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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
May 4, 1995, V3, #82
All the News the Big Guys Missed
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The Jews, the Saudis and VE Day
By Laurie Kassman (Cairo)
Even before victory in May of 1945, the Allies were worrying about
the fate of millions of Jewish refugees who had survived the
Holocaust. On their way home from talks with Soviet leader Josef
Stalin in Yalta, US President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime
Minister Winston Churchill decided separately to consult with Saudi
Arabia's King Abdul Aziz about the controversial issue of Israel.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Kheir who, as a young press aide to the king,
was at the historic summits. Abdullah remembers his leader warning
of trouble in the Middle East.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Kheir was in his 20s working as a press aide to
the Saudi king when he was asked to join the entourage for the
shipside summit with Roosevelt at the entrance of the Suez Canal.
It was Feb. 14, 1945.
He remembers Roosevelt as eager to talk about the plight of Jewish
refugees and hopeful that Saudi support would prevent fanatical
Arab reaction to the idea of a Jewish state in Palestine.
"His Majesty told him it's a very simple problem to be solved
immediately. What's that. He said all those who left their houses
in Romania, Poland, Germany and so on. They know their houses there
and they are still keeping the keys with them. And now you finish
the war. No more Hitler. No more Mussolini. Let them go back to
their homes. They will be very happy to find their homes, to find
their places. But, he said, if you are going to correct the
mistakes of Hitler by taking Arabs from Palestine and making them
go outside of their country -- the same thing as the Jews -- that
is not right."
Abdullah says Roosevelt was surprised when King Abdul Aziz oppposed
the creation of Israel and warned that forcing Palestinians to
become refugees would only cause trouble for generations to come.
Roosevelt promised to continue the consultations with the Saudi
king and other Arab leaders. "President Roosevelt gave him a
promise which he believed. He told him the United States is not
going to do anything against the Arabs, against the right of
the Arabs in this question of Palestine. This is very clear and
very good thing since there will be nothing against the Arabs."
Both Churchill and Roosevelt talked with King Abdul Aziz about a
new international organization to prevent more wars. They invited
the Saudi leader to help establish the United Nations.
"At the end of the meeting in Egypt, Mr. Churchill and President
Roosevelt told His Majesty we are about to finish the war. Oh
there is Japan but it will take only a few months. So we like you
to join us to declare war against Hitler because we are thinking --
there was a League of Nation at that time so we are going to leave
it because it is not good. And we are going to make another one
and we will make the United Nations. So we would like you to be
one of those founders. He (the king) said 'Yes, when I go back to
my country I will declare war because from the beginning I am with
you and democracy.'"
While King Abdul Aziz welcomed the creation of the United Nations,
Sheik Abdullah says the Saudi ruler never fully accepted the
creation of Israel and feared the Palestinian dilemma would haunt
the Arab world. Glancing at the souvenir photo of the historic
summit that sits in his Jeddah living room, Abdullah says he has
lived long enough to see his leaders' worst fears come true.
Rabin: Israel Fully Supports U.S. Dual Containment Strategy Against
Iran and Iraq
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has reiterated Israel's support for
Washington's dual containment strategy against Iran and Iraq during
a meeting with visiting U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Madeleine
Rabin said radical Islamic fundamentalists have caused many
casualties in Israel over the last few months. "Therefore," Rabin
said, "we are more determined to fight until the end."
Albright told Rabin that the U.S. is determined to act against both
Iran and the terrorists supported by Teheran. Foreign Minister
Shimon Peres told Albright that Iraq is seeking ways to contact
Israel. However, Peres said the Iraqi overtures have been answered
If Arafat Goes, Intelligence Reports Say Peace May Suffer
The Senate Intelligence Committee has published a recent U.S.
intelligence report concerning Israel. According to the report,
Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat may have no immediate
successor should he be removed from office. After six months, power
would probably be transferred to a loose coalition of his
supporters that would result in a slow-down of the peace process
and an increase in Hamas activities.
The report also said there is no evidence that the Palestinian
Authority is involved in terrorist activity. According to the U.S.
intelligence assessment, the danger of Israel being attacked in the
near future is very low because of the poor condition of armies in
Iran, Iraq and Syria. Nevertheless, Israel faces a future threat
from surface-to-surface missiles that may carry warheads of mass
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