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>Israel Faxx
>JN May 27, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 97

Netanyahu in China

Israel Faxx Staff Report

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visiting in China, met with the Chinese prime minister, president and foreign minister. They promised him that China would not aid Iran in acquiring nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. The announcement to this effect has aggravated the already tense relations between China and Iran. Business ties between the two countries are dominating the talks there.

Hamas, Marxist Group Forming Anti-Israel Alliance

By Arutz-7 News Service

The militant Islamic group Hamas and a radical Marxist Palestinian group announced from Damascus they would form an alliance to confront Israel "with all possible means. The collapse of the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks has proved to all that peace could not be achieved with Israel," said George Habash, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

"We believe that the political situation at present is appropriate to establish such an alliance. The political views of Hamas and the PFLP are the same," the PFLP leader said. He did not elaborate but Maher al-Taher, politburo member of the PFLP who was present at the meeting, said other factions could join the new front.

Saudi Newspaper: Arafat Vows State and War Against Israel

By Arutz-7 News Service

Ahmed Abdel Rahman, secretary of the Palestinian "cabinet," told a Saudi Arabian newspaper that Yasir Arafat has vowed to declare a Palestinian state next year, "leading to a war with Israel, with the first target being the destruction of the settlements."

Rahman said that the declaration of the state would cover "all the territories conquered since 1967, including eastern Jerusalem." Palestinian Authority Deputy Chairman Abu Mazen told Labor MK Dalia Itzik that if an agreement is not signed between Israel and the Palestinians, there will be unprecedented bloodshed.

Gingrich Scheduled to Meet Arafat

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is to meet Wednesday with Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat. The meeting comes after Gingrich's four-day visit to Israel that was full of strong pro-Israel statements and expressions of skepticism about Palestinian intentions.

In a speech to Israel's parliament Tuesday, Gingrich said Congress supports Israel's claim to all of Jerusalem as its eternal capital. That is the latest in a series of moves by the congressman that are angering Palestinians.

Gingrich's spokesmen have accused Palestinian peace negotiator Sa'eb Erakat of inciting violence when he warned of a possible violent reaction if Gingrich had visited the embassy site and laid a symbolic cornerstone as planned.

At a news conference, Gingrich expressed strong and continuing congressional support for Israel, and he echoed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying only Israel can determine its security needs. But the Speaker said he is looking forward to meeting with Arafat in autonomous Ramallah.

Gingrich declined to say whether he believes the Palestinians have the right to a state, or to any role in Jerusalem, saying those are issues for future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Historians: Swiss Banks Bought Holocaust Victims' Gold

By Lisa Schlein (VOA-Geneva)

An international panel of historians has confirmed that Swiss banks bought gold from Nazi Germany which belonged to Holocaust victims. The 230-page study is the first by the nine-member panel, which was set up by the Swiss government to investigate Switzerland's dealings with Nazi Germany during World War 2. The historians say about 264 pounds of gold taken from Holocaust victims in Nazi concentration camps was sent to Switzerland.

They say they have found no evidence indicating Swiss bankers knew the source of the gold. But, they add the Swiss made no effort until the war was almost over to find out if any of the gold they received from the Nazis had been stolen from individuals or looted from other countries' central banks.

The report says the Nazis melted down the gold from stolen watches, coins and gold bars, processed it into standard bars which they then shipped to Switzerland. However, the historians say they do not know if any of the gold included dental gold, as claimed by many Jewish groups.

The historians put the value of the gold stolen from death camp victims at $1.2 million at today's prices. This is only a tiny fraction of the more than $2.5 billion worth of gold that Swiss bankers are believed to have bought from the Nazis during the war.

Switzerland's central bank expresses what it calls its profound regret at having unintentionally bought gold that Nazi Germany stole from Holocaust victims. But, it says the bank has already contributed $68 million to a humanitarian fund for Holocaust victims. And, it says it sees no need to make more amends for its wartime role.

The Swiss government says there is nothing in the study which suggests that Switzerland should offer more compensation to countries or individuals whose assets were stolen by the Nazis. Under a 1946 agreement, Switzerland paid the Allies more than 250 million Swiss francs worth of gold. In return, the Allies dropped all further claims. Some critics want the accord renegotiated.

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