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>JN Dec. 1. 1997, Vol. 5, No. 219
200,000 Israelis in the Big Apple
According to an official estimate by the Israeli Consulate in
New York City, there are approximately 85,000 Israeli families
living in the city, an estimated 200,000 Israelis. The statistics
were released to coincide with the consulate-sponsored "House of
Israel," a project designed to renew the ties with Israelis in
the major city and hopefully persuade some of them to return to
Israel Plans to Return More Territory
By Mark Lavie (VOA-Tel Aviv)
Israel's Cabinet has approved transfer of more territory in the
West Bank to the Palestinians. But the Israelis added a list of
conditions -- and the Palestinians have already rejected the
The Cabinet decision says Israel will implement one more
redeployment in the West Bank before a permanent peace settlement.
But first, the Palestinians have to implement their part of the
same agreement that calls for the Israeli pullback -- and Sunday's
Cabinet decision adds a new element: the Israelis have to set out
their guidelines for a permanent peace settlement.
Interim agreements signed by the two sides call for three stages
of Israeli pullbacks in the West Bank, eventually turning over
most of the territory to Palestinian civilian control. At the same
time, negotiations on a permanent peace settlement are to go ahead.
Israel missed the target dates for the first two withdrawals, and
peace treaty negotiations never got started. Now Israel is
offering a single limited pullback instead of three. The
palestinians reject that. So Israel and the Palestinians are
once again trading charges and assigning blame.
This is not what the American administration had in mind when
it called for significant moves toward peace by the end of the
year. The administration has made its view clear that Israel is
mostly to blame for the stalemate in Middle East peacemaking.
Earlier this month, President Bill Clinton and Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were in Los Angeles at the same time,
but did not meet. That was widely interpreted as an almost
unheard-of snub of an Israeli leader by an American president.
The White House said later that the two will meet soon.
But for Netanyahu, political survival is higher on his list
of priorities than meeting the president. He leads a right-wing
Israeli coalition government. Many of his supporters oppose
turning over any more territory to the Palestinians. Netanyahu
himself is not eager to pull Israeli soldiers out of additional
West Bank land, despite agreements to that effect signed by the
previous, more dovish Israeli government.
The Israeli leader is handling this political challenge in two
ways. First, he insists that the Palestinians implement all
their commitments to Israel's satisfaction. Netanyahu charges that
the Palestinians still have not cracked down on extremists
planning terror attacks in Israel, and they have not canceled
their Charter that calls for destruction of the Jewish state.
At the same time, in meetings with some of his supporters,
Netanyahu says he realizes the Palestinians will reject his offer,
so he tells them there is nothing to worry about, that there will
not be another Israeli withdrawal in the West Bank. That means a
continuation of the stalemate in the peace process. That might be
politically beneficial to Netanyahu, but would be unsatisfactory to
the Palestinians -- and the United States.
"Sensational" New Nazi Gold Documents Found
By IINS News Service
BADEN-BADEN, Germany -- More than 800 documents containing
"sensational" new details on the source of stolen Nazi gold have
been uncovered in Vienna, German television station Suedwestfunk
The station stated it had obtained copies of the documents, which
it said originated in the Third Reich Foreign Ministry and the
former Reichsbank, and are contained on 22 microfilms dated 1957.
In one of the documents, then-Reichsbank Director Albert Thoms
traces the sources and destination of gold placed in the bank's
vaults, the station said.
In Vienna, the newspaper Standard confirmed the discovery of the 22
microfilms. Experts quoted by Suedwestfunk said the documents could
contain revelations on gold confiscated by the Nazis in
concentration camps and ghettos, before being deposited with the
German political scientist Hersch Fischler found the documents
after years of research, in the possession of the widow of Herbert
Herzog, an Austrian salesman who died in 1977, the station
Herzog, who spent 10 months as a prisoner in the Buchenwald
concentration camp, learned from an officer there (who served under
former Third Reich Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop) the
location of some five tons of hidden gold, according to the
The gold, turned over to the Americans after the war, was
subsequently transported to Austria's former national bank, OeNB,
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