Newsletter : 7fax0611.txt
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>JN June 11, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 104
Volcker Asks Swiss to Disclose Holocaust Accounts
The U.S. investigator leading the hunt for dormant Swiss bank
accounts of Jews murdered during the Holocaust urged the country's
bankers to publish the names of wartime account holders worldwide
as soon as possible. Paul Volcker, a former U.S. Federal Reserve
chairman, heads an independent commission empowered by Swiss banks
to waive banking secrecy rules in order to scrutinize wartime
accounts. He said the commission expected the names of holders of
dormant accounts opened before 1945 to be published in the coming
Gingrich: Palestinians Act Like Nazis
By Paula Wolfson (VOA-Capitol Hill)
The speaker of the House of Representatives says he is prepared to
cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority. Newt Gingrich says some
Palestinian leaders are acting like Nazis by condoning and
encouraging the murder of Arabs who sell land to Israelis. The
tough talk came during debate on a broad foreign policy bill.
Gingrich has seldom been at a loss for words. He is known in
Washington for his strong statements and sometimes blunt language.
But he has never talked with such force and passion about the
situation in the Middle East.
"The vigilante murder of realtors by Palestinian security
officials is an egregious violation of human rights and
international norms. The killings must be renounced by the
Palestinian leadership and ended immediately. If not, I for one,
will actively oppose the continuation of any aid to the Palestinian
He told the House there is evidence Palestinian leaders not only
condoned but instigated the killings. And he drew a parallel to
another period in history. "This is the kind of action we identify
with Nazis. This is the kind of racist activity that this planet
holds to be reprehensible and unacceptable."
For now, Gingrich's threat to cut off aid to the Palestinians is
just that -- a threat. The foreign affairs bill now before
Congress does not address the aid issue, although it does contain
a statement of concern over the murders and the lack of remorse
on the part of Palestinian officials.
Nobel Committee Asked to Revoke Arafat's Peace Prize
By Greg Flakus (VOA-Los Angeles)
In Los Angeles, the Simon Wiesenthal Center has urged the Nobel
Peace Prize Committee to revoke the 1994 prize given to Palestinian
leader Yasir Arafat. The letter to the Nobel Committee follows
the killing of three Palestinian men accused of selling land to
In a letter to the chairman of the committee, Rabbi Marvin Hier
condemned Arafat for having tacitly accepted a proposal by his
justice minister that anyone selling land to a Jew should be
executed. While Arafat has not said anything public about the
idea, Hier says that, as a Nobel Laureate, the Palestinian leader
has an obligation to speak out against it.
"It has been at least a month since the justice minister announced
that there would be a death sentence imposed. Mr. Arafat has had
the time to rethink it. He still maintains it is the right
Israeli officials say that the three Palestinians who were recently
killed were targeted because they had sold land to Jews. Some
Palestinian officials have said that the death penalty should be
imposed by a court of law, but Arafat has had no comment on the
Hier says that this policy of killing someone for selling land is
abhorrent in itself and is made even more repulsive because it
concerns sales of land to Jews, whether they are Israeli Jews or
Jews from somewhere else. The head of the Wiesenthal Center says
the committee must protect the esteem of the peace prize by taking
it back from Arafat.
The Israel Festival of Music, Dance and Theater
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
The annual two-week Israel Festival of Music, Dance and Theater is
under way, but even at an arts festival, politics is never far away
in the Middle East.
There are 52 scheduled events in the festival, ranging from the
Kirov Ballet to modern dance, from the Jerusalem Symphony to a
group called the "Bang on a Can All-Stars," and from Shakespeare to
a modern theater presentation called "Enerzik," which is being
performed in an industrial warehouse.
Organizers say the idea is to bring a sampling of the best of the
world's performing arts to Israeli audiences. But performers from
one part of the world are conspicuously under represented -- this
part, the Middle East.
Micha Lewensohn, the festival's artistic director, commented on
why there are almost no performers from the Middle East in the
Israel festival. "We are wooing and are in constant dialogue with
Palestinian groups and with artists from the Arab or Muslim world,
some of them even not connected to the region. And it is very
problematic and delicate because many of them are afraid to be
part of the festival because of losing audiences elsewhere."
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