- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 18, 2002

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

The Jordan Times

Rejection of Palestinian state

AMMAN, Jordan One day after the Arabs made their historic peace offer to Israel in late March, the government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon sent its troops into Palestinian territories, destroying cities and towns and diminishing hope for Middle East peace. [Last weekend], three key Arab states reiterated their commitment to the Arab peace initiative, renewing their call on Israel to accept full withdrawal for full normal relations. Sharon's Likud Party responded by debating a resolution blocking the establishment of a Palestinian state. …

The unequivocal commitment to peace that the Arabs have reiterated will strengthen the peace camp in Israel. It will also contribute to the downfall of [Mr. Sharons] extremist government and the defeat of Likud hawks who refuse to accept that in order for Israelis to live in peace, the Palestinians must also live in peace; that it is either peace for all or simply peace for no one.

Frankfurter Rundschau

The Children's Summit

FRANKFURT, Germany After much controversial debate and dubious compromise, the U.N. children's summit could be considered a farce.

While representatives debated for three days over the formulation of issues of sex education and family planning over which the conference nearly collapsed 90,000 children under the age of five died of AIDS, starvation or violence, based on statistics by UNICEF.

And then the United States was granted an exclusion that is an outrageous disgrace … allowing U.S. states to continue to kill children under the age of 18 by the death penalty, without having to worry about violating a U.N. document.

The Citizen

The sins of churchmen

JOHANNESBURG With a scandal unfolding in the U.S., the Catholic Church in South Africa is not doing itself any favors by showing reluctance to report child abuse.

Experience in the Americas and elsewhere has shown a tendency among certain priests towards sexual misdemeanors.

In South Africa 12 cases have apparently been reported in the last 10 years, some of them false.

While these figures are no worse than for any other vocation, the suggestion of a cover-up is worrying. A distinction must be made between information disclosed inside and outside a Catholic confessional.

We do not believe police have automatic access to everything said in such a forum. Just as lawyers can invoke attorney-client privilege, and journalists may decline to name their sources, priests are entitled to confidentiality in some circumstances. At least an argument can be made to protect the confession as a cornerstone of Catholic practice.

However, knowledge obtained outside the confessional should be passed on. The church is not above the law and cannot interfere with the course of justice. …

The Independent

Jimmy Carter in Cuba

LONDON This week's visit to Cuba by Jimmy Carter, the former U.S. president, is open to two interpretations. Either it is a gimmick devised by Cuba's aging dictator to con the world into helping him to survive even longer. Or it is proof that, more than 10 years after the collapse of its Soviet patron, Cuba is on the brink of historic change.

It is probably a bit of both. The significance of Mr. Carter's unprecedented expedition should not be underestimated. He is the highest-ranking American ever to set foot in Castro's Cuba.

But none of this should disguise either the domestic political benefit that will accrue to Fidel Castro from Mr. Carter's high-profile visit, or the reality of the Castro regime. Mr. Carter's presence on official podiums alongside Mr. Castro implies a level of U.S. acceptance that successive U.S. administrations have been keen to avoid. And while its health and education provision is well-regarded, Cuba is neither a free nor a thriving country.

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