Newsletter : 7fax1017.txt
| Previous file
| Next file
>JN Oct. 17, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 190
Swiss Banks to Publish Accounts, New Money Found
Swiss banks, accused of hoarding Holocaust victims' money, said
Thursday they would publish a second list of dormant accounts
containing $12.4 million, bringing the total found so far to about
$52 million. The list, to be published Oct. 29, for the first time
includes the names of 10,000 Swiss citizens with dormant accounts
opened before 1945 and worth almost $8 million.
Interview with the Sheikh (Pt. 2)
By Al Pessin (VOA-Gaza)
The spiritual leader of the militant Palestinian group Hamas
said in an interview he is not prepared for any long-term
settlement with Israel, but might agree to stop attacks on
civilians. Israel is open to the idea, but differences are wide on
how it might be implemented. In a second report on his interview
with Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Al Pessin reports from Gaza on the
Islamic background of the sheikh's positions, and just what
influence he has among Palestinians.
Dozens of men crowd the sheikh's receiving room. They bend over
to kiss him as he sits in his wheelchair, and they gently shake
his paralyzed right hand. He smiles and greets them in his raspy
voice, weakened by his paralysis, and he strains to hear as they
try to speak loud enough to overcome his hearing problem.
He tries to be pleasant as he endures the jostling of the men who
lift him into and out of the van that takes him around Gaza. His
head rolls back and his chest heaves with laughter when someone
makes a joke. When a reporter announces he will ask a difficult
question, the sheikh cocks his head and says wryly, "We'll see."
And while thousands of Palestinians are happy to strain to hear
his every word, in any language, he apologizes to a visitor about
his English. "I studied one year in Ein-Shams college, English, but
now, because of the years, I (laugh) cannot speak good."
Physically, Yassin is weak, but during a half-hour interview, he
demonstrated he is mentally on top of complex issues -- stating his
positions forcefully without politically painting himself into any
corners. He leaves open the possibility of short-term compromise.
But he says in the long term, Israel must go.
And in terms of political power, Yassin at first demurs, but then
makes clear Hamas would live up to any agreement he might reach.
He says all the Hamas fighters are Muslims, just like he is. And
he says any agreement he reaches would be in keeping with Islam's
principles -- such as an end to attacks on Israeli civilians in
exchange for an end to Israeli policies he sees as detrimental to
He says devout Hamas fighters would naturally follow such an
accord. But it is entirely unclear whether Israel would meet his
demands, even with an end to suicide bombings on the negotiating
And Yassin pointedly rejects the view of Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright, who said during her visit to the region last
month that there is no "moral equivalence" between Hamas suicide
bombings and Israeli policies such as demolishing Palestinian
houses and confiscating some Palestinian identity cards.
The sheikh says it is the Palestinians who have been wronged, and
asking them to stop attacking Israelis who have taken their land is
like asking the United States to give up some of its land in order
to stop some group from attacking Americans. He says the United
States has killed hundreds of thousands of people, including
civilians, in wars fought to protect its interests. And he asks
why the United States should ask the Palestinians to act any
Some analysts, including some Palestinians, believe Yassin's return
to Gaza two weeks ago after more than eight years in an Israeli
prison, represents a challenge to the leadership of Yasir Arafat.
However, the sheikh says he is determined not to "desecrate the
purity of Palestinian unity" in spite of what he calls Israeli and
US pressure to do so. He speaks of Arafat with respect and even
affection. And he welcomes the relatively calm life the people in
newly autonomous areas are enjoying.
But the sheikh also makes clear he will not accept a situation
in which the Palestinian Authority tries to prevent Hamas from
doing whatever it feels it must do, including attacking Israelis.
The sheikh says he refused to call for an end to attacks when he
was in the Israeli prison, and he will continue to refuse -- with
God's help, he says, -- as long as the occupation continues.
Yassin says even if his brother took his land he would fight him,
so he is not about to let anyone else take his land. The sheikh
tells a story to illustrate his point.
He says a man once went to the Prophet Mohammed and asked, "if
someone tries to steal from me, should I let him?" And the prophet
answered "No." The man asks, "but what if he fights me?" And the
prophet says "Fight him back." "But what if he kills me?" asks the
man, and the prophet says, "Then you will go to paradise." "And
what if I kill him?" the man asks, and the Prophet says, "Then he
will go to hell."
Therefore, Yassin says, it is the Palestinians' right to fight for
their land, and that is what they will continue to do.
(All material on these web pages is © 2001-2012
by Electronic World Communications, Inc.)