- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 12, 2004

After Arafat

Israeli Ambassador Daniel Ayalon is calling on the Palestinians to seize the opportunity during elections next month and reject the violent legacy of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Mr. Ayalon, addressing the Israel Project last week in New York, said Mr. Arafat undermined two attempts to establish a Palestinian prime minister with real authority to negotiate peace with Israel. With the death of Mr. Arafat, Palestinians have a chance to develop a true representative government in the Jan. 9 election, the ambassador said.

“The Israeli position here is very clear. We are not interfering [in the election]. We cannot tell, nor do we want to tell, the Palestinians what to do, how to vote,” he said.

“But I think there is a clear choice for them whether to keep the legacy of terror and denial and incitement [to violence] or to move ahead.”

Mr. Ayalon noted the futility of past Palestinian tactics of trying to force negotiations by encouraging suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks.

“You cannot blow up buses or kill children and expect to negotiate at the same time,” he said. “So what we would expect from the Palestinians is to stop the terror, dismantle the terror organizations, to stop the incitement and to move forward in a transparent and accountable way.”

Masaoka’s legacy

Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato praised the late Mike Masaoka as “the most famous and influential Japanese-American of his time.”

Mr. Kato, in a recent dinner tribute to Mr. Masaoka, recognized his widow, Etsu, for her efforts to assist her husband as they worked for civil rights for Japanese-Americans during and after World War II.

Mr. Masaoka, who died in 1991, served as national secretary of the Japanese Americans Citizens League from 1941 to 1943, when many Japanese-Americans were confined to detention camps.

He continued his work with the league until his retirement in 1972. His last position was as Washington representative.

“In recounting the extraordinary life of Mike Masaoka, it is almost inconceivable that one person could have such influence on so many,” Mr. Kato said.

“We must recognize what Etsu Masaoka has meant not only for her husband and family, but what a vital role that she, like her husband, played in creating closer ties between the United States and Japan.”

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

Alexei Arbatov of the Moscow Center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who discusses the future of nonproliferation in a briefing at the Washington headquarters of the organization.

Cheng Siwei, vice chairman of China’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, who delivers the keynote address at the International Conference on Information Systems.

Tomorrow

Ambassador Juan Gabriel Valdes, head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, who addresses the Inter-American Dialogue.

Wednesday

Niklas Swanstrom of Sweden’s Uppsala University, an expert on Afghanistan’s heroin industry, who participates in a panel discussion sponsored by the W.P. Carey Forum.

Thursday

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who meets with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

Friday

• Russian governors Gennady M. Khodyrev of Niznhy Novgorod, Nicolay M. Volkov of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast and Viktor I. Ishaev of Khabarovsk, who hold a 9 a.m. press conference at the National Press Club. They are participating in the Washington conference of the American-Russian Chamber of Commerce, which also features Economy Minister Sergei Mikhailovich Vdovin of Russia’s Mordovia Republic.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison @washingtontimes.com.

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