I am indeed indebted to Shimon Ballass for he who wrote to the editorial section concerning "Questions to Hillel" that appeared in the "Haaretz" Magazine on 8.5.98. He poses to me two very penetrating and direct questions. Questions that it seems I did not adequately answer in my article "The Total Distortion" of "Haaretz" Magazine 29.4.98. or that I was of the impression that these were matters so well understood and clear that there was no reason to repeat them.
His first question is "was there an unwritten agreement between the government of Israel and Iraq concerning this matter?" (That is, was there an undertaking not to compensate the Palestinians for their property and in exchange not to demand compensation from Iraq for the property of Iraqi Jews). The answer is no - a thousand times no!!! No.
There was absolutely no contact between the governments of Israel and Iraq. Not directly, not indirectly, not written and not unwritten. Not concerning the property of Iraqi Jews and not even concerning their immigration to Israel. Iraq, which sent its army to fight against us in the war of Independence, did not even agree to sign the cease-fire agreement and had no contact whatsoever with the government of Israel, not overt and not covert, not direct and not indirect.
Israel's position, to reject the UN resolution on the "Right of Return" and the payment of compensation for those Palestinians who would not wish to return, was taken before the law in Iraq that allowed Jews to leave Iraq if they would, at the same time, renounce their citizenship in Iraq, and most definitely, before the law that "froze" (and actually confiscated) the property of those who chose to renounce Iraqi citizenship. This stance may or may not have been correct. This is a legitimate question but it has no connection whatsoever with the immigration of the Iraqi Jews to Israel or with the confiscation of their property by the Iraqi government.
Mr Ballas's second question and complaint against me is why I did not write in the aforementioned article, who placed or threw bombs at Jewish organisations in Baghdad. I truly do apologise but I do not know! I am sorry that I cannot answer Mr Ballas's question, and indeed, that of many others. I am truly sorry but, until this day, I do not know who was responsible for the bombs in Baghdad.
Who planted the bombs in Baghdad? ItŐs hard to blame me for knowing or not knowing just who did or did not throw bombs. In my book "Operation Babylon" I dedicated a whole chapter to this issue titled: "Bombs over Israel." the only thing I can say, without waiting for the Messiah, is that it was not the "Mossad Aliyat Beth," not the government of Israel, not the Zionist movement and not the "Haganah." This was not in their name and not on their behalf.
Related Articles :
First article from Haaretz
The Truth about Jewish Assets in Iraq (Issue 70)