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 May 2000 - Return to Complete Index    MiddleEast.Org         5/18/00
News, Information & Analysis that Governments, Interest
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  It's really the same old struggle for
  an end to the ongoing "occupation",
  real "freedom" and "justice".

MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 5/18:

Before Arafat came along -- appointed and very well paid by the Israelis and Americans to control his people and keep them in line -- the world understood what was happening much better than now.  It was a "military occupation".  The Palestinians were fighting for their freedom.  There was an "intifadah", an "uprising" against that occupation.  The goal was self-determination and statehood -- real self-determination and real statehood -- not to mention the "return" of what is now approaching 4 million refugees and historical justice.

That was the old world of just a few years ago.

Now comes the "new world order" in the wake of the Gulf War, the occupation of Arabia by American forces, the destruction of Iraq, the bombing of Yugoslavia, and the new war of the West against "terror" and "Islamic extremists".

In this world the western media (which of course dominates all of our lives with such travesties as the Chief International Affairs corresondent of CNN being the wife of the Assistant Secretary of State of the U.S.!) has changed the terminology attempting to recast the entire picture.

"Rioting" has replaced legitimate struggling and "intifadah".
"Palestinian police" has replaced "Israeli army".
"Statehood" (of a false nature) has replaced "occupation".
"Refugees" have been all but forgotten.
"Justice" -- no one seems to dare comment on this one.

Even the best of the Western media commits these errors, daily, repeatedly.  Hence even "The Independent" continually pulls its punches and conforms to the "new world order" of our times as the story below indicates.  The same day this week the Washington Post had a screaming headline of similar nature on Page 1 above the fold "Riots Sweep West Bank and Gaza".

In the same way that Israel's "by-pass" roads attempt to mask the reality that
Palestinians live there, the new terminology is designed to mask what is really happening and to pretend that Arafat's "State" is something other than Israel's
occupation shuffled and repackaged.

It might just be that the blood and suffering of the moment is really the start of INTIFADAH II, that Arafat and his crowd may yet get their due, and that a renewed struggle may return the world's attention to what the real situation is rather than what the occupiers want it to appear.

Terribly tragic yes, but quite foreseeable all along really.  This was always a "peace process" built on political quicksand and deception.


     Wounded this month so far by the Israeli army:  80,000
     Still imprisoned by the occupation army:  170,000

But even so, though the headlines and leads may be misguided to comply with the spin of the Israelis, if one reads carefully there are moments of truthful analysis that creep into the reporting.  Take for instance this paragraph on the inside page 17 of the Washington Post story that started on page 1 with the "rioting" headline:

     "Israel has been relinquishing control of portions of the West Bank and
     Gaza as part of the Oslo peace process, and most Palestinians now live
     in towns and cities controlled by Arafat's Palestinian Authority.  But
     that control generally ends at or near town limits -- which is where
     Israeli checkpoints and patrols begin and where Palestinians battled
     today with Israeli troops."

We've been comparing the real situation in occupied Palestine to that of Indian Reservations in the US and to South-African style Bantustans.  Looks like the Washington Post facts agree, if not the headline writers.


The Independent, 16 May, by Phil Reeves in Ramallah, West Bank:

The worst violence in more than three years erupted in the West Bank and Gaza
yesterday with rioting in which Israeli soldiers and Palestinian police
fought a running gun battle.

Israel's Channel One news, quoting Palestinian officials, said seven
Palestinian policemen died; other reports said two.  Some 300 people were
injured, a dozen by bullets, reinforcing allegations that Israeli soldiers
used live ammunition in place of rubber-coated metal bullets. Witnesses said
five policemen and five journalists were among the injured.

For four hours youths fought troops in Palestinian-controlled Bethlehem.
Masked youngsters danced and cheered on rooftops, bombarding troops with
masonry and metal poles.

It was the most serious unrest since Ehud Barak became prime minister last
year and came despite his decision to convene the cabinet yesterday morning
to ask approval for a land transfer to the Palestinians, which placed his
coalition under renewed threat of collapse. The cabinet agreed to transfer
Abu Dis village, on the edge of Jerusalem, and where Yasser Arafat has
erected a parliament building, to full Palestinian self-rule, with two other
Arab villages.

It incensed the right-wing and prompted the National Religious Party, which
has five Knesset seats, to quit the government, accusing Mr Barak of dividing
Jerusalem. But the transfer was approved by the Knesset last night, when Mr
Barak narrowly won a vote of confidence.  Earlier, he said the transfer of Abu
Dis, a mile from the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem's Old City, would avoid
the "stalemate and deterioration" of the peace talks. He also said it would
help strengthen Israel's claim to retain sovereignty over the city itself.

But this appeared to do nothing to mollify the Palestinian public, who have
demanded the right to create their capital in Arab east Jerusalem "captured
by the Israelis in 1967 and later annexed" and not in a village outside the
city boundaries.  Certainly Mr Barak's move did nothing to impress the
thousands of young Arabs who took their frustration and despair out on to the

The unrest came on the 52nd anniversary of the inauguration of the state of
Israel, a day the Palestinians mourn as the Nakba, or catastrophe. The
protests were also part ofdemonstrations over Israel's refusal to release
1,650 jailed Palestinians.

But there were convincing Israeli claims that the demonstrations were
encouraged by Mr Arafat's Palestinian Authority, perhaps as an attempt to
remind Mr Barak of the nightmare of the intifada uprising in the hope that
this will encourage him to make more concessions.

If so, matters got badly out of hand. It was the worst violence on the West
Bank since September 1996, when 80 Palestinians and Israelis died in three
days of unrest sparked by an Israeli decision to open a tunnel near a Muslim
shrine in Jerusalem's Old City.

Although the peace negotiations have continued to stumble painfully along
despite such crises, yesterday's events are only likely to do more damage.

They were further complicated by the resignation of the chief Palestinian
negotiator, Yasser Abed Rabbo. He left yesterday, accusing Israel of trying
to divide his camp, after discovering that a secret, separate channel of
talks had been opened in Stockholm.

The worst unrest was in Ramallah, on the West Bank, where Israeli soldiers
and Palestinian snipers exchanged fire for two hours. A Palestinian
journalist, Maher Abu Khater, was severely wounded by a shot to the neck.

In Gaza a pall of smoke and tear-gas hung over the landscape as hundreds of
demonstrators set fire to tyres and stoned troops.

The Palestinian-Israeli peace track has hit bad patches before. As darkness
fell, Mr Barak and Mr Arafat agreed to a "ceasefire" and the violence began
to die down. But yesterday was among the roughest patches yet.

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