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Iraqis Want Fair Play

by Naim Dangoor

I refer to the meeting hosted by Lord Janner regarding claims of Jewish assets in Arab countries, in the House of Lords. As a major potential claimant for my assets in Iraq and on behalf of 3000 Iraqi readers of my Journal, The Scribe, I wish to make the following statement:

In 1951, Foreign Minister Moshe Sharet stated in the Knesset that when the time comes to settle Palestinian claims for property they left behind, account will be taken of Jewish assets left in Iraq.

Q1 Since Israel admits holding substantial Palestinian assets, the Israeli Government should be able to pay Iraqi immigrants something on account. Repeated approaches elicited the reply that no payment can be made to the Iraqi immigrants since billions were spent on resettling them in Israel.

Q2 Is Israel justified in charging Iraqi immigrants for three years of squalor in tents and transit camps, while later immigrants from other countries were given the red carpet treatment?

Q3 The above position can only apply to Iraqi immigrants who came to Israel. What about the thousands who went to Europe and America, whose potential claims are more substantial? How can their confiscated assets be cancelled against the Palestinian assets?

If Israel succeeds in setting-off Palestinian assets on the strength of Jewish assets left in Iraq and other Arab countries, the net result would be that Israel will have confiscated Palestinian assets, and makes a present to Saddam and others of Jewish assets.

However, Palestinian claims will not go away, they amount to hundreds of billions. Israel will have to pay them something in the end, but will have lost in the process all Jewish claims.

Jewish claims must include our share of the mineral wealth of our countries of origin. These can amount to astronomical sums. At the first WOJAC conference in Paris in 1975, this principle was endorsed and must not be overlooked. Justice demands that individual claims must be recognised, if only on paper for the time being.

(The above letter to the Editor appeared in the London Jewish News)



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