WORLD NEWS HEADLINES
MIDDLE EAST — NEW SUICIDE BOMBINGS AND ISRAELI REPRISALS
As USA Today reported on June 6, 2002, “Israeli troops stormed Yasser Arafat’s headquarters early Thursday, blew up three buildings in the sprawling compound and shelled the Palestinian leader’s living area in response to a Palestinian suicide attack on an Israeli bus that killed 17 passengers.” As the newspaper explained, “a member of the Islamic Jihad group drove a car packed with 154 pounds of explosives alongside a moving bus and detonated the load, igniting a huge fire ball…. Among the dead were 13 soldiers in their late teens and early 20s.”
Der Spiegel added that, although a response from Israel was expected, its attack with 30 tanks came as a surprise. Nabil Abu Rudeihneh, advisor to Arafat, accused the United States of having given the green light to Israel for their military actions against the Palestinians. The United States rejected those charges, claiming that they were not informed before the incursion into Ramallah, and that Washington did not give prior approval. Earlier this week, however, according to USA Today, visiting “CIA chief George Tenet warned Arafat that if he did not stop suicide bombings, he would stand alone against Israeli reprisals.”
GERMANY’S FIGHT WITH ANTI-SEMITISM
As we reported in our last Update (Update #45, World News Headlines, “Anti-Semitism in Germany?”), Germany’s Free Democrats’ Juergen Moellemann came under heavy attack for comments against Ariel Sharon and Michel Friedman, Vice-President of Germany’s Jewish Community. The criticism of Moellemann continued this week, including a protest of over 2500 people demonstrating in Berlin, following the appeal of the Jewish community in Berlin. Susanne Thaler, member of the Free Democrats in Berlin, resigned in protest to Moellemann’s comments and the apparent lack of an official response from the FDP. As Der Spiegel reported on Thursday, more and more inquiries are being received from concerned citizens in Israel and the United States who are worrying about the developments in Germany.
In the meantime, Jamal Karsli, German-Syrian member of the FDP and Moellemann’s protégé, was pressured to resign, after he had issued statements which were considered by some as anti-Semitic. He denied that he is anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish, but insisted that he will not cease to criticize the politics of Ariel Sharon.
Juergen Moellemann fired back as well in a news interview. He stated that he did not mean to apologize to Michel Friedman, as he does not deserve an apology. Moellemann continued to describe Friedman as “an arrogant and aggressive” person. He had said earlier that Friedman was responsible for anti-Semitism in Germany, due to his “hateful” conduct.
As before, Moellemann received unwelcome support from Austria’s Joerg Haider. In an interview on Sunday with Bild, Haider stated that Moellemann represents a politic which we in Austria are already pursuing since 1986. He encouraged Moellemann not to give up. He also stated, according to FOCUS, that Germany’s foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, has shown “open sympathies for terrorism.”
GERMANY — PEACE EVALUATION 2002
As Der Spiegel reported, several German scientists published on Thursday their yearly evaluation on world peace. In it, they heavily criticized the military politics of the United States. Any positive success of the military offensive in Afghanistan was also questioned. As the war continues, figures of civilian deaths are unknown, the terror network has been destroyed, and its leadership has not been captured. The scientists encourage Europe to determine its future role independently and to build up its civil and military possibilities, but not in dependency to the United States. They also warn not to continue showing unquestioned support and solidarity for the United Sates, as this would not be in accordance with European interests.