Newsletter : 7fax1008.txt
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>JN Oct. 8, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 183
Nazis Stole $8.5 Billion in Gold, Report Says
Switzerland received 85 percent of the looted gold sent abroad by
Nazi Germany and may have failed to return about $3 billion
worth of the stolen bullion after the World War II, according to a
study from the World Jewish Congress.
Nazi Germany stole at least $8.5 billion in gold at today's prices
-- about $1.5 billion more than previously believed -- from its own
citizens, Europe's Jews and treasuries of the countries it
A report published Tuesday gave the first ever figure for
non-monetary gold stolen from individual victims and businesses,
placing it at $2.6 billion or about 30 percent of the total of Nazi
looted gold. Previous estimates had placed the figure at about 10
A U.S. government report in May estimated Nazi Germany had looted
$7 billion of gold at today's prices, but the new report placed the
total at $8.5 billion.
Clinton: Send Netanyahu and Arafat to North Pole
By David Gollust (VOA-White House)
President Clinton held talks Tuesday with Israeli President
Ezer Weizman and delivered some veiled criticism of Israel's
botched assassination attempt against a senior Hamas official in
Jordan two weeks ago.
Administration spokesmen had been cautious in their comments on the
Sept. 25 attempt on the life of Hamas political chief Khaled
Mashal. But in a photo session as he began his White House meeting
with the Israeli president, Clinton left no doubt about his
irritation over the incident, which has spawned a crisis between
Israel and Jordan -- its closest partner in the Arab world.
"i think that Israel's struggle against terrorism is important. But
it's also important to consider the consequences on people who are
your allies, whatever actions you've taken. I think the important
thing now for me is to try to get this peace process back on track.
That's really the only way to ultimately get rid of the terrorist
problems in the Middle East."
The president told Weizman he was willing to go anywhere or do
anything to advance regional peace efforts. And he confirmed an
Israeli account that he had jokingly suggested -- at dinner with
Weizman Monday night -- that he was ready to take Israeli Prime
Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat to the North
Pole, and keep them there until they had settled their differences.
"At least," Clinton said, "it would cool things down."
The Israeli president is understood to have reiterated his
government's concern over what Israel says is active Russian
assistance to Iran in developing long-range ballistic missiles.
White House spokesman Mike McCurry said the administration shares
that concern and has raised the issue "forthrightly and directly"
in high-level talks with Moscow.
Hamas Founder: Islam Does Not Allow for a Cease Fire
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
The freed founder and spiritual leader of the Islamic "Hamas"
movement, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, spent his first full day at home in
Gaza Tuesday and, through media interviews, he offered Israel a
partial truce in the short term, but no compromise in the long
When the sheikh received reporters at his Gaza home, he first
repeated the long-standing Hamas position -- that it would offer a
cease-fire in return for Israel granting all its demands. That
includes the surrender of all of Gaza, the West Bank and east
Jerusalem, the removal of all settlements, the return of all
Palestinian refugees and the establishment of a Palestinian
Even then, the sheikh said, the cease-fire would be only temporary
because, he said, Islam does not allow a permanent cease-fire
with an enemy. Israel has repeatedly rejected that approach, which
it says amounts to complete capitulation in return for virtually
But then, the sheikh offered an idea which is more in the realm
of possibility. The sheikh said if Israel will stop what he called
its attacks on Palestinian civilians, Hamas will do the same for
Israeli civilians. He referred specifically to Israel's policies
of destroying allegedly illegal houses, confiscating land for roads
and other projects, and the frequent closures of the Palestinian
The first two issues are among those to be discussed next week in
Washington, where the United States is seeking a "timeout" to build
confidence for future talks.
And speaking in Tel Aviv on Tuesday, Undersecretary of State for
Economic Affairs Stuart Eizenstat offered an idea on closures. He
suggested certain Palestinian workers should be permanently
exempted from closures, based on their personal histories.
Israeli officials confirmed Tuesday they had received a Hamas
cease-fire offer last month, but no details were provided. The
offer was reportedly conveyed to Jordan's King Hussein before
Israel tried to assassinate a Hamas leader in Amman, but Israel
did not receive the offer until after the attempt.
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