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>JN Oct. 2, 1998, Vol. 6, No. 175
Israel Returns Arab Property
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
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
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
"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
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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