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October 2000 - Return to Complete Index                           MiddleEast.Org       10/02/00
News, Information, & Analysis That Governments, Interest Groups, and the Corporate Media Don't Want You To Know! 
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MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 10/02:
   Tanks, helicopter gunships and rockets are now being used against the Palestinians by the Israeli army. Prime Minister Barak has publicly threatened to further unleash the Israel army and surround the Palestinian enclaves with tanks.  The Israeli Foreign Minister has blamed the Palestinians for daring to "riot" against their occupiers and complimented the Army for doing its job.  Now Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, who has professed such concern for the Palestinians has not been heard from, nor has he taken any action against Israeli army snipers and soldiers who are purposefully targeting and killing totally defensely Palestinian children and aid workers.
   The Arab League has once again shown how powerless and compromised the Arab regimes are.  After meeting in "emergency session" over the weekend the Arab League has "appealed" to the United Nations to "investigate" what is happening and condemn Israel.  The last time the U.N. attempted to investigate an Israeli massacre it was at its own safe-haven of Qana in Lebanon.  The Israelis refused to even allow the investigators to visit Israel, the U.S. threatened to veto any contrary resolution against Israel, and Secretary-General Boutros Ghali was told that even his support for the investigation meant the U.S. was going to replace him as Secretary-General.
   Meanwhile, those Arab regimes with diplomatic relations with Israel have not even recalled their Ambassadors, not to mention broken relations with Israel.  The Arab regimes are simply afraid of the United States and cowered into protecting their "client" status.  An Arab civilization of over 200 million remains impotent and despondent.
    For perspective, if what is happening to the Palestinians were happening in a country the size of the U.S., an occupation army would have shot more than one hundred thousand Americans in just the past few days.
    The following just in from The Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees in Jerusalem and from Robert Fisk, the courageous journalist writing in The Independent:



Oct 2, 3:00 PM Jerusalem:
As attacks on Palestinian civilians continue for the fifth day, at least 35
Palestinians have been killed and over 1,000 injured by Israeli forces in
locations throughout the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, as well
as in Arab towns inside the Green Line.  Among those killed by Israeli
bullets are at least seven children under the age of seventeen.

12-year-old Muhammad Rami Al-Dura died in the arms of his father Jamal at
the Natzarim junction in Gaza on Saturday.  As seen on television screens
across the world, Israeli soldiers continued firing live ammunition
directly at the two despite Jamal's efforts to shield his son and signal
the soldiers to stop shooting.  Jamal remains in the hospital, recovering
from four bullet wounds.

10-year-old Muhammad Jabar Raafi was also killed in the Gaza Strip, shot in
the head with an explosive, high velocity bullet.  Like the "dum-dum"
bullet used widely by Israeli forces during the Intifada, this type of
bullet shatters upon impact to inflict the greatest possible damage and is
outlawed by international conventions.  16-year-old Muhammad Al-Hams, shot
in the head, and 16-year-old Muhammad al-'Utleh have also been killed by
Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip.

In Nablus, Sara Abdel-Azeem, a one-and-a-half-year-old baby girl, was
killed when Israeli settlers shot at her father's car.  In the same town,
10-year-old Samir Tabanja was killed by machine-gun fire from an Israeli
helicopter gunship that strafed crowds of Palestinian civilians yesterday.

In the West Bank town of Al-Bireh, near Ramallah, 16-year-old Muhammad
Nabil Daoud died after Israeli soldiers shot him in the head.  In the same
location, three UPMRC first-aid volunteers were wounded by shrapnel from
exploding high velocity bullets.  Shrapnel grazed the head of Suheila
Abdel-Rahman, the ear of Ashraf Bisht, and the face of Bashir Barghouthi,
barely missing his eye.  Bashir remains hospitalized.  All three were
wounded at the entrance of the building where the UPMRC had established a
mobile emergency care site.  Israeli forces kept them trapped in a small
corridor of this building for two-and-a-half hours before ambulances
managed to make it through to the wounded volunteers.

Today, Dr. Hanna Rashmawi, UPMRC District Manager for Bethlehem, was shot
in the chest by a rubber-coated metal bullet.


                             By Robert Fisk

THE INDEPENDENT - 2 October 2000:

When I read the word "crossfire", I reach for my pen. In the Middle East, it almost always means that the Israelis have killed an innocent person. When the Israelis fired shells into the United Nations compound at Qana in southern Lebanon in 1996, Time magazine printed a photograph of a dead baby with a caption saying it had been
killed in "crossfire". This was untrue. The baby had been killed in the Israeli bombardment along with 105 other civilians - which started after Hizbollah guerrillas opened fire on an Israeli army unit that was laying booby-trap mines inside the UN zone.

So when 12-year-old Mohammed al-Durah was killed in Gaza on Saturday and I read on the Associated Press wire that the child was "caught in the crossfire", I knew at once who had killed him. Sure enough, reporters investigating the killing said the boy was shot by Israeli troops. So was his father - who survived - and so was the
ambulance driver who was killed trying to rescue the boy. Yet BBC World Service Television was still saying yesterday morning that Mohammed al-Durah was "caught in the crossfire of a battle that has left hundreds wounded and killed many others". I knew what this meant.

True, the Israeli soldiers who killed the boy may not have known whom they hit. They were apparently firing through a wall. But why the reluctance on the part of journalists to tell the truth? Why was it that in its report from Jerusalem on Saturday, the AP only mentioned - in paragraph 17, for heaven's sake - that Israeli troops, on the word of their own officer, fired anti-tank missiles during the confrontation? What was the Israeli army doing using missiles against rioters?

By yesterday afternoon, the story had been transformed into a "blame" conflict. The Israelis blamed the Palestinian authority for organising riots. BBC World Service radio ran a tape of an Israeli official stating that rioters were "shooting [sic] Molotov cocktails and stones" which "kill people". A listener might have been forgiven for thinking that 22 Israelis had been killed - rather than 22 Palestinians - in the previous 72 hours. The BBC then ran a tape of Nabil Shaath, the Palestinian spokesman, saying that the Israelis, not the Palestinians, had been shooting.

Truth is a hard bullet to bite. Palestinian policemen had also opened fire on the Israelis. Ironically, the Arab press in Beirut had no hesitation in saying this. The press in Lebanon showed photographs of Palestinian policemen firing Kalashnikov rifles at Israeli troops. But, given the fact that they did not kill Israelis - one of them was hit while firing - was it not worth mentioning that the Palestinians were the victims, not the Israelis?

When BBC Television got round to mentioning Ariel Sharon's flagrantly provocative visit to the Haram as-Sharif/ Temple Mount on Thursday, they yesterday called him an "Israeli leader" when - for Palestinians - he was the man who bore indirect responsibility (according to Israel's own inquiry) for the massacre of up to 2,000 Palestinian
civilians in the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps in Beirut 18 years ago. The BBC correspondent, Paul Adams, was one of the very few who bravely drew attention to Sharon's appalling record, pointing out Sharon had "an extraordinary capacity to leave... destruction in his wake."

And so, by last night, the story had changed. No longer did Israeli soldiers and policemen kill at least 22 Palestinians in three days; now the question was whether the Palestinian Authority organised the riots that "led" [sic] to their deaths. The Israeli soldiers, who disobeyed every human rights commitment by firing on rioters with live rounds, were respectfully called the "Israeli security forces", disregarding the fact that "security" was the one thing Israeli soldiers were clearly unable to provide.

On CNN and the BBC and other satellite chains, reporters were asked if the killings would upset the "peace process", with no willingness to explain that it was the collapse of the peace process which lay at the heart of the riots. The Muslim holy areas of Jerusalem were "disputed" - although UN Security Council resolution 242, upon
which the "peace process" is supposedly based, demands the withdrawal of Israeli forces from territories captured during the 1967 war, including east Jerusalem.

What lies behind this - apart from the sheep-like inability of many journalists to call a spade a spade - was the continuing belief that Palestinians are, by nature, violent and riotous.

The United States called for an end to the "violence" - this courtesy of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright - without making any reference to Sharon's grotesque visit to the mosque grounds of east Jerusalem. By yesterday afternoon, the BBC were at it again, reporting that "Israeli authorities were bracing themselves for what may lie
ahead".  Weren't the Palestinians also doing that?

Twelve-year-old Rami Jamal Al-Durra from a refugee camp in Gaza died in his father's arms on Saturday.  Reporters watched helplessly as the boy and his father became trapped against a wall with nothing but a small concrete block for cover as bullets rained around them on a road near the Jewish settlement of Netzarim in the Gaza Strip.  Rami crouched weeping and his father tried in vain to shield him with his arms and body while pleading with the soldiers not to shoot. A few seconds later both were shot by Israeli forces and Rami slumped into his father's lap. Rami died, while his father survived badly wounded (5 bullets). An ambulance driver, Bassam al-Bilbeisi, who braved the fierce shooting to try to rescue them was also killed; another ambulance driver who also tried to help was also shot.

For pictures of the murder of the 12 year-old Rami Al-Dura in Gaza:

For a video of the murder, captured by a Palestinian cameraman
working for Agence France Press:

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