Notebook: The Scoop
The Middle East: a diplomat gets a dressing down
(TIME, June 16) -- Edward Abington, the able American consul general in Jerusalem, has the most delicate job in Middle East diplomacy: dealing with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. His job is made even more difficult by the U.S.'s apparent fear of offending Israel. The latest evidence: TIME has learned that Abington was rebuked by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright for his statement, quoted in the New York Times May 21, that Israel's settlement expansion in the occupied territories is "ideologically driven" rather than based on natural growth and a demand for housing.
Abington's statement reflects more than an educated hunch; it is the result of a semiannual CIA survey of settlement occupancy in the West Bank and Gaza. The agency's latest findings reveal a vacancy rate of 25% in the West Bank and twice that in the Gaza Strip. Those conclusions reflect a familiar reality; for years the Israelis have been engaged in settlement building in the occupied territories not because they need new housing but because they want to hold onto the land. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the survey as "false by an order of magnitude, to put it mildly." Everyone in the Clinton Administration, including Albright, knows that Netanyahu's settlement policy is a fundamental reason for the breakdown of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Abington's sin was to say publicly what they all confirm privately.
--By Dean Fischer
Winners & Losers
Doing The Nasty--In And Out Of Uniform
MICHAEL J. BOWERS
There is art to diplomacy, certainly, but is there diplomatic art? Absolutely. The State Department's Art in Embassies program provides American paintings, sculptures, drawings--even weavings--to U.S. ambassadors who want to spruce up their residences and look tasteful and patriotic. Through agreements with an array of institutions, artists and collectors, the program encourages ambassadors to become their own art dealers, selecting works that strike their aesthetic fancy. Among the most chosen artists in the diplomatic service: Childe Hassam, Maurice Prendergast, Edward Hopper, Mark Rothko, Jacob Lawrence, Morris Louis, Andrew Wyeth, Robert Rauschenberg, Dale Chihuly and Helen Frankenthaler. Says director Roselyne Swig: "Our ambassadors see the works as an invaluable outreach tool."
Women of the House
Recent elections in Canada, France and Britain dramatically increased the number of women legislators (to 21.3% in Canada, 10.9% in France and 18.2% in Britain). Despite the gains, women make up just 12.5% of legislatures worldwide.
A sampling of where the women are:
Figures, provided by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva, are for single or lower legislative houses
If the Paula Jones case against President Clinton is brought to trial, do you think it should be permissible for Jones' sexual history to be brought up as evidence in the case?
From a telephone poll of 1,024 adult Americans taken for TIME/CNN on June 4-5 by Yankelovich Partners Inc. Sampling error is +/- 3.1%.
By Janice M. Horowitz, Nadya Labi, Emily Mitchell, Megan Rutherford And Alain L. Sanders
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