Newsletter : 7fax0220.txt
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>JN Feb. 20, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 30
Netanyahu Gave 50-50 Map to Clinton
Prime Minister Netanyahu presented a map to President Clinton
last week, according to which Israel is willing to concede 50% of
the territories to the Palestinians, the New York Times reported
Wednesday. According to the map, Israel will continue to rule over
the Jordan Valley, east-west arteries, and a security zone along
the length of the Green Line.
Nazis Shipped Gold to Spain and Portugal
By Larry Freund (VOA-New York)
U-S Sen. Alfonse d'Amato said Wednesday new documents have been
located showing details of the shipment of 188 tons of gold held by
Nazi Germany from Switzerland to Spain and Portugal during World
According to d'Amato, documents located in the US National Archives
show that 124 truckloads of gold held by Nazi Germany were sent
from Switzerland to both Spain and Portugal. The shipments took
place between January 1942 and May 1944. The senator says some of
the gold came from countries then occupied by Nazi Germany and
their peoples and some from victims of the Holocaust.
The value of the gold at the time was $157 million. Its current
value, according to d'Amato, would be more than $1.5 billion.
According to the documents 45 truckloads of gold were sent to
Spain and 79 to Portugal. The documents list the names of the
Portuguese and Spanish banks that are said to have received the
gold and, according to the senator, even list the license plate
numbers of the trucks.
D'Amato has been pressing Switzerland to investigate its policies
during World War 2 and its holdings of assets that belonged to
victims of the Holocaust. Swiss banks have agreed to establish a
$70 million humanitarian fund for surviving victims of the
Holocaust and families of the victims. Last week, Jewish leaders
reached agreement in New York with Swiss officials to establish a
restitution fund for Holocaust survivors.
However, in a statement, d'Amato says even if a small fraction of
the gold reportedly shipped from Switzerland to Portugal and Spain
belonged to Holocaust victims, that is still much more than the $70
million now being offered by Swiss banks in restitution.
The senator says he has sent letters to the Spanish and Portuguese
ambassadors to the United States asking their countries to assist
the US Senate Banking Committee -- which the senator heads -- in
determining what happened to the gold.
Joint Tourism Effort Underway
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Autonomy Authority have
launched a joint program to promote tourism. Tourism officials want
to use Israel's withdrawal from most of Hebron to create a new
image for the city, the rest of the West Bank, Israel and Jordan.
They say this is the start of a new era of peace, and they are
inviting people in North America, Europe and Asia to come and have
The director general of the Palestinian Tourism Ministry, Bajis
Ismail, said "My hope really is to have this tourism movement even
push the political leaders, you know, to go ahead with the peace
process and to see, I mean, the fruits of such an effort."
It is a tough but important challenge for the Palestinian and
Israeli tourism officials. Even with Israeli troops out of 80
percent of Hebron, tension continues in that city and elsewhere.
Officials note tourists have never been targeted in the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but they also acknowledge any
violence scares people away, as it did last year to a devastating
Tourism is tremendously important to Israel, bringing in more than
$3 billion last year, despite the troubled environment. It is much
smaller in the Palestinian areas, but Ismail says the Palestinian
economy desperately needs the kind of boost growth in tourism could
"We do hope that this sector, this tourism sector, will play the
major role to our national economy, since we don't have that much
natural resources or any other natural wealth, we have to develop
the region and we have the potential, we have the people who are
used to welcoming of tourists hundreds of years, so we can really
compete in this field."
Ismail says the Palestinian areas have many tourist attractions,
most notably in Bethlehem and Jericho. But he acknowledges the
Palestinian Authority needs to improve the sites and nearby
accommodations, and to get the word out through efforts like the
joint campaign with Israel and Jordan. If it does, he believes
there is great potential. "Tourism is part of our history. We have
been welcoming tourism, or tourists, since two-thousand years."
Blind Bugs are Safer
A unique flower and gardening exhibition was staged in Kibbutz
Ga'ash Wednesday. One of the new developments is a greenhouse
whose wall-panels can reflect light in such a way that insects
that have managed to enter the greenhouse will be blinded and
unable to cause damage. This eliminates the necessity of spraying
the flowers in the greenhouse with insecticides, and the flowers
will be able to be grown organically.
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