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>JN March 10, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 41

Book Charges Swiss Blocked Jewish Claims

A book by English journalist Tom Bauer, "Blood Money," says Switzerland lied about Jewish assets left behind after World War 2, and blocked post-war claims for their return. The author charges Swiss banks secretly withheld interest payments on accounts held by Jews living under the Nazi regime. The book, which will be published on April 7, quotes previously-unpublished documents showing that at least 27 Swiss banks agreed in 1937 to deduct interest from Jewish accounts.

Archive Shows Germany Planned WW2 from 1925

A German news magazine, Die Zeit, reports recently discovered records show Germany began planning for World War 2 as early as 1925 -- 10 years before Adolf Hitler disavowed the Versailles Treaty, which ended World War 1.

Die Zeit said the German plans were found in the U.S. National Archives and called for the limited 100,000 man force permitted after World War 1 to expand to the 2.8 million men Hitler had when Poland was invaded in 1939.

The Nazi forces' structure -- eight complete armies, 102 divisions and 252 generals -- matched the plan commissioned while Hitler was still a small-time rabble-rouser in Munich, Die Zeit reported.

"If the prosecutors at the Nuremberg war crimes trial had known about it, the German general staff would probably not have been acquitted but would have been indicted for conspiring against the peace," an amateur historian, Carl Dirks, who was an officer in the Tank Corps during World War 2, told the magazine.

Die Zeit said the plan was the "key document" that proved historians' long-held suspicions that the German military elite planned revenge for Germany's World War 1 defeat even before Hitler came to power in 1933 and ordered rearmament.

Arabs Condemn U.S. Veto of U.N. Anti-Israel Resolution

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)

The 22-nation Arab League has condemned a US veto of a UN Security Council draft resolution calling for Israel to stop plans to build new Jewish housing in east Jerusalem.

The Arab League says Washington's action at the UN contradicts its earlier criticism of the Israeli decision. President Clinton had criticized the Israeli policy as harmful for the peace process, but the US administration vetoed the draft resolution against Israel, which was backed by the other 14 members of the Security Council.

The statement says Washington is also contradicting its own position on Israeli settlements, which it had called illegal and a detriment to the peace process.

At a special session of the Arab League, Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat warned the Israeli action would blow up efforts to push the process forward. During a visit to the United States, he went to New York to talk with UN delegates about the situation. The league's sharp words against Washington's veto are echoed in newspaper editorials and official comments across the region.

The opposition Egyptian newspaper Al-Wafd called it an invitation to violence. The official Syrian newspaper Al Thawra called it unjust and a hostile act toward the Arabs.

Arab states have long complained about US ties to Israel and what they see as Washington's bias toward the Jewish state in the peace process.

The foreign ministers of Syria and Iran meeting Sunday in Damascus also criticized the US veto. Syria's foreign minister says it will not help peace efforts. Iran's foreign minister says it is a lesson for Muslim states. Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei has described it as American global arrogance.

The Arab-language Al Hayat newspaper suggests an Arab boycott of US products to protest the action. Why not boycott US products for two or five years, the newspaper asks, so the United States realizes it cannot humiliate the Arabs.

Mubarak Meets Today With Clinton

By Deborah Tate (VOA-White House)

President Clinton meets with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at the White House Monday to discuss the Middle East peace process. Israel's plans to build a Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem is expected to top the agenda. The meeting comes one week after Clinton met with Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, and expressed concern about the Israeli housing plan, saying it would not help build confidence among the parties.

Friday, Egypt's Foreign Minister Amr Moussa, in Washington for a meeting with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, agreed with the US position, and made his country's stand on the issue clear. "Our position is that it is also illegal and it is also detrimental to the peace process."

The Israeli housing plans are just one issue Presidents Clinton and Mubarak are expected to discuss. They will also likely talk about the scheduled start of so-called "final status" negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians aimed at finding a permanent peace settlement, and prospects for resuming talks between Israel and Syria, which broke-off a year ago.

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