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>Israel Faxx
>JN March 13, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 44

Sweden to Probe Wartime Past

Sweden has agreed to launch a full-scale probe into its wartime dealings with the Nazis, the World Jewish Congress said. Executive Director Elan Steinberg said Sweden promised a thorough examination of its handling of bank accounts of Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Sweden was one of four neutral nations in Europe whose dealings have come under WJC scrutiny in the aftermath of Swiss dealings, surrounding unclaimed bank accounts of Jews believed to have perished at the hands of the Nazis during World War 2.

World Gangs Up on Israel at U.N.

By Elaine Johanson (VOA-United Nations)

The UN General Assembly Wednesday opened debate on Israeli construction plans in east Jerusalem, after the United States last week vetoed a resolution in the Security Council. The Assembly session is expected to continue into today.

Non-aligned and Arab countries are working on another resolution that Israel is likely to lose because governments cannot veto Assembly decisions. Resolutions of the General Assembly are not legally binding. But the UN body -- which seats the entire UN membership -- delivers what are considered widely as moral victories to aggrieved parties who are rebuffed in the more prestigious Security Council.

Meanwhile, Israel continues to reject UN involvement in the present crisis. Ambassador David Peleg accused the Palestinians of pursuing a contentious course: "What are the Palestinians seeking from the UN? To turn the clock back to the dark days preceding the peace process? To the days of enmity, confrontation and stagnation? The multitude of UN resolutions relating to the Arab-Israeli conflict failed to advance the peace process even one inch."

However, the Palestinian representative argued Israeli intransigence on the housing issue has left his people with no alternative but to seek political support at the United Nations.

The United States supports Israel's position -- not on east Jerusalem, but on keeping the United Nations out of the peace process. Washington rejected last week's resolution in the Security Council also on the grounds that it made sweeping assumptions about the illegality of all Israeli settlements.

Netanyahu Angry at UN Intervention

By Elizabeth Arrott (VOA-Moscow)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lashed out at his critics and said any plans to convene an international conference on Middle East peace would violate earlier agreements. Diplomatic pressure is on Netanyahu to call off several controversial plans.

But the Israeli leader seemed more annoyed than persuaded. "I am getting, frankly, fed up with the idea that everything we do is a violation of the agreement and everything the Palestinians say is in compliance with the agreement. That is not the case."

Speaking to reporters in Moscow, Netanyahu blasted opponents critical of plans to build Jewish housing in east Jerusalem. He said the proposal is in accordance with the previous peace deal.

However, the Israeli prime minister added a conference scheduled by Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat for Saturday could violate that pact. Netanyahu said if the aim of the meeting is to draw new guidelines for peace, Israel opposes the idea. The purpose of the Saturday meeting remains unclear.

A King Comes to America

By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Cairo)

Jordan's King Hussein left for Spain and the United States Wednesday. The crisis in the peace process is at the top of his agenda for talks with Spanish and US officials. King Hussein's visit to Washington follows similar meetings by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat.

King Hussein is sure to bring up the latest crisis in the peace process, which was fueled by Israel's decision to build new homes for Jews in east Jerusalem.

Jordan has been on relatively good terms with Israel since signing a peace treaty in 1994. But this week, King Hussein sent an angry message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accusing him of destroying hopes for peace and -- the Jordanian monarch added "All that I believe in or have worked to achieve."

King Hussein and Mubarak had already warned the Israeli leader building new homes in east Jerusalem would violate the interim agreements signed with the Palestinians and could undermine the peace process. Netanyahu's recent visits to Amman and Cairo did not succeed in easing tensions.

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