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December 1998 
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INTIFADA ANNIVERSARY:Fate of the Palestinians

G H E T T O S A N D R E S E R V A T I O N S ?

MER - Washington - 10 December 1997:

At this time of the 10th anniversary of the Palestinian Intifada the basic issue of what is happening to the Palestinians as a result of the American/Israeli/Arab regimes "Peace Process" should be confronted and reevaluated.

Since Madrid and Oslo the Palestinian standard of living, already low, has declined about 10% yearly; while the gap between rich and poor has continually grown. The situation is worst of all in Gaza where Arafat's cronies have built multi-million dollar mansions while poverty and hunger have expanded all around them.

Since Madrid and Oslo Palestinians have been further dispossessed of their lands and further displaced by still-expanding Israeli settlements and military areas. The ruse of land being "returned" to Palestinians is clearly a subterfuge attempting to mask what is actually happening to them as in reality they are surrounded by Israeli settlements and controlled by Israeli military restrictions.

The overall reality is that Palestinians are being continually pushed onto modern-day reservations in the name of a duplicitous "peace process" that is but a continuation of the tricks and deceptions that go back throughout most of this century. And at the same time these "Palestinian population centers" are more and more taking on the classic characteristics of encircled ghettos.

This MER Editorial was originally published last February and is particularly fitting to recall at this time of the 10th anniversary of the "uprising".


For press contact call 202 362-5266

[MER Editorial - 2/26/97]

The pattern is now so clear that it's quite amazing how few see it clearly and how few are willing to speak up honestly. As Israeli settlement "thickening" (i.e., expansion) continues throughout the occupied territories and especially in the ever-expanding Jerusalem area, the Israelis make more and more threats against all Palestinians should anyone dare to speak up or otherwise react. At the same time the Israelis (with unprecedented encouragement form the United States whose Middle East policies are practically dictated by the Jewish lobby) increasingly twist Yasser Arafat more and more into playing the role of "collaborator" (Edward Said), "vassal" (Naseer Aruri), "warden" (Mark Bruzonsky) and "client" (Noam Chomsky). Their goal is clearly to use him, abuse him, and so fracture and demoralize Palestinian society that he will be totally discredited and maybe assassinated, while the PLO and the Palestinian national movement are dealt what this time might be a lethal series of blows.

The latest Israeli Jerusalem expansion has now officially begun -- after all kinds of meaningless and non-credible threats from Arafat's naive crony representative in Jerusalem, Feisal Husseini. What is really going on -- as we have previously commented on (see -- is specifically designed to all but terminate any possibility of Palestinian resurgence in the Jerusalem area. The Palestinians of Jerusalem are simply to be penned up in their few remaining enclaves -- a kind of shrinking, isolated, economically deprived Arab ghetto within an expanding Jewish Jerusalem. Since 1993 in fact -- thanks to Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres -- Palestinians from outside Jerusalem cannot even visit the city without special passes and still-tightening restrictions.

According to a Reuters report today, Israeli "sources estimate that the Palestinian reaction to a decision to build on Har Homa (a formerly Arab area of expanded Jerusalem) will not be extensive, and certainly not on the scale of the intifada. They feel that Yasser Arafat will not allow it so soon before his visit to the United States, following warnings from the Administration to the Palestinians not to react with violence."

Furthermore, according to the Reuters report, "Israel has warned the Palestinian Authority that if there is an outbreak of hostilities, the first stage of the upcoming withdrawals -- scheduled for next month -- will be postponed."

Additionally, it has been learned that when Arab students at Haifa university published a flyer calling for the Palestinians to confront Israel's policies, threats of expulsion from the university have resulted against the Arab student leaders.

Overall, it is a masterful policy of intimidation and blackmail that the Israelis use -- with help of different kinds from the Americans, the Arab "clients-regimes" and the so-called "Palestinian Authority" -- and it is directly against all Palestinian institutions and organizations with increasingly ferocity and effectiveness. How tragic, and how frightening, that more and more what the Jews are doing to the Palestinians is reminiscent of what was done to them in the ghettos of Europe of old. And maybe, indeed likely, sometime in the future, there will be a horrible price to be paid.

For the brutal reality of today's situation is that in the name of "peace process" the Palestinians are being ground and crushed into submission. Middle Eastern apartheid -- complete with "Jews only" settlements and by-pass roads and "Palestinian-only" ghettos and pass-laws -- marches forward. MAB



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