Opposing Views of 2 in Middle East Illustrate Problems
Jon Sawyer Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau Chief, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Eve Harrow, a former St. Louisan who lives in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Efrat, says any Israeli concessions in talks that open today in Washington would be disastrous for peace.
"If (Yasser) Arafat gets something out of what happened last week, the message will be one that even a 4-year-old could understand: that violence gets results," she said.
The clashes last week between Palestinians and Israeli security forces left 56 Palestinians, three Egyptians and 15 Israelis dead, and led to the talks involving Palestinian leader Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A dozen miles north of Efrat, in the East Jerusalem building that also houses senior Palestinian officials, the local director of an American humanitarian agency drew exactly the opposite conclusion from Harrow's. `The Crunch Point' "This is the crunch point, the ultimate clash of cultures," said Tom Neu, Middle East director for American Near East Refugee Aid, which sponsors a Palestinian school and other relief efforts. "It will take more than words to quench the fire this time." In a telephone interview Monday, Neu said he was speaking for the Coordinating Committee of International Non-Governmental Organizations, the umbrella group for most of the private humanitarian groups active in Israel and the West Bank. In a statement issued Monday, the group called on Netanyahu to restart the peace process through: A ban on the use of live ammunition against protesters, especially fire from helicopters. A ban on sending Israeli troops into areas of Palestinian self-rule. Implementation of the Oslo Accords, the 1993 peace framework. That would include Israeli troop withdrawal from Hebron, and an Israeli commitment to open talks on the status of Jerusalem. Closure of the archaeological tunnel in Jerusalem's Old City near the raised area that includes two of Islam's holiest sites, the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosques. Neu said the tunnel was significant in itself. Palestinians have long charged that Israelis are looking for an archaeological pretext to take possession of their holy ground. Equally important, he said, was tension brewing since Netanyahu's election in May. Fueling the tension, Neu said, are restrictions on Palestinian access to jobs in Jerusalem and on travel between Palestinian towns in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. …