War preparations continue
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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. And the armies of both, as unequal as they are, are preparing for a round of combat that could in all likelihood make what has come before pale in significance.

Meanwhile, the Arab client-regimes are as weak and bankrupt as usual; unable to face little Israel on either the international diplomatic battlefield or the one of armed conflict. Why doesn't the Arab League at least declare a cessation of political and economics contacts with Israel -- a regional boycott -- under today's circumstances. Why doesn't the U.N. General Assembly suspend Israeli credentials, as it has the power to do, while the Palestinians are being subjected to such cruel and Apartheid-like treatment? Why don't the Arab countries use their economic leverage to pursue their own vital interests, as the Americans are so fond of telling everyone they pursue theirs?


[Middle East Newsline: Wednesday, February 7, 2001]: TEL AVIV - Israel braced for an escalation in violence following its election as military sources said the Palestinian Authority had received hundreds of rocket-propelled grenades as well as anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons.

The sources said the weapons arrived in barrels brought by boat from the Mediterranean Sea. The boat, believed to have come from Egypt, dropped the barrels in the sea off the Gaza coast, where some of them were picked up by Palestinian fishing boats.

Other barrels drifted to shore and were taken to PA installations. The sources said Israeli naval vessels stopped one shipment over the weekend. But the navy failed to stop other shipments.

Last week, Israel seized 50 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, 1,000 rockets, and scores of 60 mm mortar rounds, military sources said.

The result is an Israeli assessment that the PA is prepared to face Israeli tanks and even attack helicopters in any confrontation with Israel. Military sources said an escalation of violence could take place immediately after the Israeli elections on Tuesday.

Intense gun battles took place overnight Tuesday between Israeli and Palestinian forces. One Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper near the Egyptian border.


JERUSALEM, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Radical Palestinian groups called Israeli Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon a "raging bull" who had to be isolated and vowed on Sunday to step up violence against him.

Nationalist and Islamic groups directing the four-month-old Intifada (uprising) against Israeli occupation said the Palestinians, Arabs and international forces should not let Sharon impose stability on the area by force.

"The arrival of the terrorist Sharon in the post of prime minister of the Zionist entity...imposes a new phase in the comfrontation, necessitating that Palestinain, Arab and international forces work to isolate this raging bull by all means."

"The Islamic and nationalist forces assert the importance of tightening Sharon's isolation from all sides and not giving him a chance to impose any stability," the groups said in a statement.

"This necessitates escalating the Intifada and resistance to make his policies a burden on Israeli society that will make it crucial to bring about his downfall to end his dark history and darker future," it added.

The groups declared Tuesday, February 13 a "day of rage" to be marked by popular marches and demonstrations against Israel's policy of settlement on occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip land.

They also declared Friday, February 16 a day of "total confrontation" to Sharon's policies and called on the Arab world to organise marches in support of their revolt...

By Amos Harel, Military Correspondent

[Ha'aretz - 11 February]: Arab countries have suspended the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars collected in recent months for the Palestinian people for fear the money will end up in the wrong pockets - exacerbating the already rampant corruption in the Palestinian Authority, Israeli security sources told Ha'aretz.

Arab states decided at an October conference in Cairo to transfer some $1 billion to the PA to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians, caused by Israel's clampdown on them due to the violence of the Al Aqsa Intifada.

However, not all the money was sent, and the PA has accused the Arab leaders of being indifferent to the Palestinians' plight. The Arab aid to the PA was to come in the form of humanitarian consignments of food and drugs and to be transferred via the border crossings with Israel.

It now appears that a considerable sum was, in fact, raised, but not sent to the PA. Sources told Ha'aretz about $230 million was raised - a large proportion in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states. The contributing Arab countries and the banks through which the money was to move demanded that Chairman Yasser Arafat show complete transparency in the funds transfers and give a detailed report on how it was spent. This Arab demand followed past experience with money sent to Arafat's regime.

A great deal of money sent to the PA, especially from Europe, the United States and Japan, after the establishment of the PA, did not reach its intended destination. Through the collection of arbitration fees, monopolies and numerous other schemes, a large proportion of that money ended up in the bank accounts of PA officials, including Arafat, himself, and his economic advisor, Muhammad Rashid.

Because the PA has evaded the current demands made by the Arab donors, the money - most of which is being held in the Islamic Bank in the Persian Gulf - has been frozen. Israel doubts the PA will accede to the Arab donor demands, because it wants control over the flow of money.

By Michele Gershberg

JERUSALEM, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Israel's mainstream Likud and Labour parties launched a new round of coalition talks on Sunday which some party members said could lead to a unity government with a better chance at forging a Mideast peace deal.

"I think they (Labour) want to join," Likud member and Israeli Mayor of Jerusalem Ehud Olmert told Army Radio.

"This doesn't have to take weeks. If it's possible then it's possible within days," said Olmert, who is a member of the right-wing Likud's coalition negotiating team.

Labour dove and Nobel peace laureate Shimon Peres told Reuters the Likud offer was "reasonable." "Now we have to see if we have common ground politically and ideologically."

Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon, head of the Likud party, is racing to form a coalition before a late March deadline or face new elections for prime minister and parliament.

Outgoing Prime Minister and Labour chief Ehud Barak met Sharon on Sunday for a second round of talks between the two since last Tuesday's prime ministerial election.

"The two men continued to discuss the diplomatic and security situation as well as negotiations on the establishment of a national unity government," Barak's office said.

Peres told BBC Television there was a "fair chance" of a partnership. Sharon said after the meeting he was optimistic about prospects for a unity government, Army Radio reported.

"We are very optimistic. We think their (Labour) intentions are serious and positive," a spokeswoman for the Likud negotiating team said. "I assume there is still a way to go but in general it is the desire among Israeli people."

A Likud poll conducted before the election divided Israelis surveyed by party affiliation and showed that 65 to 90 percent of respondents favoured a unity government, she said. Eighty percent of Labour voters surveyed backed a joint coalition.

Barak announced after his defeat that he would resign from parliament and as head of Labour once Sharon set up a government.


Peres said Sharon had sweetened his offer by proposing Labour take two of the three top government portfolios: foreign affairs, defence and treasury. He said "it's a possibility" he would be foreign minister if the two parties reach agreement.

Shalom Yerushalmi, political commentator for the Maariv daily, said Sharon would like to see Barak accept the defence portfolio and have Peres take on the foreign affairs post.

"Sharon is hoping to surround himself with two moderate statesmen...to pave his way into a cold and suspicious Western and Arab world," he wrote on Sunday.

Sharon trounced Barak on promises to end more than four months of Palestinian unrest before pursuing a peace deal.

Arabs loathe the 72-year-old army general for orchestrating Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon during which Palestinian refugees were massacred by Israeli-allied Lebanese militiamen.

A unity government is viewed as Sharon's best chance of creating a stable power base in Israel's fractious parliament and avoiding an alliance with extreme right and religious parties likely to pose an obstacle to peacemaking.

The hawkish leader has tried to soften his image into that of a pragmatic peacemaker. Yet Sharon has not spelled out the details of his own negotiating position and remains an outspoken opponent of concessions Barak appeared ready to make for peace.

Some Labour stalwarts fear joining a Likud-led coalition will weaken their already ravaged party and give legitimacy to hardline policies.

"I am against a national unity government," Labour lawmaker Yael Dayan told Israel Radio. But she added that if most of the party supported an alliance with Sharon then she would too.

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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