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>Israel Faxx
>PD Dec. 14, 1994, V2, #224

'Shoah' Director Plans Palestinian Film

French movie director Claude Lanzman, who directed the new Israeli film 'Tzahal' (Israel Defense Forces) regards the film as the third in a trilogy of movies he began in the '70s, when he made 'Why Israel?' followed by the award-winning documentary 'Shoah' (Holocaust). He is considering making a movie from the point of view of the Palestinians, but adds 'That should really be their own task.'

Lebanon Continues to Vex Israelis

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

The recent increase in attacks by Hizbullah guerrillas against Israeli forces and their Lebanese Christian allies in southern Lebanon has sparked debate in Israel about how to respond.

In the last week, two Israeli soldiers have been killed in Hizbullah attacks in southern Lebanon, and several others have been injured. This year, 17 Israeli soldiers have been killed fighting in the border zone they control in Lebanon. There has also been some cross-border shelling of towns in northern Israel.

When Israeli soldiers are killed in Palestinian terrorist attacks, there are cries of outrage from officials and in the media. But the killings in Lebanon receive much less attention. In addition, Israel strikes back when there are attacks from Lebanese or Palestinians within its territory. But Israel's options in southern Lebanon are limited by an agreement, and by concern that escalating the conflict would result in terrorist attacks in other parts of the world.

The result has been some now-apparent frustration in the Israeli armed forces and increased attention from the media.

On Sunday, the chief of Israel's Northern Command, General Amiram Levine, broke the usual dutiful silence on policy issues among military officers. While visiting seven soldiers hospitalized from their injuries in the fighting, Levine told Israeli reporters that to stop Hizbullah the Israeli army will have to defeat it on the battlefield and that to do so his forces must be allowed to take the initiative and attack, rather than maintain their defensive posture. Levine said Hizbullah has had several successes recently, and he vowed those successes will come to an end.

But the general's tough talk was almost immediately contradicted by Israeli leaders. Speaking during a visit to Japan, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said "whoever thinks he has a formula for resolving the problem is mistaken." Rabin said the fighting in Lebanon is part of what he called the international "infrastructure" of Islamic terrorism. He said an Israeli military offensive in southern Lebanon would only result in retaliation elsewhere, as happened when Islamic extremists bombed Jewish community offices in Argentina and the Israeli Embassy in London.

Rabin said the only way to end the bloodshed in southern Lebanon is to reach a comprehensive Middle East peace settlement, which he is trying to do by continuing negotiations in spite of terrorist attacks in Israel and the increased fighting in Lebanon.

Foreign Minister Shimon peres made similar comments, noting that previous Israeli offensives in southern Lebanon have failed to destroy Hizbullah or to end the fighting.

To reach a settlement with Lebanon, Israel must first make peace with Syria, which wields considerable power in Lebanon. The Israel-Syria peace talks are stalled, and increased fighting in Lebanon could prolong the stalemate. But low-level contacts and US mediation are continuing.

There is also a broader international aspect to the problems in southern Lebanon. Iran supports, and to some extent controls, Hizbullah, and it is not likely to accept any peace accord between Israel and its neighbors. Rabin was expected to discuss Iran's role in Lebanon and in international terrorism during his meetings in Japan, which, unlike most Western countries, maintains active contacts with Iran.

At the same time, the United States is trying to persuade the Lebanese government to crack down on Hizbullah. Last week, Assistant Secretary of State Robert Pelletreau visited Beirut to discuss improving US/Lebanese relations. But a Beirut newspaper says he told Lebanese leaders they must first get control of Hizbullah and other terrorist groups.

Israel's top leaders have made clear that, for now, they will deal with the situation in southern Lebanon through such diplomatic channels. But flareups such as the current one create pressure on the leaders to do something on the ground. And that, in turn, increases their own frustrations because they believe such action could result in terrorist attacks on innocent civilians and would hurt the peace process they are already having trouble moving forward.

Ethiopia Conducts Genocide Trial

By Alex Belida (Nairobi)

The genocide trial of former Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam and other top members of the country's former Marxist ruling military council got under way Tuesday in Addis Ababa. The trial is one of the largest war crimes prosecutions held since the end of the Second World War. It began amid heavy security in Addis Ababa's Central High Court with a formal reading of the 269-page document of charges -- a document listing more than 2,000 counts of murder, torture and enforced disappearances during the 17 years of Marxist rule known as the Red Terror.

Mengistu, who fled Ethiopia in 1991 and now lives in Zimbabwe, is being tried in absentia. But more than 40 other members of the former ruling council known as the Dergue were present for the start of the proceedings. All the accused face a possible death penalty.

In a telephone interview from his residence outside Harare, Mengistu charged the trial would not be fair. Although he sounded eager to defend his record, he said that to return to Ethiopia would be suicide.

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