FORMER SHIN BET HEAD TALKS SOME SENSE IN PUBLIC....BUT WHY?
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FORMER SHIN BET HEAD TALKS SOME SENSE IN PUBLIC....BUT WHY?

May 2, 2001

"Until we understand what a Palestinian child draws when he looks at an Israeli, what is the meaning of an Israeli soldier, what is the meaning of an Israeli checkpoint, what is the meaning of humiliation, we won't truly understand what they are going through or where we want to go."

MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 5/02: Motives are of course a very important aspect of life and politics...as is timing. And when it comes to someone who has been head of the Shin Bet, like Ami Ayalon, and who is saying these things now, at this particular crucial and sensitive time, there are good reasons to have many suspicions, and many questions, and many doubts. Indeed, in the end it is probably most reasonable to conclude that Ayalon's professed "sensitivity" and "understanding" are primarily as a result of wanting to help Israel get "where we want to go" rather than to help the Palestinians whom he has so personally worked so hard to repress, to torture, and to co-opt. Even so...interesting comments that Ami Ayalon has recently made; and along with motives and timing comments worth pondering.

FORMER ISRAELI SPYMASTER TAKES PALESTINIANS' SIDE

JERUSALEM (Reuters - 1 May 2001) - Ami Ayalon once headed the Israeli security organization the Palestinians despise the most, but now the former chief of the Shin Bet says his country must learn to understand their pain.

Israel's Channel Two broadcast an interview with Ayalon late Monday that revealed a sympathy for the Palestinians' plight and a readiness to blame Israelis rarely seen from a member of the security establishment past or present.

For nearly four years starting in 1996 Ayalon headed the Shin Bet intelligence service, set up with the state's founding in 1948 with the twin purposes of fighting secret hostile activity and protecting Israeli leaders.

In the interview, he acknowledged permitting the Shin Bet to use what he said others would call torture -- he prefers to call it "physical pressure" -- to coerce information from Palestinian prisoners. He said it was justified to save lives.

After leaving the Shin Bet, he acted as go-between for former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. Now 55, Ayalon is known for his contacts with Palestinian officials.

Normally taciturn, Ayalon said he wanted Israelis to know he rejected the "ethos" of the present right-wing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon which he said dated back to the 1950s when Israel believed it had "no choice" on how to deal with Palestinians.

SAYS ISRAEL HAS A CHOICE

Ayalon said that since a 1993 breakthrough peace deal with Arafat, Israel had another choice. But he said Palestinians had lost faith in Barak, ousted by Sharon in a February election.

"We never manage to understand their pain just as they to a very great extent don't understand our pain. I believe we don't understand their fears. We speak of our fears, we speak of our fear of being thrown into the sea. We don't understand that all of the Palestinians are afraid of being thrown across the (Jordan) river," Ayalon said.

Chief of Palestinian preventive security in the Gaza Strip, Mohammad Dahlan, told Reuters: "We have differed greatly with Ayalon, and we also agreed with him when he was still in his job, and he dealt with the Palestinians as a people with dignity and he always admits his mistakes.

"Other Israeli leaders are still dealing with the Palestinians from the occupier mentality," Dahlan said.

Ayalon denied having political aspirations of his own.

The interview, with Israeli journalist Ilana Dayan, was a nearly no-holds barred exchange of views in the thick of more than seven months of raging violence in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel.

Ayalon said Palestinians feared a repeat of what they call the "Nakba" or "Great Catastrophe" of Israel's creation in formerly British-mandated Palestine when many left or were forced to flee their homes never to return.

ISRAELIS MUST UNDERSTAND

"Until we understand what a Palestinian child draws when he looks at an Israeli, what is the meaning of an Israeli soldier, what is the meaning of an Israeli checkpoint, what is the meaning of humiliation, we won't truly understand what they are going through or where we want to go," he insisted.

He said the Palestinian Authority had in the past arrested thousands of Islamic Hamas group militants opposed to the Israeli-Palestinian peace deal and had even killed, interrogated and tortured them in order to ensure Israeli security.

He said they did this believing it would help them reach their goal of a Palestinian state next to Israel.

Violence had erupted, he said, because Palestinians lost hope. "What they are saying is that 'we will reach our aim in another way'. They haven't given up on the aim and so naturally we have no choice but to give them a state," he said.

"We are so strong, so strong from a security standpoint -- and I personally want to believe also from a societal standpoint -- that we can live with the reality of there being a Palestinian state beside us."

He likened the Palestinians to Israel's Siamese twin. Separation was a complex surgery which must offer the Palestinians a full life, he said.

"When this twin will feel he has no life whatsoever, he will cause us very deep suffering."

BEHIND THE HEADLINES:

ISRAELIS CONFOUNDED BY PALESTINIANS AS INTIFADA SHOWS NO SIGN OF ABATING

by Gil Sedan

JERUSALEM, May 1 (Jewish Telegraph Agency, JTA) - Israel doesn't understand the Palestinians, lamented a former official who has spent years trying to do so, and this is why Israel doesn't know how to deal with them.

The speaker was Ami Ayalon, until recently the head of the Shin Bet security service, which fights an ongoing war against Palestinian terrorism.

Ayalon, who became a go-between for former Prime Minister Ehud Barak with Palestinian officials after his Shin Bet service, suggested a "simple" solution to the conflict with the Palestinians when he was interviewed this week by Israel's Channel Two Television.

Give the Palestinians an independent state and the seven-month intifada will be over, Ayalon said in the interview broadcast Monday night.

Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat chose the path of violence over diplomatic negotiations because "Barak lost all the confidence the Palestinians had initially given him," Ayalon said.

Israel is "strong enough militarily, and I would like to believe morally, to give the Palestinians their own independent state," he said.

The interview was noteworthy because the comments sympathetic to the Palestinian cause came from a man who once stood at the core of the Israeli security establishment.

It also was noteworthy because of how isolated Ayalon is in his analysis of Palestinian motivations.

Not only hawkish members of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government would disagree with Ayalon; many leftists, disenchanted with Arafat, also consider Ayalon's analysis naive.

Across the political spectrum, Israelis feel they have good reason to suspect the Palestinians. While many Israelis had believed that the violent Palestinian uprising that began in late September would burn itself out, it shows no signs of abating.

Time and again, Arafat pledges to reduce the violence - and Palestinian attacks intensify. Shooting and bombing attacks continue at the rate of dozens a day.

This week, for example, just as Foreign Minister Shimon Peres was announcing that Israel and the Palestinians were nearing agreement on the terms of a cease-fire, Hamas terrorists killed an Israeli in a West Bank ambush. The victim's father had been killed in another West Bank drive-by shooting in January.

Do the Palestinians really want to end the violence?

Some Israelis thought there was light at the end of the tunnel last week, when the two sides discussed reopening the casino in the West Bank city of Jericho.

Immensely profitable for the Palestinian Authority, which is a joint owner, the casino was among the first casualties of the violence that erupted last September. Before that, it provided a living to more than 1,000 Palestinians, drawing thousands of Israelis for whom gambling is illegal within Israel's borders.

If Israel would let Israelis come back to the casino, Palestinian negotiators promised, the Palestinian Authority would bring an end to attacks on the Jordan Valley road, a major traffic artery between Jerusalem and the Galilee.

Israeli drivers have all but stopped using the road for fear of roadside ambushes.

Many Israelis were outraged, saying the Palestinians should not be permitted to keep the peace where it is profitable for them to do so, while attacking Israelis elsewhere. Others noted that the offer seemed to resolve doubts about whether the Palestinian Authority can control the anti-Israel violence if it chooses.

The talks broke down when Sharon said he would not rescind an order preventing Israelis from traveling to the West Bank. Without Israelis, who were the leading patrons of the Jericho casino, there was little point in pursuing the idea of reopening the gambling mecca.

Israelis also were optimistic that the violence might end when Arafat reportedly issued an order last week for an end to Palestinian mortar attacks on Israel.

Within days, however, the attacks resumed - and Palestinian militia members denied ever having received the order from Arafat in the first place.

Even Peres, one of the lone voices in the Sharon government who still believes that Arafat is a partner for peace, said he has no explanation for the Palestinian leader's behavior.

Even if Israel can reach agreement with Arafat on a cease-fire, many wonder whether he would be able to deliver on the deal.

Arafat often tries to shirk responsibility for Palestinian violence, saying it emanates from elements he does not control. Sharon, however, increasingly is holding the Palestinian Authority responsible for all attacks that originate in areas under its control.

Since taking office earlier this year, Sharon said he would target Palestinians responsible for attacks on Israelis, but would seek to avoid collective punishment against the general Palestinian population.

The policy was based on the assumption that the civilian population eventually would force the Palestinian leadership into a cessation of hostilities.

So far, however, the opposite appears true.

Far from seeking peace, the Palestinians have created a new militia that draws its membership from Arafat's own Fatah faction, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

When rumors circulated this week that Arafat wanted to disband the new militia, hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets of the Gaza Strip in protest.

In addition, many Palestinians believe that the success of Hezbollah fighters - whose war of attrition forced Israel to withdraw its troops from southern Lebanon - shows that Israel understands only the language of force.

Public opinion polls have shown overwhelming support among the Palestinian public for continuing the violent uprising - 80 percent of respondents, according to a recent poll by the Palestinian Jerusalem Media and Communications Center - with 75 percent supporting suicide bombings.

A rare dissenting voice is Bassam Abu Sharif, a political adviser to Arafat and one of Arafat's closest associates. Abu Sharif criticizes Palestinian terror attacks directed at Israeli civilians.

"Your attacks should be aimed at the soldiers deployed at the entrances to our cities," Abu Sharif said during a television interview. "Why don't you attack them, and not blow up children on their way to school?''

Abu Sharif charged that attacks on Israeli civilians give Sharon rhetorical ammunition against the Palestinians as he seeks support from the international community.

Abu Sherif's interview did not play well in some Palestinian quarters.

Three days after it aired, Islamic religious leaders in Bethlehem demanded that Abu Sherif be declared a collaborator with Israel.

Little wonder that the Israel Defense Force continually warns that dealings with the Palestinians are likely to get worse before they get better.


May 2001


Magazine



FEISAL HUSSEINI - DEAD AT 60 IN KUWAIT
(May 31, 2001)
Feisal Husseini will be buried tomorrow in Jerusalem with great circumstance. However whatever else he was, and many think he was a good and committed man, he was a fairly simple man and he certainly was not a great man.

SHARON SHOULD SURRENDER TO HISTORY
(May 25, 2001)
Like many nation states born out of war, Israel must re-evaluate its past in order to move forward, argues Mark Mazower*

THE GAZA GHETTO/PRISON
(May 25, 2001)
The "Gaza Strip" is a huge ghetto; created of course by the Israelis. In a sense it is also the largest prison in the world as the great majority of those who reside in Gaza are unable to leave and return through any of the handful of Israeli army checkposts which control who comes and goes.

APARTHEID ISRAEL
(May 24, 2001)
"There is a huge gap between us (Jews) and our enemies -- not just in ability but in morality, culture, sanctity of life, and conscience. They are our neighbors here, but it seems as if at a distance of a few hundred meters away, there are people who do not belong to our continent, to our world, but actually belong to a different galaxy."

WATER WARS
(May 24, 2001)
In the end its not really the "settlements" that will determine which civilization will prosper in the once Holy Land now so fought over by the descendants of Abraham. Control and use of WATER is even more at the heart of the conflict between the two competing societies.

CONTINUE THE INTIFADA
(May 23, 2001)
It's a terrible deal for the Palestinians actually -- they expected to give up their very justifiable struggle against the occupier in exchange for another promise to "freeze settlements". Gee...it was just last year that Yasser Arafat was proclaiming ad infinitum that no matter what there would be a Palestinian State by the end of the year!

WHAT THE "MITCHELL COMMISSION REPORT" REALLY SAYS
(May 23, 2001)
"Here's your lifeline Yasser, Nabil, Jabril, and all you Palestinian VIPs -- and you better grab it because it may be the last one you get".

THE MITCHELL COMMISSION REPORT -- A LONG SORDID HISTORY
(May 22, 2001)
The big fix is on of course with the "Mitchell Commission Report". Other madmen desperately scampering from one TV studio to the next are "Ambassador" Dennis Ross, now back at the Israeli/Jewish lobby from whence he came, and of course Senator Mitchell, himself retired from the most pro-Israeli political body on the planet ...

ARAFAT AND THE WORLD FORCED TO DANCE TO SHARON'S WAR TUNES
(May 21, 2001)
The Israelis are pushing their lies, schemes, deceptions, and brutality more than ever these days. It's all designed of course to demoralize and confuse the Palestinians, to twist and torture them into submission.

BREAKING NEWS - RAJOUB HIT
(May 20, 2001)
Jibril Rajoub is a favorite of the CIA, the headquarters of which he has personally visited numerous times in recent years on his visits to Washington. His force is the main one trained by the CIA in order to keep the Arafat Regime in power ...

TRUE MARTYRDOM
(May 20, 2001)
Mahmoud Ahmed Marmash -- 21 and now departed -- never knew anything other than Israel's brutal military occupation. He never knew anything other than Arab "client regimes" and the Arafat "Authority". He never knew anything other than a savage Israeli army, fueled by an increasingly racist ideology, armed and financed by America.

ISRAEL - APARTHEID IN THE MIDDLE EAST
(May 20, 2001)
A little trip back in history's lane will result in all kinds of close connections between Israel and South Africa in the days of Apartheid. And during that trip one will discover that Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin were at the top of the list of those promoting those relations.

THE ARAB AMERICANS and their "CLIENT ORGANIZATIONS"
(May 19, 2001)
There are many desperate and depressed people out there these days, especially among Palestinians, their friends, and the Jewish left that is mortified to awaken to find itself with Ariel Sharon as Prime Minister, the hoped for salvation of the Oslo "Peace Process" destroyed, and one of their false prophets, Shimon Peres, at Sharon's side.

SUICIDE BOMB, ISRAELI AIR STRIKES CAUSE NEW CARNAGE
(May 18, 2001)
A suicide bombing followed by retaliatory Israeli air strikes killed 16 people and injured 200 on Friday in one of the bloodiest days since a Palestinian uprising erupted nearly eight months ago.

ISRAEL'S ARMY - A NEW, PERHAPS DANGERSOUS, FREEDOM
(May 18, 2001)
TRIGGER-HAPPY troops set loose? Questions about the response of Israeli soldiers facing Palestinian demonstrators are being asked, and not just by Palestinians. But suspicions about individual behaviour are less relevant than the clear fact that the army, given its head by Ariel Sharon, has made a deliberate decision ...

SEVEN KILLED, OVER 50 INJURED IN SUICIDE BOMB ATTACK
(May 18, 2001)
A Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to the Hasharon shopping mall in the center of the coastal town of Netanya at around 11.30 A.M on Friday morning. Seven people were killed in the blast, one of them most likely the bomber himself.

ISRAELI ARMY ON THE RAMPAGE
(May 17, 2001)
The Israelis are more and more specifically targeting children, journalists, and Palestinians at all levels. The goal is to create such fear, such intimidation, such apprehension, that ...

MORE BLOOD AND MEMORIES FLOW ON "DISASTER DAY"
(May 16, 2001)
Yesterday was the 53rd anniversary of what the Israelis believe was the start of their independence and the Palestinians believe was the start of their ongoing and tortuous "disaster", the "nakba".

"SCHOLARS, INTELLECTUALS, EXPERTS BETRAY THEIR VOCATIONS..." - MER FLASHBACK
(May 15, 2001)
The recent orgy of 'activism' surrounding the new "Har Homa" settlement has given 'peace groups' and various Arab Americans groups something to do again.

THERE WERE WARNINGS THEN, THERE ARE WARNINGS NOW
(May 15, 2001)
It's 53 years now since Palestine was fractured, a Jewish State was born, the Palestinian refugee crisis created. There were warnings from both Arab and Jewish leaders what would result if a "Jewish State" were declared when the British withdrew from Palestine in 1948.

NO JUNITY, NO ALLIES, NO FUTURE
(May 14, 2001)
Let's get right to the bottom line here first. Those American Jews, and whoever else for that matter have been looking to what is called "JUNITY" (that's "Jewish Unity For a Just Peace" so they say) ...

AN AFFRONT TO CIVILISATION
(May 13, 2001)
I was on my way to Khan Yunis, a desperately poor Palestinian refugee town in the Gaza Strip, when we learned it was under heavy bombardment. Please, urged my Palestinian guides, could I postpone my visit to the next day?

IN MEMORY OF PROF. CHARLES BLACK
(May 12, 2001)
"Against hugh odds...they decline to submit, and instead go out on the streets and pick up stones. They are beaten without let or mercy. They are imprisoned under obscene conditions, after kangaroo trials, or no trials at all.

THREATENING WRITERS AND MORE ASSASSINATIONS
(May 12, 2001)
Of course what the Israelis are doing in so many areas to many classes of people is dastardly and deserves widespread condemnation. The first article details what the Israelis are doing to Palestinian writers who are citizens of Israel; the second to Palestinian activists who are struggling against Israel's occupation.

HASHEMITE COLLUSION AND REPRESSION
(May 11, 2001)
The Hashemite Regime of King Abdullah the Second is running more and more scared; and for good reason. After all, the collusion of this regime with the Israelis, going way back to the beginning of the conflict...

MAHMOUD DARWISH ON 53RD NAKBA ANNIVERSARY
(May 11, 2001)
Next Tuesday, 15 May, is the 53rd Anniversary of what the Palestinians call the Nakba, the "Disaster", and what the Israelis call their Independence. In a very unusual move some 250 Arab Professors and Intellectuals have issued a call for their own countries to finally join in a serious way the Palestinian struggle.

FROM HERZL TO SHARON - STEALTH DISPOSSESSION
(May 10, 2001)
"The removal of Arabs bodily from Palestine is part of the Zionist plan to 'spirit the penniless population across the frontier' by denying it employment... Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly."

THE POLITICAL PROSTITUTION OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH IN PALESTINE
(May 10, 2001)
We're talking here about political prostitution; for it too is an age-old profession and it too leads to many other vices.

THE POPE GOES VISITING
(May 9, 2001)
With the creation of a "Jewish State" in the Holy Land, in a sense a new era began twisting the modern-day concept of nationality back to one of ethnic and religious identification.

FROM HELL WITH LOVE
(May 8, 2001)
Ironically, in the early years of this ignoble "Peace Process", Dr. Sarraj himself -- a dignified psychiatrist and recipient of the Physician for Human Rights Award -- was arrested three times, tortured, and threatened with death...not by the Israelis but by the forces of the Arafat "Palestinian Authority".

ISRAELIS SEE THROUGH GLOSS OF LIFE AMID ORANGE GROVES
(May 7, 2001)
When the real estate sharks of California began to coax Americans to Los Angeles early in the last century, they stuck oranges on the trees to make the desert more alluring. The oranges are real enough in the groves on the hills around Jerusalem, but the hard selling is just the same.

WE ARE ACCUSED OF TERRORISM
(May 7, 2001)
The incomparable Nizar Qabbani was buried in Damascus earlier this week. "We Are Accused Of Terrorism" was one of his last poems first published a year ago; key excerpts from that poem follow.

GUNNING DOWN ISRAEL SHAMIR - Part II
(May 4, 2001)
Previously we outlined how the regimes-sponsored Arab American establishment, using the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) to try to control everyone as usual...

SHARON'S RISE TO THE PINNACLE OF POWER - HELPED BY THE ARABS THEMSELVES
(May 3, 2001)
Ariel Sharon's becoming Prime Minister of Israel didn't happen overnight. He pursued the job for a very long time and whatever one thinks of his person and policies he carried out a masterful political coup.

GUNNING DOWN ISRAEL SHAMIR
(May 3, 2001)
The worst thing that happened to the people of the Middle East in recent history was the imposition on them by the Western powers of the "Client Regimes" -- those who read MER regularly know what we are talking about...

ARAB REGIMES COWER AND BEG; ISRAELIS CONTINUE TO KILL AND DESTROY
(May 2, 2001)
Shimon Peres runs around the world, especially to the gullible American media, and especially to CNN and PBS, with soothing rhetorical jibberish while his Generals further demolish Palestinian homes making fools of those who believed in the "Oslo Peace Process" and its associated "agreements".

FORMER SHIN BET HEAD TALKS SOME SENSE IN PUBLIC....BUT WHY?
(May 2, 2001)
Motives are of course a very important aspect of life and politics...as is timing. And when it comes to someone who has been head of the Shin Bet, like Ami Ayalon, and who is saying these things now, at this particular crucial and sensitive time, there are good reasons to have many suspicions, and many questions, and many doubts.

EXTINGUISHING THE INTIFADA
(May 2, 2001)
A major effort is underway to somehow smother and snuff out the Intifada, one way or another. Those heading up the effort, in order of importance, are:

ARAFAT'S FIRST INTERVIEW SINCE THE INTIFADA BEGAN
(May 1, 2001)
Yasser Arafat often describes his struggle as a "long march" to the "spires and minarets" of Jerusalem, capital of his Palestinian state-to-be.




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