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Consul says Israel lags in war of words



Published: Thu, April 25, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



An Israeli official has pledged to provide more information.

By D.A. WILKINSON

VINDICATOR RELIGION EDITOR

YOUNGSTOWN -- Israelis and Palestinians are fighting with guns in the Holy Land, but there's also an ongoing battle of words to claim the high moral ground.

"In the battle in that matter, we are behind," Rachel Feinmesser said Thursday. She's the consul general of Israel in Philadelphia for the area that includes Ohio.

She was in the Valley to speak at a "We Stand with Israel" rally at the Jewish Community Center.

Fighting highlighted

News recently has focused on the fighting in Palestinian areas and claims of an Israeli massacre in Jenin, a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank.

Although Israel has denied that a massacre took place, it hasn't given a prominent description of what did.

Meanwhile, Ray Nakley, head of the local Coalition for Peace in the Middle East, has repeatedly described the devastation left by the fighting.

Nakley said in one statement, "Speculation is that the bodies are being hidden to prevent evidence of massacres from being discovered."

When asked why the Israeli government didn't present a clear picture of its actions and motives in the fighting, Feinmesser said it had through daily briefings, but no one listened.

"The only story is pictures," the consul said.

Long and complex

When it comes to the long and complex story of the Middle East, Feinmesser said, "There is no time for that on TV. On TV, it's what happened yesterday."

The consul pledged to pass on Israeli press briefings. National Palestinian and Islamic groups have been flooding the press for weeks with their material.

Although that material blamed Israel, the consul blamed Yasser Arafat for hundreds of deaths.

"He was deeply involved in terrorism," Feinmesser said.

Documents found at his headquarters showed the number of bombs that were needed, along with their cost, she said.

But leaders in the local Palestinian community, including Nakley, had dismissed the purported documents weeks ago.

Feinmesser said Israel has done everything it could to create two independent states.

"Each side would give up something," she said.




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