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MiD-EasT RealitieS - Washington - 3/25/2000:
Like in the movie LION OF THE DESERT, those who profess sympathy and understanding can often cause the most harm.  The well-meaning Lieutenant Colonel who befriends Omar Muhktar, lures him into deceptive "peace negotiations" in the desert, and then salutes him as his own involvement leads to Muhktar's being hung from the gallows, is an illustrative symbol from the past.

   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
   Editors Note:  For those who don't know, Omar Muhktar can be said to be
   the George Washington of Libya and was played brilliantly in the movie
   by Anthony Quinn. The movie was produced by Mustapha Akkad, made famous
   by his previous movie "Holloween".  It is widely available for video rental.
          "LION OF THE DESERT" with Anthony Quinn by Mustapha Akkad.
   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As befits all militarist authoritarian regimes, the Israelis have their own good cop.  He is Yossi Beilin, the Justice Minister in the Barak government, former Deputy Foreign Minister and long-time protege of Shimon Peres.  The other day at the U.N. Human Rights Commission, just in advance of the big push this Sunday to bribe/threaten Hafez el-Assad into the "Peace Process", Mr. Beilin told everyone how sorry he is for what has happened to the Palestinians.  Trouble is, Mr. Beilin, Mr. Peres, Mr. Barak, et. al., have been saluting for so long now at the hangings while often times actually carrying out and covering up the assassinations and massacres themselves.


Now there are a few things about the boyish looking soft-spoken Mr. Beilin which people may not remember.  Here's a man who worked closely with Apartheid South Africa back in those days; then very quickly did an about take when Apartheid was no more.  Here's a man who helped Shimon Peres coverup everything from the kidnapping of Mordechai Vanunu in the 1980s to the Qana massacre just a few years ago.  Here's a man, who helped bring about the "Oslo Peace Process" yet to this day he insists he never once discussed with Prime Minister Rabin the end result of what they were starting and whether or not it would lead to true Palestinian independence.  And worst of all at the moment, here's a man who while today professing such newly found deep concern for the Palestinians now champions a novel kind of Middle Eastern "Apartheid" greatly further restricting the rights and movements of the great majority of Palestinians in what once was a unified country.


Beilin's speech at the U.N. Human Rights forum -- see the BBC News article below -- is far too little far too late.  But that's not the biggest problem...which is that Beilin's speech is far too devious.  Beilin's policies are actually the implimentation of those originally put forward by Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon.  He reformulates them with soothing rhetoric and professions of sorrow.  But in the end the predicament faced by the Palestinians is much the same if not worse.

Having failed to impliment the "Mayors plan" and the "Village Leagues" throughout the 70s and 80s, the Israelis then turned to Arafat and the largely destroyed PLO in the 1990s to legitimize in another form their control and oppession.  Now Beilin goes before the international community proclaiming Israeli atonement, when in fact things are progressively worse for the great majority of Palestinians who now live under far more restrictions and repression than before.  Beilin, like Rabin, promotes this double occupation approach not out of sincere concern for the Palestinians but actually in an attempt to cleanse and justify his Zionist convictions with have left such a long legacy of killing and dispossession.


When we hear from Yossi Beilin that Israel will finally agree to U.N. Security Council Resolutions; that the Israeli army will pull back completely to the 1967 borders; that the Palestinian people will at least be treated with full respect, equality, and sovereignty; that the more than 3 million Palestinian refugees can come as they will to the Palestinian State; that substantial compensation for lost properties and personal suffering will finally be offered to the Palestinian people for what has been done to them; and that the "Justice Minister" advocates the release of Mordechai Vanunu...

When we finally hear these things we'll know that Yossi Beilin too has watched LION OF THE DESERT and had a true epiphany.


              Israel says its Arab occupation has gone sour
              Israel's Justice Minister Yossi Beilin has
              expressed regret at his country's record on
              human rights.

              Speaking in Geneva at one of Israel's biggest
              critics - the UN Human Rights Commission - in
              a rare, conciliatory tone, he admitted that
              Israel's occupation of Arab territory had gone

              "We tried to convince ourselves that our
              occupation was a benevolent one," he told the
              commission.  "But we know from history that
              occupation is occupation is occupation."

              Just four days before a summit between
              American President Bill Clinton and his Syrian
              counterpart Hafez al-Assad, Mr Beilin said the
              prospects for peace this year between Israelis
              and Arabs were "very significant."

              "I think we are ready. I hope the Arab parties
              are ready too, and if that is the case we can
              make peace during this year and put an end to
              the Middle East conflict," he said.

              Mr Beilin said he hoped President Clinton's
              meeting with the Syrian president would lead
              to a resumption of the stalled Israeli-Syrian
              peace talks, noting that this could be the last
              opportunity for bringing peace between the
              two countries for a long while.

              Referring to the Palestinians, Mr Beilin said he
              believed the two sides would be able to find
              solutions for outstanding issues such as
              refugees, Jerusalem's status, borders and

              Mr Beilin is regarded as an architect of the
              1993 Oslo Israel-Palestinian peace accords.

              He is more dovish on peace issues than most
              of Prime Minister Ehud Barak's Labor Party.

              Mr Beilin explained that Israel's occupation of
              the West Bank, Gaza and other territories
              must be understood in the context of the Holocaust.

              "In our own perception we were the victim of a
              world (in) which there were still countries
              ready to destroy us," he said.

              "We saw ourselves as a transparent democracy
              fighting for its life," he said. "But the world
              compared us to the most racist countries."

              He acknowledged that Israel had rejected
              criticism too often, and that its foreign ministry
              had become a department of defence, over-eager to
              defend Israel's view of the world than reaching
              out to others.

              His comments also come at a time when the
              Pope is visiting the Holy Land and has made an
              impassioned plea for a Palestinian homeland.
              Links to other Middle East stories are at the
              foot of the page.

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