William F. Buckley
As the curtain closes on the question whether, at Jenin, the Israeli army committed war crimes, one guards against a cynicism that, in general, is welcome. Where there is no free press, one tends to ask: What is it that is being hidden?

The United Nations brought together a special unit to enter Jenin and investigate charges of war-criminal behavior. It has been all but formally disbanded. The reason for it? The Israeli government forbade it license to conduct an investigation on its own terms. The government of General Sharon protested that dissimulation was afoot and that until it was investigated and repaired, no entry into Jenin would be permitted. It is understandable that there should be suspicion.

Some years ago, appearing on television, Lawrence Eagleburger made a startling statement. Mr. Eagleburger had served as under secretary of state, briefly as secretary of state, and before that for a long stretch as ambassador to Yugoslavia.

"The trouble with dealing with the Yugoslavs," he said with extraordinary bluntness for a diplomat, is that "you can never" -- he emphasized the word -- "believe one word they tell you. You can travel from one faction to another bearing proposals, compromises, bribes, intimidations -- and they end up serving you no purpose."

In the current issue of National Review we hear from David Pryce-Jones, the eloquent and highly informed journalist who in 1973 wrote "The Face of Defeat," a book about the Palestinians.

He took the reader back to the Six Day War of 1967. It was then that a representative of the Council for Anglo-Arab Understanding, a pro-Arab lobby, protested that the Israeli army had massacred 200 Arabs in Gaza. The plaintiff was Mr. Michael Adams.

Pryce-Jones, doing journalistic and historical duty, was alarmed at the charge, Gaza being his beat. "So I investigated. The story had begun with Gazans themselves. For days on end, they escorted me helpfully through the crowded streets of Gaza City from one house to another in search of families with a missing relative. There was always one more address to be visited, and one more rumor to be explored, but we found neither victims nor burial place for the simple reason that none existed. The story was untrue."


William F. Buckley

William F. Buckley, Jr. is editor-at-large of National Review, the prolific author of Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography.

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