International Papers

Showdown in Israel

As efforts continue to halt the violence, world attention remains focused on the Middle East. An editorial in the Guardian charges Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat with excessive leniency, leading directly to the violence. “Neither man realised that doves must be as tough as hawks—that in proposing compromise they must be as unbending as the rejectionists who would do nothing.” Barak should have prevented Ariel Sharon’s provocative actions, while Arafat should have stopped the destruction of Joseph’s Tomb.

In Israel, a Jerusalem Post editorial issues a stark assessment. “For the first time in a generation, Israelis of all stripes and from all corners can conclude nothing other than that our state is in grave danger.” Barak should not have gone back on his ultimatum, as empty threats weaken Israel’s deterrent and “put at risk a defense strategy that took decades to build.” Also, Barak should give a national television address inviting “all Zionist parties to participate” in “an emergency government of national unity.” A separate Post column compares the position of Israeli Arabs to that of African-Americans during the Los Angeles riots. “People who are the victims of discrimination tend to lose faith in the system,” it asserts, “and from there it’s a short leap to disobeying the law.” The answer: “Things will only change when they [Israeli Arabs] truly feel they have a stake in being citizens of Israel.”

A Jordan Times columnist urges Barak to “rein in the Israeli vigilante terror groups that have rampaged against Palestinian individuals, homes, mosques, churches, and property. … While the Israeli army shoots Palestinian children in the streets, Israeli civilian skinheads attack the homes and holy sites of Palestinians throughout the land, and the Israeli security forces are often nowhere to be seen.” A Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung{{essay#2:{0E20CFAB-9E25-11D4-B997-009027BA226C}&width=800&height=572&agt=explorer&ver=4&svr=4}} traces the root of the current violence to the 1993 Camp David negotiations. By that time, Arafat’s promises to his own people were already too extensive to allow compromise. “The Palestinian leader did not want to fly to Camp David. He feared that in that hour of truth, his two-faced politics would be exposed, possibly costing him his office. Mr. Clinton begged him to come and so paved the way to disaster. … As strange as it sounds, U.S. pressure for a peace agreement ended up unleashing a new wave of violence.”

Schindler-san: Tokyo’s Asahi Shimbun notes the government’s recent recognition of a World War II hero. “In a gesture that was more than half a century overdue, Foreign Minister Yohei Kono formally apologized Tuesday to the family of Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese diplomat who risked his life to save thousands of Jews during World War II.” Known as “The Schindler of Japan,” Sugihara “ignored instructions from Tokyo and issued 6,000 visas to Jews fleeing Nazi persecution so they could enter Japan.” The diplomat had been “shunned by the ministry after the war.”

Wigging Out: South Africa’s Independent runs a report on the fiendish murder of a “20-year old Yemeni bride.” The woman was “stung to death by a scorpion that a jealous older wife hid in the younger woman’s wig.” A hairdresser was an, um, accessory, as she helped plant the creature and assured the bride that her pain was caused by hairpins. The young woman was stung 24 times. The story adds that “Muslim men are traditionally allowed up to four wives.”