James D. Besser
Palestinian State Of Mind
by James D. Besser
Air Force One hadn’t even touched town at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington, but Jewish activists on Tuesday already were fighting over the symbolism of President Bill Clinton’s groundbreaking and controversial trip to Israel, Gaza and the West Bank.
Jewish leaders representing all points on the ideological spectrum did agree on one thing: the symbol-laden trip could be a turning point in U.S.-Israel and U.S.-Palestinian relations.
James D. Besser and Michele Chabin
In U.S.:Washington — Will the Middle East firmament tremble when President Bill Clinton’s helicopter sets down next week at the Gaza International Airport?
Will a troubling new era in U.S.-Palestinian relations begin with Clinton’s precedent-shattering address to 1,500 Palestinian officials, including many former terrorists, assembled to “confirm” an earlier decision striking out offensive portions of the PLO charter?
In a defiant statement, the Vatican has rejected U.S. government appeals to open its secret World War II archives, The Jewish Week has learned. The development is expected to heighten tensions between the Holy See and world Jewish community leaders, experts said.
“It’s disgraceful,” declared Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress of the Vatican’s position, contained in a bold three-page declaration selectively distributed at a Holocaust conference in Washington last week.
Washington — In a unexpected development, the bitter confrontation between Jewish groups and the Polish government over Christian symbols at the Auschwitz death camp moved a few steps closer to resolution this week with a letter from Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek outlining the steps his government is prepared to take to end the conflict.
In the letter, Buzek pledged that his government will “remove all new crosses” as soon as possible.
In the last week, the governments of Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic have assured Israel that they are committed to opening Holocaust-era archives, according to Bobby Brown, Israel’s diaspora affairs adviser.