Newsletter : 6fax1218.txt
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>PD Dec. 18, 1996, Vol. 4, No. 229
Jewish Leader Disputes Swiss Claim on Nazi Profits
The Swiss National Bank made a profit of more than $3 billion
in looted Nazi gold, rather than $4.8 million as a top Swiss bank
official claimed last week, World Jewish Congress Vice President
Kalman Sultanik said. "The Swiss neglected to include capital
gains in their estimate. The gold they are talking about was looted by
the Nazis from throughout Europe and they were able to keep
about $240 million which is worth about $3 billion today."
U.S. Words Express Impatience with Israel
By David Gollust (VOA Washington)
The United States is expressing increasing impatience about the
lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on Hebron.
US officials say all the ingredients for a deal were in place
The redeployment of Israeli troops from most of Hebron in the West
Bank was to have taken place last March under the 1995 Oslo
Accords. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said the United
States and other countries supporting the regional peace process
have a right to expect action on the Hebron issue.
"It is not unreasonable for the United States and other countries
to be disappointed that this agreement -- which is fairly straight
forward -- should not have been put together by now. We are
asking the Israelis and Palestinians to put their shoulders to the
wheel to get the deal done. This is a time of great tension in the
The remarks came one day after some direct criticism of Israel's
settlement policy by Clinton that could foreshadow a tougher US
approach in the second term.
The president said the decision by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu to reinstate subsidies for expansion of settlements was
an effort to preempt an issue that Israel and the Palestinians had
agreed to settle later in so-called final status negotiations. He
also said new settlements would -- absolutely -- be an obstacle to
Burns branded as impolite an Israeli official's depiction of the US
criticism as "semantic posturing." He said Clinton has displayed
support for Israel and its security "in a thousand different ways"
and that when he speaks, friendly governments should listen with
Israel Rejects Clinton's Criticism
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel has rejected criticism from President Clinton that its
settlement policy is an obstacle to peace. Israel says it can
pursue peace with the Palestinians while at the same time allowing
existing settlements in the West Bank and Gaza to grow in what
officials call "a natural way."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will not start
any new West Bank settlements, at least for now. But his
spokesman, Moshe Fogel, says there is no reason not to build in
"The same status that we allot Israelis living in Judea and Samaria
is the same status that was allotted to the previous government to
Israelis living in the Gaza Strip or the Golan Heights. So
logically speaking, why was it possible to conduct negotiations
with Syria about the Golan Heights in the previous administration
while the Israeli residents living there had a priority status, and
then say the same logic doesn't apply to residents of Judea and
Samaria? It doesn't make sense to us."
Palestinian officials say they want some guarantee Netanyahu will
make further withdrawals required by the peace agreement signed by
his predecessors. But Israeli officials privately say the prime
minister is reluctant to make such promises until he has a better
idea what the final Israeli-Palestinian accord will look like.
Tuesday, Israel eased the closure it imposed on the West Bank town
of Ramallah a week ago, following the killing of an Israeli woman
and her son in a drive-by shooting. The assailants apparently fled
into Ramallah, but Palestinian police have reportedly made good
progress toward finding them.
Iranian Navy Strengthened by Acquisition of Russian Subs
Iran recently acquired from Russia a third conventional
submarine, completing a $600 million deal which, according to
senior Israeli officials, will make Iran the leading naval power in
the Persian Gulf.
Israeli security authorities and American intelligence officials
are worried about what they call Iran's accelerated acquisition of
arms. Iran obtained the first two Russian submarines in 1992, but
the purchase of the third was delayed due to financial
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