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>Israel Faxx
>June 5. 1997. Vol. 5, No. 102

European Ties with Nazis will be Investigated

The World Jewish Restitution Organization has accepted a proposal by Jewish Agency Chairman Avraham Burg to establish an international Commission of Inquiry into the financial transactions between Nazi Germany and various European governments, in connection with looted property of Holocaust victims. Burg said, "Not a single European country remains unstained by the plundering of the Jews. There must be a limit to their hypocrisy. They can't murder us [when we are] rich, and then call us poor beggars."


Six Days Which Shook the Arab World

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israel is observing the 30th anniversary of the Six-Day War, in which it captured east Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai and the Golan Heights. For Palestinians, the anniversary has a very different meaning -- the start of an occupation that for many has not ended.

The 1967 song "Jerusalem of Gold" -- the emotional high point of the official Israeli ceremony Wednesday evening on a Jerusalem hill where one of the war's toughest battles was fought. Gunfire sounds like gunfire, but this was the sound of the Six-Day War, an astounding Israeli victory over combined Arab armies, which changed the map of the Middle East and the essence of the Middle East conflict. When the shooting stopped, it was replaced by the blowing of a shofar.

A rabbi entering the holiest Jewish site in east Jerusalem's Old City for the first time blew a shofar, a ram's horn, in a traditional sign that something momentous had happened. The prime minister's chief spokesman David bar Illan explains. "Obviously it was an event of monumental significance in the history of the Jews -- reentering the most important part of the city where the holy places are. So I don't think one can exaggerate the significance of that. And if the Six-Day War can be defined in terms of its achievements, I think the greatest of all these achievements would be the liberation of Jerusalem."

At Wednesday's ceremony, memories of fallen soldiers and joy at the unification of Jerusalem mixed with political declarations of commitment to keep the city united. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that for Israelis, and for all Jews, capture of the Old City was the culmination of nearly 2,000 years of dreams and prayers. But for Palestinians the 1967 war has a much different meaning.

Fouad Jabr was a young man in 1967, a resident of Jericho whose family had fled the coastal town of Jaffa in 1948. He was visiting Jerusalem on the day the war started. "I can't forget the fifth of June 1967. We had been waiting for a liberation of Palestine, for the liberation of my Jaffa. And I see Israelis coming to Jericho. I didn't expect that. I knew that we are strong. Israel is small. Now we know who is Israel. We didn't know what's Israel. And it was very difficult for me. As a matter of fact, it was a shock."

After 30 years, Jabr is able to be philosophical about the war and all that followed. "I can say that it was a very important experience for us. In a way it was very bad, because of the occupation. Nobody likes occupation. We hate it. On the other hand, maybe it taught us, most of the people, to rethink and evaluate what happens and learn from that experience different things. I can say we learned a lot."

Jabr, who is now general manager of the Arab Land Bank in Jerusalem, says the main goal now should be to end the occupation by completing the peace process and clearly defining both Israeli and Palestinian rights. Israel is also looking for a new arrangement, rolling back, to some extent, the expansion it won in 1967. But David bar Illan says that is not likely to go as far as Palestinians want, particularly regarding Jerusalem.

"I don't think any government in Israel can even contemplate the idea of redividing it or sharing any kind of political control or sovereignty over the city. What is discussible and negotiable is obviously what already exists and to a certain extent can be broadened, and that is the Islamic control over the Temple Mount, the administration of neighborhoods, that kind of thing."

After 30 years, the double-edged legacy of the Six-Day War remains, shaping the continuing conflict and the continuing efforts to end it.


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