Newsletter : 7fax0123.txt
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>JN Jan. 23, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 15
Jewish Committee May Investigate Swiss Involvement
Jewish Agency Chairman Avraham Burg and World Jewish Congress
Secretary-General Israel Singer said Wednesday they will consider
establishing a special committee, together with the Israeli
government, to investigate Swiss financial activities during World
This follows the Swiss government's announced intention to
establish its own historical investigation committee, without the
participation of international representatives.
Burg, who is a member of the Volcker Committee -- the international
commission originally appointed to look into the matter -- said,
"We are concerned that there could be an attempt to rewrite
history...such a step would turn the Volcker Committee into a
He said that he would like the Volcker Committee to have access to
the full proceedings, criteria, and analysis of the Swiss
historical committee, "but if we must, we can go it alone."
Sweden Accepted Nazi Gold
Sweden reportedly received more gold from Germany during World
War II than previously known. The Stockholm neutral government
disregarded warnings that the gold may have been Nazi loot,
according to documents revealed Tuesday.
After the war, Sweden examined gold it had received from the Nazis
in payment for exports and it returned about 13 tons that
presumably had been stolen to Belgium and the Netherlands.
But a new investigation shows that Sweden received about 38 tons of
gold from the Nazis, according to a report on Swedish radio and in
the Dagens Nyheter newspaper, which cited documents in Swedish,
Swiss and American archives.
Their investigation was separate from a probe launched in late
December by the Riksbank, Sweden's central bank, to see if any
stolen Nazi gold remained in the bank's reserves.
Most of the gold believed to have been looted by the Nazis came
from occupied countries, from private holdings, and fillings from
the teeth of concentration camp victims.
Joint Tourism Campaign Underway
Israel, Jordan and Palestinians have begun a tourism campaign
to attract more American visitors. The slogan: "Peace -- It's
a Beautiful Sight."
Israel's Tourism Ministry said the advertisements will start
appearing in today's editions of The New York Times, Los Angeles
Times and The Washington Post. Ads will also air on Christian
The Tourism Ministry said Palestinian cooperation in the effort
follows last week's agreement on Israeli pullbacks on the West
The peace agreement reached last week calls for the redeployment of
Israeli troops in the West Bank in three phases, ending no later
than late 1998. Included in the deal was the Israeli handover of 80
percent of Hebron to Palestinian control early Friday. The city was
the last West Bank town under Israeli occupation.
South Africa Defers Sale to Syrian Military
By Alex Belida (VOA-Johannesburg)
South Africa's Cabinet has deferred further consideration of a
potential arms deal with Syria. The controversial possible sale
of sophisticated tank targeting technology has strained ties
between South Africa and the United States.
Cabinet Secretary Jakes Gerwel says South Africa's government has
deferred further consideration of the possible Syrian arms deal,
pending additional consultations. The various factors still under
review include the possible impact of US legislation on such a
It was disclosed earlier this month that South Africa was in the
running for a multimillion dollar sale of sophisticated tank fire
control systems to Syria. At that time, US officials warned that
future US assistance to South Africa could be jeopardized if the
deal goes through because Syria is on a US list of alleged state
sponsors of terrorism.
South African officials, including President Nelson Mandela, were
angered by the US warning. They said no country, no matter
how powerful, would be allowed to dictate South African foreign
policy. US Ambassador James Joseph later said no one in the
Clinton administration was threatening South Africa.
Doing Business With the Palestinian Authority
Israel's main telephone company, Bezek Communications, has
subtracted the 45-million-shekel debt owed it by the Palestinian
Authority from the royalties it pays the Finance Ministry. Bezek's
Director-General Yitzchak Kaoul explained that the PA has not paid
its debts to Bezek ever since its inception three years ago, and
that this was the first time the company had taken such drastic
In a related item, the Ministry of Transportation has demanded that
the PA return all of the vehicles that have been stolen from Israel
and brought to the autonomous areas. In a meeting between officials
of the Ministry and the PA, Finance Ministry Director-General
Nachum Langental also said that the PA must ensure that its
vehicles meet the required safety standards, or else they will not
be allowed to operate within the State of Israel.
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