And now the most absorbing two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine.
Passage of energy legislation this year has been thrown into doubt by a move by Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle that even the Senate Parliamentarian, appointed by Daschle, has declared invalid. Both the House and Senate have passed energy legislation, with only the House bill including a provision for oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. The differences between the bills must be worked out in negotiations between the two Houses. But only one of the Senate negotiators named by Daschle is from the Energy Committee, which produced the bill. Instead, he named such environmental activists as John Kerry, Jim Jeffords and Harry Reid. The Parliamentarian has ruled the group in violation of Senate rules, and unless and until it's resolved, there will be no bill.
As we noted earlier, one of Yasser Arafat's own lieutenants is now saying the death count in the battle of Jenin is only 56. Far from an Israeli massacre, he is calling Jenin a "victory" for the Palestinians. The Washington Times says Kadoura Mousa Kadoura, director of Arafat's Fatah movement for the northern West Bank received a report from four Palestinians who pegged the number at 56 after looking into the matter for him. The Times quotes Kadoura as saying of the Jenin fighting, "Here the Israelis who tried to break the Palestinian willpower have been taught a lesson."
But Israeli military sources are conceding that Palestinian charges of widespread destruction of property, especially computers, by Israeli troops are true. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz quotes one military source as saying, "There were indeed, wide-scale ugly phenomena of vandalism." Some of that vandalism was visible in FOX News footage taken after Israeli forces withdrew from Palestinian authority offices in Ramallah. The sources also said there was extensive looting, calling it "ugly" and "serious."
Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa has joined French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine in decrying the influence of Jews in American politics. In a speech in Boston, Tutu likened the Israeli treatment of Palestinians to South Africa's racist Apartheid system, which Tutu worked to overthrow. On American support of Israel, he said, "People are scared in this country to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful, very powerful. Well, so what?" He added, "Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust."