyptian President Hosni Mubarak saying, according to a spokesman,that Israel ``intends to build about 2,000 housing units for Jewsin the Har Homa neighbourhood on land which is largely private andunder Jewish ownership.'' Mr Netanyahu has also implied that thenext stage of Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank will depend ona peaceful Palestinian acceptance of the Har Homa project.

    ^(Distributed by New York Times Special Features)@=

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    WORLD NEWS IN BRIEF

    c.1997 N.Y. Times News Service<

    SWISS AGREE TO SHARE CONTROL OF HOLOCAUST FUND

    BONN, Germany (NYT)—After 18 months of tortuous and sometimessecret negotiations that flared into public bitterness, the Swissgovernment agreed Wednesday to share control with leading Jewishgroups of a Holocaust memorial fund set up after criticism ofSwitzerland's financial dealings with Nazi Germany.

    The decision was announced in Bern, the Swiss capital, byForeign Minister Flavio Cotti. It represents a further shift awayfrom events late last year when a high Swiss official rejected alltalk of a Holocaust compensation fund as ``extortion andblackmail'' by American Jewish groups.

    The shift illuminated Switzerland's worries that adversepublicity concerning both its gold trading with Nazi Germany duringWorld War II and its obstructive postwar attitude toward claims ondormant Jewish-owned bank accounts would seriously damage itsbanking industry.

    3 TERRORIST BOMBS EXPLODE IN WESTERN CHINA

    BEIJING (NYT)—On Wednesday, the Western capital of Xinjiangwas under a high state of security alert after terrorist bombsripped through three public buses, killing five people and injuring60. The attacks, which were apparently in response to a broadsecurity crackdown ordered by the Communist Party leadership inBeijing to quiet the restive border region, were a graveembarrassment to Chinese authorities on the day of a memorialservice to Deng Xiaoping.

    A simmering revolt and seething ethnic conflict as Muslim ethnicminorities chafe under Chinese rule have turned much of WesternChina into a heavily armed garrison against sporadic, spontaneousand seemingly futile acts of rebellion. Earlier this month, riotserupted in the frontier city of Yining after Chinese policearrested dozens of Muslims. Young Muslims battled police, smashedstorefronts and attacked ethnic Han Chinese; the official deathtoll was nine, but Muslim leaders insist the actual death toll wasfar higher.

    STUDENT UNREST CONTINUES IN KENYA

    NAIROBI, Kenya (NYT)—For a fourth straight day, thousands ofstudents marched through the streets of this East African capitalWednesday in a widening campus revolt over the mysterious death ofa student leader last weekend.

    The protests began Sunday night as a call for an investigationinto the death of a popular student activist, Solomon Muruli, whobecame the fourth student leader to be killed in the last threemonths when an apparent firebomb exploded in his dormitory earlySunday morning.

    But the daily marches have begun to take on a more overtlypolitical tone, coming in a year when President Daniel arap Moimust hold presidential and parliamentary elections. Some studentshave begun to turn their invective on the government, suggestingthat Muruli was killed by the police because he was a potentialopposition leader.

    KIM'S APOLOGY MAY NOT BE ENOUGH

    TOKYO (NYT)—South Korea President Kim Young Sam appears tohave won sympathy from the public by apologizing for a scandal thathas engulfed his administration, but he has still not fully put theaffair behind him, according to political analysts and the resultsof opinion polls made public Wednesday.

    Although the apology may have bought Kim at least a temporaryrespite, the widening corruption scandal has severely damaged thecredibility of a man who took office pledging to root outcorruption.

    Kim is limited by law from running for a second term, but he maynow find it harder to govern in his final year. And he is expectedto have little influence in choosing his party's candidate for thepresidential election, which will be held in December.

    FRANCE DENOUNCES EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

    PARIS (NYT)—France, which has spent heavily over the years tomake sure the European Parliament stays in France, bitterlyattacked it Wednesday for criticizing a French bill to crack downon illegal immigration.

    Foreign Minister Herve de Charette denounced the ParliamentWednesday, after the European Parliament called for the withdrawalof the bill on the ground that it would require denunciations likethose the French were asked to make against Jews during World WarII.

    The Parliament's visiting president, or speaker, canceled aplanned meeting with de Charette Wednesday afternoon that wasintended to keep the process of furthering European unity workingsmoothly.

    <

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    ARAFAT AND HIS FOES SEEK COMMON PALESTINIAN GROUND

    By JOEL GREENBERG<

    c.1997 N.Y. Times News Service<

    NABLUS, West Bank— Islamic and leftist Palestinian groupsopposed to Yasser Arafat's self-rule accords with Israel joined hissupporters on Thursday in a ``national dialogue'' conference headedby Mr. Arafat to plan strategy for negotiations with the Israelison a final peace settlement.

    The meeting was the broadest gathering of Palestinian factionssince the signing of the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian accords, andtheir most serious attempt to reach common political ground sincethe start of negotiations between the Palestine LiberationOrganization and Israel.

    While no conclusions were reached on Thursday, participants saidthey had agreed to form a committee that will meet periodically tocontinue their dialogue.

    Participants said their aim was to arrive at an agreed documentthat would outline Palestinian positions in negotiations on apermanent settlement with Israel. Those talks formally opened lastMay and are supposed to resume next month, covering issues likeborders, the future of Jerusalem, Jewish settlements andPalestinian refugees.

    ``We want to discuss how all the political parties couldparticipate in really putting together a certain platform thatcould be acceptable to everybody,'' said Riyad al-Malki, arepresentative of the Popular Front for the Liberation ofPalestine, a leftist opposition faction.

    Muhammad al-Nashashibi, a member of Arafat's cabinet, said,``The essential issue is that we all agree upon a certain documentthat will be our reference for the coming negotiations.''

    In a speech opening the meeting, Salim Zaanoun, the chairman ofthe Palestine National Council, the largest decision-making body inthe PLO, urged participants in the conference to work for``national unity.''

    ``In the past, Palestinian factions took up arms because thatwas required by that stage,'' he said. ``Now we are at the stagethat requires all factions and parties on all national and Islamiclevels to stand in one line, in one trench, to deal with theproblems expected now.''

    Although the accords with Israel were endorsed by Arafat'smainstream Fatah faction in the PLO, they were bitterly denouncedby both Islamic and leftist Palestinian groups as a sellout ofPalestinian aspirations.

    The groups, which included the militant Islamic movement Hamasand two extreme leftist factions, the Popular Front for theLiberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberationof Palestine, boycotted the Palestinian elections held under theaccords last year. Scores of their members were arrested byArafat's security forces in crackdowns that followed deadly attackson Israelis.

    But pragmatic trends in these groups, and expectations that thecoming negotiations will focus on their concerns—especially thedemand for an independent state—led them to respond to aninvitation from Arafat's cabinet to join the ``national dialogue.''

    Although opposition representatives insisted on Thursday thattheir participation did not mean endorsement of the accords withIsrael, their presence in the discussions, presided over by Arafat,served as an important affirmation of his leadership.

    Earlier this week, the Popular Front and Democratic Frontannounced their withdrawal from a Damascus-based coalition of 10militant Palestinian groups opposed to the accords with Israel.Both factions are now seeking a role in the talks on a finalsettlement with Israel.

    Another militant Muslim group, Islamic Jihad, boycottedThursday's meeting.

    Jamal Mansour, a member of the Hamas delegation, said thatalthough his group would not be part of the talks with Israel, itwanted to strengthen the hand of the Palestinian negotiators.

    ``Hamas is outside the negotiations and doesn't expect much fromthem, but it will work to strengthen the negotiators, and willstand behind them, even though it may disagree with them,'' Mansoursaid.

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    ISRAEL PLANS JEWISH HOUSING IN EAST JERUSALEM

    By SERGE SCHMEMANN<

    c.1997 N.Y. Times News Service<

    JERUSALEM—The Israeli government on Wednesday approved thedevelopment of a large new Jewish neighborhood in East Jerusalem,drawing a chorus of Arab and international denunciation and defyingwarnings that the move could provoke a new wave of Palestinianrage.

    Seeking to defuse Palestinian anger, Prime Minister BenjaminNetanyahu went on Arabic radio and television to portray the widelyanticipated development decision as a benign attempt to alleviate ahousing shortage in Jerusalem, and even as a bid for ``peacefulcoexistence and harmony between Israelis and Palestinians, Jews andArabs.''

    But most Israelis, Palestinians and foreign governments saw thedecision to develop the first 2,500 of a planned 6,500 housingunits on a wooded lot in southern Jerusalem as a fateful step inthe bitter competition for Jerusalem.

    ``The struggle for Jerusalem has begun,'' the Israeli policeminister, Avigdor Kahalani, said as he went into a session of aspecial ministerial committee on Jerusalem affairs. ``When we takeour decision today, we will make it clear once and for all thatJerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people.''

    After the meeting, Cabinet Secretary Danny Naveh made theannouncement that the government would go ahead with thedevelopment of the units in an area known to Palestinians as JabalAbu Ghneim and to Israelis as Har Homa.

    Naveh said the government also approved work that would pave theway for construction of some 3,000 housing units for Palestiniansin various neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.

    Israeli nationalists, who had threatened to bring downNetanyahu's government if he did not approve the Har Homa project,also made no secret that they viewed the development as part of achain of Jewish neighborhoods around eastern Jerusalem that wouldpreclude any future division of the city.

    While Israelis maintain a united Jerusalem will always betheirs, the Palestinian Authority wants to see the old easternsection of the city, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967Middle East war, become the capital of the independent state ithopes to create.

    The Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, called an emergencymeeting of his negotiating team in Gaza after the Israeliannouncement. He made no immediate statement, but other Palestinianleaders, who have been warning of potential violence if Israel wentahead with the project, condemned the decision.

    ``This decision is a serious violation of the peace process anda major blow to the agreements,'' said Ahmed Abdel-Rahman, generalsecretary of the Palestinian Authority.

    The White House declared that the action ``further complicatesan already complicated situation.'' The European Union issued astatement saying it ``deeply deplores'' the decision, adding thatit had repeatedly stated that ``settlements in the occupiedterritories contravene international law and are a major obstacleto peace.''

    King Hussein of Jordan, who was Netanyahu's host in Ammanearlier this week, warned that the decision would ``fuel feelingsof anger that will create violence and threaten the peace-buildingprocess.''

    But in private messages to Arab and American officials,Netanyahu and his aides were said to have argued that the primeminister had no choice but to go ahead with the Har Homadevelopment if he was to survive in office.

    Earlier this month, several members of his coalition, evidentlyconcerned that Netanyahu was backing away from the right-wingplatform on which he was elected, warned that they would bring downhis government unless he promptly approved the construction in EastJerusalem.

    The challengers included members of Netanyahu's own Likud party,as well as Industry Minister Natan Sharansky and the leaders ofsmaller parties.

    Despite the various warnings that approval of the Har Homaproject could provoke a new wave of violence on the scale of whatfollowed the opening of the archaeological tunnel in the Old Citylast September, there was no certainty what the reaction would be.

    Arafat, who is due to fly to Washington next week to meet withPresident Clinton , was believed to be wary of permittinglarge-scale disorder.

    The United States told Israeli Cabinet officials that itobjected to the plan before the vote. It is expected to be a topicof discussion in meetings Arafat has with Clinton and Secretary ofState Madeleine Albright.

    Nicholas Burns, the State Department's spokesman, called forcalm on Wednesday, but added: ``Frankly, the United States wouldhave preferred a different decision. We would have preferred thatthis decision not have been taken.''

    In what appeared to be a further attempt to dissuade thePalestinians from reacting with violence, unnamed officials werequoted in Israeli newspapers as saying that any disorder could leadto a delay in the transfer of more West Bank lands to Palestiniancontrol. Under the agreement on withdrawing Israeli troops fromHebron that Arafat and Netanyahu reached last month, Israel alsoagreed that the first of three further pullbacks would take placeon March 6.

    There were unconfirmed reports that Netanyahu had agreed toincrease the territory he would transfer as compensation for HarHoma.

    There was little likelihood that any Palestinian would acceptNetanyahu's interpretation of the decision to build housing forJews as benign, or would view the proposed construction of housingfor Arabs as a balance to Har Homa.

    ``The plan entails a modest and long overdue investment ininfrastructures which will influence development obliquely and onlyat some undetermined date in the future,'' said a statement issuedby Peace Now, an Israeli organization that has long campaigned forpeace with the Palestinians. ``For the past 29 years purportedplans for Palestinian construction have been taken out of themothballs each time the Israeli government has implemented massivebuilding for Israelis in East Jerusalem. None of these plans hasbeen implemented.''

    According to Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups, morethan one-third of East Jerusalem has been annexed by Israel since1967, and more than 39,000 housing units have been built on it forJews, and none for Palestinians. Of the remaining land, 60 percentis undeveloped.

    The building plan does not involve displacing any Palestinians,since the land for the development was already expropriated in1991, and most of it, about 75 percent, had been owned by Jews. Inany case, actual construction was not expected to begin for atleast two weeks.

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