ISRAEL & THE UNITED STATES vs THE WORLD?
Dramatic developments in the Middle East during these past two weeks have shown how quickly Israel and the United States can find themselves isolated and condemned by world opinion.
As the Jerusalem Post reported on September 13, 2003, “the United Nations Security Council’s 15 member-nations warned Israel Saturday against carrying out its decision to ‘remove’ the Palestinian leader [Yasser Arafat].” The threat “set off pro-Arafat marches in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and drew opposition from the European Union, the United Nations and Arab countries,” according to the article. The paper continued, “The Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement, threatened it would wage an ‘all out war’ against Israel if Arafat were to be harmed in any way. In a statement released Friday, the group said Israel would be ‘flooded’ with suicide bombers if action was taken against Arafat. ‘We will prove that we know how to defend our leader and symbol of our resistance,’ the group said.”
The newspaper also pointed out that “a poll conducted Thursday evening and published Friday in the Yediot Ahronot daily shows sixty percent of Israelis would like to see Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat killed or expelled.”
Israel’s reaction to the unanimous view of the Security Council, including the United States, Great Britain, Germany and France, was one of defiance, stating that Arafat is “a complete obstacle to peace and should have been cast aside years ago,” according to the Jerusalem Post.
Subsequently, the United States vetoed a proposed Syrian-sponsored resolution of the 15 Security Council members that would have demanded of Israel not to expel or kill Arafat. Bulgaria, Germany and Great Britain abstained, while France, China, Russia, Cameroon, Guinea, Mexico, Syria, Angola, Pakistan, Chile and Spain voted for the resolution. Many commentators see the US veto as having been prompted by pressure from Israel. As USA Today reported, Washington vetoed the resolution as it did not condemn terrorist groups attacking Israel. Although Washington explained that it continues to oppose expelling Arafat from the West Bank, many observers are doubtful. “Arabs were dismayed by the veto, with some saying the vote showed the United States had lost its credibility as an honest broker in the Middle East,” according to USA Today. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said that the reasoning for Washington’s veto was “baseless.” He voiced his concern that the veto might be seen as a license to go after Arafat. France said “it regretted that the U.N. resolution on Israel didn’t pass. The resolution had ‘ a balanced message that we believed could bring a consensus,’ Cecile Pozzo di Borgo, the French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said in Paris.”
Der Spiegel Online added that observers predict serious consequences for which the United States will be held responsible. Germany’s ambassador to the UN, Gunter Pleuger, stated that he was disappointed by the vote, as it had sent the wrong signal, and not all options had been explored.
Arafat dismissed the aborted effort of the Security Council to pass the resolution against Israel. A resolution “will not shake us,” Arafat said, “regardless as to where it’s coming from. We are more important than any resolution,” he added, according to Spiegel Online.
IRAQ’S WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION?
The London based Sunday Times newspaper reported that inspectors had found no evidence of any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It stated that British defense intelligence sources had confirmed that the Iraq Survey Group, an Anglo-American team of 1400 scientists, military and intelligence experts, has delayed indefinitely the publication of a full report, which had been due on September 15. The newspaper added that the report may not be published at all.
JAPAN vs NORTH KOREA
news.independent.co.uk reported on September 15 that “Japan’s Defence Minister [Shigeru Ishiba] has stressed his country’s right to strike North Korean missile sites if an attack is thought imminent.” The article continued that North Korea has allegedly “at least 100 Rodong ballistic missiles capable of striking Japan.” According to Ishiba, “‘the threat from North Korea…. is not just aimed at Japan and the U.S., it’s a problem for the whole world.’… He believes that President George Bush’s strategy is closer to his own approach, than the strategy of Bill Clinton. ‘Clinton’s policy toward North Korea was based on two false premises: one, that Pyongyang would keep its promises [regarding the 1994 agreement to abandon its nuclear programme]; and two, that North Korea would collapse,’ he said. ‘North Korea neither kept its promises nor collapsed. We are now faced with the consequences.'”
The article pointed out, too, that “a number of senior politicians have recently floated the idea of Japan developing its own nuclear weapons, and in June, a bipartisan defence group of 103 junior politicians called for the government to change its defence-only policy to allow for a ‘minimum’ level of offensive capability to attack an enemy.”
SWEDEN AGAINST EURO
“Sweden got a clear message on Monday that it will pay a political price for snubbing the euro by being frozen out of EU decision-making,” according to MSNBC News of September 15. The article continued, “The resounding 56-42 percent ‘No’ to the euro in Sunday’s referendum follows a rejection of the European Union single currency by the Danes in 2000 and a ‘not yet’ from Britain… Asked if Sweden would lose influence by staying outside the 12-nation euro zone along with fellow EU members Britain and Denmark, [European Commission chief Romano] Prosi told Swedish Television: ‘Certainly, yes.’… Britain saw the rejection of the EU’s most ambitious economic project as a blow to Prime Minister Tony Blair. Tabloid daily the Sun said it would ‘send shock waves round Europe and dent Tony Blair’s dream of getting Britain to dump sterling.'”
“The threat to Germany from neo-Nazis has risen to a new level, Interior Minister Otto Shily has warned,” according to news.bbc.co.uk of September 15. The article continued, “The discovery of a suspected plot to bomb a Munich Jewish centre during a visit by the German president [Johannes Rau, as well as Bavarian governor Edmund Stoiber and Jewish leader Paul Spiegel] has ‘dramatically confirmed’ the danger to society, he said on Monday… Officials believe plans were being made to bomb the centre on 9 November, when its foundation stone is due to be laid at a ceremony… The suspected attack would have coincided with the anniversary of the Nazis’ 1938 Kristallnacht attacks, when thousands of Jewish targets were attacked and dozens murdered… ‘There have been hints that right extremists are really a great potential danger for our society… This has now been dramatically confirmed,’ [Schily said]… ‘Faced with the flood of pictures from the Middle East, we had forgotten what extremists could also plan here at home,’ wrote Guido Heinen in Die Welt. ‘German political terrorism is back.'”
SCHILY CONDEMNS UNITED STATES ANTI-TERROR PRACTICE
In other news, Schily attacked the United States in an unusually serious way. According to Der Spiegel Online, dated September 9, Schily condemned the U.S. practice in its fight against terrorism to neutralize suspects without trial, stating that this practice violates fundamental principles of International Law. Schily, himself an attorney who had defended German terrorists in his earlier years, continued that the U.S. did not resolve fundamental questions, but he was hopeful that the thought process in the United States would lead to acceptable solutions.
GARNER TED ARMSTRONG DIES AT 73
As Associated Press reported on September 16, “Evangelist Garner Ted Armstrong … died Monday from complications of pneumonia… He is survived by his wife, three sons and five grandchildren.”