April/May 1994, Page 22
Issues in the News
Compiled By Greg Noakes
From the Israeli and U.S. Jewish Press:
Israeli Diplomatic Developments:
The appointment of Yussuf Haj-Yahia, a retired judge from Taiba, as Israeli ambassador to Finland will make him the first Israeli Arab to serve as an ambassador, according to the Jerusalem Post. Haj-Yahia called his appointment "a blessed step toward more Arab intellectuals having high-ranking positions in the state and toward their regaining their rights. " The Israeli Foreign Ministry also named Shmuel Hadas, a career diplomat, the first Israeli ambassador to the Vatican. The Vatican, in turn, announced that its new embassy in Israel will be located in Old Jaffa's Franciscan Church, which dates from 1803. Renovations on the facility, the first foreign embassy in Israel to be located in Jaffa, adjacent to Tel Aviv where most embassies are found, are expected to take several months.
F-15s Point to New Planning:
Israel's decision to purchase 20 McDonnell Douglas F- 151 fighter planes rather than Lockheed F- I 6s demonstrates a shift in Israeli strategic thinking, observers say. The longer-range F- 15s are evidence of an increased concern in Tel Aviv over threats from distant states like Iraq, Iran and Libya and an easing of tensions with Israel's immediate neighbors. The specially configured F- 151 fighters will cost an estimated $2 billion, to be drawn from U.S. military aid to Israel, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports. According to the Jerusalem Post, McDonnell Douglas agreed to a trade-off package with Israel guaranteeing that the American company will use Israeli made components, buy Israeli products and subcontract systems to Israeli companies worth an estimated 70 percent of the total F- 15 deal value, or roughly $1.4 billion.
Former U.S. Ambassador On Israeli Bank Board:
William Brown, who returned to the U.S. last December after serving as ambassador to Israel, has been named to the board of directors of the Israel Discount Bank of New York, the largest Israeli-owned bank in the U.S. Brown replaces Stuart Eizenstat,a pro-Israel activist and domestic policy adviser in the Carter administration, who left the bank board after he was named U.S. ambassador to the European Economic Community by President Bill Clinton, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Israeli Spy to be Reburied:
The remains of Ibrahim Shahin, an Egyptian spy for Israel who was hanged in Cairo in 1977 for passing secrets to Tel Aviv, will be re-buried in East Jerusalem in the near future, Yediot Ahronot reports. Shahin's widow Inshirah, who was also recruited by Israel's Mossad secret service, and his children moved to Israel after his death. They have lobbied the Egyptian government for the reburial, which was Shahin's last request according to his son. The Shahins warned the Israeli government of an impending attack by Egypt prior to the October 1973 war, and were arrested by Egyptian authorities several months after the war's end.
Pope Planning Holy Land Pilgrimage:
Pope John Paul II told reporters he wants to make a pilgrimage to major biblical sites in the Middle East before the year 2000, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports. "The idea would be to walk along the paths of the people of God in the Old Testament, " the pope announced, and then naturally arrive in the Holy Land Nazareth, Bethlehem and above all Jerusalem. " Other countries on the pope's planned itinerary include Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. John Paul II is expected to visit Lebanon in May, and has expressed a desire to return to Israel, which he once visited before becoming pontiff.
Poet Charges IDF Censorship:
Inside Israel reports that Balfour Chakak, an Israeli poet, has accused the Israel Defense Force of deliberately suppressing information on Israeli army casualties in the occupied territories in order to boost public confidence in the Israeli-PLO accords. Chakak's son suffered a head injury in an ambush by rock throwers outside Hebron while serving on active duty in the West Bank, but the IDF did not announce the incident. An IDF spokesman later said the younger Chakak's injuries were too light to be mentioned in a briefing, though he spent several days in a Jerusalem hospital neurology ward. Inside Israel quoted another soldier assaying, "The situation in Gaza is much worse than before the autonomy agreement. But unless a soldier actually dies or significant riots break out, the IDF isn't reporting anything."
Post Publisher Says Foreign Ministry Lied:
Yehuda Levy, publisher of the Jerusalem Post, accused Israeli Foreign Ministry officials of lying when they said economics was the reason behind the ministry's decision to cancel over 1,000 subscriptions to the paper's international edition. Levy's remarks came after the Foreign Ministry refused his offer to provide 1, 110 copies of the Post free of charge to be distributed to Israeli embassies abroad. "This is the only English-language Israeli daily paper," Levy said. "I would have thought the Foreign Ministry would like to know what decision makers are reading, even if it doesn't necessarily like the contents. " Likud Knesset Member Silvan Shalom criticized the ministry's decision to cut its Post subscriptions back from 1,200 copies to approximately 150, saying the move was designed to punish the paper for a December story entitled, "Government Plans to Withdraw to 1967 Borders. " A Foreign Ministry spokesman denied the charges, and said the subscription cutback last September was made for a variety of reasons, not just economics. "Israel has more sophisticated and better ways and channels to distribute its information and messages than by sending commercial newspapers, " the spokesman said.
Revised Rules Rough for El Al:
The Israeli government's adoption of an "open skies" aviation policy will mean lower fares for travelers but bad news for El Al Airlines, the Israeli flag carrier. The new regulations reduce El Al's guaranteed share of passenger traffic to and from Israel from 50 percent to 40 percent, with the difference to go to foreign carriers. The new rules are designed to increase tourism to Israel by reducing travel costs, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and will force El Al to increase its efficiency in order to compete with other airlines. El Al is expected to protest the new regulations.
Tel Aviv Subway Slated:
Tel Aviv's new mayor, Roni Milo, is pressing ahead on a campaign promise to construct a subway system for the city, according to the Queens (NY) Jewish Week. Milo has hired a project manager and scheduled talks with Israel's Finance Ministry to discuss funding for the estimated $1 billion system, which would consist of 10 miles of track bringing commuters from suburbs to the city center. Congested traffic in the city gives Tel Aviv "no other choice" except the subway, according to Milo. "Tel Aviv has 400,000 inhabitants, and every day about 1 million people come to work there or go to the theater, a cultural attraction or concert hall, " the mayor said. "We have 500,000 cars a day coming to the city, almost half of all cars in the country. Milo said he hoped to encourage private investment in the subway system by selling businesses building rights for shopping centers in the subway stations.
Israel to Bid on U.S. Space Sales:
The Clinton administration has cleared the way for Israeli companies to compete for the sale of equipment and technology for U.S. civilian space launches, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Israel and other countries had been barred from seeking such contracts in order to prevent the proliferation of satellites for military applications, though it was not clear from the new agreement if Israel would have access to American satellite technology. U.S. space contracts would boost the sagging Israeli aerospace industry, hit hard recently with declining sales and personnel layoffs.
Israeli Commandos' Congo Connection:
Congolese Interior Minister Martin Mberri confirmed reports in the Israeli media that his country has hired Israeli reservists and former soldiers to train Congo's armed forces, who are presently engaged in a guerrilla war with rebels loyal to former dictator Denis Sassou Nguesso. The government of President Pascal Lissouba signed a $50 million contract with Levdan, a private Israeli security company, to train and equip the Congolese army, though the agreement did not include heavy weapons sales. Some 40 former Israeli soldiers are now training a special presidential guard unit 250 miles southwest of the capital of Brazzaville, with more military advisers expected shortly. Some Israeli officials voiced concerns over reports that the rebels were recruiting Israeli trainers also, raising fears that ex-Israeli soldiers would be facing one another in combat.
Non-Kosher Meat Ban Backed:
The Israeli Cabinet approved a bill banning the import of non-kosher meat by a margin of 12-4, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The bill, which must be passed by the Knesset, amends a free-trade law and prohibits the import of meats that do not conform to Jewish dietary law. The bill was passed in exchange for a promise by nine Knesset members from religious parties to support the Rabin government's peace efforts.
Dinitz Indicted for Fraud:
Jewish Agency Chairman Simcha Dinitz was indicted by Israel's attorney general on charges of aggravated fraud and abuse of public trust, the Queens Jewish Week reports. Dinitz stands accused of making over $13,000 in personal charges on agency credit cards, and has taken a leave of absence in order to prepare his legal defense. Dinitz also announced he will resign as chairman at the completion of his trial or the end of the year, whichever comes first. The Jewish Agency is a quasi-Israeli governmental organization which acts as a link between Israeli and Diaspora Jews. As the primary recipient of United Jewish Appeal funds raised in the U.S. for Israel, the Jewish Agency is the largest single beneficiary of American Jewish philanthropy. Agency officials said that the "unhappy" financial scandal had damaged the organization's image, and that Dinitz's departure enables the group to "bring things back to normal."
Israel and Russia Ink Aircraft Pact:
Israel Aircraft Industries and Russia's Antonov aircraft firm have jointly developed a new maritime surveillance plane, and soon will begin joint production of the new aircraft. The Detroit Jewish News reports that the Antonov 72P will be priced at $15 million to $20 million, roughly a third the price of similar marine reconnaissance airplanes. The Russian firm will construct the Antonov 72P's basic platform, while the Israelis will provide the avionics, advanced electronics and other high-tech components. The plane will be marketed to countries with substantial coastlines, according to an Israel Aircraft Industries official.
More Jews Leaving Jerusalem:
In response to a municipal report's finding that 700 Jews left Jerusalem in 1993, Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert told reporters, "It is essential to keep the demographic balance here. I hope the government ministries will work with me in doing what is necessary to put an end to this deteriorating situation. " The report said the level of "negative migration," or the number of Jews leaving compared to new arrivals, reached unprecedented levels last year. Most of those leaving cited the high cost of housing and a lack of jobs, with young, upwardly mobile secular families over-represented among those leaving. The Likud's Olmert won his seat as mayor after promising ultra-Orthodox Jews greater influence in Jerusalem.
From the Middle East Press:
West Bank Land Bids Bearish:
Al Quds reports that West Bank land prices, which had soared in the wake of last September's Israeli-PLO accord, have fallen by as much as 30 percent as hopes for a speedy implementation of Palestinian autonomy have dimmed. Commercial land in Ramallah, for example, shot up from $240 per square meter to $355 after the signing of the accord, but has now dropped to approximately $285 per square meter. Real estate agents in other West Bank cities confirm similar drops in prices.
Qaddafi Returns to Radical Rhetoric:
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi said he was willing to readmit leaders of several radical political organizations and terrorist groups previously exiled from Libya, putting an end to attempts to dissociate himself from such groups to improve Libya's public image. According to the CAABU Bulletin, Qaddafi explicitly offered to host Ahmad Jibril, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, and Sabri Al Banna, better known as Abu Nidal, of the Fatah Revolutionary Council. Qaddafi also extended an invitation to members of the Irish Republican Army, noting that the British government "held meetings with the IRA recently. We are now inviting the leaders of the IRA openly, not secretly, to come to Libya for consultations."
Kuwaiti Magazine Backs Boycott:
The Kuwaiti magazine Al Mujtanta'a urged Muslim countries to implement a boycott of France to force French authorities to respect the rights of resident Muslims. The weekly magazine, the organ of Kuwait's Islamic Constitutional Movement, said French anti-Muslim rhetoric and actions had increased in recent months and criticized "French hatred driven by crusader concepts of dealing with French Muslims and Muslim expatriates. " Among the anti-Muslim incidents cited by the magazine were the expulsion from school of two girls for wearing the veil, closure of an Islamic newspaper in Paris, the refusal to grant entry to a Muslim scholar who was in possession of a valid French visa, and the wearing by model Claudia Schiffer during a recent Chanel fashion show in Paris of a low-cut dress embroidered with Qur'anic verses, an action "that upset all Muslims. "
Bhutto Mausoleum Questioned:
Pakistan's Supreme Court, responding to a citizen's complaint, asked the provincial government of Sindh to submit a report on its proposed construction of a mausoleum for the late President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the Saudi Gazette reports. Khadirn Hussain of Karachi filed a complaint with the court objecting to the publicly funded $9 million project, saying that Bhutto, who was executed by the government of Zia Ul Haq in 1979, was a convicted criminal and that his mausoleum should be privately financed through voluntary contributions. Chief Justice Nasim Hasan Shah, the only remaining judge from the Supreme Court which confirmed Bhutto's death sentence in February 1979, stated that the provincial government was required to spend public funds as stipulated by the provincial and national legislatures, and that expenditures for unauthorized projects were illegal and unconstitutional. The Pakistan People's Party, founded by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and currently headed by his daughter Benazir, currently controls both the Sindhi provincial assembly and governorship.
Red-Dead Canal Study Suggested:
Italy and the World Bank are prepared to fund a preliminary feasibility study for a canal linking the Red and Dead Seas which would use the difference in altitude between the two bodies of water to power an 800-megawatt hydroelectric station. The CAABU Bulletin reports that the Italian government's offer is conditional on the acceptance of all interested parties. In the 1980s Israel floated the idea of a "Med-Dead" canal linking the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean via Gaza. The project generated fierce Arab and international opposition because it would violate a Geneva Convention ban on non-essential construction on occupied land. The scheme was shelved in 1986 for financial reasons, but last fall Israeli Energy and Infrastructure Minister Moshe Shahal said the plan was being revived because of prospects for peace with Jordan, which controls the eastern half of the Dead Sea. Both the "RedDead" and "Med-Dead" canal projects have an estimated cost between $750 million and $1.5 billion.
New Islamist Group in Algeria:
Six moderate Algerian Islamic activists founded a new political group to mediate between the country's military regime and armed Islamist militants, according to the APS news agency. The formation of the Islamic Republican Rally (RIR) was announced at the end of a conference of ulama, or religious scholars, in Algiers, and is designed to counterbalance the leftist Popular Republican Movement coalition led by political activist Said Saadi. The RIR will likely take the place of the moderate, nonpolitical Islamic Da'wa League of veteran leader Sheikh Ahmed Salmoun, who is now in his 80s. The new group's founders hail from across Algeria and include Mahfoud Nalmah of Algiers, Abou-Djarra Soltani of Constantine, Nairn Rahali from Oran, Mohammed Amokrane Ait-Aissa of Tizi-Ouzou, Abdelkrim Belgot of El Oued and Salah Mahdjoubi from Ouargla.
Saudi Islamist Ostracized by Family:
The Bin Laden family, one of the wealthiest in Saudi Arabia, issued a statement disassociating itself from the actions of one family member widely linked to radical Islamist groups, the Saudi Gazette reports. Bakr Mohammed Bin Laden sent a message on behalf of "all members of the family" to the Saudi press expressing "regret, denunciation and condemnation of all acts that Osama Bin Laden may have committed. " Osama, currently a resident of Sudan, reportedly has financed a number of violent Islamist organizations, including a Yemeni group which bombed two hotels in Aden in December 1992, killing two Austrian tourists and narrowly missing some 100 U.S. servicemen deployed for Operation Restore Hope, which then was getting underway in Somalia. The Bin Laden family, originally from the southern part of Yemen, is prominent in the Saudi construction sector.
Burger Imbroglio in Tehran:
A hamburger restaurant in Tehran has been ordered to serve only Persian food after Islamic activists accused the eatery of being the first McDonald's franchise in Iran, according to Kayhan. The Ravaq restaurant was scheduled to open after an advertising blitz featuring billboards boasting golden arches, leading activists to picket the restaurant and threaten the management. "Our brothers have not become martyrs for American corporations to find business in Iran again, " one of the protesters said. Activists also have vowed to take action against the Coca-Cola Company, which has begun marketing soft drinks in Iran for the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has said he favors limited economic ties with the United States despite the political problems between Washington and Tehran.
Pakistan Pioneers All-Female Police Post:
Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto opened the country's first police station staffed solely by women in Rawalpindi, saying she plans to open similar stations throughout the country. Women's and human rights groups have long accused Pakistani police of sexually abusing women during interrogation and of not seriously investigating women's complaints. "A woman's police station is the first step toward equal access to justice," Bhutto said. "At least women will be able to deal with women on an equal basis. " The prime minister has promised to allocate 10 percent of senior police jobs for female applicants, set up special courts to hear cases against women and appoint women to the Supreme Court. Bhutto pledged during elections last October to improve conditions for Pakistan's 65 million women, according to Dawn.
Tunisian Rights Group Selects Government Slate:
The governing congress of the Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH) elected a government-backed slate of leaders by a narrow margin, according to the Tunisia News. The change comes in the wake of a 1992 law requiring the LTDH to extend membership to anyone who wants to join, opening the door for some 4,000 new, predominantly pro-government members. The new 25-member leadership council includes 12 independents, a number of activists from the ruling and opposition parties, and two "progressive Islamists. It replaces a council dominated by independent, liberal, leftist and opposition party figures. Tawfik Bouderbala, an independent lawyer, was named LTDH president, while moderate Islamist scholar Salaheddine Jourchi was appointed vice-president.
Multinational Investment Group Targets Territories:
Israeli, Palestinian, Moroccan and Spanish investors are creating a holding company to invest in industrial projects in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to Middle East Economic Digest. Partners include Israel's giant Koor Industries, Palestinian investors headed by Palestine National Fund chief Jawid Ghossein, Morocco's Omnium Nord Africain holding company and the Spanish investment bank Banesto. The future Palestinian autonomous authority is expected to join as well. Each partner will invest an initial $15 million, while some $ 100 to $150 million will be raised on the U.S. stock market within one year. Projects under consideration include a West Bank cement concern, telecommunications and electronics companies and distribution networks. Koor chief executive Benjamin Gaon said the company will have a Palestinian president and will invest in projects according to Palestinian economic priorities. The multinational holding company has the approval of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Gaon said.
Iran Strengthens Interior Minister:
Iran's spiritual guide, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, named Interior Minister Mohammed Besharati the country's police chief following a failed assassination bid against Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Khamenei appointed Besharati to the three-year post because of his "revolutionary record, " Tehran radio reported. Besharati reportedly asked Khamenei for increased police control last September, and in a letter the ayatollah said the decision was made "to give the interior minister more power in a bid to enforce security" in Iran. Besharati is considered a confidant of Khamenei, who also serves as supreme commander of Iran's armed forces.
Old Answer to a New Problem:
The International Airports Authority of India has placed nationwide newspaper advertisements offering jobs to "persons or agencies having experience in falconry" as part of a plan to reduce the country's high number of bird strikes on aircraft. India has the largest number of "bird hits" by airplanes in the world, with some 230 aircraft being damaged each year after striking low-flying birds around airports. Currently, mobile squads of sharpshooters are posted near runways to deal with flocks of birds, but one official said the "birds have become wise and avoid them. " Now Indian authorities are turning to the use of falcons to scare away other birds, the Indian Express reports, and will begin experimental tests at an airport in either Delhi, Madras, Bombay or Calcutta. Falconry has been outlawed in India for several years, but is still practiced in rural areas by villagers hunting duck and partridge.
Lebanese Banks Booming:
Lebanese Central Bank governor Riad Salameh announced that the country's bank deposits had risen to some $10 billion in 1993, almost double 1992's $6.6 billion in holdings. Salameh told Al Hayat that Lebanon enjoyed a balance-of-payments surplus of some $700 million last year, up from $54 million in 1992. The bank official said Lebanon was imposing few restrictions on Arab banks wishing to do business in the country, though they should be limited to no more than two branches with each holding $5 million in capital. "We hope these branches would reinvest 30 percent of their deposits inside Lebanon," Salameh said, though he added that the Central Bank would not force them to do so.
Jamaat-i-Islami Shakeup in Pakistan:
Pakistan's Islamist Jamaat-i-Islami party will select a new leader in the fourth election in the group's 52-year history. Dawn reports that an electoral college of some 8,000 Jamaat members will select a new chief to replace Qazi Hussain Ahmad, who resigned four years before the end of his second five-year term due to the party's poor showing in last October's general elections. In addition to Ahmad, who is likely to be renominated, prospective candidates include Jamaat deputy leaders Khurshid Ahmad and Ghafoor Ahmad and Sindh's Jamaat leader, Jan Mohammed Abbasi. Qazi Hussain Ahmad had sought to give the Jamaat a new political image similar to the populist stances of the Pakistan People's Party and the Pakistan Muslim League, but the Jamaat backed Pakistan Islamic Front was trounced at the polls last fall.
Iranian Archeologists Find Body Preserved For 2,600 Years:
The head and torso of a man who lived some 2,600 years ago was found intact in a salt mine in western Iran, according to the Tehran Times. The man apparently was killed in a partial cave-in at the mine near the village of Shehrabad in Zanjan province, and was buried by thick layers of salt which helped to preserve the upper body. The man's eyebrows, moustache and long beard were all intact, as was the gold earring in his ear, according to archeologist Hushang Sobuti. Preliminary studies and nearby pottery fragments indicate the head and torso date back to approximately 600 B.C.
Germany Places Limits on FIS Leader:
German authorities have prohibited the official spokesman of Algeria's outlawed Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) from involvement in political activities while in exile on German soil. The Saudi Gazette reports that Herbert Schnoor, minister for North Rhine-Westphalia, imposed the ban on Rabah Kebir because the FIS leader had "commented openly in Germany on Algerian political issues in a way that runs counter to German foreign policy interests and that endangers those interests. " German Foreign Ministry officials said that although the ban was ordered by the minister of only one of the country's 16 federal states, it meant that Kebir must curtail his political activities throughout all of Germany.
Iran Rejects Iraqi Aircraft Request:
Authorities in Tehran refused a recent request from Baghdad to return Iraqi aircraft flown to Iran for safekeeping before and during the 1991 Gulf war, the Tehran Times reports. Iraq said 115 military aircraft and 33 civilian planes had been flown to Iran, while Tehran says only 22 Iraqi aircraft landed, and that these could not be returned without the approval of the U.N. Security Council. "The Iraqi regime must realize that while it continues to arm and train anti-Iranian terrorists on its soil bordering the Islamic republic," the paper said, referring to the opposition People's Mojahedin of Iran, "it would be childish to believe that Iran will return the planes. "
Desert Leopard Spotted:
The Arabian leopard, believed to be extinct in its natural habitat, has been discovered in Saudi Arabia's Asir region, according to Al Yom. The National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development has received several eyewitness reports of the leopard in response to a media campaign asking Saudis to report the discovery of any wildlife threatened with extinction.
BBC Reporter Bounced from Tunis:
The Tunisian government expelled British Broadcasting Corporation reporter Alfred Hermida to express Tunisian "dissatisfaction" with the British network, according to the Saudi Gazette. Two Tunisians and one Russian journalist will continue to provide the BBC with coverage in Arabic and English. The government did not elaborate on the reasons behind Hermida's expulsion. Foreign reporters were summoned to meet with Tunisian authorities the previous week, when officials spoke of their "anger with media zealousness " in covering preparations for the March 20 Tunisian elections. Two correspondents for the Kuwaiti KUNA news agency earlier were stripped of their press accreditation cards by Tunisian authorities.
Jordanian MP Asks for Protection:
Jordan's first female member of parliament, Toujan Faisal, appealed to international human rights organizations to protect her and her family from threats after she sued a fellow parliamentarian for slander and assault, Ad Dustur reports. Faisal said she rejected mediation offers from parliament speaker Taher Masri and leaders of her own Circassian community and would press ahead with a $1.5 million suit against Jamal Khreisha, an influential tribal leader. Faisal alleges that Khreisha made insulting remarks and threw an ashtray at her during a parliamentary debate. Khreisha said he "might have said some things in the heat of the moment, " but intended no insult. Faisal said she has received a number of threatening calls in the wake of the lawsuit.
Sudanese Crack Arafat Plot:
Sudanese authorities foiled a plot to assassinate PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat during his visit to Khartoum last December, according to Egypt's Al Ahali. Following a tip from nonSudanese sources, authorities in Khartoum detained and later expelled an Iranian diplomat and two Lebanese citizens. The three were found in possession of poisoned knives and pistols equipped with silencers, the leftist opposition daily reported.
Saudi Deal Violates GATT:
The European Airbus Industrie consortium is challenging the recent $6 billion airliner deal struck between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. The Saudi Gazette reports that many of the specifics of the deal, which covers the purchase of McDonnell Douglas MD- 11 and Boeing 737, 747 and 777 passenger jets, were not disclosed at the signing ceremony in Washington. Among the unannounced terms are details of the financing from the U.S. Export-Import Bank, the number of each type of aircraft included in the deal, and the delivery dates and sequencing of the aircraft. Airbus, a consortium of British, French, German and Spanish aerospace companies that had lobbied hard to sell their aircraft to the Saudis, charged that because the U.S. agreement is so vague, it violates the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and should be overturned. "Nothing is cast in stone yet, " one aviation expert said. "Airbus may still share the pie."