SEPTEMBER 27, 1996
As Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers continue to battle and shed blood for a third day, many ask if the peace process will ever recover from the unrest caused by the opening of a tunnel entrance near two of Islam's most holiest sites. After this background report on the latest struggles, Charlayne Hunter-Gault discusses the situation with former Secretary of State James Baker and former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski.
A RealAudio version of this NewsHour segment is available.
Sept. 27, 1996
Former Secretary of State James Baker and former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski question the commitment of current Likud government to the peace process.
Sept. 26, 1996
Officials from the opposing sides in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict give their viewpoints on why the recent violence erupted and what can be done.
July 30, 1996
President Mubarak of Egypt discusses his first meeting with Israel's President Netanyahu
May 30, 1996
Netanyahu's victory in the Israeli elections.
May 28, 1996
Charles Krause looks at the political forces that shape how Israeli's vote.
April 26, 1996
After a week of shuttling between Israel and Syria, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher announced a comprehensive ceasefire to end the hostilities in southern Lebanon.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: The flash point of this crisis has been the opening of a second door of a tunnel in the old city of Jerusalem. The tunnel runs from the Western Wall or Wailing Wall, a holy Jewish place, alongside two sacred Moslem places, the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The second entrance was opened early Tuesday morning. We start with a report from Gaby Rado of Independent Television News.
GABY RADO: --at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, the third holiest place to Muslims. Below the wall surrounding it the tunnel opened by the Israelis which sparked off this week's carnage.
Inevitably, some of the faithful picked up stones and threw them at the Israeli troops out of sight here. Then of course the bullets began to fly.
First reports spoke of three dead and at least 50 people injured. For the third day running Palestinian frustration had provoked an uncompromising Israeli military response.
For the third day running, casualties among the Arabs outnumbered those suffered by the Israelis. But no sign that the anger feeding the violence was going to abate.
By mid-afternoon, there were other flare-ups on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, resulting in the deaths of two Israeli policemen and a Palestinian.
Once the shooting had died away on Temple Mount, Israeli police swamped the streets inside and outside the old city of Jerusalem. The tension between them and the Palestinian residents of the area was obvious.
The high state of alert of the Israeli security forces has not served to intimidate the Arab population. It's clear that at the moment any incident could have set this nervous stand-off. The crisis has not been resolved. It is smothered for a while in a security blanket.
The funerals today of Israeli soldiers killed by Palestinian guns, always this nation's worst nightmare, brought out agonizing doubts of the wisdom of the government's actions. The full cabinet meeting today is responsible for the decision on opening the west wall tunnel which led to a blood bath.
While closing the tunnel has been ruled out, the official line remains that it's a mere tourist attraction. There is now an admission that the consequences have not been thought through.
DAVID BAR-ILAN, Israeli Prime Minister's Spokesman: We did not really expect this kind of havoc to occur.
It was perhaps a miscalculation, but the fact is that we thought that a step of this kind, which could only conduce to greater prosperity in the city of Jerusalem and benefit particularly its Arab population should be part and parcel of the peace process and should be welcomed by the whole world and, of course, by the Arabs themselves.
The fact that it was not was a great surprise.
|Support the kind of journalism done by the NewsHour...Become a member of your local PBS station.|