Israeli Arabs boycott Barak, await Sharon
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Israeli Arabs boycott Barak, await Sharon

February 1, 2001

"Palestinian Citizens of Israel" says Sharon

As the extreme right-wing revolution in Israel nears, as Ariel Sharon and friends prepare to take over political power, the "Israeli Arab vote" will not be enough to save Ehud Barak, and in fact it will not even be mobilized on his behalf this time, though Yasser Arafat and his friends have surely tried.

After generations of second-class citizenship, after decades of various forms of discrimination, and after the Israeli army was set loose against the "Palestinian citizens of Israel" by none other than Ehud Barak, neither of the big Zionist parties is very palatable to "Israeli Arabs"; and understandably so.

This new phrase, "Palestinian citizens of Israel", is one Ariel Sharon has just started using. And knowing Sharon, the term should not be considered benign. "I am on the point of creating for the first time a new kind of relationship with the Arabs of Israel who, because of their origins, are Palestinian citizens of Israel," Sharon told Israeli radio a few days ago making his first use of the term. Sharon and his ideological cohorts have few supporters and no friends among this minority population in Israel; and one has to wonder just what Sharon really has in mind for them down the road when his "offer" is not accepted and tensions explode into still more fighting and possible war.

Just a year and a half ago Barak was riding high, and charismatic Netanyahu was exiled to the political wilderness. Back then Sharon was thought to be completely unelectable -- too extreme, too old, too untelegenic. How fast things have changed. How dangerous are the times now ahead.


Dismayed by recent violence and ongoing discrimination, many may sit out election

Dina Shiloh, Chronicle Foreign Service

[San Francisco Chronicle - 29 January]:
Umm El Fahem, Israel -- Mohammed Adiv gets up every day at 6 a.m. to travel from his hometown in the Galilee to Tel Aviv, 60 miles south. There he goes straight to the market, where he chooses the fruit and vegetables for the upscale produce store in north Tel Aviv where he has worked for the past 21 years.

"I've always worked with Israelis and never had any problems," said the 38- year-old, who is an Israeli citizen. "But the truth is, we Arabs in Israel are discriminated against.

"We are not allowed to build new houses. We are not allocated money for schools, for infrastructure in our towns. So people have always felt angry. But now, with the killing of the 13, even my 6-year-old son is angry with (Prime Minister Ehud) Barak."

In separate clashes in October, 13 Israeli Arabs were shot to death by Israeli police -- 11 of them during three days of violent demonstrations in the Galilee and two more a week later in Nazareth.

Israeli Arabs, who constitute 20 percent of the country's population, also are angry that so many Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and Gaza.

Many are threatening to boycott next week's national election out of anger at Barak, who is being blamed by Jews and Arabs alike for failing to stop the unrest besetting Israel and the Palestinian territories.

"In the last elections, there was a very high turnout of Arab voters, and 96 percent voted for Barak. This time, we cannot predict how many will vote at all. They are very, very disappointed with the government," said Sara Ozacky-Lazar, director of the Gi-Haviva Arab-Jewish Center for Peace, who has conducted research into the voting patterns of Israeli Arabs.

With Barak trailing far behind right-wing opposition leader Ariel Sharon in the polls, the Arab vote has become absolutely essential to his hopes for re- election.

In the last elections, Labor Party activists were out for weeks before the elections, trying to persuade Arabs to vote, bringing in government ministers to public meetings and promising changes under Barak. There is no evidence of any such activity now.

"There's a terrible feeling of apathy, that we have totally lost the faith of the Arabs and there's no point in trying to get them back," confided one Labor insider.

Israeli Arabs want the state to recognize that an injustice has been perpetrated. On Jan. 21, the Arab Monitoring Committee, which represents the families of the October riot victims, submitted to a state commission of inquiry its accusations that the police and border police used excessive force and engaged in undisciplined conduct.

The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, known as Adalah, is leading the protest. "Our findings lead to the clear accusation that the security forces did not behave according to the minimal rules of human rights, " said Adalah director Hassan Jabareen.

Israelis on the left, who have been slow to criticize the police for the killings, are now siding with the Arabs. Last week, the left-leaning Ha'aretz newspaper published accounts of eyewitnesses to the shootings. Former Prime Minister Shimon Peres apologized to Israeli Arabs "on behalf of the government" for the 13 deaths.

On Wednesday in Nazareth, Barak stopped short of an apology, telling a group of Arab Labor Party activists that he felt "sorrow and a need to express condolences."

But all that may not be enough. Even if the commission finds that the police bear responsibility for what happened, Israeli Arabs are unlikely to be mollified.

They are disappointed by Barak's failure to address the discrimination Arabs face in their own country.

Despite their support for Barak in the last election, he named no Arab ministers and takes the votes of Arab Knesset members for granted, Israeli Arabs say. They cite years of bias in the allocation of government resources.

Thirty percent of Israeli Arabs live below the poverty line. Arab towns get smaller allocations than do Jewish ones, and many lack such basics as sewers and sidewalks. Israeli Arab children attend more crowded and worse-equipped schools. Twice as many Arab babies as Jewish ones die before their first birthday.

That the peace talks, which were suspended yesterday until after the election, went on as long as they did is a point in the prime minister's favor.

But Israeli Arabs -- many of whom prefer to call themselves "Palestinians who live in Israel" -- say that they were disappointed by what Barak offered.

Polls show most Israeli Arabs believe that Jerusalem should be divided, giving Palestinians control over the Arab eastern part of the city, and that remote Jewish settlements on the West Bank should be uprooted.

The right of return for thousands of Palestinians who left or were forced out of their homes when Israel was created in 1948 -- one of the chief sticking points in the peace talks -- is another sensitive issue.

"When the conflict has ended, the question is: What will happen with the refugees? Four hundred and thirty-one Arab villages were destroyed. Land was confiscated. Israeli Arabs believe it would be just for all of these people to come back here," said Salem Jubran, a prominent Israeli Arab author, journalist and lecturer.

"But then again, we also know that it is perhaps unrealistic. More urgent is the question of Jerusalem, and the settlements."

Jubran is one of the few Arab intellectuals publicly urging Israeli Arabs to vote for Barak.

"I am against a boycott of the elections. Although Barak was responsible for the death of 13 people, Sharon was responsible for the death of thousands in Lebanon, at Sabra and Chatilla," Jubran said passionately.

He was referring to the massacre of Palestinian refugees in 1982 in two Beirut refugee camps by Christian militias who were Israel's allies at the time. Sharon, then the defense minister, was severely criticized by a commission of inquiry, which recommended that he be fired.

"Sharon is the most dangerous politician in the history of Israel," Jubran said. "So I say to my Arab brothers, we must vote for Barak. We have no choice. "

Adiv said he respects Jubran's views, but he has not quite made up his mind..

"If Barak can make an agreement with the Palestinians before the elections, then I will vote for him. But I will still be angry about what happened. The picture of the 13 will stay on my living room wall."

February 2001


(February 27, 2001)
Was it the Likud Party, or the Labor Party, that authorized more illegal settlements in the occupied territories since the Gulf War and the Madrid Peace Conference?

(February 26, 2001)
For those who still needed proof of the cravenness and duplicity of Israel's Labor Party, the party that spawned "Peace Now" and "Oslo" among other gross deceptions, it came today.

Defectors say Iraq tested Nuclear Bomb
(February 25, 2001)
When Iraq was more overtly building nuclear weapons, the Israelis struck in 1981 destroying the Osirak reactor near Baghdad that could have provided the crucial processed uranium fuel.

"Go back, we don't want you"
(February 24, 2001)
General Colin Powell, now combining even more closely than usual the Pentagon with the State Department, was afraid to go to Gaza; and rightly so.

The Hebron MASSACRE - 7 long years ago
(February 24, 2001)
Abraham's dysfunctional family has had unbelieveable historical ramifications for which the focal point today is Hebron, site of Abraham's burial place, a religious site to both Jews and Muslim alike who are today quite literally at each other's throats.

Council on foreign relations help legitimize Sharon
(February 23, 2001)
The Council on Foreign Relations, New York-power elite-based but in recent years integrating more with the Washington government and corporate elite, has been for quite some time, to put it bluntly, a rather tricky and chicanery Israeli-oriented Zionist center when it comes to matters relevant to Israel.

Iraq - The great Cover-Up
(February 23, 2001)
As terrible as what the Israelis, with their superpower American ally (and European connivance), are doing to the Palestinians, what has been and is being done to the Iraqis and the Chechnyans is also truly appauling.

Arab expulsion admitted by Sharon Ally
(February 22, 2001)
One day maybe Israel -- like South Africa and Chile before it -- will have some kind of "truth finding" commission to try to purge itself of the past.

Protests in Jordan
(February 22, 2001)
If it weren't for the Hashemite Regime in today's Jordan, yesterday's Transjordan, and before that the East Bank of Palestine, the Israelis would never have been able to vanquish the Palestinian people in days past and would never be able to do to the remaining Palestinians what is happening today.

Powell and Sharon - Street protests?
(February 21, 2001)
Clearly, the US is rushing to court unpopularity across the world, contrary to expectations that the Bush national security establishment would conduct itself with a degree of sophistication.

"This is only the beginning"
(February 21, 2001)
The crippling is not just physical. Psychologically, culturally, economically, and even morally, the Palestinian people are being twisted and tortured beyond all recognition of their former selves.

Gaza Ghetto, Gaza Concentration Camp, Gaza Prison
(February 19, 2001)
For four months, the Gaza Strip has been effectively isolated from the world. Over 1 million Palestinians are caged in an area of not more than 365km2.

Locked in an Orwellian eternal war
(February 19, 2001)
President Bush Jr didn't seem so confident the other day as he told the world of the newly increased bombing of Iraq. But he made it clear that "until the world is told otherwise" the Americans are convinced they run the world and it is up to them to decide whom to bomb, whom to favor, whom to take out, whom to reward.

Arafat collapsing
(February 16, 2001)
The Arafat Regime is collapsing. Here are some of the details, twisted somewhat of course because the reports are from Israel's best newspaper, Ha'aretz, in view of the fact that Palestinian and Arab news sources are unable and unwilling to provide such insights.

The realization, "perhaps the dream"
(February 16, 2001)
Out of the cycle of violence the gradual, hesitant understanding - perhaps the dream - will grow, that the only way is through a struggle to create a land of Israel/Palestine that is undivided in both physical and human terms, pluralistic and open; a land in which civilized relations, human touch, intimate coexistence and a link to a common homeland would be stronger than militant tribalism and the separation into national ghettoes.

"Collective suicide" or Zionism united?
(February 15, 2001)
If there is a national unity government, it will be evident that the differences between Labour as the main branch of the left and the Likud as the main branch of the right are not that big.

Death and assissination
(February 14, 2001)
It didn't take long for the Israelis, now Sharon-led, to start creating the escalating provocations that will then bring about still more Palestinian rage which will then give the Israelis the excuse they seek to pulverize the Palestinians still harder, possibly destroying the regime they earlier created, and possibly leading to another Palestinian "nakbah" (disaster).

Israelis strike, Palestinians without strategy
(February 13, 2001)
The Israelis have had a long-term strategy for a very long time; and they have pursued it regardless of what party was in power and who happened to be Prime Minister of the moment.

Dozens of Palestinians wounded
(February 12, 2001)
Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinians in the West Bank Monday as Israel's rightwing Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon sought to forge a unity government.

"Holy war" is forever
(February 12, 2001)
Fifty four years ago when an international commission of that day was hearing from Jews and Arabs about what the new U.N. should do about Palestine there was testimony from very credible and very establishment Jewish Zionist sources opposing creation of a "separatist Jewish State" precisely because it would bring about an unending conflict with the Palestinian Arab population.

War preparations continue
(February 11, 2001)
The Arafat Regime, the "Authority", is near collapse -- not just financially, but credibility wise as well. The Israeli government is near "unity" -- with General Sharon in charge.

The PA is about to collapse
(February 10, 2001)
How ironic history can be. After generations of struggle and such suffering the regime that rules the Palestinians is now in the hands of Ariel Sharon representing Israel, the U.S. Congress representing the financial levers of the American Empire, and the European governments which in this situation operate on the pretense that they are better than either of the above.

Rocking Israel to its Biblical core
(February 9, 2001)
Well if King David was a nebbish (modern translation might be "nerd"), one has to wonder how history will record Ariel Sharon, the man with such a past whom the Jews of Israel have just overwhelming elected their leader.

Sharon maneuvers for starting position
(February 9, 2001)
It's time for serious political confusion and disinformation now. As the armies prepare themselves for the clashes likely to come in one form or another, the politicians maneuver for new starting positions.

Clinton pardoned Mossad spy for Israelis
(February 9, 2001)
The Israelis adore Bill Clinton, as all the pollsters know. Deep down even the common everyday Israelis know he was their man in the White House.

The many crimes of Ariel Sharon
(February 8, 2001)
Some incorrigible optimists have suggested that only a right-wing extremist of the notoriety of Likud leader Ariel Sharon will have the credentials to broker any sort of lasting settlement with the Palestinians.

Sharon wastes no time - Arafat bows
(February 7, 2001)
We will give him the benefit of the doubt. If he comes with good ideas that will bring us closer to the peace process, why not? The world has seen many such situations before.

Holy war for Jerusalem
(February 7, 2001)
We're on the way now to a new and expanded struggle, maybe even a religious war, Jerusalem the focalpoint.

The cold logic of Sharon
(February 7, 2001)
Many Israelis just stayed home. Others cast a blank vote. But a considerable minority thrust Ariel Sharon into the greatest electoral landslide in that country's history -- obviously as well an overwhelming majority of those who did vote.

Sharon wins and Peres wants in
(February 6, 2001)
He may be a brutish thug, he may fit the definition of war criminal, he may be a Jewish racist -- but now he is also the Prime Minister-elect of Israel, overwhelmingly swept into power in a way few imagined possible just a year ago.

All sides now committed to escalation
(February 6, 2001)
Now the real craziness begins. The Palestinians are committed to heating things up to demonstrate their resolve and their capabilities. The Israelis are committed to "stopping the violence" which means clamping the boot down on the Palestinians even more harshly.

The legacy of Ariel Sharon
(February 5, 2001)
This is a place of filth and blood which will forever be associated with Ariel Sharon. In Israel today, he may well be elected prime minister.

BBC casts doubt of Pan AM convictions
(February 5, 2001)
In advance of whatever the Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi is going to produce as "evidence" of innocence today, the BBC has published the following story quoting the very Scottish law professor who arranged the trial in The Netherlands casting great doubt about the veracity of the verdict reached:

What's left of Israel's left
(February 5, 2001)
What's left of Israel's left is in a fractured and demoralized state of affairs. Not only is Ariel Sharon about to become Israel's Prime Minister, but in all likelihood he is to be swept into power tomorrow in a landslide unprecedented in Israel's history.

The Pan Am 103 Verdict
(February 3, 2001)
The papers are filled with pictures of happy relatives of the victims of the 1988 bombing of PanAm 103. A Libyan, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, was just found guilty of the bombing by a Scottish court in the Hague, his co-defendant, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, being acquitted... What's wrong is that the evidence against Megrahi is thin to the point of transparency.

Rivers of blood
(February 2, 2001)
The bloodiness and racism of Sharon's past is fact. And these two articles help bring that past forward to the present.

Waiting for Sharon
(February 2, 2001)
They believe a Sharon victory will be a boon for their cause. 'He will expose the true face of Israel,' says an activist in Yasir Arafat's Fatah movement in Nablus, 'and force the world, including the US, to address its real responsibilities to the peace process...

Israeli Arabs boycott Barak, await Sharon
(February 1, 2001)
As the extreme right-wing revolution in Israel nears, as Ariel Sharon and friends prepare to take over political power, the "Israeli Arab vote" will not be enough to save Ehud Barak, and in fact it will not even be mobilized on his behalf this time, though Yasser Arafat and his friends have surely tried.

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