- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 23, 2007

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Daily Telegraph

Knighting Salman Rushdie

LONDON — Pakistani protests over the presentation of a knighthood to [novelist] Salman Rushdie were escalating this week to ever-more shrill and offensive heights. Incited by demagogic remarks from some of Pakistan’s hard-line politicians, crowds in the streets of Islamabad were burning effigies of the Queen while the Senate, Pakistan’s upper house of parliament, approved a unanimous resolution demanding that Britain withdraw the honor from the author of a “blasphemous book.”

The Pakistani legislature may be thought to be within its rights to express what it describes as its “annoyance over blatant disregard for the sentiments of Muslims.” But it is of another order entirely for the religious affairs minister of Pakistan, a country that regards itself as an ally of the West in the war on terror, to incite violence within the United Kingdom.

[Religious Affairs Minister] Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq may have been forced to “clarify” his inflammatory suggestion that suicide bombing was an appropriate response to the Rushdie knighthood, but the Pakistani government has, as yet, offered no official condemnation of his statement. Nor, apparently, has the British government called for one. … Even allowing for the diplomatic delicacy of dealing with an ally, it seems peculiarly feeble to limit our response to these ugly threats to an expression of “deep concern” from Britain’s high commissioner.


Trouble at the crossing

TEL AVIV — Many Israelis are watching the television news these days with feelings of powerlessness and shame.

They see hundreds of haunted and frightened [Palestinian] women and children crowding into the corridor of the Erez Crossing and asking to be allowed to flee Gaza through Israel to the West Bank in order to save their lives. But the defense establishment sees something else: It sees wanted terrorists about to blow themselves up and Iranian agents.

The defense establishment apparently has its own vision, which does not let emotional or humanitarian considerations confuse it or cause it to change its rigidly made-up mind. The pictures at the Erez Crossing remind any person who still tries not to forget harsh scenes of locked, sealed gates from the previous century.

The fear that dangerous Hamas operatives might infiltrate into the West Bank is not baseless. But the Shin Bet security service presumably knows how to properly screen those seeking to pass — if that is what Jerusalem decides to do…. It must be hoped that Israel’s first, cruel and unreasonable response to the disturbing scenes on the Gaza border will not be its last word.

Japan Times

North Korea’s turn

TOKYO — The financial dispute that North Korea used as an excuse for not fulfilling its obligations under a six-party talks accord has reportedly been resolved. Although the North extended an invitation to a delegation of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it must now speedily carry out the steps of the “initial action phase” under the Feb. 13 accord, which includes shutting down and sealing the Yongbyon nuclear facility within 60 days. Four months have already passed since the accord was adopted and two months have passed since the deadline for completing the steps.

On March 19, the United States announced that $25 million in North Korea-linked funds frozen at Banco Delta Asia in Macao would be released…. In a major concession, the United States decided to have the funds transferred by way of the New York Federal Reserve and Russia’s central bank to a commercial bank in Russia’s Far East. This shows that Washington was determined to solve the North Korean nuclearization issue.

Pyongyang must faithfully live up to the earlier obligation of shutting down the nuclear facility as soon as it receives the funds. The United States and other members of the six-party talks must do their best to have the North move to the next phase.

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