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Posted May 9, 2002

There is a solution to this filthy war - foreign occupation
(Robert Fisk, The Independent, 08 May 2002)
Ariel Sharon's "peace" plan presented to President Bush in Washington last night - get rid of Arafat, devise a more obedient Palestinian Authority and keep building settlements for Jews and Jews only on Palestinian land - is fantasy. . . . That the Americans should smooth his way by claiming that Arafat's need to reform his authority is more important than a halt to settlement-building - the gormless contribution of Condoleezza Rice, the US National Security Adviser, to this sterile debate - shows just how out of touch the Bush administration is. . . . if the Palestinians have to go on watching the Jewish settlements surrounding them on their land, they are not going to make peace with Israel. And contrary to song, myth and legend, the Israeli army has been behaving more like a militia than a disciplined military force. The reports of mass looting by Israeli troops in Ramallah, especially of jewellery and cash, have reached epic proportions. Israel may publicly claim that this is Palestinian propaganda, but the Israeli army's high command knows the stories are true - one officer referred to it as "the wide-scale, ugly phenomenon of vandalism". . . . it is their own insane policy of settlement-building that has brought about such misery for Israelis. . . . Europeans are becoming weary of this cynical, ruthless conflict, tired of being called anti-Semites when they object to Israel's occupation and equally sick of Arafat's corruption and nepotism and his inability to prevent Palestinian suiciders from killing children. . . . I think that, in time, we will close down the Middle East war. With Russian and EU and UN support, there will, eventually, be American and Nato troops in Jerusalem. There will be a Western protection force in the West Bank and Gaza - and in Israel. The Israeli and Palestinian armies will have to return to barracks. Jerusalem will be an international city. The Palestinians will have security. So will the Israelis.

Torture en masse
(Jonathan Cook, Al-Ahram Weekly Online, 25 April - 1 May 2002)
Palestinians captured during Israel's invasion of the West Bank are being held in conditions that breach international human rights law. . . . Lawyers and international observers are excluded from Ofer detention camp at Betunia, near Ramallah, where it is believed 1,400 prisoners are currently being held. More than 5,000 Palestinians have passed through the camp since the start of Israel's "Defensive Shield" operation. . . . The human rights groups B'tselem also fears that captured men on Israel's wanted list -- who are still being held and have been unable to testify -- were tortured during their interrogation. It has evidence it claims it obtained from a guard that these mens' fingers and toes were broken to extract information. . . . Every time a tank crew returned, he says, he and his brother Fa'ek were hit and kicked in the stomach, back and face. "They were doing it for fun," he said. . . . "Occasionally our blindfolds would be removed so that a group of soldiers could have a picture taken standing over us. To prove how brave they were, I suppose." . . . Fedayel described the conditions at Ofer camp, where he was later transferred, as being "unfit for animals." He was sleeping with 40 others in a tent without beds and many had no blankets. Some were held for up to two weeks without the chance to wash or change clothes. . . . Yossi Volfson, a lawyer with the Israeli human rights advocacy group Hamoked, said: "There can be no excuse for this kind of mistreatment of Palestinians. Israel can call up 30,000 reserve soldiers and feed, clothe and accommodate them at short notice, so why can't it do the same for detainees?" . . . Hamoked and other organisations accuse Israel of breaking its obligations to civilian non-combatants under the Geneva Convention and also under Israeli law.

Posted May 7, 2002

Leave Our Kids Alone
(Andrew Friedman, Pacific News Service, May 6, 2002)
Last month's call by "official" and "radical" Palestinian groups for a ban on suicide bombings and other military operations by children could prove to be the first nail in the coffin of the al-Aqsa Intifada, and even of Yasser Arafat's corrupt regime. . . . for the first time in memory a family has stood up to the terror organizations that rule the Palestinian Authority. Certainly it is the first time the charges have been strong enough to put the terrorist groups on the defensive. . . . For any Palestinian organization to issue such a call reeks of cynicism. The use of children and civilians as defensive shields by the various Palestinian Authority security forces, as well as rejectionist factions like Hamas and Arafat's own Fatah, has been well documented throughout the 19-month-old uprising. . . . ordinary Palestinians starting to speak out is a positive sign. Families like that of Yusuf Zaqout have paid dearly, not only for the al-Aqsa Intifada, but for a decade of Palestinian Authority corruption. They are the ones who get shut out of their jobs when terror attacks force Israel to close its borders. They are the ones who have lost sons and homes and businesses to two Intifadas. . . . Now that Arafat will be free to travel, Palestinians would be wise to keep pressure on him and his henchmen to leave their children alone. . . . With Palestinian officials on the defensive, ordinary Palestinians have a rare chance to reclaim their lives, their economy and their government. Should they choose to capitalize, the current situation could be a first glimmer of light for Palestinian society, and, by extension, for the entire Middle East.


Posted May 5, 2002

Sharon the merciless and Arafat the corrupt have nothing meaningful to offer each other
(Robert Fisk, The Independent, 04 May 2002)
Self-delusion has crossed the Atlantic. George Bush is having visions again - just as he did before the most recent bloodbath in Israel and Palestine - and Colin Powell, whose latest Middle East mission was a wholesale disaster, wants to devise "a set of principles" for an Arab-Israeli peace. And, as usual, it is the occupied, not the occupier, who is warned this is the "last chance" for peace. . . . It was impossible, in Jerusalem yesterday, to take any of this seriously. . . . A glance at the events of the past 24 hours shows just how far the Bush administration has strayed from reality. For days, the US President demanded that Israel withdraw its troops from West Bank cities. Mr Sharon simply ignored him. "When I say withdraw, I mean it," Mr Bush snapped at one point. Mr Sharon ignored him. . . . Yesterday, as Mr Powell warned Mr Arafat that it was his "last chance" to show his leadership, the Israeli Prime Minister was sending an armoured column to re-invade the Palestinian city of Nablus for the second time in two weeks. There was to be no "last chance" for Mr Sharon; only for the iniquitous Mr Arafat. . . . Never, since the end of the 1991 Gulf War, have Israelis and Palestinians been so far apart. So what possible inducements can Washington extend to either side? . . . It is only a matter of time before the next vicious Palestinian suicide bomber blows up himself or herself in an Israeli city. And thus only a matter of time before Israel smashes its way into West Bank cities all over again. . . . In fact, Israel doesn't need an excuse to do this any more. . . . Yesterday's thrust into Nablus was another precedent. Far from being a retaliation, Israel did not invade Palestinian territory in response to Palestinian attacks. It said it had entered Nablus to prevent "future" attacks. Needless to say, the nature of this precedent went unreported.


Posted May 3, 2002

Human rights group finds evidence of war crimes in Jenin
(Justin Huggler and Phil Reeves, The Indepentend, 03 May 2002)
Today's 48-page report is proof that the details of Israel's violations of the Geneva conventions in Jenin are slowly emerging, despite Israel's efforts to conceal them. . . . almost half the Palestinian dead identified so far in Jenin were civilians. Today's HRW report contains detailed accounts of those killings, and says several of them should be investigated as possible war crimes. It identifies 22 civilians among the Palestinian dead - three times the number Israel is claiming. . . . The report contains disturbing new evidence of the extrajudicial execution of a civilian by Israeli soldiers - a war crime - and horrifying new accounts from Palestinian civilians forced to act as human shields by Israeli soldiers. . . . The report contains extensive evidence from many witnesses that Israeli soldiers used civilians as human shields, a clear breach of the Geneva conventions, and a practice that has caused international revulsion when used in other conflicts. . . . "The abuses we documented in Jenin are extremely serious, and in some cases appear to be war crimes," said Peter Bouckaert, a senior researcher at HRW and one of the authors of today's report. "Criminal investigations are needed to ascertain individual responsibility for the most serious violations."

Posted May 2, 2002

Corporate America and Israeli Occupation
(Sam Bahour,, May 01 2002)
Corporate America and corporate boardrooms across the globe wield enormous political influence. It may in fact be argued that in today's material world corporate interests are the primary motivating factors for political action. . . . In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that power, for a multitude of reasons, has been unjustly mobilized to help sustain 35 years of an illegal Israeli military and economic domination of the Palestinian people. . . . the time has come for corporate boardrooms of companies involved in that region to reassess their role, even if that role has been to remain silent for all these years. . . . Millions of U.S. corporate and citizen tax dollars spent on building the Palestinian economy were lost in this latest Israeli offensive against the Palestinian civil and national infrastructure. It would be negligent for corporate America to remain silent while its government recommits yet more tax dollars to the region without addressing the source of the conflict. Ending Israeli occupation is the only solution that will put the region back on track. . . . U.S. military-related corporations support Israeli occupation by way of an institutionalized mechanism provided for by Congress. Congress has stipulated that seventy-five percent of U.S. foreign military aid to Israel, which amounts to over $2 billion annually, must be spent buying U.S. products and services. Firms like Lockheed, Boeing, United Technologies, Raytheon, ExxonMobil, Northrop, Pgsus, General Dynamics and Oshkosh among others are directly contributing to the tools that Israel uses to violate international and humanitarian law. . . . Microsoft Israel put company executives in Redmond, Seattle in an awkward position when they sponsored two large billboards on a main Israeli highway saluting Israel's armed forces at the same time the Israeli military was indiscriminately bombing the Jenin refugee camp into what is rapidly amounting to war crimes. . . . Corporate boardrooms in America and around the world are positioned to contribute to ending Israel's occupation. Not only is it part of their moral and legal obligation to do so, in the end it will make good business sense.


Posted April 30, 2002

430 heroes in Israel
(Boston Globe Editorial, 4/27/2002)
As long as there has been state power, there have been individuals who say no to that power, appealing to the moral call of conscience as the sole authority for their defiance of the state. . . . So it is with the 430 Israeli reservists who have signed an open letter to their compatriots declaring that they ''shall not continue to fight this War of the Settlements'' and explaining that they are combat officers in the Israeli Defense Forces who ''understand now that the price of occupation is the loss of the IDF's human character and the corruption of the entire Israeli society.'' . . . In the language of the open letter, these reserve officers and soldiers say they ''were issued commands and directives that had nothing to do with the security of our country and that had the sole purpose of perpetuating our control over the Palestinian people.'' . . . These Israeli voices of conscience should be heeded in Israel and among Israel's supporters. In response, there ought to be similar moral appeals against terrorism from the Palestinian camp.

Sharon gives succour to Saddam
(Brian Whitaker, The Guardian, April 29, 2002)
Israel's obstruction of the UN team set to investigate the attack on Jenin has given support to the Iraqi dictator, who has used the same tactics with weapons inspectors for years . . . As in the case of Iraq and the weapons inspections, there are good reasons for having a thorough investigation of events in Jenin to determine whether Israel has met its international obligations and - to borrow the Pentagon's phrase - "to demonstrate the consequences" if it turns out to have violated them. . . . For Saddam Hussein, the standoff between Israel and the UN is extremely good news. The United States wants to remove him from power and is looking for a plausible reason to do so. Until recently, his obstruction of UN weapons inspections offered the most likely justification for an attack. . . . But now Israel has gone down the same route as Iraq, obstructing the UN over Jenin. That can only weaken the Pentagon's case for teaching Saddam Hussein "the consequences of violating international obligations" - unless, in some unaccustomed moment of lucidity, the US resolves to enforce compliance with international obligations ... by all countries, equally.

Apartheid in the Holy Land
(Desmond Tutu, The Guardian, April 29, 2002)
I've been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; it reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about. . . . I say why are our memories so short. Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions, in their own history so soon? Have they turned their backs on their profound and noble religious traditions? Have they forgotten that God cares deeply about the downtrodden? . . . The military action of recent days, I predict with certainty, will not provide the security and peace Israelis want; it will only intensify the hatred. . . . We should put out a clarion call to the government of the people of Israel, to the Palestinian people and say: peace is possible, peace based on justice is possible. We will do all we can to assist you to achieve this peace, because it is God's dream, and you will be able to live amicably together as sisters and brothers.

Ambassadors of ill will
(Gideon Levy, Ha'aretz, April 30, 2002)
The order issued by Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) to prevent the entry into Israel of anyone suspected of being a supporter of the Palestinians is being carried out in full and to the letter; and it is creating a growing number of ambassadors of ill will. . . . With the thought police at the airport, even the few who still turn up are compelled to convince the officials of the Interior Ministry that they are lovers of Zion and answer an embarrassing volley of questions. . . . This is not the behavior one expects from an open country that takes pride in being a democracy. The amazing thing is that no one here seems to care what impression we create, otherwise it is difficult to understand the expulsion policy. . . . Israel's current image as a country that is closing itself off to the world and is lashing out at its critics while throwing out its guests is harmful to its own interests. . . . In recent years, Europe has been speaking in a new language, which Israel is unwilling to accept. Human rights have become of paramount value in the political culture of Europe, and upholding those rights has become a central goal of foreign policy. As far as Israel is concerned, however, human rights are still perceived primarily as an obstacle to security policies. The new world is not ready to accept this, just as it was not ready to accept it in the Balkans.

The Real Aim
(Uri Avnery, Palestine Chronicle, April 27 2002)
The real aim of "Operation Defensive Shield" was not to "destroy the infrastructure of terrorism". This was merely a good slogan for uniting the people of Israel, who are angry and afraid after the suicide bombings. . . . But destroying the infrastructure of terrorism is not Ariel Sharon's aim. His program is far more radical: to break the backbone of the Palestinian people, crush their governmental institutions, turn the people into human wreckage that can be dealt with as he wishes. This may entail shutting them up in several enclaves or even driving them out of the country altogether. . . . Even the people most critical of the Palestinian Authority admitted that these two ministries - Education and Health - had been functioning well. They have been utterly destroyed. . . . This happened to virtually all the Palestinian government offices. Gone is the information pertaining to land registration and housing, taxes and government expenditure, car tests and drivers' licenses, everything necessary for administrating a modern society. . . . The headquarters of the security services were destroyed, files burned, computers crushed, the information concerning armed underground organizations and all other details pertaining to the war against terrorism were obliterated. There is no better evidence of the aims of this operation: not war on terrorism, but destruction of organized Palestinian society. . . . Even at this time, the Palestinians know the difference between the Israeli peace camp and those who responsible for this brutal attack. Here, perhaps, lies the only glimmer of hope.

Posted April 28, 2002

Gaza braces for Sharon to send in tanks in next phase of war
(Robert Fisk, The Indepentend, 27 April 2002)
The odd thing is that if the Israeli Prime Minister really wants to dismantle the "network of terror'' of which he speaks so frequently, Gaza - the one place the Israeli army has not yet dared to reoccupy - should perhaps have been his first target. For here are militias aplenty, Palestinians who know how to destroy Merkava-3 tanks, who can manufacture short-range rockets and mortars and know the principles of booby traps better than the refugee gunmen of Jenin. As one local put it yesterday: "This place is wired.'' . . . Its people are certainly preparing for the worst. The banks report massive withdrawals. Human rights groups are duplicating their files. Everyone knows what happened to the computerised archives of the Palestinian ministries in Ramallah and Nablus and Jenin . . . Raja Sourani, a human rights lawyer with the most eloquent, if pessimistic, view of the coming weeks - or days - has few illusions. "I think it's going to be bleak, black and bloody and I can see the blood that will be shed will be Israeli as well as Palestinian. The Palestinians are not ready to be good victims any more. They have nothing to lose. . . . "We heard what happened to women in Ramallah who had thousands of dollars of jewellery stolen by the Israeli troops who entered their homes,'' . . . I listen to the news in Hebrew from Israel. Gaza sets the tone there - the Israelis can't complete their objectives without Gaza. It's here that Palestinian history has been decided for the past 54 years.''


Posted April 26, 2002

Israel Begins West Bank Construction
(The Associated Press, April 24, 2002)
The first stages of construction work are under way to connect two West Bank settlements by building housing for 480 Jewish families, an Israeli official said Wednesday. . . . About 700 Jewish families now live in Elkana and Shaarei Tikva settlements. Throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip, about 200,000 Jews live in 150 settlements among 3 million Palestinians. . . . The settlement issue is one of the main stumbling blocks in the search for a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace. The Palestinians demand removal of settlements from West Bank land they consider part of any future state.


Posted April 25, 2002

What really happened when Israeli forces went into Jenin?
(Justin Huggler and Phil Reeves, The Independent, April 25, 2002)
Although [Israel's] daily behaviour in the occupied territories contradicts this claim - it insists that it did everything possible to protect civilians. . . . But The Independent has unearthed a different story. We have found that, while the Israeli operation clearly dealt a devastating blow to the militant organisations - in the short term, at least - nearly half of the Palestinian dead who have been identified so far were civilians, including women, children and the elderly. They died amid a ruthless and brutal Israeli operation, in which many individual atrocities occurred, and which Israel is seeking to hide by launching a massive propaganda drive. . . . Not all the civilians were cut down in crossfire. Some, according to eyewitness accounts, were deliberately targeted by Israeli forces. Sami Abu Sba'a told us how his 65-year-old father, Mohammed Abu Sba'a, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers after he warned the driver of an approaching bulldozer that his house was packed with families sheltering from the fighting. . . . Israeli troops also shot dead a Palestinian nurse as she tried to help a wounded man. Ms Jamma was wearing a white nurse's uniform clearly marked with a red crescent, the emblem of Palestinian medical workers, when the soldiers shot her. . . . they had shot dead Ahmad Hamduni, a man in his eighties, before Mr Tawafshi's eyes. Mr Hamduni had sought shelter in Mr Tawafshi's house, but the Israeli soldiers had blown the door open. Part of the metal door landed next to the two men. Mr Hamduni was hunched with age, and Mr Tawafshi thinks the soldiers may have mistakenly thought he was wearing a suicide-bomb belt. They shot him on sight. . . . Even children were not immune from the Israeli onslaught. Faris Zeben, a 14-year-old boy, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in cold blood. There was not even any fighting at the time. The curfew on Jenin had been lifted for a few hours and the boy went to buy groceries. . . . The Independent has more such accounts. There simply is not enough space to print them all. . . . The events at Jenin - which have passed almost unquestioned inside Israel - have created a crisis in Israel's relations with the outside world. . . . What is beyond dispute is that the misery of Jenin is not over. There are Palestinians still searching for missing people, although it is not clear whether they are in Israeli detention, buried deep under the rubble, or in graves elsewhere. . . . These are the facts that the Israeli government does not want the world to know. To them should be added the preliminary conclusion of Amnesty International, which has found evidence of severe abuses of human rights - including extra-judicial executions - and has called for a war crimes inquiry.

Posted April 24, 2002

The Massacre in Jenin and Israel's Propaganda War
(Tanya Reinhart, Media Monitors Network, April 23, 2002)
In Israel, Jenin is perceived mainly as a public relations problem . . . The first principle: No pictures or information in real time! . . . On the seventh day of Israel's 'operation' in Jenin, (April 9), it was reported in the Israeli media that the army was nevertheless worried. "Officers of the IDF expressed their shock" about what happened in Jenin: "When the world will see the pictures of what we have done there, it will cause us enormous damage." . . . The second principle of the propaganda battle: If you have full control over the local media, you can pass anything. . . . What did clearly happen in Jenin is that the army simply ignored the fact that there were an unknown number of individuals and families in the areas which were bombarded day and night by missiles from 'Cobra' helicopters, or even in some of the houses erased by bulldozers to pave ways for the tanks. No one came to shoot them individually; they were just buried under their bombarded or bulldozed homes. Others died of their wounds in the alleys, or cried for days under the ruins, until their voices faded away. . . . Bit by bit, testimonies of reserve soldiers are filtering through the back pages of the Israeli media . . . the instructions were clear: shoot every window, sew every house - whether someone shoots from there or not. . . . "The last days, the majority of those who came out of the houses were old people, women and children, who were there the whole time and absorbed our fire. These people were not given any chance to leave the camp, and we are talking about many people" . . . It may take a while before we (Israelis) start to digest what we did in Jenin. I don't have the words yet to speak about my shame, my horrible pain for the Palestinian people. . . . But outside our bubble, nobody watches Itai Angel. They watch the ruins of Jenin. We are turning the whole Muslim world against us.

Letter from US citizen and eye-witness in Palestine to the US Consulate
(Paul Larudee, Media Monitors Network, April 24, 2002)
I and two other Americans, as well as the other members of our group, arrived in Nablus by walking over some very rough territory for half a day to avoid the checkpoint which refused to let our bus through. . . . was in Nablus for five days, and I can see why the Israeli authorities did not want to let us or journalists or even outside medical personnel in to see what they were doing. My host on the very first night was a 54-year-old man who had only the previous day been released from a detention area which the Israeli occupation forces had set up in the suburb of Huwara. According to him, he had been held there for four days, was shackled the entire time, was never allowed to stand, received no food or water, and was beaten and interrogated periodically. He showed me the marks on his wrists and the release slip given to him. This was a story that we heard over and over again from many men aged 15-64 during our stay. It was clear that thousands had been held at one time or another, and when they were released, many were fired upon because they had to make their way home for up to 10 kilometers or more, without protection under total curfew, sometimes at night. . . . The most striking thing about Nablus was the wanton and indiscriminate destruction. The tanks and other military vehicles obviously went out of their way to crush virtually every vehicle they came across, as well as all public lighting, traffic signals, water lines, and every other prominent fixture in or near the streets. . . . In the old city, the destruction was even greater. I have no idea how old the church/monastery in the Yasmeena district was, but it is now just a very large pile of stones, courtesy of one or more air-to-ground missiles from an F-16 . . . On the few occasions where I actually heard the soldiers' reactions, amusement seemed to the main form of statement, such as when a pregnant woman miscarried in a house requisitioned by troops, which elicited laughter from a soldier as she was taken away in an ambulance, with the fetus in a plastic bag. . . . I'm sure it all pales by comparison to what happened in Jenin.

Franciscans will tell all the story of the Palestinian Holocaust - Siege in Bethlehem
(Labib Kobti, Media Monitors Network, April 24, 2002)
Israelis have besieged the compound which is the very place where our Lord Jesus Christ was born and where the Angels chanted "Glory to God ... and Peace to Earth." . . . The Franciscans who refuse to leave the church are of the same order of those Franciscans who helped Jews in Assisi, Rome and many other European cities against Nazis who were trying to exterminate them. Now, these same Franciscans are trying to save the Palestinians from Zionism. . . . The Friars courageously dared to expose the lies of the Israeli and American Media which stated that they were taken as hostages by the Palestinians. They have openly declared that: We share with them everything, we love them, they love us, we stand with them. We shared food, water, electricity and medical aid. . . . Israelis refuse to allow the Palestinians to properly bury two people--one Christian-Palestinian, the Bell ringer and another Muslim-Palestinian who came to extinguish the fire that Israeli bombs created . . . This is the first time in the history of the Church of the Nativity that it has been under assault by an occupation army. Romans, Persians, Byzantine, Muslims, Ottomans have maintained power in the region prior to the Israelis, yet all of the above groups have always respected the holiness of the place. . . . One can no longer claim that this is a religious conflict between Israelis and Muslims, for Palestinian Muslims and Christians alike are more united than ever to fight for the liberation of their land, and to end the humiliation that they have endured together by Israel with the support of the USA. . . . And as they once told the world of their experiences saving Jews in the Second World War from the Nazis Holocaust, may they live to one day tell the world about their experiences in trying to save the Palestinians from Zionist Palocaust (Palestinian Holocaust).

Posted April 23, 2002

The Middle East According to Robert Fisk
(Marc Cooper, LA Weekly, April 22, 2002)
I can remember being in southern Lebanon in 1993 reporting on the Hamas, and one of their militants offered me Shimon Peres' home phone number. That's how close the relations were! So let's remember that the Israelis do have direct contact with those they label even more terrorist than Arafat. . . . Sharon never thinks through the ramifications of what he's going to do, beyond next week or the week after. That's what we are seeing now. . . . It's interesting to note that the European Union is now pointing out to the Israelis that $17 million of our taxpayers' money, investment in the West Bank infrastructure as part of the American peace plan, has been bombed and smashed to pieces by the Israeli military. . . . [Arafat's] task was always to control his people. Not to lead his people. Not to lead a friendly state that would live next to Israel. His job was to control his people, just like all the other Arab dictators do -- usually on our behalf. . . . Way back in 1982, Sharon said he was going to root out terror when 17,500 Arabs were slaughtered during three months in Lebanon. And here we are again. . . . Powell does not ask to go to Jenin. Why? Because the dead are Palestinians? Because they are Arabs? Because they are Muslim? Why on earth doesn't he go to Jenin? . . . Powell is not being evenhanded. American policy never has been. It's a totally bankrupt policy. . . . Europe has a much clearer understanding of the Middle East. Owing partly to much more forthright press and television coverage of the region, of what's going on. We do not hide from our readers and viewers what's happening there. Unlike the American press, we do not hide the brutality of the Israelis. And we certainly do not hide the brutality of the Palestinians. . . . How odd. Here's a superpower with enormous leverage, if you care to use it, over the Israelis. Yet you don't do so.

Posted April 22, 2002

Microsoft advertisement supports Israeli military operations in Palestine
(Molouk Y. Ba-Isa, Palestine Chronicle, April 21 2002)
Israelis traveling on the main highways in the Tel Aviv area were treated to enormous billboards bearing the Microsoft logo under the text, "From the depth of our heart - thanks to The Israeli Defense Forces," on a background made of the Israeli flag. . . . [Gush Shalom] mounted a worldwide appeal to its supporters requesting that they write to Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft Corporation, protesting Microsoft's dissemination of "crude nationalistic and militaristic propaganda at the Israeli population centers," and supporting a war "sharply censured by the international community and controversial among the citizens of Israel itself." . . . "We urge you to take care that this activity is terminated forthwith, and that the estimated tens of thousands of dollars invested in the above mentioned billboards be used instead (for) activities aimed at stopping the bloodshed and promoting an equitable Israeli-Palestinian peace." . . . Radio talk show host and human rights activist Andy Martin, the only American talk radio host who supports Palestinian rights, will hold an Internet forum on his radio program on Monday, April 22 at 1:00 p.m. to attack Microsoft Corporation for endorsing racism and genocide in Israel and to demand a worldwide boycott of Microsoft products. . . . "Now a major scandal is developing throughout the civilized world. I call on human beings everywhere to boycott Microsoft products in support of the Palestinian people." . . . "The Israeli Peace movement is outraged," said Martin. "Civilized human beings are outraged. What business does American business have endorsing mass murder of Palestinians? I salute the brave Israeli peace movement that has condemned Microsoft, and I join their condemnation."

Posted April 21, 2002

Israeli national singer compares the Israeli army to the Nazis
(Shraga Elam, Spotlight, 14 April 2002)
Israeli national singer Yafa Yarkoni has compared the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) with the Nazis. . . . Yarkoni, who won an Israeli prize for her life's work, is known also as "the wars singer", because she used to sing before the soldiers to raise their morale during past wars, starting with 1948. . . . Yarkoni expressed her support for the refusal to serve in the military, saying: "What we are doing in the territories [occupied since 1967] has aroused them [the Palestinians]. I understand them. If somebody had done the same things to us, we would have reacted exactly like them."

Something Stinks in Jenin - Uri Avnery reports of Israeli war crimes
(Uri Avnery, Meida Monitors Network, April 22, 2002)
The Palestinians speak about hundreds of dead, the Minister of Defense asserts categorically that exactly 43 were killed. . . . The truth lies buried under the debris, and it smells atrociously. . . . During two weeks of fighting, the IDF did not allow any journalist, Israeli or foreign, into the camp. Even after the fighting had died down, no journalist was let in. . . . Simple common sense would hold that if one forcibly denies access to journalists, one has something to hide. . . . During the fighting and afterwards, ambulances and rescue teams were not allowed to get close. Those that tried to approach were shot at. The result was that the wounded bled to death in the streets, even if they had relatively light injuries. This is a war crime, a "manifestly illegal order" . . . As a method of warfare it is inhuman. . . . During all the days of fighting, no one was allowed to bring in medications, water and food. I myself took part in a mass march of Israeli peace activists who tried, after the fighting was over, to accompany a convoy of trucks carrying such supplies to the camp. . . . An objective person could only draw the conclusion that the army wanted to prevent the entrance of eye-witnesses into the camp at any price. . . . The most damning evidence about what happened is the fact that immediately after the end of the fighting, top government and army officials started to discuss ways of preventing a shock reaction in Israel and abroad once the facts became known. . . . filled the first page of every important British newspaper. The front-page headline in the Times was "Inside the Camp of Death". Underneath was a giant photo and a report by a star war correspondent, who wrote that in all the wars she had covered, such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya and others, she had never seen such a terrible sight as this. . . . The result is that again a huge gap was created between Israelis and the rest of the world. . . . Only a fool would believe that this will end the resistance to the occupation.

What Israel has done - Can Israel be a state like all others?
(Edward Said, Al-Ahram, April 18-24,2002)
Evidence provides stunning proof of what Israel's campaign has actually (has always) been about: the irreversible conquest of Palestinian land and society. . . . No other state on earth could have done what Israel has done with as much approbation and support as the US has given it. None has been more intransigent and destructive, less out of touch with its own realities, than Israel. . . . By what inhuman calculus did Israel's army, using 50 tanks, 250 missile strikes a day, and dozens of F-16 sorties, besiege Jenin's refugee camp for over a week, a one square kilometre patch of shacks housing 15,000 refugees and a few dozen men armed with automatic rifles and with no defences whatever, no leaders, no missiles, no tanks, nothing, and call it a response to terrorist violence and the threat to Israel's survival? . . . Gone from public memory are the destruction of Palestinian society in 1948 and the creation of a dispossessed people; the conquest of the West Bank and Gaza and their military occupation since 1967; the invasion of 1982 with its 17,500 Lebanese and Palestinian dead and the Sabra and Shatila massacres; the continuous assault on Palestinian schools, refugee camps, hospitals, civil installations of every kind. . . . Is it not clear that Sharon is bent not only on "breaking" the Palestinians, but on trying to eliminate them as a people with national institutions? . . . In 1948 Palestinians lost 78 per cent of Palestine. In 1967 they lost the last 22 per cent, both times to Israel. . . . so far all we hear is that Palestinians must give up violence and condemn terror. Is nothing substantive ever demanded of Israel? Can it go on doing what it has without a thought for the consequences? That is the real question of its existence: whether it can exist as a state like all others, or must always be above the constraints and duties of all other states in the world today. The record is not reassuring.

Postings prior to April 21, 2002

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