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>Israel Faxx
>JN May 8, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 83

Israel Denies Spying on U.S.A.

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel has denied a report in the Washington Post Wednesday which says the US government has evidence that a senior US official is spying for Israel.

Israeli officials have called the report "baseless," "a fabrication," and "first class nonsense." They say Israel does not engage in spying in the United States, and they accuse what they call "hostile elements" in the US government of making up the story and giving it to the Post.

The newspaper says the FBI has a tape of a conversation between two Israeli intelligence officials, in which they discuss whether a spy in the US government, code named "Mega," can obtain a secret document related to the Middle East peace process. According to the transcript, one of the agents informs the other that is not the type of job "Mega" does.

The document in question is a letter from former Secretary of State Warren Christopher making certain unpublished assurances to Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. The letter, sent in January, has never been made public. According to the Post report, Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Eliahu ben Elissar, had asked Israeli intelligence to obtain the letter. On Wednesday, the ambassador denied making any such request.

"The whole story is baseless. It is absolutely untrue. Those sources are either bad, or evil, or evil-intentioned. And may I tell you right away that Israel is not involved in any covert operations or intelligence operations dealing with United States classified material."

Ben Elissar says such operations would be against the policies of successive Israeli governments. The United States and Israel are staunch allies, and reports of spying, in either direction, always generate sharp criticism and high emotions.

Israel frequently asks for the release of US spy Jonathan Pollard, who was convicted by a US court in 1986 of passing US military secrets to israel. He is serving a life term in a US prison.

Israel says Pollard's operation was not officially authorized, and that he should be released. But denying a clemency request last year, President Clinton cited the seriousness of Pollard's crime and his apparent lack of remorse.

Nazis Melted Holocaust Victims' Gold Teeth

By Ron Pemstein (VOA-State Department)

The United States has released its long awaited report on all American government records on the transfer of stolen gold from Nazi Germany to Switzerland and other neutral countries during World War 2.

What is new in the historical study of 11 US government agency records is that Nazi Germany melted down gold taken from victims of the Holocaust and mixed it into gold bars that the Nazis transferred to Switzerland to finance the war.

The United States estimates that Nazi Germany transferred $400 million worth of gold to Switzerland during the war, nearly $4 billion in today's terms. There is no way to estimate how much of that gold was obtained from concentration camp victims' gold coins, jewelry and gold teeth fillings. This was melted into gold ingots that could not be distinguished from the bulk of the gold taken from captured central banks.

Much of the criticism in the report is leveled at Switzerland, which received the gold from the Germans in exchange for Swiss francs and war supplies.

The report accuses Switzerland of failing to comply with a 1946 agreement with the United States to liquidate hundreds of millions of dollars worth of German assets to benefit war victims.

A Swiss spokesman in Washington says post-war Swiss officials were acting under a legalistic interpretation of international law. This stated that gold captured from occupied governments was legal to accept.

Thomas Bore is the head of the Swiss task force that focusses on the war years. He tells reporters the only news in the American report is that victims' private gold was mixed with captured government gold.

"If this is really true, it is grave news of the most shocking nature. The degree of cynicism and cold bloodedness it would take for the Nazi brutes to remelt their victims' gold and resell it as regular central bank gold is almost beyond our comprehension."

The American study was ordered by President Clinton after Sen. Alphonse d'Amato (R., N.Y.) accused Switzerland of a continued lack of moral responsibility. D'Amato says the United States should re-open the 1946 Washington agreement with Switzerland.

"I certainly do believe that we should re-open or examine the Washington accords and ask for all the documentation -- and let me tell you the Swiss have them, unless they have already hit the shredder at Swiss Union Bank."

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