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September 1998 
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Washington Scene:


MER - Washington - 11 Sept:

For the first time in memory -- or should we say in history -- the elite, and very incestuous, Palestinian establishment in Washington invited an authentic Muslim spokesman to one of its "august" (tongue in cheek of course) events.

Not introduced as an "official" Hamas spokesman, Azzam Tamimi works out of a London-based "affinity" organization and was guided around town by those working with a similar organization in the Washington area, innocuously named the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR). But the thoughts and name of Hamas Founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin were repeatedly invoked during Tamimi's short talk. And quite noticeably, one of the top representatives of Yasser Arafat's "Authority", Feisal Husseini, also visiting Washington and in the past repeatedly the honored guest of the sponsoring organization, was this time told to stay away and not to speak. Indeed, this same little Palestinian crowd that was so quick to jump on the "Peace" wagon some years ago is now trying to atone for its sins, however inadequately and, truth be told, pathetically.

This time around not a good word was said all day from the parade of speakers about Arafat, his "Authority", or the "peace process" -- with the exception of the luncheon speaker Eric Rouleau, a French Jew, a long-time representative of French imperialism who has spent the past decade urging the Palestinians on at Madrid and Oslo (about which he is now so self-servingly, and suspiciously, apologetic).

It was the annual conference of Hisham Sharabi's little fiefdom, "The Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine", an offshoot of the long-established Jerusalem Fund. No, not the well-known and important Israeli-Zionist "Jerusalem Fund"; rather the puny but highly self-congratulatory Palestinian elite one. More on all this in an upcoming feature article. Just the title for now:

"Much Much Too Little,
Much Much Too Late --

The Tragedy of Hisham Sharabi and the Washington Palestinians." And what about the Hamas fellow from London? Former Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East, Lucius Battle -- long the captive of oil and business interests and regimes in the region -- summed things up as he too expressed his considerable surprise that Tamimi was invited to speak at all, even just as a member of a panel.

"He was very persuasive," Battle started saying. But reminded he was on the record, Battle quickly switched gears and went on to other subjects.



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