Newsletter : 4fax1214.txt
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>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
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
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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