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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      May 4, 1995, V3, #82
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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The Jews, the Saudis and VE Day

By Laurie Kassman (Cairo)

Even before victory in May of 1945, the Allies were worrying about the fate of millions of Jewish refugees who had survived the Holocaust. On their way home from talks with Soviet leader Josef Stalin in Yalta, US President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill decided separately to consult with Saudi Arabia's King Abdul Aziz about the controversial issue of Israel.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Kheir who, as a young press aide to the king, was at the historic summits. Abdullah remembers his leader warning of trouble in the Middle East.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Kheir was in his 20s working as a press aide to the Saudi king when he was asked to join the entourage for the shipside summit with Roosevelt at the entrance of the Suez Canal. It was Feb. 14, 1945.

He remembers Roosevelt as eager to talk about the plight of Jewish refugees and hopeful that Saudi support would prevent fanatical Arab reaction to the idea of a Jewish state in Palestine.

"His Majesty told him it's a very simple problem to be solved immediately. What's that. He said all those who left their houses in Romania, Poland, Germany and so on. They know their houses there and they are still keeping the keys with them. And now you finish the war. No more Hitler. No more Mussolini. Let them go back to their homes. They will be very happy to find their homes, to find their places. But, he said, if you are going to correct the mistakes of Hitler by taking Arabs from Palestine and making them go outside of their country -- the same thing as the Jews -- that is not right."

Abdullah says Roosevelt was surprised when King Abdul Aziz oppposed the creation of Israel and warned that forcing Palestinians to become refugees would only cause trouble for generations to come.

Roosevelt promised to continue the consultations with the Saudi king and other Arab leaders. "President Roosevelt gave him a promise which he believed. He told him the United States is not going to do anything against the Arabs, against the right of the Arabs in this question of Palestine. This is very clear and very good thing since there will be nothing against the Arabs."

Both Churchill and Roosevelt talked with King Abdul Aziz about a new international organization to prevent more wars. They invited the Saudi leader to help establish the United Nations.

"At the end of the meeting in Egypt, Mr. Churchill and President Roosevelt told His Majesty we are about to finish the war. Oh there is Japan but it will take only a few months. So we like you to join us to declare war against Hitler because we are thinking -- there was a League of Nation at that time so we are going to leave it because it is not good. And we are going to make another one and we will make the United Nations. So we would like you to be one of those founders. He (the king) said 'Yes, when I go back to my country I will declare war because from the beginning I am with you and democracy.'"

While King Abdul Aziz welcomed the creation of the United Nations, Sheik Abdullah says the Saudi ruler never fully accepted the creation of Israel and feared the Palestinian dilemma would haunt the Arab world. Glancing at the souvenir photo of the historic summit that sits in his Jeddah living room, Abdullah says he has lived long enough to see his leaders' worst fears come true.

Rabin: Israel Fully Supports U.S. Dual Containment Strategy Against Iran and Iraq

Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has reiterated Israel's support for Washington's dual containment strategy against Iran and Iraq during a meeting with visiting U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Madeleine Albright.

Rabin said radical Islamic fundamentalists have caused many casualties in Israel over the last few months. "Therefore," Rabin said, "we are more determined to fight until the end."

Albright told Rabin that the U.S. is determined to act against both Iran and the terrorists supported by Teheran. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres told Albright that Iraq is seeking ways to contact Israel. However, Peres said the Iraqi overtures have been answered negatively.

If Arafat Goes, Intelligence Reports Say Peace May Suffer

The Senate Intelligence Committee has published a recent U.S. intelligence report concerning Israel. According to the report, Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat may have no immediate successor should he be removed from office. After six months, power would probably be transferred to a loose coalition of his supporters that would result in a slow-down of the peace process and an increase in Hamas activities.

The report also said there is no evidence that the Palestinian Authority is involved in terrorist activity. According to the U.S. intelligence assessment, the danger of Israel being attacked in the near future is very low because of the poor condition of armies in Iran, Iraq and Syria. Nevertheless, Israel faces a future threat from surface-to-surface missiles that may carry warheads of mass destruction.

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