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>Israel Faxx
>JN Oct. 2, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 175

Israel Returns Arab Property

By IsraelWire

According to a UPI report from Jordan, an Israeli court has made an unprecedented ruling that the Hebrew University return property it took in 1948 when Israel was declared a state, to an Arab Christian group in a legal battle that began in 1953.

Jordanian lawyers said the precedent will encourage many "Jordanians of Palestinian origin" to reclaim property they lost to Israel in the 1948 War of Independence. More than half of Jordan's population fled their homes in 1948 and in the 1967 Six Day War when Israel liberated Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

Jordan's official news agency, Petra, said an Israeli court ruled that the Hebrew University evacuate and return to the Guardians of the Holy Land Association, or the Franciscan Fathers Monastery, a total of 11,500 square meters of land in which the former Terra Sancta College stands. The property in west Jerusalem is adjacent to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence.

Petra quoted the association's lawyer Mu'een Khoury as saying that the court ruled that the Hebrew University pay the Franciscan Fathers a total of $5.5 million of accumulated rent on installments. It did not say when the court ruling took place.

The news agency, which said the Christian group had filed a series of law suits against the Hebrew University from 1953 to 1995, said the university "is afraid of the reaction of extremist Jews on this precedent."

Legal sources in the Jordanian capital Amman said the court's ruling will "encourage many Palestinians who left behind property in 1948 to reclaim their lands and homes taken by Israelis."

They said legal efforts by Palestinians to do so had failed in the past and have stopped trying to reclaim their property thinking it was Israeli policy to keep them under Israeli ownership.

Israel Deployed Nuke-Capable Missiles in 1973 War

By IsraelWire

An Israeli official has said that during a critical moment in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Israel deployed its long-range Jericho missiles which, according to reports abroad, are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

But Yuval Ne'eman, a former cabinet minister and a key figure in Israel's nuclear program, said Israel did not arm the missiles with nuclear warheads during the conflict. Experts said it was the first time an Israeli official had confirmed Jerichos had been deployed.

Ne'eman told Reuters in an interview that Israel received US satellite information in the second week of the 1973 war indicating that Egypt might be arming Scud missiles with nuclear warheads.

Egypt had not developed nuclear weapons but Israel was concerned that the Soviet Union, which backed Cairo, may have sent some to Egypt during the war. Ne'eman said Israel intended the deployment as a warning to Egypt and the Soviet Union.

"Dado (then Israeli army chief David Elazar) responded by deploying our Jericho missiles in a very open area so that Soviet satellites could see them clearly. But there was no nuclear matter involved. These were regular missiles."

Information about the Jericho is classified in Israel. Reports abroad put the missile's range at about 940 miles. Israel has launched satellites with what is believed to be a version of the Jericho.

"I have never seen an official confirmation of such a deployment during the war," said political scientist Shai Feldman, who heads Tel Aviv University's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies.

Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Oct. 6, 1973, while most Israelis were marking Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. The Arab armies made deep advances in the first days of the war, prompting Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan to alert the cabinet at one point that Israel could be destroyed.

But officials have denied reports over the years that Israel considered using nuclear weapons during the war. "There was no Israeli nuclear dimension to this war. I took part in all the meetings on this matter during the war so I should know," said Ne'eman.

At the time, Ne'eman was a senior defense ministry official. He also headed Israel's Atomic Energy Agency for many years.

The tide turned during the second week of the war and by the time a cease-fire was in place on Oct. 22, Israel had driven back both the Egyptian and Syrian armies.

Israeli officials neither confirm nor deny reports published abroad that Israel has hundreds of nuclear bombs, sticking to a decades-old policy of deliberate ambiguity. Israel is believed to have launched a nuclear weapons program in the late 1950s and experts say that by 1973 it already had a small atomic arsenal.

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