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German Press Review: Dilemmas for Sharon and Scientists

The difficulties faced by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon shared editorial space with the debate surrounding human cloning in the German press Friday.


Ariel Sharon has vowed to push ahead with a pull-out from the Gaza Strip, despite a serious setback to the plan from his Likud Party, which voted overwhelmingly to bar him from inviting the opposition Labor Party into the government. Sharon needs Labor's support to ensure a parliamentary majority for the withdrawal plan.

Sharon, who once swore during his election campaign never to interfere with the settlement question, has meanwhile realized that in the long run this cannot be upheld, the Thüringer Allgemeine newspaper commented. Now he wants to remain steadfast in his pullout plan even if it means confronting his own Likud Party single-handedly.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote, "It is not the first inner-party defeat Sharon has suffered in his endeavor to limit Israel’s expansion policy in a pragmatic way." On the other hand, the paper continued, the difficulties he is facing with his pull-out plan make it blatantly obvious how endlessly difficult it would be to push through a general peace plan with the Palestinians in Israel.

The Frankfurter Neue Presse, found it paradoxical that Ariel Sharon of all people, the man whose provocative visit to Temple Mount triggered the second intifada, the intrepid godfather of irreconcilable settlers, should stumble over a pull-out plan. But then, Israel’s politics is full of paradoxes, the paper concluded.

On the topic of human cloning the Coburger Tageblatt claimed the cunning act of commercializing the human body is something that has been practiced for some time now. The French government has already acknowledged this, by passing legislation this summer, largely forbidding patents of human genes, at the same time as allowing certain confined practices. The newspaper criticized the German parliament for not following suit.

But it's not German law that's at fault. After all, Germany's researchers are at the forefront in the international field of science, the Handelsblatt said. For this reason, the ban on cloning should remain. Despite this, the paper opined that a debate is still useful. This is necessary in clearing up the enormous differences that exist in the debate about cloning.

The Berliner Zeitung backed the British move to allow human cloning, and said, “Every society has the right, or even a duty, to make its own decisions and create its own rules when it comes to the ultimate question of life and death.”

The reasoning used by campaigners of human cloning is somewhat weak in that they’re forced to speak in the conditional, in the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger's opinion. It's really just a bold hypothesis that the research into human embryonic stem cells will one day lead to the healing of sick people, culturing of bodily tissues and production of replacement organs, the paper reflected.

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