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Arafat Lashes out at West Germany for Being Stingy Toward Palestinians

December 4, 1989
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Yasir Arafat has accused the West German government of being overly generous to Israel, but stingy when it comes to helping the Palestinians.

The Palestine Liberation Organization chairman complained, in an interview published in Quick magazine, that while Israel has gotten 57 billion marks ($32 billion) from Bonn, the Palestinians have received a mere “tip.”

He said Germany’s contribution to the United Nations fund to help Palestinian refugees is “shameful.” He claimed it is far less than what other U.N. members give, but he cited no figures.

Arafat was clearly angered and frustrated by the refusal of top government officials to receive him in Bonn.

The opposition Social Democratic Party has invited the PLO chief here, but he has asked for meetings with Chancellor Helmut Kohl and President Richard von Weizsacker, which the Social Democrats cannot arrange. Arafat said he wants to talk to them about peace in the Middle East.

But the government has issued no invitation, although PLO spokesman Bassam Abu Sharif maintains that an invitation was discussed during a meeting he had Oct. 16 at the Foreign Ministry.

The PLO chairman told Quick that he holds the Germans doubly responsible for the Palestinians’ plight. “When the Nazis expelled the Jews, they came to my country,” he said.

Later, the Jews were able to build their state with all the billions lavished on them by the Germans, Arafat said, apparently referring to war reparations paid to Holocaust survivors by the Federal Republic. “We (Palestinians) were thus twice the victims,” he said.

There is a popular theory here that Hitler’s persecution of the Jews was responsible for the creation of Israel. It has been advanced by former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who said Germany has a special responsibility toward the Palestinians because of the consequences of the Nazi era.

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