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October 1998 
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MER - Washington - 6 October:

The hypocrisy of the U.S., and the U.N., in dealing with Israel is simply mind-boggling. Time and time again Arab countries are punished, sanctioned, denounced, or in the case of Iraq destroyed, for behavior the Israelis are not only allowed but helped with.

Israel occupies Palestinian lands, ethnically cleanses them in its own "legalistic" ways, and places its own "settlers" throughout the areas, while the world repeatedly condemns but does nothing. Meanwhile Iraq occupies Kuwait which everyone knows was historically carved out of its body by British imperialism, and somehow world peace is threatened, a huge Western armada descends on Arabia within months, and sanctions are used for a decade devastating the country and killing millions.

Israel developes large numbers of nuclear weapons, complete with U.S. help and complicity; yet everyone else in the neighborhood is warned they must not...or else.

Israel violates one U.N. resolution after another, year after year; but never have there been sanctions of any kind. Other countries similarly violate one or another U.N. resolution but they are branded outlaws, the U.S. pushing and cajoling the U.N. to take actions never even debated in regard to Israel.

Israel attacks a U.N. protected area brutally massacreing hundreds of civilians being protected by the world organization, and then even refuses basic U.N. demands to investigate; yet the U.N. is cowered into inaction by the American veto threat.

And now we learn six years after an Israeli jumbo cargo plane crashed in Amsterdam, the worst air disaster ever in that country, that another major Israeli coverup has been underway. Only now are we learning that the Israeli plane likely carried chemicals for use in Israel's weapons program, similar chemicals to those the Americans recently insisted were being produced in Sudan at the plant they unilaterally blew up with cruise missiles.

Furthermore, there are substantial and credible reports that the Institute for Biological Research in suburban Tel Aviv, where the chemicals on the crashed plane were destined, has had a number of leaks in recent years; and that Israel's unchecked and uninspected nuclear reactor in Dimona also threatens public health throughout the Middle East.

Where is the international investigation?
Where is the international outrage?
Where are the international sanctions?
Why isn't the U.N. stepping in?
Why are all the international institutions impotent, and silent?
Why isn't there compensation for those who have suffered?

This recent article from the AP tells only a partof the overall story, including Israeli Ambassador Yossi Gall's contemptuous insistence that none of what's now widely reported is true. But when it comes to veracity, of course, representatives of Israel like Gall have hardly any.

Dutch Query Israel on Plane Cargo By Jenifer Chao

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP - Oct 6) -- In the shadow of towering apartment buildings, a living monument to victims of the worst Dutch air disaster bears this inscription: "The Tree That Saw Everything."

Six years later, investigators are struggling to uncover what no one can see -- the cause of chronic illnesses that have plagued the neighborhood and its rescuers since the crash of an Israeli cargo jet.

New disclosures the plane was carrying a chemical that can be used to produce the deadly nerve gas sarin have reignited demands for the truth -- and renewed speculation over what the Israelis intended to do with the material.

"Once and for all, we must put an end to the disaster. The suffering has lasted too long," Hannah Belliot, who heads the neighborhood council, said Sunday in a memorial service near trees that survived the inferno.

Forty-three people were killed on Oct. 4, 1992, when the Israel-bound Boeing 747 cargo jet lost its two right engines and smashed into a 12-story apartment block shortly after takeoff from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

While the cause of the crash was determined to be a design flaw, its cargo has been a nagging mystery to the scores of residents and rescue workers suffering from chronic health problems.

Last week, the Israeli government confirmed what many had suspected after years of official denials: The plane was carrying dangerous cargo. Up to 50 gallons of dimethyl methylphosphonate, an ingredient used in sarin, many pesticides and in anti-retardants were destined for the Israel Institute for Biological Research in suburban Tel Aviv, the Israelis disclosed.

Recent reports have said Israel was making chemical and biological weapons at the institute; the Israeli government has not commented on those claims. The Dutch government, meanwhile, has promised a fresh parliamentary probe.

Those suffering from health problems say knowing exactly what was in the belly of the jet is their only hope for recovery. "I can't get it out of my mind," said ambulance driver Henk Post, 48, a paramedic dispatched to the crash site in the low-income, heavily immigrant Bijlmer neighborhood.

Post arrived within minutes of the early evening crash and worked until the next morning -- all while wearing no special protective gear. Three years later, he began suffering health problems, including chronic fatigue and muscle aches. He also weeps easily and suffers bouts of depression.

"He's so emotional," said Post's 22-year-old daughter, Bianca. "He'sdifferent. He's not my father anymore." Post said doctors are at a loss over how to treat him.

He's not alone. Doctors in Bijlmer say some 300 people have suffered health problems since the crash, including nervousness, stress, chronic fatigue, pain and drowsiness.

"My whole body is a mess. There are all kinds of weird things going on," said Ed Steur, 48, an auto mechanic who helped evacuate the area and now suffers from bronchial problems and muscle pains "so bad that I can't do anything anymore."

Steur is angry at the Israeli and Dutch governments for keeping the plane's cargo a secret. Over the years, officials have said the plane carried a small amount of military equipment; one newspaper report said it was carrying Sidewinder missiles.

Earlier this year, Israel's ambassador to the Netherlands, Yossi Gal, told reporters the plane carried "no dangerous goods ... nothing secret."

Dutch officials bristle at allegations of a coverup. "I don't believe .. that something was wittingly and knowingly withheld," Transport Minister Tineke Netelenbos told the daily De Telegraaf. "What isimportant is that we establish quickly which materials were burned, at what temperature, and what consequences they have on public health."

Still, experts say long-term exposure to a much higher dose of the chemical than was aboard the plane would be neccessary to produce illnesses. "People think since it can be used for sarin, it must have the same toxicity as sarin. That's nonsense," said Hendrik Benshcop, head of chemical toxicology at the Netherlands Organization for Applied Science Research.

If so, the mystery just deepens for Everdina Douwes, who was diagnosed with lung cancer three years after the crash. "I don't expect any (compensation) money from the government," she said. "It's the truth that needs to come out."




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