Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Zionism related new articles|
|01/07/02 at 12:34:52|
|Bismillah and salam,|
This one is good and it's from Ha'aretz paper.
Either a Zionist or a terrorist
By Meron Benvenisti
At the risk of the following scenario sounding tendentious because of wishful thinking and gloating, it appears that the "grand scheme" worked out by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, his generals and the right wing of the government has resulted in a failure: They did not eliminate Chairman Yasser Arafat, nor did they destroy the Palestinian Authority.
Following months of brutal military operations, thousands of casualties, delegitimization and insults, brainwashing and political and media manipulation that would have toppled many a regime, Arafat, besieged and humiliated, is still holding on, while Sharon and his cronies are the ones who have been pushed into a defensive position; evident in all its absurdity in their frightened rejection of President Moshe Katsav's hudna initiative.
Once again, as was the case during the Lebanon War, the arrogance of power, patronizing Orientalism and planning that doesn't see beyond the intellectual horizons of the generals was exposed. And once again, the "national assessor's" forecast has collapsed, and his tendency has been exposed: Failing to distinguish between intelligence assessments and ideological positions, he offers rationalizations for every planned adventure and, at the same time, immunizes the adventurers against the results of their deeds - because there is, supposedly, no alternative; and if the plan failed, it was only because the Americans and the leftists got in the way.
After all, someone had to advise the generals that Arafat could be eliminated by humiliating him, and that the spirit of the Palestinians could be broken through brutal collective punishment. But as it emerges, Arafat actually is more "relevant" than ever, the Palestinian people are demonstrating an amazing resilience; and the age-old excuse of "terror against women and children" is melting away.
Military Intelligence - the national assessor - feels it has to cover up its mistake by intensifying the ideological statements: "The bottom line is that the Palestinian goal, from a historic perspective, is to undermine the Jewish nature of the State of Israel."
And the outgoing commander of Military Intelligence offers his own contribution to psycho-history: "Arafat is not built... for historic compromises." In other words, there's no choice, we must continue the onslaught, so as to expose the wily ways of the terrorists."
It's difficult to believe that in any open and liberal society, a commander of any military branch would issue such a public "historic perspective" without being silenced immediately by angry protests, irrespective of the doubtful validity of such a "perspective." But in a society that is used to viewing the Arabs through the eyes of "Arabists," these words were accepted as obvious. Because in this society, whatever Arabs have to say must never be taken at face value and must always be interpreted on the basis of their "mentality."
Now, it's as clear as day: For as long as Arafat doesn't unequivocally declare that he accepts the Zionist enterprise, he'll be defined as a terrorist. It won't help if he makes do with the statement that Israel is a fact, even if born in sin. On the contrary, this would only prove that "he remains committed to the right of return and sees it as a key to turning the Jews into a religious minority," as Military Intelligence has said.
And this means that he is an incorrigible terrorist, because there is no chance that Arafat - or even the most moderate Palestinian - will ever be able to become a defender of Zionism, but, at most, will only be able to bow before the facts of life. Thus, the litmus test is clear: Either you're a Zionist or a terrorist.
Such a test leads to endless war and the justification of each and every act of brutality, because it is "an existential threat."
So, why haven't we heard the voices of those who believe in peace, in the possibility of reconciliation. Most of them also believe distinguishing between accepting the Zionist enterprise a priori, or in retrospect, is evasion. They also want Arafat to accept "the Zionist enterprise," so they can finally rid themselves of the burden of guilt about the way in which Zionism steamrolled the Palestinians: The victim must justify his torturers.
But all this spin doesn't erase the feeling that maybe the worst is finally behind us.
|Re: Zionism related new articles|
|01/07/02 at 12:40:28|
|Bismillah and salam,|
Here is an article from the Israeli Press on prison conditions for
Palestinians held in Israel because they were illegally looking for a
If walls could speak
A first visit to Damon Prison, once closed because it was deemed unfit for human habitation, and now home to about 500 Palestinian prisoners jailed for being in Israel illegally. They go months and even years without any visits, furloughs or welfare services - all because they were looking for a day's work
By Gideon Levy
There they stood - approximately 20 men of various ages, crowded together in a shadowy and otherwise empty cell, with not a single chair or other place to sit, just an exposed concrete floor and freshly painted iron bars. They pressed their faces against the bars, like animals in a pet store do when a new customer walks in. Their faces had that same pleading look: Take me. Exhaustion and gloominess was written on their unshaven faces, as well as a kind of acceptance of their harsh fate, both in and out of prison. Their clothes were shabby. None were properly dressed for the chilly climate high on the slopes of the Carmel.
These were the newest arrivals. Yesterday, or the day before, the police had caught them loitering without a permit in one of the Jewish or Arab towns in Israel which are legally off-limits for them. Some tried to escape, some were caught committing small thefts, adding another violation on top of their illegal presence. None of them is a terrorist or a threat to national security. They are just simple laborers or petty thieves driven by the hardship resulting from the closures imposed in the territories to try, despite everything, to find one more day of work in Israel, or some other, even less legal, source of income.
They were initially held at police stations near the place of their arrest. Then they were sent here, to Damon Prison on the slopes of the Carmel. Most will remain here for months or even years, in this prison that Israel shut down about two years ago because it was "unfit for human detention," as then police minister Shlomo Ben-Ami put it. Three months ago, it was hurriedly reopened.
Men who were in Israel illegally. Some are also accused of using a vehicle illegally. They are imprisoned and some are also interrogated by the Shin Bet security service. But none has any connection to terror. Their crimes are petty ones. But their punishments aren't - six months, a year or two years of detention for staying in the country illegally; five years for stealing a video camera - in conditions much harsher than a Jewish prisoner who committed a similar crime would experience.
Fathers who have never seen their children, older people who have no idea what they're doing here, boyish youths homesick for their mothers, their big brothers, their villages. It's not the fault of the Prison Service that they hardly have any visitors. But it is the Prison Service's fault that they have no welfare services - no television, no newspaper (unless one is brought from home), not even a ball to pass the time in front of the basketball net that hangs uselessly in the yard (The prison warden: "The ball has to be subsidized by the Red Cross"; a Prison Service spokeswoman, the next day: "We are bringing in a ball as well as a ping-pong table").
True, the prison has been renovated and painted and plastered as if it were a British military base, but most of those who now find themselves behind its bars - men who were miserable and desperate for work - never should have been here at all, certainly not for such long periods of time.
When we met warden Simon Elikashvili last week in his office, whose walls are decorated with posters of waterfalls and snowy European peaks, he told us: "The amount of traffic here is tremendous."
"We all came to work, not to kill," says Bader Nadem from Jenin, whose daughter is due to undergo a serious throat operation while he is stuck here for another month. All the men nodded in agreement.
The elegant Fine Club restaurant, where patrons are served by white-gloved waiters, is located not far from dismal Damon Prison. On Saturdays, the surrounding woods are filled with hikers wandering the lovely trails, in a place where the scenery has been compared to the beauty of Switzerland. But it's hard to believe that a similar place exists in the land of yodeling and fine chocolate - a building originally meant to serve as a stable and tobacco warehouse, which became a prison that was closed and then reopened.
Spokeswoman Orit Messer-Harel of the Prison Service: "With great regret, it was decided to reopen Damon. It was a government decision that went as high as the prime minister. The Prison Service received an order to reopen the prison."
Memories: At the farewell party when the prison was closed sometime in 1999, balloons were released into the air. In what may have been an ominous portent of things to come, several got caught on the fences and wires around the prison. Messer-Harel says she knew even then that the prison would eventually reopen.
Ever since the closures were imposed in the West Bank and Gaza, there have been hardly any family visits in Damon. All the official promises from Israel turned out to be meaningless and the prisoners of Damon, like the rest of the residents of the territories, can only dream about seeing their relatives. On rare occasions, a distant relative - an Israeli Arab or a resident of East Jerusalem - shows up and leaves a little money for the canteen or brings a few cookies to sweeten the harsh days.
Elikashvili says he's the only Georgian at the prison. Most of the jailers are Druze, who've earned a tough and threatening image among the Palestinians. We are all one people: A prisoner busy cleaning up the yard has some words of praise for "Mr. Simon"; his wife is Georgian. What a small world. The prisoner is Ziyad Hanayal from Harabta. He used to work as a driver, transporting laborers. The father of nine has been imprisoned here for seven months already. His wife is Irma Zenashvili, from Holon. The police arrested him before he even reached the checkpoint, as he was driving on Highway 443 to Jerusalem. He was sentenced to a year in prison.
Elikashvili, who has worked in the Prison Service for 22 years, immigrated to Israel when he was 16. His son works for the Prison Service now, too. He walks around the prison, opening all the doors for his guests. He may really be fond of his prisoners, as some of them have said. The view from his window is breathtaking. On the day of our visit, there were 481 prisoners and detainees in his prison. Some were forced to spend "a night or two" sleeping on the floor, until a bed could be found. All the rest live in large and quite crowded cells - 12-16 to a room, furnished with bunk beds and thin mattresses. There are no closets. The bathroom consists of a hole in the floor and a shower above it - two for the price of one. The floors are clean.
On the day of our visit, the prison was spotless and workers were busy sealing the roof to keep out moisture. The spokeswoman says that Robert Redford and Brad Pitt were planning to film some scenes here for a Hollywood movie, but the plans were scuttled when the intifada broke out.
Elikashvili: "I receive the detainees from the Israel Police. The amount of traffic that comes through here is tremendous. They come without anything. I have to see to it that they have underwear, a towel, eating utensils, blankets, a mattress, clothing ... How much can the Prison Service give? When a prisoner arrives, I check if he has something to wear.
"As human beings, we're all complicated by nature. Everyone comes with his own emotional problems. I have individuals here. We've had a few disturbances here and there, but they were all very localized. I haven't had any outright rebellions here. It's all on a smaller level. For instance, at the beginning, one entire wing refused to accept food. Some of these men were once security prisoners. I also have some who are drug addicts. There are some whom I've allowed to bring in tennis shoes, and then they take apart the sole and make a sharp weapon out of it, or you give them something else and they do the same thing. For most, it's their first time in prison. For the holiday, whoever had money signed up and was able to buy baklava. About 150 signed up. I wished them a good holiday."
Messer-Harel asks the warden: "For them, doesn't it mean a month or two of rest and good food?"
Elikashvili: "They say that, too. They're more secure here, too. I also let them work a little."
The men in the newcomers' cage: Jamal Abu Ali, a father of two - and one on the way - from Sanur. He was arrested on Saturday at the Leilot Sultan restaurant in Nazareth where he worked as head chef. "There was this one stinker, a son of a bitch, who informed on us." His friend and assistant chef, Imad Issa, has one child - a six-week-old boy. They still haven't told their families of their arrest; they don't want to worry them. Plasterer Adnan Halaf, married and the father of two from Kafr Ya'amun near Jenin, was caught working illegally in Daburiyyeh at the bottom of Mt. Tabor. He spent five days at the Kishon detention center before coming here to await trial.
Juni Elias Abu `Ali, who describes himself as "a Christian from Jerusalem," was arrested on Friday on his way to Afula. He was taken off an Egged bus. He is married to a Jewish Israeli from Tel Aviv, and works - illegally - for an Israeli security company, guarding the Israel Railways. Says Abu `Ali: "Either we work or we throw stones."
In the wing housing the more recalcitrant prisoners, Riyad Abu Sariyya from Jenin paces tensely back and forth, like a caged lion. He was arrested in Afula, committed a disciplinary infraction in his cell and was transferred to here. His brother, Mustafa, was the suicide attacker in the last terrorist attack in Afula, something that appears to add to his prestige and the respect he receives from his fellow prisoners.
The room that once served as an auditorium for performances is empty and out of use. There are no shows here anymore. Palestinian prisoners don't need any entertainment.
Twenty-year-old Nasif Shadid of Tul Karm has a very boyish look about him. A cab driver, he is now kept on Wing 4, the closed wing. "Look at the prisoners. I bought them some paint and look what nice paintings they made," Elikashvili proudly points out. The prisoners of this wing call him "Mr. Simon."
Hamzi Sabra of Qalqilyah keeps a picture of a baby girl by his bed. This is his six-month-old daughter, Leili, whom he's never seen. Sabra was caught peddling in the streets of Tira and sentenced to 10 months in prison. He also has a small barbershop in Qalqilyah that is shut down. An Arab-Israeli cab driver brought him the picture of his daughter - in return for payment, of course. The prisoners on this wing are shut in their cells from two o'clock in the afternoon until the next morning.
The warden: "It's according to their request. In the afternoon and evening, when it's cheaper to use the public telephone, there's a long line by the phone, so we always open another room so as to keep order." There are four public telephones for the 110 prisoners in the wing. They're probably among the last people in Israel to still use public telephones.
Bader Nadem from Jenin has one more month to go until his release. His daughter is due to have surgery in 10 days. Here is her picture. "Where can we work? In the territories? And get NIS 10 a day?" he asks.
Muhammad Zakrani, a clothing peddler, had all his wares confiscated. Now he's here, after being caught in the Umm al-Fahm garbage dump.
`Give me his sentence'
Abdullah Ziwad from Silat al-Hartiyya was sentenced to two years in prison. He's one of those whose crime was using a vehicle without permission. Now he sits gloomily beside a picture of his daughters - four-year-old Vivian and 20-month-old Malah. The picture over his bed shows a sailboat anchored by the shore. On the windowsill are photos of the five children of Ali Rejdan from Ein Abus near Nablus. He was sentenced to two years and has one month left to go. He hasn't seen his children in all that time.
Rejdan bursts into bitter tears. He turns his head away, trying to collect himself. He used to work as a janitor in a yeshiva in Bnei Brak. Now his wife lives off of charity. What happened? Rejdan buries his head in his pillow and cries and cries.
"They were animals. The one who threw me in prison is an animal, not a human being. I worked like a mule for them. I broke my back for them and they threw me in here. I worked for them for a month and they didn't pay me anything. So this is how the two peoples get to know each other. I worked so hard for them and I get sent to prison for two years. Is that what I deserve? These aren't people. They're animals that threw me in here. No one ever did anything like this to me. If not for my wife, I would have died in prison."
In Rejdan's prison file, it says he was convicted for sex offenses at the yeshiva where he worked.
The brother of Tariq Nabil, the car-washer, nearly drowned in Lake Kinneret on his honeymoon and is now in a permanent vegetative state. His family owes Poriya Hospital NIS 208,000. The brother had been married for just two days before the accident. Tariq was married for just 13 days before he was arrested for illegally washing cars in Kafr Qasem. He was sentenced to nine months in prison.
Yihya Odeh from Bizariyyeh near Nablus was arrested at the Umm al-Fahm garbage dump. He was on his way to see his lawyer in Umm al-Fahm, to try to arrange a visa to the United States for him and his family. He wanted to escape from this country and now he's in prison. A Hadera court sentenced him to six months.
Rabah Hassan, from the same village, a graduate of the Al-Najjah psychology department, also wanted to go to America. Maybe to Florida. Now he's in Damon.
Abdel Latif Dararma of Tubas is just as glum. He was sentenced to a year in prison and a NIS 3,000 fine for illegally trying to pass through the Bardala checkpoint. He has four small children at home. His back also hurts, the result of a car accident he was in shortly before his arrest. The prison doctor offered him Acamol. Before his arrest, he worked for moshavim in the fields of the Beit She'an Valley.
"I don't sleep at night. I think about my children all the time," he says, his face unbearably sad.
"He thinks we don't understand him. He's always crying. He's not used to prison yet," explains one of his cellmates.
"Give me part of his sentence and let him out already," volunteers another to Elikashvili.
"And give me the other half," says another prisoner.
Peddler Muhammad Sabri al-Bariq, 62, stands at the entrance to his cell, observing the goings-on in the yard of his wing, Wing 3. He says he's a resident of Jerusalem, but in his file, it says he's actually from Tul Karm. In any case, he was arrested in his apartment in Talpiot with stolen property that his son had stored there. Imprisoned until the legal proceedings are concluded, he is the eldest of all the prisoners. It is his first time in jail.
Laborer Sultan Abu Sinin stands in the yard of the wing where prisoners are allowed to be outside until 7:30 P.M. He was arrested about a month and a half ago when he was working in Ma'aleh Adumim. He had a phony identity card.
The brother of Issa Abu al-Sheikh needs a kidney transplant. The prisoner wants to leave prison to donate a kidney to his brother and then return. He has one brother in the Be'er Sheva prison, where the prisoners rioted this week, and another in a prison whose name he can't remember. His other brother is too young to donate a kidney.
There's a signed photo of an F-15 on the wall of the warden's office. "To the prison staff from the Knights of the Double-tail. Thanks for the tour," reads the inscription.
|Re: Zionism related new articles|
|01/07/02 at 12:41:21|
|Bismillah and salam,|
Justice doesn't go over the Green Line
By Danny Rubinstein
Most of the members of Knesset and other public figures who have vehemently spoken out against the proposal to create a constitutional court have explained that the proposal's goal is to weaken the Supreme Court and the entire infrastructure of the judicial system - two bastions of Israeli democracy.
True, but one important reservation must be made: The term "bastions of Israeli democracy" does not apply to the Palestinian population in the territories.
You do not have to be a learned jurist to discern that, since the June 1967 Six-Day War, the Israeli judicial system has not regarded itself as the defender of either human rights or democracy in the territories.
Quite the opposite is true. The High Court of Justice has generally legitimized and given a seal of approval to Israeli policies that entailed consistently unjust treatment of the Palestinian populace. This process of legitimation began with the expropriation of lands belonging to the territories' Arab residents and with the establishment of Jewish settlements, and has continued to this day on such issues as administrative detentions, assassinations of Palestinians and various kinds of collective punishment.
Although the High Court has heard the petitions of residents of the territories since 1968, its impact on the situation of the Arabs living on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip has been marginal.
On the subject of settlements, the High Court in 1979 - for the first time since 1967 - ruled as illegal the expropriation of Arab land for the purpose of creating a settlement and ordered the dismantling of Elon Moreh, which had been set up adjacent to Rujib, a village west of Nablus, because the court found no security justification for the expropriation.
In the wake of the ruling, the settlers and the government discovered an innovative way of seizing Arab lands: Rocky soil was declared to be "state-owned land." This was a legal trick that no regime (Turkish, British, or Jordanian) that ever ruled the territories and/or what was pre-1967 Israel dared to employ.
The Israeli regime decided to use it and thus paved the way for the establishment of dozens of settlements, accelerating a process that has been termed "slow-motion annexation." It is one of the major obstacles to a Palestinian-Israeli peace settlement.
In the past, the Supreme Court has capitulated to the demands of both the government and the defense establishment on all matters related to punitive measures against Arab residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Deportations are an example. Immediately following the Six-Day War, the Israeli authorities deported leading supporters of the Jordanian regime, such as the mayor of Jordanian East Jerusalem, Rouhi al-Khatib, and others. Then the communists were deported. Next on the list were tens of thousands of Palestine Liberation Organization activists.
All these deportations were in compliance with constantly-changing Israeli policies. Only once or twice did the High Court prevent a deportation, which contravenes international conventions.
The demolition of the homes of families of terrorists - that is, the punishment of an entire family because of a crime committed by one of its members - has always been an accepted punitive measure for the Israeli authorities. The cancelation of the identity cards of Arab Jerusalemites - that is, their removal from Jerusalem because "they have transferred the center of their lives to a location outside the city's boundaries" - has been authorized by the Israeli judicial system, which has also approved the policy of administrative detentions (nearly 15,000 persons in the previous intifada), which has been renewed in an ever-increasing number of cases.
Another issue is the non-release of security prisoners who have been behind bars for many years on the grounds that they "have blood on their hands." Israeli politicians frequently use this argument because it has broad support from the Israeli public. However, it has no ethical or legal justification: The most abhorrent war criminals in human history never had "blood on their hands."
The security prisoners who were not released after the signing of the Oslo Accords and who are still in Israeli prisons were one of the factors behind the agitation in the territories on the eve of the present intifada.
The champions of judicial activism did not consider it their business to deal with the dubious argument of "blood on their hands."
This policy is not confined just to past events. For nearly a year, a petition submitted by the widow of Dr. Thabet Thabet of Tul Karm regarding Israeli assassinations has awaited a High Court ruling. Another petition on the same issue from MK Mohammed Barakeh (Hadash) is also awaiting a ruling. Yet no discussion has yet taken place of either petition.
One can argue the extent to which Israeli policies on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip have been correct and have served Israeli interests. However, when praise is heaped on the Israeli judicial system - in the wake of the attempts to attack it - it should be recalled that beyond the Green Line, the Israeli judicial system has acted as if it were simply a government agency.
|Re: Zionism related new articles|
|01/07/02 at 12:43:46|
|Bismillah and salam,|
This is sombre but good reading. I am sending it out in case you missed
it. From M iddle East Realities.
A MINUTE OF SILENCE FOR EVERYONE ?
If you are still shaken by the horrifying scenes of
September 11, please observe a moment of silence for
the 5,000 civilian lives lost in the New York,
Washington, DC and Pennsylvania attacks.
While we're at it, let's have 13 minutes of silence
for the 130,000 Iraqi civilians killed in 1991 by
order of President Bush Sr. Take another moment to
remember how Americans celebrated and cheered
in the streets.
Now another 20 minutes of silence for the 200,000
Iranians killed by Iraqi soldiers using weapons and
money provided to young Saddam Hussein by the American
government before the great eagle turned all its power
Another 15 minutes of silence for the Russians and
150,000 Afghans killed by troups supported and trained
by the CIA.
Plus 10 minutes of silence for 300,000 Japanese killed
in Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the Atomic bombs dropped
by the USA.
We've just kept quiet for one hour: one minute for the
Americans killed in NY, DC, and Pennsylvania, 59
minutes for their victims throughout the world.
If you are still in awe, let's have another hour of
silence for all those killed in Vietnam, which is not
something Americans like to admit.
The US went to another continent thousands of miles away
and burnt tens of thousands of Vietnamese peasants with napalm.
Or for the massacre in Panama in 1989, where American
troops attacked poor villagers, leaving 20,000
Panamanians homeless and thousands more dead.
Or for the millions of children who have died because
of the USA embargoes on Iraq and Cuba.
Or the hundreds of thousands brutally murdered
throughout the world by US-sponsored civil wars and
coups d'etat (Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia,
Guatemala, El Salvador to name a few).
Maybe, and although the memory of Americans claims
otherwise, someone may remember the USA attack on
Bagdad where 18,000 civilians were killed. Did someone
see it on CNN? Was justice ever served? Or was there
even any retaliation?
We hope that Americans finally begin to understand
their vulnerability and the attacks and other
tragedies that they have caused around the world.
The dead in other places hurt as much as the dead of
the Towers, maybe even more!
What about the 560,000 Iraqi children (as per current UN data)
who have died as a direct cause of the US supported sanctions
against Iraq? Are these the children of a lessor God?
What about a new generation of nearly one million Iraqi children
who are currently having their lives being ruined by improper
nutrition, lack of medicine and inferior education because of
US supported sanctions.
Now, let's talk about terrorism, shall we
|Re: Zionism related new articles|
|01/07/02 at 12:49:13|
|Bismillah and salam,|
Here is an interesting article on Israeli officers fearing travel abroad
for their activities in the Occupied Territories and that they may be
charge with War Crimes. From the Ha'aretz
Let me know if the link doesn't open please.
|Re: Zionism related new articles|
|01/07/02 at 12:56:28|
|Bismillah and salam,|
Here is an opinion piece that was published in the Calgary Sunon
December 31, 2001. It also quotes an article published in Harper's magazine.I cannot get it for you guys but it was even better to read if you can.
U.S. big bullies
American might is behind campaign of brutality
By BILL KAUFMANN -- Calgary Sun
As a new year dawns, the fight for justice, good and all that's right
the stars and stripes will continue unabated and largely unchallenged.
Few tears are shed for a deposed Taliban regime and the scattering of
odious al-Qaida allies and rightly so.
But 2002 also promises to be yet another year of eyes averted from more
While pillorying the rhetoric spewed by accused mass murder Osama bin
Washington threatens Iraq while cloaking its own campaign of terror in
of justice and security.
Merely raising "the need" to attack an Iraq that's been bombed and
continuously for the past 11 years is an open admission the U.S.-led
bullying against that country has been an abysmal failure.
What the bombings and quarantine haven't failed to achieve is the death
1.5 million Iraqi civilians, while doing little to weaken the regime of
In a Dec. 11 letter to the UN Security Council, former U.S. attorney
Ramsey Clark said the U.S. military and economic assaults on Iraq
the Genocide Convention."
Perhaps former U.S. ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright's comments
calling the death by embargo of 500,000 Iraqi children a price worth
can now be placed in context.
The Iraqis, including their children, would be too sick and hungry to
back against another concerted U.S. assault, thus sparing the courageous
U.S. military personnel.
While the U.S. enforces a no-fly zone over the north of Iraq ostensibly
protect Kurds from Saddam, Washington's loyal NATO ally Turkey continues
brutally subjugate its own Kurdish population.
One could be generous and assume the U.S., even with all its
assets, doesn't know how its weaponry is being used in Turkey, or we
conclude it's all part and parcel of what the U.S. originally called
Operation Infinite Justice and to which Washington is so fondly devoted.
The Palestinians are well acquainted with such justice; their revolt
a brutal military occupation is quelled by U.S. weaponry, cash and
Following a recent visit to the Gaza Strip -- a crowded, barren expanse
misery hemmed in and transected by Israeli troops, former New York Times
Mideast bureau chief Chris Hedges wrote of a most illuminating
Israeli soldiers armed with loudspeakers cursed the inhabitants of one
Palestinian refugee camp, knowing children and teens would emerge to
ineffectually throw stones.
The Israeli soldiers then gunned down the youths with live bullets,
Hedges, who noted he'd covered other wars where children were
"But I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into
trap and murder them for sport," Hedges wrote in a recent Harper's
Palestinian police told Hedges their attempts to disperse the
children were greeted by more Israeli bullets.
Despite the ongoing intifada, the population of the illegal Israeli
settlements in the occupied territories continues to grow, as does their
massively disproportionate use of water.
Mohammed Hussein, a pharmacist I met in Gaza City's Beach Refugee Camp
the unhealthy drinking water has blessed him with an unfortunate silver
"The state of health is not good, so sales for the pharmacy are good,"
Tens of thousands of olive trees nurtured over decades and an economic
staple for Palestinians have been obliterated by the occupying troops
the guise of "security."
The Israeli occupiers routinely machine gun, shell and bulldoze
out of their homes to further buffer and service the unlawful
Relatively affluent Israel is by far the largest recipient of U.S. aid
funds that traditionally flow to impoverished nations. The Palestinians,
the other hand are unworthy victims; their oppression has become
institutionalized and accepted.
The sickening suicide attacks against Israelis are a product of a weak,
trampled and humiliated people.
It would appear justice is less than infinite and its application
more on might than morality.
|Re: Zionism related new articles|
|01/07/02 at 12:58:37|
|Bismillah and salam|
Here is an excellent eye witness report on the situation in the Occupied
Territories prepared by Lesley Whiting from Britain. She has asked that
it be distributed and that she give her permission for it to be
circulated freely. It amazes me masha'Allah that there are many courageous people who are prepared to put their lives on the line for justice.
An eyewitness account of 2 weeks of actions by Internationals in the
West Bank and Gaza and observations of life under the Israeli
Occupation. [Dec 16 – 31st 2001]
The following is a day by day report of actions undertaken by 60
participants (mostly British and American) in the International
Solidarity Campaign as a means of non-violent resistance to the brutal
military Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories. We also toured
extensively with the intention of observing and learning more about the
lives of Palestinians under occupation, and to expose human rights
abuses. All our actions are based on non-violent civil disobedience, as
exemplified by peace activists such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
Ramallah [ 19th Dec] We entered Ramallah and assembled in the city
centre with banners carrying slogans such as “The Occupation Kills”. We
marched through the city, past President Arafat’s residence, and past
the recently bombed out Palestinian National Broadcasting Centre to the
area where Israeli tanks have enforced a closure. We stood in silence in
front of the tanks for about 10 minutes and then laid down on the road,
symbolising the deaths caused by the occupation. The soldier fired live
ammunition into the air in an attempt to scare us away but no one moved.
We delivered our message by loudspeaker and after about 15 – 20 minutes
we rose and silently walked back.
We had heard at the last minute that President Arafat had agreed to meet
us, so proceeded to the presidential residence. He greeted each of us,
shaking hands with us one by one, congratulating us on our action. We
had a one hour audience with him. He invited us to take our lunch there
and expressed regret that due to the short notice he could not arrange a
formal lunch, but compensated for it generously by providing pizza,
sandwiches, fruit and drinks!
In the evening we met with Gazan students from Bir Zeit university, who
due to the closure were unable to visit their families in Gaza during
the vacation, and are forced to stay in Bir Zeit. We stayed overnight in
the neighbouring village of Marda
Roadblock removal in villages of Yasouf, Haris, Kefl Haris and Deir
Istya [20th – 22nd December 2001]
We departed Marda at 7.15 am. After a short minibus journey the minibus
left the road and made a bumpy journey across mud and rocks, to a
location in the midst of some hills, from where we had to get out and
traverse the route that many Palestinians have to walk daily to get to
work. It was a treacherous half hour climb through slippery mud, debris
and boulders, worsened by heavy fog, and desolate surroundings that
looked like a war zone. This was Jelazoun, a refugee camp, active in
resistance where Friday prayers had often been followed by peaceful
demonstrations and sometimes stone throwing by boys. Now the Israelis
have dug up the road to deny passage to or from their village, and
placed them under seige.
Our destination were the villages around Salfit, a major village of
about 10,000 people and centre for essential services for many
surrounding smaller satellite villages. Salfit had been completely
closed 5 days prior to our visit, when IDF had re-entered at 2.30 a.m.,
killing 6 people. One of them was killed in front of his wife and
children, and one was shot and then an APC drove over his head making
his body unrecognisable. We visited the home of one of the victims of
this attack, Joad Abdel Latif Abdel Rahim.* The closure of Salfit means
that all neighbouring villages are cut off from essential services such
as hospital, fire, etc. [See Below]
On the way we passed Ariel, a luxurious hilltop settlement of 16,000
Jews. Sharon visited it and announced that it is the biblical Samaria.
The area was confiscated Palestinian land, previously used by
Palestinians farmers for growing olives, wheat and barley. Water for the
settlement, including water for Jewish swimming pools is taken from the
Palestinian villages, where villagers suffer from shortage of water, and
we saw Wadi Kanaa, a scenic area of freshwater springs and major water
source, now seriously polluted by sewage and industrial effluent from
the settlement. Many Palestinians have now lost their land and their
livelihood, and provide cheap labour for Israelis. Settlements are
connected to each other by well-maintained settler-only roads, an
essential element of an aparthied-style system which Palestinians are
forbidden to use.
We saw many fields of Palestinian olive trees sawn off to stumps by
settlers during the night, under police protection. Farmers tending to
their trees are frequently attacked by settlers, and have been forced to
neglect their fields.
Much food has to be bought from Israel, at very high prices.
Palestinians experience much difficulty in transporting food because of
roadblocks. All food and other basic supplies have to be unloaded at the
roadblock, and crates carried over by hand and reloaded into another
truck. The problem is compounded where there are multiple roadblocks on
one road where food may have to be carried by hand more than 100 metres.
All electricity has to be purchased from Israel, (Gaza tried to build
their own power station but it was bombed by Apache helicopters). They
have tried to dig their own wells but Israel has ruled that all water
must be purchased from Israel, under a general policy to crush any
attempt at self-sufficiency.
This situation is just one example typical of villages all over the West
Bank. We spoke to one taxi driver in Yasuf village. He tries to
transport people from village to village. He is always being stopped and
given fines and tickets “for being an Arab”. Sometimes soldiers have
ordered all the people out of the taxi and then burst all the tyres. He
told us that he bought his taxi new, before the intifadeh, and is
obliged to repay the loan. He should stay in the village, but defies the
seige and comes out to work daily. He says he doesn’t care if he lives
*Joad Abdel Latif Abdel Rahim El Dimis from Salfit, fell to an Israeli
soldiers bullet December 14th , 5 days prior to our arrival. At around
2.30 a.m. he heard the approach of Israeli forces and ran to his friends
house to warn him. ( Joad was not himself on a “wanted” list, but it
seems that his friend might have been). As he was knocking on the door,
soldiers asked him to stop and shot him in the chest. He was 26 years
old, a graduate in Education and Psychology but had been unable to find
work, and was married 5 months ago. His mother commented that,” they
didn’t have the guts to confront us with their tanks and guns, so they
cut off the power before they came in”.
Over 3 successive days we worked in teams, often in icy wind and rain
and sometimes ankle deep in slippery mud, to remove roadblocks. We use
picks and shovels to shift huge boulders, earth and debris. Initially we
worked alone, later the Palestinians joined us. After about 3 or 4 hours
of hard work we succeeded in levelling the earth to create a space large
enough for a vehicle to pass. By this time, a crowd had gathered and the
first vehicle, after a few mishaps with the mud, was able to pass amidst
joyous shouts and cheering. While we were still levelling the front
roadblock the soldiers arrived and questioned us. We formed a chain
across the front of the block and engaged the soldiers in talking so
that the work could continue. After some time the soldiers left. This
roadblock remained open for 2 days, until soldiers came and bulldozed it
back into place.
At Kefl Haris roadblock, near the settlers gas station, several settlers
halted their cars to yell abuse through the window. Soldiers and police
were present, but work was going on, when suddenly, two enormous
settlers came running around the corner, yelling abuse, and kicking,
punching and lashing out in all directions. They assaulted two of our
team, but fortunately the police intervened. It took several police and
soldiers to restrain them but they acted effectively and handcuffed them
and dragged them off. We were all shaken by the violence of the attack,
but no-one was seriously hurt. Shortly thereafter another angry settler
came and preached at us, citing a lot of religious dogmas to support his
view. Most roadblocks were bulldozed back into place the same or the
following day, but the symbolism of the action was not lost on anyone.
Issa Naif Souf is in his mid-thirties, married, father of one child, and
paralysed from the waist down. Several months ago he was at his home in
a village near Salfit. His brother’s children were playing in the olive
fields near their home when Issa heard that soldiers were approaching
and throwing tear gas bombs. Issa ran out to bring the children in. Two
children came back and he was shouting for the third when the soldiers
opened automatic fire. A bullet passed through one of his lungs and
exploded in his spinal column. He fell and the soldiers came up and
started kicking him, yelling, “Get up! Get up!” He tried to get up but
felt no sensation in his legs. He shouted for his friends. When his
friend appeared the soldier pointed his gun at him. He last remembers
begging the soldier to be human, then he fell unconscious. When he awoke
the doctor told him we would be permanently paralysed. He still has 9
pieces of bullet in his spinal cord. Issa was a sports teacher.
Nablus: 23rd Dec 2001
Nablus had been completely sealed and declared a “closed military zone”
a few days before our arrival. We had a lengthy journey which required
us to get off the bus, walk about 1 km carrying our baggage, take
minibuses, and walk again over about 3 km of hillsides and tracks. When
we neared the city, we saw a huge Israeli tank blocking the road
completely. We marched slowly up to the tank, waving our Palestinian
flags, and one group surrounded the tank, while the second acted as
observers. The soldiers reacted by revving their engines loudly and
swivelling the barrel of the gun atop the tank. It was a scare tactic
and our demonstrators were not impressed and stood their ground. After
several minutes of the same, they started to manoever the tank, but
again the demonstrators did not disperse. At that point the
demonstrators started to move slowly towards the tank, and, to our
surprise, the tank started to back up. The demonstrators continued to
edge their way forward, and eventually succeeded in getting the tank up
to the top of the hill, and finally off the road altogether. The
demonstrators formed a human chain across the access road, and thus the
road was opened. Immediately, Palestinian drivers seized the opportunity
and started to drive triumphantly along the newly opened road. The team
did not lose their opportunity, and succeeded in pasting 2 signs on the
sides of the tank, one, a poster of an innocent Palestinian (Diab Sarawi
*– father of 5 and wife in 9th month of pregnancy) killed by gunfire
from that spot, three days ago, and the other a sign saying simply
“RETURN TO SENDER”. After about 10 minutes another military vehicle
appeared and the tank beat a hasty retreat around the corner to clean
off the offending posters. In the meanwhile, another APC had appeared
further up the road with the intention of replacing the blockade. All of
this was witnessed by media and a crowd of Palestinians who had
assembled on the hilltop to watch.
On the way to the offices of the Governor of Nablus, we passed a bombed
out police station, where 12 police officers had also lost their lives.
We also passed the remains of a warehouse of a local factory producing
office furniture, (Israeli’s had said they were producing weapons),
which had been recently hit by 3 F16 missiles. Little remained except a
huge crater and grotesquely mangled wreckage. We were graciously
received by the Governor, and a synopsis of his speech is included as an
appendage to this report.
? Diab El Sarawi: We visited the “Aaza”- paying of respects- of the
family of Diab El Sarawi, killed on Thursday 20th December (3 days prior
to our visit). His family explained that he had arrived home happy
because he had heard that Israeli Forces had pulled out earlier that
day. Suddenly he heard shooting and went up to his terrace to see what
was happening. As he appeared, he was shot 3 times in the head and
shoulders. His 9 months pregnant wife ran upstairs to find him and
screamed for the neighbours. By the time they arrived he was dead. (The
wife has shrapnel(?) in her wrist, neck and stomach, but cannot be
operated until after the delivery). The women of the family were of
course grief stricken, particularly because of the double grief of not
only having lost her husband and her childrens father, but additionaly
of seeing it reported on Israeli TV as the shooting of a”Palestinian
terrorist” who was “planning an attack”.
Salfit: [25th Dec 2001]
Salfit had been the scene of a brutal invasion of the IDF about 5 days
prior to our visit. We saw the remains of a house into which grenades
had been thrown, then shots fired, and finally bulldozed with a military
bulldozer at 3.00a.m. Fortunately, the family had escaped the house
without injury. Enquiries could not uncover any reason for the attack
(no-one there was wanted, or arrested – the choice appears to have been
arbitrary, it was simply on an easily accessible corner and therefore
vulnerable). The Salfit police station had also been demolished by
Apache helicopters and a nearby military intelligence office also
demolished by missiles.
We visited a small emergency clinic which was constructed particularly
to serve serious medical emergencies cases who cannot get past the
checkpoints, to a hospital, particularly women delivering babies. Due to
closures it takes at least 3 hours for people from the villages to reach
a hospital. We spoke to Dr. Naiem Sabra – the director and surgeon of
the hospital, which had a total of 5 doctors, and 4 beds. It serves
60,000 people in Salfit and it’s sattelite villages, as well as a large
portion of the population of North Nablus.
Dr Sabra spoke of the problem for medical staff to reach the hospital
due to road closures. They have only 2 ambulances for the entire region,
including N.W. Ramallah. There is a great shortage of medical supplies,
the lab is almost empty of supplies and equipment, and there is no
heating. During the invasion, there was a total blackout and doctors
were not allowed to go into the streets, so people died.
GAZA: 26th Dec 2001
Members of ISM were joined by a French delegation, and we attempted to
visit Gaza. After a hold-up of almost 2 hours at the checkpoint, the
Israeli authorities allowed the French group through. Shortly after, one
of the officials came to us and told us that the Palestinians are firing
mortars and we should run for cover and leave “for our own security”.
Though we had heard sporadic shooting, there was no sound like a mortar
shell and we felt suspicious. After some time they brought the French
group back. It was then decided that we would walk through the
checkpoint anyway, disobeying their orders to leave. So a group of about
60 marched through the checkpoint and into Gaza about 200 metres when
the soldiers suddenly descended. They acted violently and aggressively,
despite the fact that the group was non-violent and unarmed. They fired
live ammunition into the air, punched, body-slammed and wrestled to the
ground some of the people in the front line indiscriminately, (there
were several elderly women in the front). The group immediately sat down
but the rough treatment did not end, and the commander yelled at us, “if
you don’t go back we’re going to shoot you all”. They seized cameras and
tore out film. Some cameras were broken. The group remained sitting and
shortly afterwards the bus was brought and people lifted bodily and
shoved into the bus. Two French people were arrested and 2 people in our
group sustained injuries. Our buses were escorted out with military
vehicles and the drivers instructed not to stop until he reached the
[Dec 27th] Some of our group took up positions as International
Checkpoint Observers. Initially we spent most of our time helping
elderly or sick people with heavy baggage up the steep hill. Soldiers
were visibly annoyed by our prescence. One incident occurred when a
language misunderstanding between soldiers and a Palestinian truck
driver, and the driver thought he had been waved through, when actually
the soldiers wanted him to go back. As he pulled away, they fired live
ammunition into the air, stopped the truck and dragged him out of the
cabin and slammed him against the side of the truck. Intervention by one
of our team who placed her body between the two of them. Further
translation cleared the misunderstanding, and a potentially violent
situation was defused.
Dec 29: Over one hundred international civilians served as an
“international protection force” for Palestinians and deployed at Surda
checkpoint (on the road from Ramallah to Bir Zeit University to allow
Palestinians safe passage to and from work and school.
The military checkpoint set up at occupied Surda is the site of daily
harassment. Since Palestinian cars are not allowed to pass, thousands of
Palestinians, old and young, are forced to walk uphill for over a
kilometre. ID cards of young men are often confiscated and their owners
forced to wait, sometimes for hours, in obedient positions behind barbed
Israeli soldiers attacked the international group with tear gas and
concussion bombs, despite the non-violent nature of our presence.
Activists were pushed, shoved and kicked by soldiers who acted violently
and agressively. More than once, soldiers trained their sights and laser
targeting from their guns on unarmed activists in a threatening gesture.
Palestinian and International activists held firm, and the soldiers were
not really up to the full use of brutal force on the mixed group. As a
result the road was kept open all day, allowing Palestinians to pass
I left the West bank on 28th Friday, prior to a visit to Hebron and 2
major processions. Information on those events will be available shortly
for those interested.
*For Pictures and the summary of the Governor of Nablus speech, please
|Re: Zionism related new articles|
|01/07/02 at 13:01:35|
|Bismillah and salam,|
Here is an excellent selection of quotes prepared by Mazin Qumsiyeh of
Yale University and sent out over the Al-Awada email list.
I selected 12 quotes that I think are appropriate to 2002 with our goals peace
with justice for all. I particularly like the last quote.
I also included my letter Published in the Republican American newspaper
(Waterbury, CT) December 31, 2001 in which I quote Chofski.
As Budhist philosphers said: "may we all live in interesting times" and may we
have "joyful participation in the sorrows of this world" (the key word here is
Sincerely and with renewed hope for 2002,
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
"We struggle for this right [of return] not only because it was granted to us by
the international community...(but) because we want to achieve a comprehensive
settlement for the Middle East conflict. And the rejection of the right of
return for the Palestinians is a rejection of peace..." Abu Ali Mustafa, PLO
Executive Committee member, letter read at the RETURN conference held in London
in 1990 - He was assasinated by Israel using American weapons August 26, 2001.
"The greatest weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.
- South African activist & martyr, Stephen Biko"
"Those who won our independence believed that fear feeds repression, that
repression nurtures hate, that hate threatens the stability of the government
and that the path to security is found in freely discussing the wounds and the
remedies proposed." Louis Brandeis, US Supreme Court Justice
"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,
but because of the people who don't do anything about it." - Albert Einstein
"Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it." - Arabic
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the
world; Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has" Margaret Mead
"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and
reflect." --Mark Twain
"The time is always right to do what is right" Martin Luther King Jr
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do
nothing." Edmund Burke
"I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand" Chinese
"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable
will." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
"You will find, as you look back upon your life, that the moments that stand out
are the moments when you have done things for others." Henry Drummond
Letter Published in the Republican American newspaper (Waterbury, CT) December
A recent letter to the editor (12/26/01 from S. Belinsky) was notable as it
packed the maximum number of myths in the smallest space possible. To be brief,
I will pick these blatant lies:
- "Arabs who chose to remain enjoy a very good life": The 1.2 million
Palestinian citizens of the State of Israel are not enjoying a good life when
basic laws of the state discriminate against them in every sphere. Over 100
villages are unrecognized by the state of Israel and are denied electricity,
water, sewage and other services. One fourth of these "Arabs" while citizens
are considered by law as "Present Absentees" and their property confiscated and
used for Jewish only housing. Blacks in South Africa under Apartheid where also
said to have a "good life" by the ruling white folks.
- "Israel wanted ...to build and develop side by side with the Palestinians"
"The Israelis did not chase the Palestinians out": Israeli historians (Morris ,
Shlaim, Pappe, Segev, Sternhal) themselves documented the ethnic cleansing that
occurred between 1947-1949 and that continues until today albeit at a more
measured pace. Using terror of 33 massacres, shelling villages, and even
loading people on buses at the point of the gun (e.g. in Lydda and Ramle), over
800,000 Palestinians were cleansed between 1947-1949, over half before the so
called Arab armies came into the picture on May 15, 1948 and at least 10% after
the ceasing of all hostilities of the war. Over 500 Palestinian villages were
thus completely erased. Israel immediately instituted laws to prevent the
refugees from returning and took over their property for Jewish only housing in
contravention of International law.
Belinsky then goes on to blame Arafat, "Arabs" and others for all the ills and
violence in the Middle East today. Not one word is mentioned in her letter
about International law, the 4th Geneva Convention or the illegal Israeli
occupation. The words of Nathan Chofshi forty years ago thus remain true: "We
came and turned the native Arabs into tragic refugees. And still we have to
slander and malign them, to besmirch their name. Instead of being deeply ashamed
of what we did and trying to undo some of the evil we committed...we justify our
terrible acts and even attempt to glorify them." (Jewish Newsletter, New York, 9
February 1959, cited in Erskine Childers, 'The Other Exodus' in Spectator,
London, 12 May 1961).
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD,FABMG
|Re: Zionism related new articles|
|01/07/02 at 13:07:38|
|Bismillah and salam,|
Israeli Activists Urge Army to Probe Civilian Slayings
By TRACY WILKINSON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
JERUSALEM -- A 14-year-old boy throws a stone at a fortified army post in the Gaza Strip, and Israeli soldiers shoot him dead.
A cabdriver drops off a grocery sack left in his taxi, and troops riddle his body with bullets.
Three peasant women are killed by tiny darts that pierce their chests and stomachs when Israeli tanks shell their refugee camp. Fifteen months ago, the worst Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed in decades erupted, first at a disputed holy site in Jerusalem and then across the West Bank, Gaza Strip and in parts of Israel. From the start, Israeli, Palestinian and international human rights organizations have charged that the Israeli army has often used disproportionate force in putting down demonstrations and retaliating for Palestinian attacks. More than 1,000 people have been killed, roughly three-quarters of them Palestinian.
While the army challenges the criticism, one thing is not in dispute: In case after case, the army has killed Palestinian civilians but has only rarely investigated the deaths or punished the soldiers and officers responsible.
Most killings are given cursory, on-site review and, if any fault is found, chalked up to justifiable error or the fog of war. Fuller inquiry is seldom pursued.
Top army commanders defend this approach and insist that theirs is a "moral army," able to examine its mistakes and learn from them.
"We don't want to kill [civilians]. First of all, it is not moral. Second thing, we know it is against our interests," Maj. Gen. Dan Harel, the army's head of operations, said in an interview. But, he added: "This is not a police situation. It's almost a war."
Many Israelis, terrified by suicide bombers and fed up with months of violence, simply want the conflict to end and say they don't care what the army and government do to achieve that aim. A growing faction of hard-liners wants the army to act even more forcefully. To them, the idea of examining possible abuse is absurd.
Lately, however, a small number of influential Israelis--including the deans of the country's four leading law schools--have joined the chorus of criticism, worrying about the corrosive effect that ignoring abuse can have on the morale and discipline of the Middle East's most powerful military and on society as a whole.
By failing to conduct more than cursory investigations, these Israelis and other activists charge, the army is engendering a culture of impunity that stands in marked contrast not only to its own view of itself but also to its behavior during the intifada of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
"Something very sick has entered this system," said Ran Cohen, a legislator with the leftist Meretz Party and a former paratroop colonel who fought in the 1967 Middle East War and in Lebanon. "The Israeli [army] is indeed making a tremendous military effort, and there's no doubt that it increases the burden and the tension. But this should not justify lies and the loss of our moral values."
In the intifada that raged from 1987 to 1993 and ended with landmark Israeli-Palestinian peace accords, the standard practice was for the army to open a military police investigation each and every time a Palestinian was killed as a result of the actions of Israeli security forces.
The practice upheld a certain level of accountability, former army officers say, even if, in the opinion of human rights advocates, the investigations were flawed. More than 100 investigations a year were opened, the army says.
Now the nature of the conflict is very different. The first intifada was a popular uprising dominated by stone-throwing, and army troops routinely intermingled with Palestinian villagers because Israel then occupied all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. There was less lethal violence and greater visibility of Israeli actions.
The current conflict has included popular protest--but also armed confrontations. The Israeli military leadership considers investigations to be a secondary concern when its men and women are fighting a veritable war.
"It's a whole different world," said Harel, the army operations commander.
"In the [1987-93] intifada, people were throwing stones at us. It's not nice, sometimes very dangerous. But it's like police work. . . . Now . . . is not police work. Mortar bombs. Shooting. Suicide bombers. Side charges. Car bombs. This is not [police work]."
Few cases have incensed human rights watchdogs like that of Khalil Mughrabi.
The 11-year-old Gazan boy was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers, the army acknowledges, as he took a break after a soccer match in July. He died, and two of his friends, ages 10 and 12, were wounded.
Internal army documents confirm that the troops--who earlier had come under Palestinian gunfire--fired "warning shots" in the direction of the children, using a high-caliber, tank-mounted machine gun, despite regulations prohibiting the shooting of heavy weaponry at children.
The case snowballed when the army accidentally sent the internal documents to the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem. The documents show that Chief Military Prosecutor Col. Einat Ron concluded that the soldiers had broken the rules and that the shooting was unjustified. But for public consumption, Ron overruled her own findings and said she saw no "just cause" to open a criminal investigation.
To B'Tselem activists and other critics, this was the smoking gun that showed the army's reluctance to investigate itself.
A review by The Times of several civilian deaths reveals a pattern of questionable Israeli military action and minimal inquiry into what went wrong, as well as little if any disciplinary action. The Israeli army has defined the current conflict in a way that loosens the rules of engagement and allows soldiers wide discretion in opening fire, often with tragic consequences:
* No longer able to work in Israel because of a ban on Palestinian workers, Radwan Shtyyeh drove a cab on West Bank roads near Nablus to earn a little money--20 or 30 shekels a day, not even $10.
On the day he was killed, his four children had asked him for new shoes. So he made another taxi run, carrying four passengers up a dirt road on the edge of his village, Salem, and depositing them so they could walk the rest of the way around a dirt-and-concrete barricade erected by the Israeli army.
But one of the passengers left a bag of vegetables in the cab. Shtyyeh, an amiable man described as wholly uninterested in politics, got out of the car, carried the bag up to the barricade and placed it in the road so the woman could retrieve it. Israeli soldiers halfway up a nearby hill, at least 50 yards away, opened fire. Bullets hit his upper body in at least eight places, according to his family, witnesses and a Palestinian coroner.
Two of his young sons, herding sheep in a nearby pasture, watched in horror as their father was killed, as did several other Salem residents.
"I went down to help, but the soldiers wouldn't let us get any closer," recalled Jihad Shtyyeh, a distant cousin and the first on the scene that afternoon of July 2. "He was still alive, saying, 'Help me, help me.' But the soldiers yelled at us to go away."
Radwan Shtyyeh, who was 37 and whose photograph shows a man with a small mustache and slightly goofy smile, left behind a 30-year-old widow, Amira, who is raising their children.
"Some of the people who worked with him in Israel told me that even the Israelis were upset when they heard he was killed," Amira said in her simple living room, where her husband's last pack of Imperial cigarettes sits in a glass display case. "He was a person who never made any trouble."
An army spokesman said the shooting was "tragic" but that the soldiers were on the lookout for roadside bombs and probably suspected that Shtyyeh was planting one. Requests to the army from B'Tselem for an official inquiry into the case have gone unanswered.
* Deep in the Gaza Strip, near the Palestinian town of Khan Yunis, an Israeli army outpost rises up from the scruffy sand dunes. It is a heavily fortified bunker. It is not likely that Imad Zareb and the other youths who were pelting it with stones Sept. 15 posed much of a threat.
That day, Imad, 14, and the others had attended the funeral of two Palestinians killed by Israeli fire. Breaking off from the burial procession as it entered the Khan Yunis cemetery, they headed for the nearest Israeli military structure, erected to protect Jewish settlers in Gaza, who are often attacked.
Witnesses said Imad was about 10 yards east of the outpost when Israeli soldiers opened fire with M-16 assault rifles. He died about four hours after he was shot and was buried the next day in the Khan Yunis cemetery.
No formal inquiry has been launched into this shooting. An army spokesman said the army was aware of "disturbances" that day but no Palestinian casualties.
* Rania Kharoufeh was terrified when Israeli forces invaded Bethlehem on Oct. 19. But the 24-year-old mother of two needed milk for her children. In a friend's car, she made a dash for the nearest corner market the next day.
The car came under fire, and Kharoufeh jumped out and took cover in a store. Within minutes, she was dead, killed by Israeli fire, according to her family and two witnesses.
Four days later, Brig. Gen. Gershon Yitzhak, the Israeli commander of troops in the West Bank, announced with confidence that Kharoufeh had been felled by Palestinian fire. He based his conclusion on a field investigation by men under his command, who questioned the soldiers present.
But a Times inspection of the site where Kharoufeh was killed showed big holes, clearly made by large-caliber ammunition, in the door facing Israeli positions. The Israelis' likely target, a unit of Palestinian police with small-caliber arms, would have been positioned down the street, on the other side.
There is no allegation that the Israeli forces targeted the young woman. But the army came under criticism from human rights organizations for using tanks and heavy weapons in a largely residential area. Palestinian gunmen who attempted to fight off the Israelis were also criticized.
Bethlehem's Roman Catholic-run maternity hospital, hit several times by Israeli fire during the same incursion, is suing Israel for damages.
* The family of Mousa George abu Eid, a Palestinian Christian, also plans to sue Israel. The 19-year-old high school graduate was one of several Palestinians shot in their homes in Bethlehem and the adjacent town of Beit Jala during the October incursion. Abu Eid, who friends and family said was a simple youth uninterested in politics, had taken refuge with his family on the lower floor of their two-story home as tanks rumbled into their neighborhood at 4 a.m. Oct. 19.
When the shooting subsided that night, Abu Eid and his father ventured upstairs to fetch sheets and blankets. In those moments, an Israeli sniper who had taken up a position next door shot and killed Abu Eid, family and witnesses said. The window shows a single, clean bullet hole. Abu Eid was hit in the neck.
These cases are not obscure. Most were reported at the time in Israeli, Palestinian and foreign news accounts and have been denounced by human rights or political activists. Several have been taken up by B'Tselem, which has collected testimony and demanded investigations, to no avail.
An estimated 800 Palestinians have been killed and more than 10,000 wounded in the last 15 months. Though many of those were combatants, at least 194 of the Palestinian dead were children, according to UNICEF. Among Israelis, whose population is nearly twice that of the Palestinians, about 250 people have been killed and 2,300 wounded.
Israel's army has officially classified the violence as an "armed conflict short of war," Col. Daniel Reisner, head of the military's international law division, said in an interview. The size and scale of clashes and casualties make the conflict a war, he said, but the status of the parties--the Palestinians technically do not have an army--means the confrontation falls short of formal war.
This "middle ground" definition has loosened the open-fire regulations, allowing a soldier to kill in many instances even when his life is not in danger, and created broad discretion over whether and how shootings should be investigated, Reisner and Deputy Chief Military Prosecutor Lt. Col. Liron Libman said.
The most common form of inquiry, they said, is a debriefing in the field after any incident in which a Palestinian is killed. The unit commander hears from his soldiers about what happened and whether anything went wrong. A commander can mete out discipline on the spot or send a soldier to a court-martial.
Reisner said there probably have been "dozens" of cases of both commander-level discipline and courts-martial, but he could not provide statistics because all such cases are grouped together and can include anything from a dress-code violation to a shooting.
In the most serious incidents, a criminal investigation by the military police is opened. This is considered the highest level of scrutiny and can lead to a trial of the soldiers or officers involved.
A total of 59 military police investigations have been opened since the start of the current conflict, of which 15 involve shooting incidents. From those investigations, three criminal indictments of Israeli soldiers have been handed down, according to figures released by the office of the military advocate general. Three cases have been closed without disciplinary action. No one has been sentenced.
One of the indictments involves two sergeants and a soldier who are currently on trial, accused of mistreating Palestinians at a checkpoint near the West Bank city of Hebron. Among other things, they allegedly stopped a Palestinian taxi in July and at gunpoint forced the driver to beat and slap the passengers.
A second case involves a captain in the reserves who in October allegedly ordered a soldier to fire a warning shot at a Palestinian man who posed no danger; the man was critically wounded in the head. The third indictment involves the case of a Palestinian woman killed by Israeli fire as she rode in a car.
Reisner said the vast majority of wrongful shootings are the result of negligence, not malice.
"You are allowed to make mistakes," he said.
But Yael Stein, the head researcher at B'Tselem, said the army has repeatedly violated humanitarian laws in its treatment of Palestinians. A failure to investigate, she said, encourages continued abuse. The opening of 15 probes, in the context of the thousands of people who have been killed and wounded, "is nothing," she said.
"If there are no investigations, then by definition, no one is watching," she said. "The issue of accountability is not rooted in this society."
Army officials point out a series of technical difficulties that impede investigations. In contrast to the earlier intifada, Israeli authorities rarely if ever have access to bodies--under Muslim tradition, bodies are buried quickly, without autopsy--and often do not have access to the site where a person was killed because it is under Palestinian control.
And the Israelis say the Palestinian authorities are wholly uncooperative when it comes to any sort of probe.
"Maybe they have something to hide. Maybe it's the general attitude against any cooperation with Israel. Maybe they don't have trust in our system--even when they'd have a vested interest in our taking a look," said Libman, the deputy chief military prosecutor.
Retired Maj. Gen. Amram Mitzna, who commanded troops during the first intifada, agreed that the nature of the conflict vastly complicates investigations of abuse. Still, he said, making an effort is vital.
"It is very important for the morale of the unit that is concerned, important for the discipline of the army as a military institution, and important that the army know what the soldiers are doing and whether they are acting according to the orders that they get," Mitzna, who is now the mayor of the port city of Haifa, said in an interview.
The Israeli army has also come under pressure to investigate the shootings of 40 journalists, most of whom were injured while working in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for foreign media in the early weeks of the current conflict. In the vast majority of the cases, according to a study by Reporters Without Borders, the journalists appeared to have been hit by Israeli fire.
The army issued a report this month, saying it found no army culpability except in one case: the shooting of an unarmed female American photographer in Bethlehem last year. In that incident, in which an American ambassador personally pressed the Israeli prime minister for action, the commanding officer received a reprimand.
"The absence of concrete results in practically all of the cases does not suggest that the investigations were thorough and comprehensive," the Foreign Press Assn. in Israel said in a statement. "The message this delivers to soldiers is that preventing the shooting of journalists and punishing those who shoot them are not of utmost importance."
Ronen Shnayderman, another researcher with B'Tselem, argues that cases are investigated only when there is ample publicity. Shnayderman has sent letter after letter to the army requesting investigations of some of the most egregious cases. He has never received a positive reply, he said.
One case in which publicity apparently prompted the army to investigate at the highest possible level involved three Bedouin women who were killed when Israeli forces shelled the Gaza refugee camp where they lived.
Thousands of razor-sharp steel darts, known as flechettes, that were packed in a 120-millimeter shell were fired at the camp by Israeli tanks after Palestinians shot at the Israelis. In addition to the three women who died in the June 10 incident--Nassereh Malalha, 61, Salmiya Malalha, 37, and Hikmat Malalha, 17--several other women and children were injured.
An army investigation was ordered, but it came to nothing until a special military prosecutor was appointed after reports in the local press and complaints from Israeli politicians. The military attorney general, Brig. Gen. Menachem Finkelstein, is now handling the case--one of only two given such high-level review. The other case concerns a Palestinian man who was shot this year in front of his home during an Israeli raid on his West Bank village.
Cohen, the Israeli legislator, has frequently accused the army of trying to shirk its responsibility for civilian Palestinian casualties. The topic came up again at a recent meeting of the defense committee of Israel's parliament after the Nov. 22 death of five Palestinian schoolboys. They were blown up by an explosive device the army had planted in an area that was used by Palestinian gunmen to shoot at nearby Jewish settlements but was also a common path to the boys' school.
In a heated exchange with Cohen, the army chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz, denied that the army was insensitive to civilian casualties.
"If that were true," Mofaz told the committee, "there would have been many more people hurt in the 10,000 incidents in which the army has been involved in the last 14 months."
Cohen, in an interview, said he is not interested in pointing fingers of blame or seeing soldiers in the brig. His concern is that the army, one of Israel's most vaunted institutions, loses what he and many Israelis see as its moral authority if impunity reigns.
"My cause is to try to save the values of ourselves and of our army," he said. "If we lose our values, we lose our power. If we lose our justice, we lose our case."
|Re: Zionism related new articles|
|01/07/02 at 13:09:38|
|Bismillah and salam,|
Here is an interesting article from the Israeli Press on growing ties
between Israel and India and Israel's role in the dispute between
Pakistan and India.
|Re: Zionism related new articles|
|01/07/02 at 13:19:45|
|Bismillah and salam,|
Who thought it could be worse than Conrad Black who owns so much of newspapers in CAnada? Please thank Toronto Star for having the courage to expose this cowardly act of totalitarian censorship and criminal cover-up of Israel's crimes against the Palestinians
1) The Star reveals CanWest's Zionism
Please write a couple of lines to thank The Toronto Star to thank them for their objectivity and openness! They do make it clear in their today's article (below) that CanWest's holdings are barred from critisizing Israel and that the owners are self-proclaimed Zionists -also that they are systematically prohibited from speaking favorably about Islam/Muslims. In other words, their Zionist agenda is revealed, finally, to Canadians. (To learn more about CanWest please scroll down -a portion from the essay I am currently working on defining the Canadian media landscape -stay tuned!)
Send a thank you note to Mr. Bill Schiller (the author) and the editorial board:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Star's Ombudperson is Mr. Don Sellar: email@example.com
Aspers flex their media muscle
`Go CanWest young man or go to hell'
MONTREAL — Collecting their newspapers from their porch steps one morning this month, employees of the Montreal Gazette found a little surprise waiting inside.
There, for all to see, was a speech given the day before in Oakville by David Asper of CanWest Global Communications — the paper's owner — attacking his own employees as "bleeding hearts" and "riff-raff" who engaged in "pathetic politics" and "childish protest."
But the stinger was yet to come.
Arriving at their downtown offices that day, these same employees found a company memo reminding them it was "a privilege" to work for Mr. Asper's company.
The slightest misstep, the memo warned — even "gossiping" — could lead to dismissal.
CanWest would not brook any more carping from reporters about a company policy forcing "national" editorials — written in Winnipeg — on its 14 major papers across Canada. The reporters say the policy is ill conceived and does not serve the interests of individual communities — especially Montreal, where "national" issues are always complicated by local circumstances.
Across town at the French language daily La Presse, respected columnist Nathalie Petrowski crystallized the Asper message for her readers with all the magic of a Madison Avenue merchandiser: "Go CanWest young man," she wrote, " — or go to hell."
Inside the Gazette's newsroom, that message remains a tough sell.
"They're bullies," says one writer, asking anonymity.
It wasn't always this way of course.
Just last September, Gazette publisher Michael Goldbloom angrily left the paper, warning obliquely of troubles to come under the Aspers, who last year bought the Gazette and the Southam newspaper chain from Conrad Black.
Goldbloom told an interviewer he disagreed with increasing control coming from Winnipeg, home to Izzy Asper, sons David and Leonard and their CanWest Global empire.
"The Gazette is more than a business," Goldbloom said. "It's a paper that knows its community."
But this month, CanWest effectively announced it knows what's best for its papers' communities — at least on national issues — and introduced a new policy compelling all of its daily papers to run identical editorials sent from Winnipeg once a week.
In the new year, the editorials will run three times a week in every paper.
And local editorial boards won't be able to write editorials that disagree with the company line.
With CanWest owning 14 daily newspapers, the National Post, 126 community newspapers and the Global television network, which reaches 94 per cent of English-speaking Canada, serious concerns have been raised about the influence a single company will now have on Canadian opinion.
This week, the debate spilled into the Quebec National Assembly, where Liberals and the Parti Québécois joined together in a motion expressing their deepest concerns.
Once again, as in the days when Conrad Black controlled the Southam newspaper chain, debate over concentration of media ownership has moved back on to the national agenda. Each time it returns, the concentration grows greater.
With almost no reporting on the issue to be found in the pages of the Gazette, readers have taken their concerns — and their wrath — to the Letters to the Editor page.
There, readers have described David Asper's Oakville speech, in which he defended his company's "national" editorials as "petulant," "smug" and "self-serving."
"CanWest is making a mockery of freedom of the press in this country," reader Pierre Home-Douglas wrote with alarm from Dorval.
Asper might claim that CanWest is pursuing a "drive for excellence," he added, but "...what I have seen is a relentless drive for profits."
And 20-year subscriber Jack Zylack of Beconsfield worried about the way the Gazette was playing certain stories.
"In recent months, we have noticed a shift in coverage of issues, especially with respect to balance," Zylack wrote last week.
Interviewed by phone, Zylack said he was referring to "coverage in the Middle East."
The concern is legitimate.
On Aug. 11, the Gazette carried a Southam News editorial in the wake of a vicious, anti-Israeli terrorist attack in Jerusalem.
"Howsoever the Israeli government chooses to respond to this barbaric atrocity should have the unequivocal support of the Canadian government," the editorial urged.
"Nothing is excessive," it added, with a vigour some might regard as breathtaking.
Asked whether the Gazette would ever carry material critical of Israel in its news columns, Southam News chief Murdoch Davis, who writes and oversees all such editorials from Winnipeg under the new plan, says the paper could carry such criticism.
What about editorials?
"No," he replied definitively.
"Why?" he was asked.
Davis began to hedge.
"Let me back up," he said hastily, insisting he'd "misspoke."
Some criticism of Israel could be allowed in the newspaper chain's editorial pages, he said. But over all, Southam supports Israel.
Israel (Izzy) Asper, patriarch of the family and principal of CanWest Global , is one of Israel's strongest supporters in Canada. He has accused Ottawa of being "anti-Israel," and has publicly called Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat "a pathological liar" and "war criminal."
In an interview last week, Murdoch Davis insisted that in his "own personal view" Arafat was not a war criminal. He noted, however, that he had yet to write an editorial about him under the new plan.
But if the experience of Gazette television critic Peggy Curran is anything to go by, readers have reason to worry about content being altered to dovetail with the proprietors' views.
Curran wrote a column earlier this year on a documentary aired on Canadian TV that was critical of Israeli forces for targeting media working on the Palestinian side. The column was held, painstakingly discussed with Curran, then changed.
The action sent waves of anxiety through the newsroom. "If they'll go after the TV critic, they'll go after anyone," one reporter said.
Gazette editor-in-chief Peter Stockland contends it was only routine editing to ensure balance.
"It is a factual error to say the Curran column was altered," he said, adding it just needed something "inserted."
Presumably, Curran pressed the keys that made the changes to indicate the program wasn't necessarily truth, but "a point of view" documentary.
Curran wouldn't return The Star's calls for this article, but in a CBC radio interview before the threat of job dismissals was posted, she openly complained.
"Usually criticism is criticism and you're allowed to say what you want," she said. "I can't think of another occasion when this has happened to me."
She worries about the "chill" the experience will have on herself and others. "Whether you know it or not," she said, "you start censoring yourself."
Curran isn't the only one who has seen her copy delayed, changed or killed under the new owners.
Terry Mosher, nationally acclaimed editorial cartoonist who goes by the pen name Aislin, has also had worked killed — one cartoon mocking the company's policy of Winnipeg-written editorials for all.
"For the time being, drawing anything on the subject of the Aspers and the whole business is strictly forbidden," he says. "Of course" it encroaches on his principles as a journalist, he says.
With the "Gazette Affair" one of the top stories in Montreal, Mosher penned a cartoon of an apartment dweller anxiously waiting in the pre-dawn dark for his paper. "Where's The Gazette?" he asks. "I can't wait to read their enticing editorial view from Winnipeg."
It was axed.
"This is about control," says Mosher. "It's probably a new milieu for these Asper people. I don't know how well they understand that it's a very different situation with newspapers as opposed to television stations and networks."
Mosher also emphasizes the "nervousness" throughout the newspaper chain over homogenization — "You know, `Do we really need more than one TV critic?' That kind of thing."
But to date, only Montreal journalists have taken a stand. A call to other Southam newsrooms elicited fear and requests for anonymity.
"Nobody here has blinked," said a longtime Ottawa Citizen journalist. "Why? Conrad Black already changed the editorial board, directed the newsroom and dictated the front page ... people here do their job and go home."
With the threat of dismissal in the air, many prefer not to speak. Respected Gazette columnist Don Macpherson, whose original column on the company's "national" editorials was altered, according to colleagues, was polite but terse on the phone.
"I can't comment," he said. "I know you'll understand."
William Marsden, a multi-award winning journalist who, before the threats were issued, described the situation to the Paris daily Liberation by saying, "C'est la Pravda!" is now a tad more circumspect.
Responding to management's memo in which "primary fidelity to the employer" was stressed, Marsden said: "The way journalists keep their integrity and can continue to pursue the truth is not by loyalty to the owner but to the truth — and the delivery of that truth to the public... You can't do that as a journalist if the No. 1 loyalty is to his or her boss.
"Of course I'm glad they pay me," he says. "But I'm loyal to one thing and that's the reader."
Salam Elmenyawi, chair of the Muslim Council of Montreal, used to write for the Gazette as a member of the Editorial Board of Contributors, a group representative of Montreal's broad community.
In a letter dated Aug. 14, three days after the Gazette's "Howsoever" editorial on Israel, Elmenyawi received a letter from then Editorial Page editor Peter Hadekel informing him the Board of Contributors had been terminated, but he'd be welcome to contribute "two or three" pieces a year.
Elmenyawi recently asked the Gazette if he could write on the new anti-terrorist Bill C36. His letter has gone unanswered.
"I don't expect I'll be writing anything for the Gazette anymore," he said in an interview. "I suspect the Muslim approach and point of view is no longer welcome."
Colleagues say Editorial Page editor Hadekel recently asked to be reassigned. His request was granted.
Last week, the Canadian Association of Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists and the Federation of Professional Journalists of Quebec issued statements supportive of Gazette colleagues.
And Quebec Communications Minister Diane Lemieux called the crisis "an extremely concrete illustration" of the dangers at the heart of corporate media concentration.
Back in the Gazette's office, editor Peter Stockland was cautious but confident the conflict would blow over.
"Media frenzies come and go. They all have their shelf-life."
How had implementing a policy in Montreal of running "national" editorials affected his own journalistic principles?
"I have no idea what that question means," Stockland said.
The question was asked again.
"Again, I don't know what that question means. Affected what principles? What are we talking about?"
The Gazette editor was asked if he wished to lay out and explain his principles.
"This isn't about me," he said.
2) Arafat's eye of a tiger!
Arafat to defy Israel's Bethlehem ban
Palestinian leader plans to 'fulfill duty to God' — on foot if necessary
Israel today banned Yasser Arafat from travelling to Bethlehem for Christmas Eve services at the traditional site of Jesus' birth, accusing the Palestinian president of failing to act against rebel groups.
But Arafat, who has effectively been confined to the West Bank town of Ramallah in recent weeks, pledged to attend the Manger Square services Monday night, with or without Israeli approval, vowing to travel by foot if necessary.
"No one has the right to prevent us from fulfiling our duty to God, despite all kinds of weapons and M-16s that (the Israelis) have," Arafat told reporters this morning in Ramallah, just to the north of Jerusalem.
Also today, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon dismissed Israeli media reports that his government supported a draft agreement under which Israel would recognize a Palestinian state within eight weeks, and negotiate the final borders and other details over the next year.
After a late night session conducted by telephone, Sharon's security cabinet announced early today that it would not allow Arafat to go to Bethlehem. The decision came despite a crackdown by Palestinian security forces that has led to bloody clashes with rebels in recent days.
The statement said Arafat had not moved to "dismantle Palestinian terror groups or stop terror attacks against Israel or arrest and punish terrorists."
The security cabinet decision to ban Arafat from Bethlehem passed by a vote of 8 to 6. Several Israeli ministers voiced strong opposition, saying the move would damage Israel's image.
"This is a silly, inflammatory and unjustified decision," said Industry and Trade Minister Dalia Itzik of the moderate Labour party. "This is very unfortunate and a great mistake, I think."
There were indications, however, of ongoing contacts to try to work out a compromise.
A week ago, Arafat ordered a halt to all violence against Israel, and the number of attacks against Israeli targets has since dropped sharply — though they have not stopped altogether.
No Israeli has been killed by Palestinian attackers since Dec. 12, when an ambush on a bus killed 10.
The worst violence in the past week has involved Palestinian infighting. Seven Palestinians were killed and about 100 injured in clashes between police and activists on Thursday and Friday, some of the worst fighting among Palestinians in years.
Arafat has been marooned at his West Bank headquarters in Ramallah since an Israeli air strike destroyed his helicopters in the Gaza Strip on Dec. 3, retaliation for three Palestinian suicide-bomb attacks in Israel that killed 26 people.
Arafat on Saturday said he would make his annual trip to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, with or without Israeli permission.
The distance from Ramallah to Bethlehem is only 20 kilometres. However, Israeli tanks and troops stationed on the roads leading in and out of Ramallah and Bethlehem could prevent Arafat from making the journey.
Arafat, a Muslim, has attended Christmas Eve festivities in Bethlehem every year since 1995, when Bethlehem was turned over to Palestinian control.
Meanwhile, according to a report today in the Yediot Aharonot and Maariv newspapers, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Arafat confidant Ahmed Qureia had worked out a tentative agreement by which Israel would within eight weeks recognize a state in the West Bank and Gaza territories the Palestinian Authority now controls.
The Palestinians currently have full or partial autonomy in most of Gaza and 42 per cent of the West Bank. They are seeking a state in all of Gaza and the West Bank, with a capital in east Jerusalem.
But Sharon's office put out a statement Sunday morning calling the newspaper reports "baseless."
"The plan, as it is presented, is imaginary and just raising it causes great damage to Israel," the statement said.
But a Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the plan was proposed by Peres verbally in ongoing talks with Qureia. The official said the Palestinians could not accept an "interim settlement" but did not rule out the proposal.
The report in Yediot Ahronot said that after the recognition of the Palestinian state, the sides would then open negotiations on the final borders. In addition, the issues of Palestinian refugees, Jerusalem, Jewish settlements and other major sticking points would be worked out within a year.
As part of the first phase of the agreement, the sides would implement a ceasefire agreement worked out with U.S. mediation, according to the report.
The agreement was worked out with the knowledge of Sharon and Arafat during two months of talks, the reports said.
Winnipeg-based CanWest (www.canwestglobal.com) has been gradually assembling the largest media conglomerate in Canada. It has recently added Canada's largest newspaper chain, the Southam newspaper chain, to its holdings. The financial sustainability of this empire, though, is at stake. It currently holds:
I) The Global Television Network (globaltv.com): Most of Global's TV material is purchased from American networks -and is usually aired concomitantly.
II) The Southam Newspaper Chain (www.canada.com –'select a newspaper'): CanWest acquired the Southam newspaper chain from its previous proprietor Conrad Black (CEO and Director of Hollinger International Inc.).
Upon acquiring the Southam newspaper chain from the Southam family, Mr. Black began imposing his 'neoconservatism' on Canadians. (Though 'Blackism' would be a more descriptive term or, in the words of eminent Toronto Sun Contributing Foreign Editor Eric Margolis "the Washington chapter of Ariel Sharon's far-right Likud party…They want to use America to destroy all of Israel's enemies and block peace between Israelis and Palestinians.")
The National Post, in particular, was Mr. Black's flagship and pet project -and expenditure on it took precedence.
|Re: Zionism related new articles|
|01/07/02 at 13:26:56|
|Bismillah and salam|
Here is a letter writing project organized by Palestine Media Watch that
is well worth investing a minutes time in. Please check out the site and send a letter that will be sent to
many media outlets. Also check out their web site as it is excellent
If you do have 10 second to spare, please visit:
Palestine Media Watch
HELP PMWATCH WITH A DONATION
Palestine Media Watch
Southeastern, PA 19399
|Re: Zionism related new articles|
|01/07/02 at 13:32:20|
|Bismillah and salam|
Here is an interesting commentary on Sharon's view of the Arabs and how they must be kept in perpetual submission (as you can guess he is not suggesting to submission to Allah!). From the Israeli daily Ha'aretz.
|Re: Zionism related new articles|
|01/07/02 at 13:38:38|
|Bismillah and salam,|
Here is one of the best critiques of the Western media I have seen in a
long time. From Z Magazine
Lethal Conceits December 31, 2001
By Dave Edwards
Truth is not always a casualty of war. In a recent Guardian article, Roy
Greenslade reports the dramatic and, for the press, devastating collapse in
advertising revenues following the terrorist atrocities of September 11:
"...We can now see the full effects of the British press price war after eight
years. General Rupert Murdoch's great crusade to reverse the downward
circulations of his papers after the last recession by selling them at
drastically low prices now threatens the future of the whole industry.
Advertising income has fallen away and, despite Murdoch's optimism, it is
difficult to forecast when the trend will reverse. That wouldn't matter as much
if his pricing strategy had not ensured that papers have been sold too cheaply
for too long..."
As a result, Greenslade adds, "most owners, including Murdoch of course, have
been disproportionately reliant on ad revenue."
Plausible deniability is one thing, but are we really to believe that these
newspapers - "disproportionately reliant on ad revenue" as they are - would
+voluntarily+ risk such disastrous falls in revenue by including the
+voluntarily+ kind of penetrating and sustained critiques of corporate
advertisers, corporate products, corporate activities and corporate
philosophies, that are regularly seen in the non-ad-dependent radical press?
In the Observer, Sarah Ryle warns her readers: "Advertising by entertainment and
media companies is now falling a thousand times faster than it was in the first
six months of the year." As a result, "It would be impossible to find anybody in
the media who wouldn't tell you that it is now essential for business to buy its
way out of recession by promoting its brands all the harder."
The media's need to help business promote its brands is imposed relentlessly on
the public. The BBC's Jenny Scott reports that shoppers were "surprisingly
resilient" in the wake of September 11, with September spending levels slightly
up on August. This was a start, Scott says, but: "The key now is to maintain
that level of spending."
It's worth reflecting that this is the same media system, which, understandably,
has shown bored indifference to the gathering storm of environmental collapse -
a disaster being brought on by precisely the mass consumption on which the
average broadsheet depends for 75% of its revenue.
This also, laughably, is the media system responsible for honestly and
objectively reporting the anti-globalisation protests in Seattle, Washington and
Genoa (although not in the Third World, which doesn't exist).
You might think that the media are motivated by honest-to-goodness greed, that
they are not ideological, just profit-hungry. Not so. When Greenpeace tried to
place full-page adverts last week as part of their 'Stop Esso' campaign, they
were rejected by the Daily Mail and the Daily Express, and a whole raft of
regional papers (the latter are menacing rags controlled by a few giant
corporations working to give the impression that they are rooted in local
As ever, the editors declare they don't have to give a reason for banning the
advert - one of the privileges of holding "power without responsibility".
The same papers vigorously supporting the 'War for Civilisation' and railing
against the "evil-doers", are loathe to slap the wrist of an oil giant that has
supported the obstruction of the Kyoto Climate Treaty. In a parallel universe,
coverage of the threat of terrorism is dwarfed by media campaigns bursting with
outrage that Kyoto demands a pitiful 5% cut in greenhouse gas emissions - and
that even this is being opposed! - when 70-80% cuts are needed to stave off the
truly awesome threat of climate change.
But then we live in a world where Tony Blair can insist that "nothing can
justify the killing of civilians", even as B52s are doing just that in
Afghanistan. Logic is not on the agenda. Growing numbers of climate scientists
are warning of an irreversible, runaway greenhouse effect by 2050, at which
point debate becomes academic. But in our world, corporate executives making
this a possible outcome are not "evil-doers".
Elsewhere, media performance since September 11 has been bizarre and disturbing.
In the immediate aftermath of the attacks on the US, British commercial radio
went into a familiar crisis mode. Like the HAL computer in the film '2001, A
Space Odyssey', output appeared to fall into the hands of a deranged machine,
with the usual candyfloss pop played alongside harrowing reports from 'Ground
A system designed to sell aspiration and mindless entertainment was suddenly
required to report a monumental horror emerging from a real world it normally
shuns. Rarely has the fundamentally inhuman, absurd, and in fact insane, nature
of the commercial media been more apparent.
In the Observer, literary editor Robert McCrum wrote, "The war in Afghanistan is
a puzzle." There was no warning, McCrum suggests: "There's been no foreboding,
no eerie premonition... By contrast, the wars of the last century were
characteristically preceded by as much as a decade of steadily escalating
Before the 1914-18 war, for example, various writers and poets warned of
disaster, but "the war we're fighting now had no such harbingers. It came,
seemingly, out of nowhere."
For McCrum, it came after a summer mostly spent re-reading the comic works of
P.G. Wodehouse for a biography. I say mostly - he took time out of his busy
schedule to reject reviews of books full of foreboding by harbingers like Noam
Chomsky, Ed Herman, Howard Zinn, John Pilger, Harold Pinter, Mark Curtis, Sharon
Beder, Ramsey Clark et al, as he has for many years. I know, because I wrote and
The Observer, like the rest of the mainstream, has long treated arguments that
embarrass state and corporate interests with high-handed contempt and scorn. The
media thrive on the to and fro of vigorous and exacting rational debate - they
are simply full of it.
But then, suddenly, there is a chilling silence, a kind of brick wall. And
written on it: 'Don't be ridiculous!' Suddenly, all the rules of debate and
common sense, adhered to so assiduously and precisely in the normal course of
press reporting, are replaced by those words: 'Don't be ridiculous!' It's like
the moment in the film, The Truman Show, when Truman finds that the 'sky' is
actually a blue wall with clouds painted on it.
The problem, of course, is that rational debate - if taken too far - conflicts
with the media's essential need for business to promote its brands "all the
harder", which in turn conflicts with the media's need to appear free and fair.
As a result, as McCrum wrote, disaster appeared to come "from a clear blue sky."
At the start of the Second World War, an official wrote that the Ministry of
Information "recognized that for the purpose of war activities the BBC is to be
regarded as a Government Department." He added: "I wouldn't put it quite like
this in any public statement."
With the current bombing of Afghanistan, the BBC can once again be "regarded as
a Government Department". Thus pictures of civilian casualties, which threaten
to reveal the true horror of what is being done in our name to "this strange
black hole of a country" (in the words of the BBC's 'Simpson of Kabul') are all
but invisible - the coverage constitutes a fraction of one percent of that
afforded to the victims and relatives of the September 11 attacks.
Instead, while the BBC tirelessly reiterates that Taliban, and even NGO, claims
of such casualties "cannot be independently verified", the West's claims of
military success are accepted at face value without any reminder of the lack of
The independent verifiers who +can+ be trusted, of course, are the watchdogs of
the 'free press' - journalists like the BBC's political editor, Andrew Marr, who
asked with regard to the Afghan Northern Alliance:
"Are they the kind of semi-democratic organisation we want to impose on
The identification of a political-military-media "we" deciding which
organisations "to impose" on sovereign nations goes unnoticed by our
cantankerous press, committed as it is to fiercely independent journalism.
In 1997, the BBC's Newsnight editor, Peter Horrocks, advised staff: "Our job
should not be to quarrel with the purpose of policy, but to question its
This disallows the BBC News from pointing out that the "war on terrorism" is
actually supported by a coalition of terroristic states - Russia, China,
Algeria, Pakistan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Without irony our
alliance with such atrocious human rights abusers is used to actually +affirm+
our own hideous human rights record. On the "crude deal" done +affirm+ by Blair
and Putin to gain Russian support for action in Afghanistan, Marr
"A few years ago we were very worried about human rights in Chechnya - we're not
Eighteen months before this sudden surrender to realpolitik, Blair had said:
"Well, they [the Russians] have been taking their action for the reasons they've
set out because of the terrorism that has happened in Chechnya. We' ve been
calling for restraint in the Russian action, but this is a fight that has been
going on - a civil war within Russia."
Foreign Office minister Peter Hain explained the philosophical underpinning: "We
don't live in an ethical world and we don't live in a perfect world." An
"admission" that was "the closest a minister has come to saying in public what
Foreign Office diplomats say in private - that Robin Cook, the foreign
secretary, made a blunder immediately after the election in promising to
introduce an ethical dimension to foreign policy", according to the Guardian.
Publicly washing our hands of Russian atrocities and dismissing the dreamy
notion that we live in an ethical world, constitutes being "very worried about
human rights in Chechnya", according to the neutral BBC.
Talk of a pause in bombing was addressed and largely rejected by the British
media in November. It was apparently sufficient to raise the possibility once -
no need to revisit the issue as the snows arrive, as the number of starving
people increases, as the military situation changes. The politicians have spoken
and that is that, as far as the media are concerned.
In the Independent, Robert Fisk's reports from the heart of the horror have
provided a rare glimmer of integrity and sanity. As his work makes clear, never
has the deep, unconscious racism of Western society been more apparent. It is a
racism born of the need to rationalise centuries of conquest and exploitation.
'We are not monsters,' we say. 'We only kill when we +have to+ kill, when
there's no other way.' Our faith in our own goodness is such that our actions
seem purified by the very fact that +we+ do them: we commit humane, civilised
massacres; we kill civilians in an enlightened, just way. The infant lies
incinerated at our feet: 'Don't worry, it's okay - the people who did it are
But, as ever, the time when we find we 'have no other option' is the time we
find another defenceless Third World minnow in our sights. As ever, the violence
we inflict seems perfectly reasonable and civilised until we imagine it being
inflicted on +us+ by some giant power.
It is into this gap - the gap between 'good for us to do' and 'monstrous for
them to do' - that our claims to civilisation and reason disappear. Because
ultimately our argument depends on the notion that it is somehow acceptable for
us to kill others in a certain situation but wrong for others to do the same.
And at the heart of this belief, in turn, I fear, lies a truly lethal conceit:
that our men, women and children really are more valuable, more precious, more
fully human, than their men, women and children.
David Edwards is co-editor of www.medialens.org
|Re: Zionism related new articles|
|01/07/02 at 13:43:44|
|Bismillah and salam,|
Zionists are attacking student news paper at Simon Fraser University in
British Columbia Canada for being pro-Palestinian. This is not the first
time this has happened. Also at University of Alberta several years ago.
Pro-Palestinian student groups have been subject to frequent attacks
across Canada. The example of Canadians Concerned for the Middle East at the University of Western Ontario is a good example where the
pro-Palestinain side won an important victory. I was the founding
President of CCME. The story has been summarized by me in "The
Palestinian Question at the University: The Case of Western Ontario",
American Arab Affairs, Summer 1987, pp. 87-98.
December 14, 2001
Slant at SFU worries Jews
Campus newspaper, The Peak, is a hotbed of anti-Israel bias.
PAT JOHNSON REPORTER
Jewish students at Simon Fraser University have been intimidated by some of the material being published in the campus newspaper, The Peak, but a newspaper official said the solution is to get involved and change the editorial policies.
Though the vitriolic nature of the articles has toned down since Sept. 11, according to some, the paper has run numerous vigorously anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian opinion pieces in the past couple of years, particularly since the onset of the intifada.
In one article, a commentator presented his view of the Middle East situation.
"I've been to Israel, the West Bank, Jerusalem east and west," wrote Chuck Demers, the opinions editor, in a February article. "I didn't see two peoples fighting for one land; I saw occupation, dispossession and destruction. I didn't see a peace process, I saw resistance seemingly smothered and pacified, an infant Palestinian entity being choked in its crib. There's no war going on in Israel/Palestine; wars don't concentrate almost all of their casualties on one side, slaughters do."
In an annual humor issue recently, an article satirized media magnate Izzy Asper but, in doing so, played up old stereotypes of Jews controlling the media, said Gabe Meranda, director of Hillel UBC, who liaises with the group at Simon Fraser as well.
"Their anti-Israel vitriol is offensive," said Meranda. "It's lies. It's full of lies."
Elliot Campbell, president of Hillel SFU, said it is a very small group that is putting the anti-Israeli propaganda in the newspaper, but they are having a strong influence on discussion on the campus. In one incident, Jewish students attended a meeting organized by the Muslim Students Association that was billed as a program to "discuss openly and evenly the issues of the current, complex situation in the Middle East."
In a letter published by The Peak, the campus Hillel group said its members were greeted by nothing but propaganda.
"The evening turned out to be a one-sided display of condemnation and rhetoric," wrote club representatives. At present, members are considering what options are open to them through complaint mechanisms or via campus policies governing the school newspaper.
"We wouldn't rule out anything at this point," said Campbell.
He noted that things have quieted down in the past couple of months, but he fears a revival when publishing begins again in the new semester beginning in January, because of recent developments which have seen the Israel Defence Force retaliate against terror by attacking Palestinian bases. But the business manager of The Peak said critics should put up or shut up.
The process for influencing editorial content is simple and easy to influence, said Don Elder. In fact, the issue seemed to strike a particularly raw nerve with Elder, who is a paid Peak staff member, whose job is to assist students in running the paper, but who does not get involved in editorial decisions. He freely acknowledged that there has not been balanced coverage in the pages of his newspaper.
"Of course there hasn't," he said. "The students don't get involved. There's 19,000 here and you get one or two that are pro-this and come in and get the job and write whatever they want and nobody does anything. That's been the story here for years."
He said Jewish students and those who disagree with the paper's content have plenty of options available to them, including censuring or supplanting existing editors.
"They can vote. They can vote them out. They can get involved. They can come to the weekly meetings. They can get on the board.... They do nothing."
The paper is run by an eight-member board and editorial positions are chosen by election. To illustrate how easy it would be to take over the board, he said there were only about a dozen students at the recent election for editorial positions.
"Did anybody run against this opinions editor?" he asked. "Did anybody else apply for the job? No. It's an exasperation for me to get them involved."
In order to get the 12 students out to the meeting, he said, he put up posters, advertised the event in the newspaper, offered a cash draw of $100 as a door prize and ordered $200 worth of food.
"I practically have to pay them to get involved in the newspaper," he complained. Elder said any student is welcome to join the staff and people should not presume that they will be unwelcome.
"Our volunteer and promotions co-ordinator is Jewish," he said. "They want to get involved, they go see Irma Arkus."
|Re: Zionism related new articles|
|01/07/02 at 23:19:27|
|Bismillah and salam,|
Anti-Occupation Activists Question U.S. Aid
Stop American Billions for Israeli Bombs
by Alisa Solomon
here weren't any surprises in the foreign-aid bill Congress passed last week, least of all in the appropriation the U.S. handed Israel: more than 17 percent of the entire foreign-aid expenditure, $2.7 billion. That's on top of the $2.5 billion in military support from the defense budget, forgiven loans, and special grants the tiny state rakes in each year. Up to 80 percent of this aid never leaves the U.S., because it's earmarked for arms purchases that must be made here.
As usual, there wasn't any significant debate, and to be sure, nobody seriously suggested America's largesse be linked to Israel's compliance with human rights accords, UN resolutions, or international law. The prevailing view—as the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC puts it—is that "U.S. aid to Israel enhances American national security interests by strengthening our only democratic ally in an unstable and vital region of the world."
Nonetheless, in the 15 months since the outbreak of the Al Aqsa Intifada, scores of groups around the country have come out against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem—some pressing for a two-state solution, others emphasizing the Palestinian right of return. Now the question of U.S. aid is at the cutting edge of this activism. Campaigns from Berkeley to Boston are connecting demands for peace and justice in the region to Congress's underwriting of the occupation and Israel's use of F-16s, Apache helicopters, and other American-made weapons against Palestinian neighborhoods and refugee camps.
SUSTAIN (Stop U.S. Tax-Funded Aid to Israel Now) has point people in a dozen cities around the country organizing teach-ins and letter campaigns. The San Francisco group A Jewish Voice for Peace is, among other things, conducting a petition drive, asserting that "as Americans, we do not want our foreign aid dollars used to deprive Palestinians of justice and human rights. As Jews, although we support a democratic Israel, we must criticize its security policies that have the effect of making it less safe, not more." And on campuses like the universities of California, Michigan, and Illinois, a movement modeled on the anti-apartheid activities of the 1980s is beginning to call for divestment of university funds from companies with strong ties to Israel.
Even if none of these groups actually expects Uncle Sam to cancel Israel's allowance anytime soon, they understand how effectively American aid can function as a focal point for the most important step in any movement for Israeli-Palestinian peace: basic public education. "People don't understand that there's still an occupation," says Chicago-based writer and analyst Ali Abunimah. "Even so, they are paying for it."
Between corporate media's presentation of foreign policy from the State Department's point of view and a pro-Israeli PR machine that treats the conflict as if the parties were both powerful nations, a common perception persists of Israel as a besieged little democracy under constant attack from preternatural Jew haters. But even with the horrific suicide bombings—a series of bloody attacks claimed more than 30 Israeli lives in the last month alone—Israel remains the powerful partner, controlling the lives of 3 million disenfranchised and dispossessed people and responsible for killing more than 800 Palestinian civilians since the hostilities boiled over last year. Nothing is likely to shift in the conflict without significant pressure from the U.S., so cracking public perception here is key.
"Like Cuba," explains Hussein Ibish, of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, "Israel is as much a domestic as a foreign issue, especially given the incredible power of the Christian right and Jewish pro-Israel lobbies as well as the major defense contractor lobbies. To get through to people in ways that can counteract those lobbies," Ibish adds, "you need to describe the reality of occupation precisely. You can't substitute a slogan for the details; it's just not helpful. In the U.S., the most important activism is discursive."
The divestment movement growing on dozens of campuses—and Jewish organization efforts to discount it—provides an example in miniature of the way different narratives of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict compete in the U.S. Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of California, Berkeley, have used street theater to drive their campaign, once setting up a mock checkpoint at a campus gate, for example. According to SJP member Snehal Shingavi, the group has already collected 5000 student signatures on a divestment petition, specifically targeting, among others, General Electric, which produces propulsion systems for Apache helicopters and F-16s and in which UC invests hundreds of millions of dollars. Currently SJP is planning a national student conference for mid February; they expect several hundred students from all over the country.
If UC regents have so far shrugged off SJP demands, major Zionist organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League have expressed some alarm, creating resource kits for Jewish students so they can rebut anti-occupation claims. True, the rhetoric can get overheated (it's not all that rare for somebody to charge Israel with "genocide" at campus rallies). Still, progressive Jewish students find themselves equally turned off by the one-sided bromides proffered at the local Hillel. "I don't agree with the Israel-is-always-right attitude I get from Jewish groups on campus because I think the occupation is absolutely wrong and must end," says an Ann Arbor student who requested anonymity. "But I can't join a demonstration with banners that say 'Zionism Equals Racism' because I don't buy into that, either. It's also too knee-jerk and simplistic."
For longtime activists, recognizing how much discursive ground has been lost in recent years is profoundly demoralizing. "I feel like we've taken so many steps backwards," said Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz after a meeting last Sunday in which she and half a dozen other Jewish feminists, all anti-occupation veterans of 10 to 20 years, planned a midtown vigil in solidarity with a Jerusalem rally organized by Israel's Women in Black for December 28. "True, some things are better. It used to be you couldn't even say 'Palestine,' " Kaye/Kantrowitz explained. "But now we have to correct the almost universally held but completely wrong idea that Israel offered peace and the Palestinians answered with violence."
A little more than a decade ago, as the first intifada brought the occupation into American living rooms with TV coverage of Israel's bone-crushing response to a mostly nonviolent popular uprising, at least some of the public understood who was the occupier and what that meant, and a movement to link aid to human rights compliance began to take shape. The taboo on questioning Israel's foreign-aid entitlement was even broken on the floor of Congress in 1990, when Wisconsin Democrat David Obey suggested future budgets reduce aid to Israel by the amount that country spends to build or expand settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Two months later, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, setting off the Persian Gulf War and foreclosing any statements—much less actions—that might have made America's Middle East ally fear abandonment. Soon after, Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat signed the Oslo accords at the White House, heartening all who hadn't bothered to actually read the agreement or look at a map with the hallucination that the occupation was ending and peace was at hand. Congressional criticism, as well as grassroots activism, faded away. But the occupation did not. And despite Representative Obey's suggestion—and worse, despite the Oslo agreement—Israel rapidly expanded settlements, doubling their population in the years since the accords were signed.
Palestinians' lives got worse: Israel continued to demolish homes; Jewish-only bypass roads connecting settlements to Israel increasingly chopped up the West Bank, dividing Palestinian communities into disconnected Bantustans; Israel retained control of water and other resources and continued to confiscate Palestinian land. And it certainly didn't help that corrupt officials in Arafat's Palestinian Authority pocketed funds meant for economic development. So when the Al Aqsa Intifada erupted, it was easy enough to sell the Israeli version of what had gone wrong: the Palestinians simply didn't want peace.
"We had done a good job during the first intifada of showing the occupation," says Phyllis Bennis, a fellow with the Institute for Policy Studies who specializes in the Middle East. "But our mistake was in not continuing to talk about human rights violations as an ongoing reality of a repressive, spirit-killing, military occupation. It seemed as though if guns weren't being fired, then things must have been fine. But you don't have to fire a gun to control someone, you only have to have it. That's why if you hold up a store by aiming a gun at the cashier, you've committed armed robbery, even if you never pulled the trigger. Israel was still holding the gun, but we had stopped pointing at it."
Now that the guns are blazing again and the wider war rages nearby, threatening to expand ever more explosively, Israel-Palestine activists feel both that their efforts are more urgent and more inadequate. Despite last week's declaration of a ceasefire by Hamas, nobody expects a miracle. Though "not an optimist in the short run," Ali Abunimah remains convinced that "a broad-based movement against the occupation and in favor of a just peace, based on equality and ending domination," can succeed. "People forget that there was a strong business lobby in this country for South Africa during apartheid and that American policy was turned around entirely due to public pressure," he says. "There are precedents."
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