THREATENING WRITERS AND MORE ASSASSINATIONS
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THREATENING WRITERS AND MORE ASSASSINATIONS

May 12, 2001

MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 5/12: 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. It should be remembered that in "the territories" the Israelis have also been actually targeting international journalists -- many dozens have been shot and wounded since Intifada II began creating a growing atmosphere of fear and apprehension in the media.

Among the reasons however that there is not much more international protest against these Israelis practices is that Arafat's "Authority" and the Arab "client regimes" use all kinds of similar tactics to threaten their own writers and intellectuals, and to arrest and torture politically active persons. Yesterday's actions reported from Jordan are just the tip of the iceberg. There is today severe repression and fear widespread among Palestinian intellectuals and writers living under both the "Palestinian Authority" on the West Bank of the Jordan and the Hashemite Regime which, in tandem with the U.S. and Israel, controls the East Bank of former Palestine.

POETRY READING SHIN BET APPLIES PRESSURE TO ISRAELI ARAB WRITERS

Not since the first Intifada has the government been so suspicious of Arab writers now being hauled in for questioning.

By Jalal Bana and Ori Nir

[Ha'aretz - May 10, 2001]: The Shin Bet has been hauling in Israeli Arab authors, journalists, publishers, and even poets for "clarification and explanatory conversations" - asking them questions about their writings. Some of those questioned say they were warned not to write anything that could be construed as incitement.

The writers regard the questioning as an attack on their freedom of expression and an attempt to intimidate them. The Prime Minister's Office confirms writers have been questioned because of "extremist-nationalist" writing.

For many years there have been very few cases of security services intervening in the writing of Israeli Arabs. Now, there has not been such an intensive campaign against them since the 1980s, during the first Intifada when the government worried that writing it regarded as "incitement" would pull the Palestinian violence in the territories across into Israel proper.

In the last month, Shin Bet has questioned the three publishers of Saut al Halk u'al-Huriya, published by the northern faction of the Islamic movement, poet-columnist Abdel Hakim Masalha, and veteran journalist Muhamad Ali Taha.

Taha, chairman of the Israeli Arab Writers Union, was chosen by the Supreme Israeli Arab Monitoring Committee to serve as the head of the Naqba committee three years ago. He usually writes about Palestinian nationalist affairs. A month ago, while hosting his friend former justice minister Yossi Beilin, he was served a warrant ordering him to appear at the Misgav police station.

There, he was questioned by two Shin Bet officers who identified themselves as Yarden and Yaniv. They questioned him mostly about his contacts with people in the Palestinian Authority and his role organizing a joint rally by Israeli Arab and Palestinian intellectuals last March.

Taha said that Yarden told him he was forbidden to enter PA-controlled areas, and warned him about incitement in his articles and speeches. According to Taha, his interrogators also demanded that he "be careful" in his writing because of its impact on the Israeli Arab community.

The interrogators, said Taha, told him they "know everything" about him and that they have "a large file" on him. They quoted from his poetry and other publications. "They did a doctorate on my my writing before calling me in," says Taha, but he adds that he's known more difficult times. In the mid-'80s, a book of his poetry was banned, since the authorities claimed it was incitement. It eventually came out due to pressure from human rights organizations and Jewish intellectuals.

But it's not only famous, veteran writers whose work is being analyzed by the Shin Bet. Abdel Hakim Masalha from Kfar Kara, who makes his living selling ads in the local Arabic-language press and as a newspaper distributor, took up poetry after the start of the October riots, which lit a warning lamp at the Shin Bet.

Forty years old, he was questioned last week in the Hadera police station. "A Shin Bet interrogator told me 'your poetry is dangerous' and they told me 'we're following everything you write.'" They told him to tone down his writing because "readers, especially the young among them, could understand the writing as incitement."

Masalha began writing after the start of the rioting, and he usually eulogizes the fallen, describing their mothers' suffering. His two best known poems are about Asil Asala, the high schooler killed during rioting in Arabe, presumably by Border Patrol bullets, and Muhamad al-Dura, the youngster shot dead in his father's arms during a fire fight at the Erez junction early in the Intifada. In other poems Masalha mentions the Sabra and Chatilla massacres and anti-Arab rhetoric of Shas Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

The Prime Minister's Office said that Masalha was indeed questioned on May 2, "about nationalist poetry published in Saut al Halk." That paper's publishers have also been questioned. One, Ali Salah, was questioned two months ago in the Beit Shean police station when he returned from a business trip to Jordan. Some CDs of Islamic music were confiscated, and later returned. A month ago he was called in again by the Shin Bet and questioned for four hours, he says.

The questioning was mostly about his contacts with "hostile Islamic organizations" and the reasons for his frequent trips to Jordan, Europe and the PA. Salah owns an advertising agency and is a singer in a band. He says his trips were only for business purposes.

The PMO says that Salah was questioned "due to suspicion about contacts with illegal hostile elements overseas and in Israel." As for the apparent increase in the number of Arab intellectuals under Shin Bet surveillance, the PMO said that the security service "does not give out information about its operations.

ISRAELIS BLAST PALESTINIAN OFFICER'S CAR, TWO DEAD

JENIN, West Bank (Reuters - 12 May) - Israeli helicopter gunships rocketed the car of a Palestinian intelligence officer in the West Bank on Saturday, killing two people and wounding 16 others.

Palestinian officials said it was a deliberate assassination attempt.

Abdel-Karim Oweis, the intelligence officer who Palestinian security officials believe was the target of the Israeli attack, was lightly wounded, hospital officials said.

They said Mo'tassem al-Sabbah, an activist with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction who was in the car, and Allam Jaloudi, a police officer near the vehicle at the time of the strike, were killed.

Sixteen others were wounded, the hospital officials said.

A Reuters correspondent at the scene said four Israeli helicopters fired three missiles at Oweis's car. Bloodstains and the car's mangled remains were spread across the road.

Witnesses said the first projectile hit the road near the car, leaving a large crater. One passenger managed to flee and a second missile that was aimed at him hit a private house nearby.

"Israel attempted to assassinate today an officer in the Palestinian intelligence apparatus, Abdel-Karim Oweis, by firing missiles from helicopters on his car," Tawfiq al-Tirawi, the head of Palestinian intelligence in the West Bank, told Reuters.

Israel denies it has a policy of assassination but has killed more than 30 Palestinians it suspected of carrying out attacks against its civilians and soldiers since the start of a Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation in September.

The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a group affiliated with Fatah, vowed to avenge Sabbah's killing.

Israeli media reported that Sabbah and Oweis were responsible for several shooting attacks against Israelis and for planting bombs in the West Bank. It said they were planning to carry out mortar bomb attacks against Jewish settlements.

In separate violence, the Israeli army said Palestinians fired six mortar bombs on Saturday at two Jewish settlements in Gaza, lightly wounding one person. Late on Friday, Israeli tanks shelled Gaza after a mortar bomb attack on a Jewish settlement.

BUSH CALLS KILLINGS "ABHORRENT"

The helicopter strike was the latest violence in a week of

attacks that has included the killing of a four-month-old Palestinian baby and the stoning to death of two Israeli teenagers who lived in a West Bank Jewish settlement.

The missile strike came hours after President Bush called a new cycle of Middle East killings "abhorrent."

"The death in the Middle East is abhorrent, and our nation weeps when people lose their lives," Bush told a news conference on Friday. "And what we must do is work hard to break the cycle of violence."

"It's going to be very difficult for us to be able to bring people to the peace table so long as there is violence," he added.

Israeli troops shot dead a stone-throwing Palestinian teenager in Gaza on Friday and wounded at least two dozen more in various clashes and gun battles in the West Bank and Gaza where a Palestinian revolt against Israeli occupation has raged.

Earlier, Israeli tanks and bulldozers rumbled as far as 800 yards into the Palestinian-controlled town of Deir al-Balah in Gaza, leveling three houses and a Palestinian police post after a grenade attack hurt two soldiers.

ISRAEL BRUSHES OFF U.S. CRITICISM

Israel has said it will continue incursions into Palestinian areas and other forms of retaliation for attacks on Israeli targets, despite criticism from the United States.

At least 412 Palestinians, 79 Israelis and 13 Israeli Arabs have been killed since the start of the Palestinian revolt.

"The Palestinian leadership considers this unjustified and provocative escalation a blatant call for comprehensive struggle that would affect the entire region," a Palestinian cabinet statement said. It called for international intervention.

Tension is unlikely to drop as Palestinians prepare for marches on May 15, the day they mark the creation of Israel in 1948 on parts of what had been British mandate Palestine. They remember Israel's birth as the Nakba, or the great catastrophe.

At the United Nations, three Arab ambassadors met U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his special Middle East envoy, Terje Roed-Larsen, on Friday.

They discussed "the need to focus on what urgent steps should be taken," U.N. officials said without elaborating.

The envoys from Tunisia, the Arab League and the Palestinian Authority have been pushing for a U.N. observer protection force in the West Bank and Gaza.

The United States has vetoed such a proposal in the 15-nation Security Council and its envoys have said there has been no change of policy.


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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