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>Israel Faxx
>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 War II.

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 rubber stamp."

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 television networks.

The Tourism Ministry said Palestinian cooperation in the effort follows last week's agreement on Israeli pullbacks on the West Bank.

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 sale.

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 action.

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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