On May 4, 65 years ago... [pg. 14]

By ALEXANDER ZVIELLI
May 4, 2006 01:18
2 minute read.

 
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65 YEARS AGO On May 4, 1941, The Palestine Post reported that in Iraq Rashid Ali el Gailani staged a revolt and usurped power as prime minister. Rashid Ali appealed to his partner and obvious supporter, Nazi Germany, for arms and assistance. Iraqi artillery opened fire on the British air base at Habaniya. German soldiers and planes were reported to have landed in Iraq, according to a preordained arrangement with Rashid Ali. But the British and their freshly arrived Indian troops appeared to be ready to halt Rashid Ali's insurrection and German military moves in order to protect their vital Iraqi oil sources. While the Greek campaign was over, there was intensified fighting in the Western Desert. The Tobruk garrison, vital for the Allies, was reported to have been bravely defending itself against a formidable German armored offensive. South Africa pledged to offer a vital contribution to Egypt's defense. There were some unconfirmed reports that an imminent German attack on the Soviet Union was getting very close. In the meanwhile heavy Soviet transports of various strategic war supplies continued to arrive in Germany. 50 YEARS AGO On May 3 and 4, 1956, The Jerusalem Post reported that UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold had concluded his 25-day peace mission to the Middle East and had received pledges from Syria, Jordan and Lebanon that they would abide by the cease-fire provisions contained in the Rhodes Armistice Agreements with Israel. A similar arrangement with Egypt was signed on April 19. Czechoslovakia sold Syria a large amount of various cheap arms. Israel asked France for the purchase of 36 Mystere IV jet fighters. Israel released the downed KLM Dutch plane which was accused of photographing Israeli defenses in the Negev, but continued to hold the Egyptian photographer who accompanied the Dutch crew. The Dutch authorities refused to fly their plane back home until the arrested Egyptian photographer was released. 25 YEARS AGO On May 4, 1981, The Jerusalem Post reported that Prime Minister Menachem Begin labeled West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt a hypocrite, accused him of greed, of willfully seeking to forget German crimes against Jews and of being chiefly interested in selling weapons at high prices, and buying oil cheaply. Begin changed his mind about retiring at 70, and told a cheering Herut crowd that if reelected, he would continue in office. The Treasury was warned by a group of leading industrialists that unless the shekel was devalued by at least 15 percent, the result would be widespread unemployment. The Second Jerusalem Conference of Mayors, sponsored by American Jewish Congress, met in the capital.

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