And now the most scintillating two minutes in television, the latest from the wartime grapevine.
An official of Human Rights Watch, which has been strongly critical of Israel, has now thrown further doubt on the claim there was a massacre at that U.N. refugee camp in Jenin. Palestinians have claimed that hundreds of civilians were murdered by Israeli troops. A U.N. team is trying to get in to Jenin to investigate the charges. But Peter Buckaert, senior researcher at the U.S.-based aid group, said, "There is simply no evidence of a massacre." As of Sunday, searchers had found 52 bodies, 21 of them civilians, and Bouckaert said there are likely to be very few bodies still to be found.
A British bomb expert working for the Red Cross in that Jenin refugee camp says explosive devices he found there were absolutely identical to those he encountered in Northern Ireland. Paul Collinson, formerly of the Royal Engineers bomb disposal office, told the London Sunday Telegraph he suspects the Irish Republican Army has been teaching Palestinian fighters how to build booby-trap bombs. Collinson said, "When I saw the bombs it was like a flashback to Northern Ireland. The way the pipes were cut and the whole design of the bombs is exactly the same."
Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Tom Friedman of the New York Times stalked out of a weekend media conference in the Persian Gulf city-state of Dubai. It was to Friedman back in January that Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah first revealed his plan for Arab recognition of Israel in exchange for withdrawal from disputed territories. A member of the audience suggested Friedman had been provided a plane by the Saudi government. Friedman said, "I will not sit here and listen to that garbage. I came here at my expense and that's exactly how I went to Saudi Arabia." He was later persuaded to return.
The liberal lobby People for the American Way, has been getting financial support from some of the nation's most powerful media companies. National Review says the group's annual reports show that The New York Times Company, Time Inc., NBC, CBS and Disney, parent of ABC, have all bought tickets to the group's annual fund-raisers in recent years. People for the American Way, and its chief lobbyist, the tireless and highly effective Ralph Neas, have been highly successful in opposing conservative judicial nominees, most recently Mississippi Judge Charles Pickering.