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MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 8/17:

Yasser has already capitulated in public one more time.  Just a few weeks ago he was shouting and screaming "Never, Never...the Palestinian State must absolutely be declared September 13th and nothing can change this."  But a few public threats from Clinton and Barak, and a great deal of out of sight squeezing and bribing, and Arafat has already changed his tune again.  Camp David was only recessed by Clinton.  And the Israelis are desperate to get Arafat's signature on their document of "final peace"...for they intend to insist for decades to come that what Arafat signs does indeed "end the conflict" and they know very well that what he is endorsing is far beyond their past wildest Zionist dreams.

For those who think the Clinton/Barak extravaganza now likely to be celebrated on the White House lawn during September with Arafat, a few Arab big-wigs, and the Washington Ambassadorial corps as props...for those who think this is "the final peace", well they don't know very much about the history of the Middle East.  This is but one more "peace deal" in a lengthy line of Western concoctions stretching back to the "Paris Peace Conference" of 1918, now known as "the Peace to end all Peace."

What will likely be taking place soon in Washington -- just in time for help propel Al, Joe, and Hillary back to town in higher offices as well as to allow outgoing Clinton to claim a historical legacy other than that of impeached, disbared, philanderer -- is one more tortuously imposed arrangement that the Arabs will be expected to swallow, however bitter the taste.

Indeed, the deal itself is so rancid and deceptive it could well lead to a case of political poisoning, making those who eat from it sicker and weaker in the years ahead.  Or maybe a better analogy is steroids that athletes take knowing they will get temporary help to win the immediate event but at the cost of threatening their basic health just a few years down the road.

The Palestinians will wake up in the years ahead, after all the hoopla of extravaganza moment, only to find that they cannot now even visit 80% of what was their country not that long ago -- they are now "separated" from it.  They will find themselves imprisoned in a deformed and pockmarked Statelet administered by a miserably corrupt and repressive "Authority", everywhere surrounded by the Israeli army at new "border crossings", internally infiltrated by the CIA, cut up into more pieces than ever before, and divided from each other as never before.  They will find that all the nice words put on paper and heralded so loudly in front of the world's cameras will ring more and more hollow as the realities of their lives and circumstances unfold.  And they will find that the tens of billions given to Arafat and neighborhood client regimes who helped bring all this about will be squandered and stolen and turned against them one more time.

The following article was first published by MER three years ago this month, the author, a highly educated, secular, and distinguished Palestinian intellectual and activist:


  Understanding Palestinian Terror

   by Dr. Eyad Sarraj*

 "All in the name of peace we were humiliated, even
 arrested and tortured by Palestinian forces to protect
 the peace. Our Authority was turning against us...
 Our officials were driving in big cars and building
 big villas. They have VIP cards and cross the check
 posts like human beings while we are left to rot."

A few weeks ago I said that the struggle of Palestinians today is how not to become a bomb and that the amazing thing is not the occurrence of the suicide bombing, rather the rarity of them.

The BBC interviewer appeared to understand.  I was shocked because it is our understanding that the world out there will never understand. And who on earth in their right mind would understand terror and the killing of innocent people? Why do Palestinians kill themselves and Israelis in such an horrific way at the bus stop or in a crowded market? Do you really care to know? Well, let me try and explain.

I believe it is an act of absolute despair and a very serious stage of the seemingly perpetual conflict. Since the uprooting of the Palestinians in 1948 triggered by Irgun Jewish terror under the leadership of Yitzak Shamir and Menachem Begin, we have tried every thing. We have tried Nasser and Arab Nationalism, only to be invaded in 1956 in our second homes in the refugee camps. It was only because of the Russian threat to bomb London and Paris, and the resolve of American president Eisenhower that ended the Israeli occupation.  We have tried the United Nations and its Security Council, which by the way have made excellent resolutions on our behalf. For example Resolution 194 calling on Israel to allow us to return to our homeland, but to no avail.

So we kept wandering around, between airports and refugee camps, waiting for a hero or an earthquake. All we wanted was to go home. But our story was getting worse and we grew bitter as we heard that a Jew from Poland would be declared a citizen of our country - a country now called Israel.

We were told that officially we were stateless with undefined nationality. So we went toniversities. We believed then that Jews were so clever because they were educated. We were told that Jews controlled the world with their education. They are doctors, lawyers and scientists, never beggars or boxers. In twenty years many of us became university graduates and  we were in every university. We had some pride. Some of our educated people formed the resistance movement. They believed that the Arab countries would never fight Israel, and that we had to force them to fight. Fatah with Yasser Arafat was born. They forced the Arabs to fight by inviting Israel to attack Egypt in 1967.

In the course of six days the Arabs were defeated again but worse. This time we lost Gaza and the West Bank, Egypt lost Sinai, and Syria lost the Golan. In a sudden stroke our fate was sealed and we had to live under Israeli military occupation for thirty years.

Do you know what does it mean to live under Israeli military occupation? Do you really care to know? Let me tell you a few things.

* You are given an identity number and a permit to reside. If you leave the country for more that three years in succession, you lose that right to residence.

* When you leave the country on a trip, you are given a laissez passez, a travelling document, valid for one year and it tells you in its recording of your particulars that you are of undefined nationality.

* Israeli occupation means that you are called twice a year by the intelligence for routine interrogation and persuasion to work as an informer on your brothers and sisters. No one is spared. If you are to be a member of a political organisation you will be sentenced for ten years. For a military action you will be sentenced to life.

* To survive under the Israeli occupation you are given the chance to work in the jobs that Israelis do not like, sweeping the streets, building houses, collecting fruit or harvesting. You will have to leave your home in the refugee camp in Gaza at 3 am, go through the road blocks and check posts, spend your day under the sun and surveillance returning home in the evening to collapse in bed for a few hours before the following day.

We simply became the slaves of our enemy. We are building their homes on our villages, and we clean their streets. Do you know what does it do to you when you have to be the slave of your enemy in order to survive. No you will never know how painful it is unless your country is occupied by another force. Only then will you learn how to watch in silence pretending not to see the torture of your friends and the humiliation of your father.  Do you know what it means for a child to see his father spat at and beaten before his eyes by an Israeli soldier? Nobody knows what happened to our children. We don't know ourselves except we observe that they lose respect for their fathers. So they, our children, the children of the stone as they became known, tried the Intifada - the Uprising.

Seven long years our children were throwing stones and being killed daily. Nearly all our  young men were arrested, the majority were tortured. All had to confess. The result was every one suspected that all people were spies. So, we were exhausted, tormented and brutalised. What else could we do to return to our home? We had almost forgotten that and all what we wanted was to be left alone.  What else could we try?

Oh yes, peace.

When the news came that Arafat had signed a peace treaty in Washington we were jubilant. At last we thought we were to get rid of that miserable life of military occupation, at last. So we had hope.  We could not believe our eyes when there were no more curfews and we could actually  spend our evening on the beach or wander in streets which were now ours after eight o'clock at night. We were ecstatic. We even had elections and we had a parliament, so we were told.

Then came Binyamin Netanyahu.  He refused to meet Arafat and was clearly forced to shake hands in obvious disgust. He refused to free our prisoners, to have a safe passage for us to move between the West  Bank and Gaza. He even surrounded our towns and villages with his tanks and arrested our policemen. Then he went after our holy places and opened a tunnel under our holiest Mosque. Tens of our children and also Israeli soldiers were killed because of that tunnel, but he went on insulting us and driving out our sanity.

Arafat called for patience and we were patient, then Netanyahu started to build settlements in Jerusalem and drive the remaining Palestinians out. Settlers in Hebron spat on our prophet and called him a pig.  All in the name of peace we were humiliated, even arrested and tortured by Palestinian forces to protect the peace. Our Authority was turning against us to please Netanyahu. Our officials were driving in big cars and building big villas. They have VIP cards and cross the check posts like human beings while we are left to rot.

I've told you a few things. Now do you understand why we have turned into suicide killers?

 *Dr Eyad Sarraj - Palestinian Psychiatrist, Chairman of the Commission of
  Citizens Rights and Physician for Human Rights Awardee.  Dr. Sarraj was
 himself arrrested three times last year by Arafat forces, tortured and
 threatened with death. Last year Dr. Sarraj was featured on MER-TV
 speaking at Georgetown University.

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