Monday, February 16, 2009

Iraqi Seeks Damages For Israel's 1981 Attack On Osiraq Reactor (Updated)

Back in 2003, The Jewish Daily Forward reported:
A prominent Egyptian legal scholar is preparing a lawsuit against Jews around the world over gold allegedly stolen in biblical times during the Jewish exodus from Egypt.

Nabil Hilmy, dean of the faculty of law at Egypt’s Zagazig University, announced his plan in the Egyptian government weekly, Al-Ahram Al-Arabi, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute — known as MEMRI — a group that specializes in translating articles in the Arab media. Hilmy reportedly told Al-Ahram that if the story of the exodus is to be believed, Jews fleeing Egypt “stole from the Pharaonic Egyptians gold, jewelry, cooking utensils, silver ornaments, clothing, and more, leaving Egypt in the middle of the night with all this wealth, which today is priceless.”

Calling the alleged heist the “greatest fraud history has ever known,” Hilmy said that he and a number of Egyptian jurists will sue “the Jews of the world” for these lost treasures, the value of which Hilmy estimates in the trillions of dollars.
Rabbi Avi Shafran at the time quoted a similar case quoted in the Gemarah Sanhedrin 91a in which a counter-demand was made based on the fact that  the 600,000 Jews spent 430 years laboring in Egypt and surely deserved compensation as well. Hilmy must have read Rabbi Shafran's article, because there has been no mention of that lawsuit again.

But now Iraq, the new Democracy on the block, has decided on a lawsuit of their own:
Iraqi parliamentarians are demanding Israel pay billions of dollars in reparations for a 1981 Israeli attack on an Iraqi nuclear reactor, Baghdad’s daily Al Sabbah reported on Thursday.

Mohammed Naji Mohammed, a member of parliament with the United Iraqi Alliance coalition, is leading a campaign for a parliamentary resolution obliging the Iraqi foreign ministry and courts to seek billions of dollars in reparations for an Israeli air strike on the Osiraq nuclear reactor, the newspaper reported.

The organisers reportedly said they will argue their case based on a UN Security Council resolution passed in the wake of the attack. UN Security Council Resolution 487 “strongly condemns” Israel’s air strike against Iraq’s Osiraq nuclear reactor in June 1981, and “considers that Iraq is entitled to appropriate redress for the destruction it has suffered, responsibility for which has been acknowledged by Israel.”
The logic that Iraq is following is that if they can be held responsible for reparations for actions taken by Saddam Hussein's regime, then likewise Iraq today can hold foreign governments liable for actions they took against Iraq while Hussein was leader.

Iraq will have to demand reparations without at the same time not endorse what Hussein was actually up to.

Nabil Hilmy may have a better case.

UPDATE: Meryl Yourish nails it in the comments:
And then there are the reparations that Israel can demand for the missiles that landed in her country during the first Gulf War, as well as the payments made to the families of suicide bombers. I don't think Iraq will push this case any more than Egypt did.

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1 comment:

Meryl Yourish said...

And then there are the reparations that Israel can demand for the missiles that landed in her country during the first Gulf War, as well as the payments made to the families of suicide bombers. I don't think Iraq will push this case any more than Egypt did.