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June 2, 2001
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the wheelchair-bound spiritual leader of Hamas, said from his Gaza headquarters on Saturday the attack was the result of "the Israeli violence, the occupation
of Palestine and the killing of Palestinian people." Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Founder of Hamas Gaza
"The people now are very disillusioned about Arafat's capacity." Haidar Abdul-Shafi, Chairman Palestinian Delegation Madrid and Washington Gaza
MID-EAST REALITIES © - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 6/02: Yasser Arafat was hired, courted, and well-paid to control his own people and lead them, however much they tried to resist, to the Apartheid-style arrangement the Israelis always had in mind with the so-called "Oslo Peace Process". That was the context in which he was legitimized by the Israelis and the Americans after so many years of being a "terrorist". That is the framework in which his forces were armed and trained by the CIA; and in which he and his top lieutenants were paid huge sums, much of which is now in secret foreign bank accounts. That is why Arafat was the most frequent foreign guest at the White House during the eight years of the Clinton Presidency, one dominated as none other by American Jews clearly dually-loyal in their identities and priorities. But in attempting to "lead" his people to this Apartheid-style miserably misnomered "peace", Chairman Yasser Arafat and entourage have lost their credibility among their own people and thus lost the control the had promised the Israelis and Americans they could deliver. After so many years of terrible corruption and oppression, ineptitude and failure, Yasser Arafat continues to stroll the world's stage but is increasingly helpless when it comes to his own people. Having lead his people so far backward they have no desire to follow his lead any further forward. Arafat's latest historic mistake may have been yesterday. The circumstance of Feisal Husseini's death -- one about which suspicions are growing -- had given Arafat a remarkable opportunity to show his people that he was still more than a manipulated puppet. He could have lead the funeral processor right through the streets of Jerusalem, defying the Israelis to arrest him or protect him. A Ghandi, a Martin Luther King, a Nelson Mandela, would have understood the moment, would have stood tall, would have carried the flag of their people boldly. But the Palestinians tragically have been saddled so long with an Arafat. And now he has lead them to another tragic war, possibly to another "nakba" (historic disaster), and they are as ill-prepared after more than 50 years to fight with arms or even with words, as they were the first time. Arafat's legacy will not now be any kind of dignified Palestinian Statehood. He has so badly mislead his people -- squandering the immense amounts of money and international support they once had -- that he has made achievement of that historic goal far more difficult for future Palestinian leaders who will soon have to follow him. Whether he goes back into exile at this point is largely irrelevant -- he has already in a sense exiled himself from his own people. He too will eventually, finally, pass from the scene. And when he does he will not reach Jerusalem in death just as he did not do so in life.
ARAFAT INCREASINGLY SEEN AS FOLLOWER RATHER THAN LEADERS
The Palestinian President appears powerless to halt the spiralling violence, Herald Correspondent Ross Dunn reports from Gaza City.
[The Sydney Morning Herald, June 2, 2001] Yasser Arafat became emotional this week when asked why he had not accepted Israel's offer of a ceasefire.
A truce could be reached, the he replied, only if Israel agreed to implement fully all aspects of the Mitchell commission into the violence, including a freeze on the expansion of Jewish settlements. He also demanded that an international force be stationed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to oversee the implementation of the recommendations set out by former United States senator George Mitchell and his committee.
Mr Arafat, on a tour of Europe, was also asked if he could halt attacks by militant Hamas and Islamic Jihad guerillas. "I already managed to do this in 1996," he said, referring to his jailing of members of the groups after they had launched suicide bombings against Israel.
His response raised the question of why he had not done so again after the recent spate of attacks by the same groups. Pressed by an Israeli journalist on why the Palestinian violence had not stopped, Mr Arafat stood up shaking, and shouted that he could not be held accountable.
"You are not listening to me. I said many times - in Paris, in Dubai, in Cairo - that I am against violence of any kind."
Such protestations have not impressed the US. Its new special envoy to the Middle East, William Burns, has been greatly disappointed that Mr Arafat has yet to make even a vague commitment to the prospect of a ceasefire, adding to perceptions that he has become a follower rather than a leader of the Palestinian uprising in which nearly 600 people, almost 500 of them Palestinians, have died since September.
That appeared to be the belief of Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, who recently said Mr Arafat no longer had the authority to rein in Palestinian militants carrying out violent attacks against Israelis.
"If the Palestinian President calls to his people to stop the violence, no-one will listen to him," he said.
"Palestinian public opinion is no longer under his influence. We would like the lives of Israeli citizens to be like the lives of Arab citizens in Arab nations who can safely walk the streets, but this objective will never be reached in this manner."
Mr Mubarak is not alone in this assessment. Jordan's King Abdullah has also said Mr Arafat, while a respected symbol of his people, lacks the authority to halt the Palestinian attacks.
Haidar Abdul-Shafi, a former top Palestinian negotiator and ex- member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, agrees. Asked if Mr Arafat could halt the violence, he said: "I am sure now that he cannot. The people now are very disillusioned about Arafat's capacity. I think that it is more or less correct.
"I don't think if Arafat now is going to give an order for them to stop, they are going to stop."
Dr Mofeed Mokhallalti, who has been treating Palestinians wounded by the Israeli Army in the Gaza Strip, blames the Israeli military's aggressive tactics for undermining Mr Arafat's ability to restore order.
"You cannot say that Yasser Arafat has lost control of his people, but he is not able to have firm control because of that tight situation.
"He will not be able to control [Palestinian militants] while the Israelis are killing them every day and every night.
"I know that [Palestinian violence] is inefficient, and it will not defeat the Israelis, but you have to do something. [The Palestinians] have lost hope; they are frustrated; they are trying to do whatever they can do."
The executive vice-president of Bethlehem University, Dr Manuel Hassassian, believes that if Israel first offered some goodwill gesture Mr Arafat might have a chance of gaining control over the violence.
"If the Israelis and [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon stop the [Jewish] settlement activities, I think Arafat has the power to extend his orders to every party within the Palestinians who are resisting occupation," he said.
"I think that he can stop the shooting, but he cannot do that without having something concrete in his hands.
"How is he going to justify the killing of hundreds of Palestinians and thousands of injured Palestinians by just going to the table and signing a cessation or an armistice, without getting something concrete as far as the resumption of the peace talks?''
ISRAELI LEADERS IN EMERGENCY MEETING AFTER BLAST
By Michael Hughes
TEL AVIV, June 2 (Reuters) - Israeli leaders held an emergency meeting on Saturday to weigh their response to a Palestinian suicide bombing that killed 17 people in a crowd of teenagers at a Tel Aviv nightclub.
The blast, which also wounded more than 90 people late on Friday, was the deadliest attack in Israel for at least four years and the latest in a series of such bombings since a Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation erupted eight months ago.
The powerful bomb, strapped to the attacker, spewed out bullets and nails when he detonated it among a crowd of youngsters waiting outside the Pacha nightclub, a popular haunt for Russian immigrants along the seaside promenade, police said.
The blast was so strong that blood and human flesh were spattered on cars parked nearby.
"I was about to enter and heard the boom. I was thrown back and fell on the ground. Bodies and body parts were all around me," said Rotem, aged 18.
Amid growing domestic pressure to retaliate and abandon a limited ceasefire he declared 10 days ago, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon held consultations at the Defence Ministry with Defence Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.
Some two hours later, he brought in other senior ministers, members of his security cabinet, to discuss Israel's next moves.
About 150 angry protesters gathered outside carrying placards saying "Shame" and calling on Sharon to "let the army win."
Israeli leaders said Palestinian President Yasser Arafat bore blame for the attack by failing to join the ceasefire.
"The president condemns such attacks especially against civilians and calls on all sides to show self-restraint," Arafat's spokesman said.
A Palestinian official said it was the first time since the uprising began that Arafat had called for restraint from his own side. Reflecting national anger, an Israel Radio announcer called Arafat's remarks as "a hypocritical condemnation."
The radio reported Islamic Jihad was behind the blast, the seventh bomb attack against Israelis since Sharon declared the ceasefire under which soldiers were ordered to fire only if attacked. But there was no immediate claim of responsibility by any group.
Israeli commentators said Sharon would have to temper his response to avoid handing Palestinians any moral victory should world opinion judge that he had overreacted.
In the Palestinian West Bank city of Ramallah, residents said they feared an Israeli air raid of the kind launched many times to avenge recent bombings was imminent. Buildings of Arafat's Palestinian Authority, often a target of Israeli missiles, have been vacated for weeks.
BALL OF FIRE
"There were people blown apart, limbs strewn everywhere," said Avi, a waiter from a nearby nightclub. Witnesses heard a powerful explosion and saw a ball of fire in the knot of people.
"I saw people lying on the floor. Some had no legs, no arms," said Alex Brodsky, 19.
Israel Radio reported that 12 of the dead were women and five were men. Relatives filed into the Abu Kabir morgue for the grisly task of identifying badly mangled bodies.
The deaths brought the toll to at least 450 Palestinians, 108 Israelis and 13 Israeli Arabs killed since a Palestinian revolt erupted last September after peace talks became deadlocked.
The Israeli army tightened its closure of the Palestinian territories, which it has said is aimed at preventing attacks by militants. Palestinians say Israel's blockade is a collective punishment that is devastating their economy.
U.S. President George W. Bush and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan condemned the attack, which Ben-Eliezer called "one of the most cruel and inhumane terrorist attacks that have ever taken place in Israel."
Bush said in a statement: "I call upon Chairman Arafat to condemn this act and to call for an immediate ceasefire."
Visiting German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer went to the scene of the blast and stood with head bowed. "The terror must be stopped," he said, before travelling to the West Bank for a meeting with Arafat.
ISRAEL HOLDS ARAFAT RESPONSIBLE
The Israeli government was quick to blame the bombing on Arafat for failing to join the ceasefire, rejected by Palestinians as a propaganda ploy, or rein in Muslim militants.
"It (the attack) was done when Israel is doing its utmost to stop the violence and ceasefire," Ben-Eliezer said. "It looks to us that Arafat and the Palestinian Authority only wants to lead the region into turmoil."
Palestinian parliamentary speaker Ahmed Korei rejected the charge, saying: "We have said time and again that we are against killing civilians, whether they are Israelis or Palestinians."
Islamic Jihad and the Hamas guerrilla group have staged a string of bomb attacks in recent months and vowed to carry out more. Hamas said it had 10 suicide bombers at the ready and has claimed responsibility for eight bombings since September.
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the wheelchair-bound spiritual leader of Hamas, said from his Gaza headquarters on Saturday the attack was the result of "the Israeli violence, the occupation of Palestine and the killing of Palestinian people."
An Islamic Jihad leader vowed at a rally in Gaza on Friday to ignore Sharon's calls for a ceasefire and mount more attacks.
"The finger is pointing only in one direction and that is the chairman of the Palestinian Authority (Yasser Arafat) and the Palestinian leaders...in their responses to our call for a ceasefire," said Raanan Gissin, a spokesman for Sharon.
Gissin later told Israeli television: "It is a time when the prime minister and all Israeli citizens have to show the proper restraint and unity so that our response will be the most effective and bring about a cessation of violence and terror. The PA still has the chance to change its ways."
TURKEY HEADING TOWARD "SOCIAL EXPLOSION"...i.e., "REVOLUTION"
(June 30, 2001)
In geostrategic and military terms, the unnamed U.S.-Israel-Turkish military alliance that emerged full-blown during the last decade -- of course with the Turks using the "peace process" as the excuse for such close relations between Turkey and Israel -- was one of the most important developments.
WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTIONS EMERGING
(June 29, 2001)
In a sense there is an arms race under way at this time of a different kind -- a race for whether weapons of mass destruction will be used in a serious and ongoing way should a new war break out first in the Subcontinent over Kashmir or in the Middle East over Palestine.
LABOR AND LIKUD MORE ALIKE THAN DIFFERENT - MER FLASHBACK
(June 29, 2001)
Long before what was to happen with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (remember him?),
MER was informing who he really was and what to really expect. Same with regard to
Shimon Peres. Expect the same cutting-edge information and analysis in the months ahead.
Washington Scene: THE HISTORICAL MOMENT
(June 27, 2001)
The Middle East region totters now between further repression and oppression, terrorism and war. The outcome in the short term is indeterminate of course. But the winds and directions are clear; however much camaflouged by the politicians and the usually gullible mass media.
THREATCON DELTA ORDERED TODAY
(June 22, 2001)
One day they will probably get Osama bin-Laden, former confident of King Fahd in Saudi Arabia, former CIA asset against the once mighty Soviet Empire, now arch nemesis of the American Empire.
"ALGERIA IS IN CRISIS"
(June 22, 2001)
"The Battle of Algiers" left North Africa biggest country terribly bloodied and traumatized. This time it was French imperialism and the French military that did the dirty horrifying deeds.
EGYPT ARMING WHILE REGIME IS SHAKING
(June 21, 2001)
Arab States, including Egypt, are arming at a growing pace. Even combined they are still no match to defeat Israel. But their detterence capabilities are growing, they might be able to seriously bloody Israel in years ahead...
(June 20, 2001)
There are many reasons the Palestinian people are suffering so terribly, worse by the year in fact, and are now endangered by the possibility of a second "nakba" (disaster).
"THE SECOND HALF OF 1948"
(June 20, 2001)
Official declarations and many reports in the Israeli media indicate that the Israeli military and political leadership are aiming, eventually, at a total destruction of the Palestinian authority, and, with it, the process of Oslo, which is now dominantly considered by them a 'historical mistake'.
TELEGRAPHING WHAT I S TO COME
(June 19, 2001)
Arafat had two roles he had been assigned. That's why none other than former "terrorist" Arafat was the most frequent visitor to the White House during the years 1993 through 2000.
SHARON'S LONG MARCH: NEXT TO WASHINGTON THEN TO THE ATTACK
(June 19, 2001)
Ariel Sharon is proving what others before him, including Generals Patton and MacArthur of American legend, learned about modern warfare. There's a heavy messure of political theatrics and personal legend involved in making war, more so now than ever in this age of instant TV and the Intenet.
SHARON Coming To US Again To Coordinate War Plans
(June 19, 2001)
Sharon is coming to the States again next week. Only a firm "absolutely not" from the Americans is likely now to prevent much further brutal subjugation of the Palestinians; quite possibly the exiling again of Yasser Arafat.
SON OF IMPORTANT ISRAELI FAMILY REFUSES OCCUPATION MILITARY SERVICE
(June 17, 2001)
Coordinated non-violent but serious civil disobedience -- there in the Middle East, in Europe, and in the United States -- that is what today's situation desperately calls out for.
ARIEL SHARON - WAR CRIMINAL?
(June 15, 2001)
Years ago the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kurt Waldheim, was brought before a mock international court through a joint effort of Home Box Office (HBO) in the USA and a major British TV network. The question before the court was whether Kurt Waldheim was possibly guilty of war crimes ...
PREPARING FOR DESTRUCTION
(June 15, 2001)
"If a cease-fire does indeed take hold, then all the better...
If Arafat rejects the document or professes to accept it,
but does not fulfill his part of the bargain, Israel will win
more points in the court of world opinion and a more
conducive political backdrop will be created for a
military response to Palestinian violence."
ALGERIANS FIRE INTO DEMONSTRATING CROWDS TODAY
(June 14, 2001)
The Berbers in Algeria, the brutal civil war in Sudan, the Palestinians in the once Holy Land, the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey, the ongoing Kashmir crisis -- all conflicts exploding throughout the greater Middle East region today in 2001, all conflicts the legacy of Western colonial policies of yesteryear and American imperial policies of today.
MARCH TO WAR CONTINUES: ISRAEL WARNS IRAN AGAIN
(June 14, 2001)
There are major historical and military reasons why Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton (representing of course huge constituencies who at the time pushed them to pursue the policies they did) pressed Yasser Arafat so hard to sign an agreement at Camp David.
THE SO-CALLED "AGREEMENT"
(June 13, 2001)
There is no real "agreement". There is a dictate. Yasser Arafat is in no position anymore to do much other than what his American handlers tell him to do; a day of reckoning he brought on himself by so many mistakes and so much corruption over such a long time.
Another Muslim Rep Foolishly Plays To The Cameras On Behalf of the Regimes
(June 13, 2001)
A week ago outside the State Department one of the latest Muslim organization reps to grab for the cameras -- Khalid Turaani -- declared in loud tones how the time had finally come for "civil disobedience" and how he and the other leaders of the assembled Muslim "client organizations" were going to get arrested in a peaceful protest ...
HASHEMITE KINGDOM CLOSES BORDERS TO PALESTINIANS
(June 13, 2001)
The Hashemite Regime has always, right from the start, been in deep collusion with the Israelis and since World War II with the CIA. This latest step to close off Jordan to Palestinians -- to essentially put a seal on the jar which now contains the Palestinians ...
CIA TELLS ARAFAT WHAT HE HAS TO DO AND WHAT IT WILL DO FOR HIM
(June 12, 2001)
When the Director of the CIA is himself involved so extensively, goes on site half way around the world for a lengthy stay, and the situation is so critical he has to publicly acknowledge his role ...
CLOVIS MAKSOUD DID IT TWENTY YEARS AGO, APPEARING WITH SHIMON PERES
(June 11, 2001)
Those who know Raghida Dergham know what she is, and its certainly not a truly independent journalist. She's been an opportunist for a very long time, and she's used her sexuality to climb the ladder with backing from one influential Arab diplomat or royal along the way for a long time now.
(June 10, 2001)
"A whole nation is now huddled around one tribal
bonfire to lament its bitter fate, mourn its dead and
ignore the dead of the other side. As usual, it views
itself as the victim, turns the enemy into Satan and
waits, inactive and bravely unthinking, for the
calamity that is about to befall it and for which it is
in no small measure to blame."
WAR POSSIBLE WARNS TOP SAUDI
(June 10, 2001)
Normally one of the last places one would turn for truthfulness, integrity,
and information would be the Saudi royal family. Currently headed by a former
playboy who drank, gambled, and womanized his life away in Beirut and London --
before assuming the throne -- it is the Saudi "royal family
which epitomizes the "client regime" realities that have so fractured, weakened,
and prostrated the whole region once known as "the Arab world."
CHRISTIAN LEADERS: WRONG TIME, WRONG ADVICE, WRONG REASONS
(June 8, 2001)
"Be assured of our prayers for you and the
President and all others in the Administration
as you seek to forge a fair and just policy
for the two peoples and three faiths who
share a common religious heritage in the
land we hold as holy."
THE CRUEL REGIMES OF ARABDOM
(June 7, 2001)
There are huge cultural gulfs between East and West, old world and new
world. And of course the West is extraordinarily dominant these days not only
it terms of financial and military might, but also in terms of cultural
influence and "moral" standards.
(June 7, 2001)
"In reality the Zionist and Hashemite leaderships
continue to plot how to control and repress the
Palestinians in ever more crafty and ever more
ARAFAT 4 YEARS AGO - MER FLASHBACK
(June 6, 2001)
Last year MER first carried information about the
increasingly close CIA, Shinbet, and Mossad connections with Yasser Arafat's
MUSLIM ORGS EMBARRASS THEMSELVES AT STATE DEPT
(June 5, 2001)
With much press fanfare (they just love to play to the cameras) leaders of half a dozen Muslim American groups held a press conference gathering across from the State Department today.
DESPITE THE LULL, WAR CLOUDS LOOM
(June 4, 2001)
Despite the lull, there are many ominous signs of impending major attacks
against the occupied Palestinians about to take place; and there is a real
possibility of regional war.
EGYPTIANS THREATEN WAR!
(June 4, 2001)
When the American Secretary of State cancels long-planned foreign travel and
publicly warns of the "abyss" from which "there may no return" you can bet the
situation behind-the-scenes is far more dangerous and explosive than is publicly
SHARON'S HAWKS PLAN FOR WAR
(June 3, 2001)
Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs
editor, reports on Israel's growing
mood for full-scale hostilities in
the aftermath of 17 deaths in a
nightclub suicide bomb attack
24-HOURS AND COUNTING
(June 2, 2001)
"Americans should not travel to Gaza at the present time and
live there should depart to a safer location when they can do
HATED RAJOUB GETS READY
(June 2, 2001)
With the days of Yasser Arafat maybe coming to an end one way or another,
with Feisal Husseini passed from the scene, with the other Palestinian tough
guys bottled up in Gaza, the frontrunner strong man to "control" the
Palestinian people throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem appears to be Jibril
(June 2, 2001)
Yasser Arafat was hired, courted, and well-paid to control his own people and
lead them, however much they tried to resist, to the Apartheid-style arrangement
the Israelis always had in mind with the so-called "Oslo Peace Process".
ISRAELIS PLANNING BLITZKRIEG?
(June 1, 2001)
For a long time now we have been desperately warning about what the true Israeli
intentions are. We have also been warning that the Palestinians are not at all
prepared for these eventualities, neither with the terrible leadership provided
by the "Palestinian Authority" nor for the world-wide information and public
relations battle that accompanies all major developments in our world these