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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                       May 24, 1996 V4, #96
All the News the Big Guys Missed

Arafat Calls for Arab Solidarity on Jerusalem

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

The Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, has called for a summit of Arab and Muslim countries to generate support for the Palestinians as they enter final status talks with Israel, particularly regarding the issue of Jerusalem. Arafat presented his 100-page government program to the Palestinian Council in Gaza Thursday, pledging to do everything he has promised in agreements with Israel, and to insist Israel do the same.

He also said that in the final round of negotiations, which has just begun, he will press for the creation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. Israel says it will never share sovereignty in Jerusalem with the Palestinians.

Perhaps with that in mind, Arafat said he wants a summit to build solidarity on the Jerusalem issue and other Palestinian demands. There have been reports of plans for such a meeting in Jordan next month.

Arafat also called for more international involvement in the peace process, and for more help from Israel for the Palestinian economy.

Poll: Peres Ahead by 5 Percentage Points

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

The last of the weekly pre-election public opinion polls in Israel indicate Prime Minister Shimon Peres is holding a lead of about 5 percentage points over opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, with the voting set for next Wednesday. The polls were published Thursday, rather than today, because of Shavuot.

The surveys also indicate Peres' Labor Party will be the largest in parliament, taking about one-third of the 120 seats, with Netanyahu's Likud not far behind. Whichever man wins in Israel's first direct election for the prime minister will have to form a coalition with smaller parties representing the political right or left, plus religious, immigrant and/or Israeli Arab parties.

Both candidates had interviews published Thursday in Yediot Aharonot. Netanyahu pressed his accusation that Peres will agree to share Jerusalem with the Palestinians, and he promised to take a tougher line in negotiations with both the Palestinians and Syria. Netanyahu also said he would call for a new Middle East peace conference to reorganize the peace process established at the Madrid Conference in 1991.
Peres strongly denied the charge he will divide Jerusalem, and said Netanyahu's claim that he can make peace with Syria without relinquishing the Golan Heights is false. He also renewed his charge that Iran is trying to sponsor a terrorist attack aimed at reducing his chances of reelection and derailing the peace process.

Israel has announced unprecedented security measures for the election. There will be a full closure of the Palestinian territories, and 20,000 police officers and soldiers will be mobilized to provide security at polling stations and elsewhere. Nearly 4 million Israelis are eligible to vote.

Documents Accuse Swiss, Swedes of Aiding Nazis

(RNS) Previously secret American intelligence reports from World War II are now becoming public, embarrassing some of Europe's most famous
banks and companies by claiming they aided the Nazis.

Neither the International Red Cross nor the family of war hero Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Jews from the Nazis, is spared from the scathing accusations.

Newly released documents named Switzerland as a major conduit for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold looted by the Nazis during the war.

The documents are among thousands from the files of "Operation Safehaven," a U.S. intelligence effort just after the war that tried to find out how Germany used Switzerland, Sweden and other neutral countries to hide its assets.

Historians say the documents could shed new light on previously unknown economic crimes committed during the war. Among the most tantalizing of the documents is a 1944 one that recounts a secret meeting in Strasbourg, France, at which Nazi leaders told top German industrialists the war was lost and ordered the businessmen to finance an underground network aimed at restoring the party to power.

"Operation Safehaven" came to light during a dispute late last year between the World Jewish Congress and the Swiss Bankers Association over whether Swiss banks kept assets of Holocaust victims in their banks. When the bankers initially refused to waive secrecy rules and allow an independent audit, the WJC started combing the U.S. National Archives for material and the U.S. Senate Banking Committee joined the hunt.

A 1945 document said the Red Cross smuggled Nazis' assets and valuables across Europe in diplomatic pouches. Another said that while Raoul Wallenberg tried to save the Jews of Budapest from the Nazis, his family's bank collaborated with the Germans.

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