"This is only the beginning"
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"This is only the beginning"

February 21, 2001

"The stone has awakened the Arab world, from the leaders to the laymen... This is only the beginning."

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. Just as their lands have been taken and military checkpoints everywhere control them, so have their cultural values, family structure, economic integration, and internal cohesion been seriously attacked and damaged. As they attempt to rise up again against those who have done these things to them for generations there is a kind of simplistic and understandable "us against them" unity; but the underlying realities of Palestinian society are very much in a decrepid and shattered state. Because of what has been done to them by their enemies, coupled with the serious mistakes and corruption from their own co-opted leadership, the collective future for the Palestinian people is going to be extraordinarily difficult, just as will be the individual future for the person of whom the doctor says: "But when the anatomy is destroyed, the surgeon is at a loss." Only a new and trustworthy leadership, coupled with massive reparations thoughtfully and honestly administered, can bring real hope to this situation.



by Lamis Andoni & Sandy Tolan

[The Village Voice - 21 February 2001]: Held up to the light, the X-ay of Fouad Mahed's right femur resembles a piece of the sky on a clear desert night: countless specks of white scattered against an ink-black backdrop.

But this milky way is actually hundreds of fragments of lead and bone, the result of a bullet from an Israeli rifle that shattered Mahed's leg. The image itself is of something that no longer exists. After massive blood loss, doctors were forced to amputate the limb two weeks after the shooting..

"Surgery is easy when you know the anatomy," says Dr. Nasri Khoury, tracing the outline of Mahed's femur with a pen. "But when the anatomy is destroyed, the surgeon is at a loss."

Thousands of Palestinian young men and boys may become permanently crippled from bullet wounds suffered during the last five months of stone-throwing protests against Israeli rule. As with Fouad Mahed, a carpenter from Gaza, many of the 11,000 injuries came when unarmed people were shot.

The high rates of crippling injuries are in large part due to the fragmenting bullets fired by M16s. The American-made Colt weapons, introduced during the Vietnam War as lightweight field rifles capable of inflicting maximum damage on the enemy, are being used increasingly by the Israel Defense Forces against civilian demonstrators. The M16 ammunition often breaks into tiny pieces after penetration, ripping up muscle and nerve and causing multiple internal injuries, much like those of the internationally banned dumdum bullets.

Forensics experts in the United States and Europe, who agreed for this article to examine the X rays of Fouad Mahed and other wounded Palestinians, confirm repeated casualties from M16s, shotguns, and other live ammunition. These images, together with other X rays seen in West Bank and Jordanian hospitals, show a pattern some forensics specialists call a "lead snowstorm," the fragmentation of high-velocity military ammunition, fired at civilians. Many of the wounded were hit at short range-less than 100 meters-compounding internal damage.

The reliance on these rounds is part of what human rights groups have denounced as excessive use of Israeli force against mostly unarmed Palestinians. "Shooting people with high-velocity bullets to wound them is a form of summary punishment being inflicted in the field," says Dr. Robert Kirschner of the Nobel Prize-winning Physicians for Human Rights.

It's not yet clear how newly elected prime minister Ariel Sharon, a lifelong hard-liner, will handle the spiraling conflict. Last week the IDF sent helicopter gunships to assassinate a senior Palestinian security officer. The next day, a Palestinian bus driver plowed into a bus stop, killing seven Israeli soldiers and one civilian. Charges continued that Israeli troops were firing live ammunition into unarmed crowds before trying to scatter them with tear gas or water cannons, as the military code requires-the same charges the IDF denied under Sharon's predecessor, Ehud Barak.

"Every new victim wounded or killed is not a goal for us," says Major Olivier Rafowicz, a spokesperson. "The violence is initiated by the other side. If they can show victims, wounded, blood, children-it is only serving the Palestinian interest: 'See, we are only doing popular activities, and the bad Israeli guy is killing us for nothing.' We are not interested in that on the Israeli side."

Major Rafowicz argues that Israel has exercised considerable restraint in the face of life-threatening demonstrations, with gunfire from Palestinians.. In addition, he says, Israel has tried unsuccessfully to acquire nonlethal riot control from several European countries. Nevertheless, Rafowicz insists, IDF soldiers operate under strict rules of engagement. "We open fire only on people who are endangering our lives," he says. "You can kill someone with a rock. A stone is a weapon."

Adds another IDF spokesperson: "We don't shoot live bullets when nobody's shooting at us."

Yet in more than 100 interviews for this article, patients, doctors, and medical personnel in 14 hospitals and clinics in Jordan and the West Bank paint a far different picture. With no shooting from the Palestinian side, and often little or no use of tear gas to disperse the protests, Israeli soldiers have repeatedly fired live ammunition into unarmed crowds.

Ibrahim Mustafa Darwish, 17, was shot in the abdomen on November 15, during protests at the Erez checkpoint that divides Gaza from Israel. Six weeks later, he lies in bed at Jordan Hospital in Amman. The bandages on his abdomen are bloody and sticky, signs of multiple surgeries to remove a meter of intestines. Israeli soldiers fired at the 18 stone-throwers from a distance of 15 meters.

Fadi Mohammed, 18, was also shot in the abdomen in late November while throwing rocks at a protest. The single bullet exploded two vertebrae, injuring his kidney and paralyzing both legs. He arrived November 30 at Palestine Hospital in Amman, where surgeons removed his spleen and parts of his vertebrae.

Mahmoud Al Medhoun, 15, was hit three times-in the leg, back, and abdomen-by soldiers firing from the hatch of a tank. One bullet lodged in his spine, smashing three vertebrae and pinching a nerve. His right leg is paralyzed. Doctors have removed part of his colon and repaired his liver; he is unable to eat. "God willing, I will walk again," declares Mahmoud. But when his father cites the doctors' opinion that the paralysis is probably permanent, the boy rolls himself into a ball, burying his face in the crook of his arm and crying.

Crippling injuries among Palestinians are estimated at 1500-a figure likely to rise as more of the wounded seek rehabilitation. Palestinian officials say the rate of disabling injuries during this Al Aqsa Intifada, which began in the shadow of East Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque on September 29, is higher than during the first intifada, which lasted from 1987 to 1993. "The Israeli response to this intifada has been more ferocious, swifter, and more intensive," says Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, head of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees.

Lethal fire has come from M16, M3, and M24 snipers' rifles, and from higher-caliber munitions, including concrete-busting machine-gun bullets, grenade launchers, 120-millimeter tank shells, and Hellfire rockets fired from American-made Apache attack helicopters. The heavier fire, say Israeli analysts, has come in response to Palestinian sniping. But even the more benign ammunition designed for riot control, like so-called rubber bullets-steel balls coated with a thin layer of rubber-can be fatal if fired at short range. "They are the nightmare of the neurosurgeon," says Dr. Jihad Mashal. "Every time the patient moves his head, it's like a marble moving in jelly. There's nothing you can do about it."

In the first weeks of the Intifada, head and upper-body injuries accounted for a great portion of Palestinian casualties. "A large part of those wounded by live bullets are those we indeed wanted to not only injure but kill," wrote General Giora Eiland in a letter to Israeli human rights lawyer Neta Amar. "These are the same people that shoot at us with live ammunition. The fact that most of them are wounded in the upper body or head is a positive thing."

After a flurry of international condemnation, the rate of head and chest injuries dropped, replaced by devastating leg and abdomen wounds. "I consider it a form of torture," says Kirschner of Physicians for Human Rights. "There's no question in my mind that this was a very conscious military decision to use this weapon to wound people as a form of intimidation of the population. And as a result, probably several thousand young Palestinian men will end up with permanent disabilities."

The M16 ammunition was at first mistaken by Palestinian doctors for the dumdum bullet, banned by the Hague Convention in 1899. "Many people think that it's a dumdum bullet, because if it does penetrate deep enough, it will break," says Martin Fackler, a former army surgeon who now runs ballistics tests for the U.S. Department of Defense. "Fragmentation does cause more wounds."

The weapon was introduced in 1963, as an experiment with the South Vietnamese army during the Kennedy administration. Soon reports came back from the field, recounted in a 1995 article in the International Review of the Red Cross, of a bullet that "does cartwheels as it penetrates living flesh, causing a highly lethal wound that looks like anything but a caliber ..22 hole." By 1966, army doctors reported "gaping, devastated area[s] of soft tissue and even bone, often with loss of large amounts of tissue" and a disintegrating bullet. Seven years later, reports were circulating about wounds that looked like those caused by the expanding dumdum bullets, banned for causing "superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering."

Years of experiments revealed that the lightweight M16 bullet was prone to "yaw" and "tumble" more quickly after penetration-giving it greater potential to rip apart tissue by flying through the body sideways. The higher velocity-a trait now shared with other military rifles-also meant the bullet created a larger "temporary cavity," destroying solid, less flexible tissues like the spleen and liver-a pattern of injury borne out in Palestinian medical records. And the bullet fragmented more, causing multiple injuries from tiny pieces of lead, each on its own haywire path.

The old dumdum had been banned from the battlefield, but now some worried that a new bullet, with similar consequences, was taking its place. For years, disputes over what actually caused the wounds-the bullet's velocity, its tumbling, its fragmentation-slowed efforts to ban the ammunition. In 1995, the Swiss introduced an initiative to bring the M16 ammunition, along with others, under the umbrella of the Hague Convention. In his analysis of the Swiss effort in the International Review of the Red Cross, the humanitarian scholar Eric Prokosch urged states to "seize the opportunity" for the "adoption of the strongest possible ban on the modern dumdum bullets."

Some ballistics experts in Europe agree. Dr. Peter J.T. Knudsen, a Danish forensic pathologist who has written extensively on bullets and humanitarian law, argues that all M16 ammunition currently used by military forces should be banned, because they all tend to shatter. "Fragmentation adds unnecessary suffering and superfluous injury," he says.

Others caution that the M16 should not be singled out in what amounts to a political struggle rooted in the Cold War.

"The concept of 'inhumane' rifle bullets is a product of minds who know nothing of real war, and usually have ulterior-usually political-motives," says Fackler, who points out that heavier military bullets, with greater mass, also produce large wounds. "I have seen many soldiers who have had both legs and an arm blown off by explosive devices: land mines, artillery, etc. That is inhumane. There are no rifles on the battlefield that can disrupt anywhere near that much tissue. So does it make good sense to declare a rifle bullet inhumane and ignore the weapons that cause far more tissue disruption?"

Defenders of the M16 say attempts to ban the rifle's 5.56mm ammunition were started by the Soviet Union, envious of the U.S. and NATO's lightweight, efficient military rifle. That claim is disputed, but the issue remains politically charged. After years of testing and repeated international meetings, some humanitarian and ballistics experts would like to raise the issue of high-velocity, fragmenting bullets at an international conference in Europe later this year. They say it's time that weapons causing the same degree of unnecessary harm as the old dumdum bullets be placed under the same kind of ban.

Chances for that appear slim. After floating a proposal that might have put restrictions on the M16 ammunition, potentially forcing NATO countries to develop entirely new, nonfragmenting ammunition, the Swiss government now appears ready to offer a more modest plan.

"Can you imagine if there were an attempt to ban 5.56[mm] bullets?" asks Denmark's Dr. Knudsen. "Think about all the countries that would have to discard all their M16 ammunition." Even if they replaced it with the nonfragmenting bullets being tested, there's still a stark political reality: None of the "safer" bullets are manufactured in America. "Imagine if you told the U.S. Army they would have to buy all their bullets from a foreign country," Knudsen says. "Or how about the senator in whose state the bullets are made? There's too much money involved."

As humanitarians debate whether to consider a ban on ammunition they believe excessively harmful to soldiers, the IDF continues to use the weapons on unarmed Palestinian civilians. Live ammunition has been used "routinely in an illegal and indiscriminate manner," a Human Rights Watch report said of the IDF, "resulting in deaths and injuries to civilians."

Nasri Showkat lies in his bed in Jordan Hospital, waiting for doctors to extract the last bullet fragments, lodged near his left eye socket. The graying edges of his short black hair and his thin silver-frame glasses give a learned look to Showkat, a history major who was due to graduate this year. On October 25, he joined hundreds of demonstrators in Ramallah. They marched to the Israeli-guarded checkpoint and threw their stones. When Showkat saw his friend shot in the head, he rushed out and was himself shot, he says, by a sniper. The bullet hit Showkat in the upper lip, exploding into seven fragments inside his head. He lost the teeth on one side of his mouth, which he covers with one hand when he tries to speak.

Amjad, 22, was hit in the head in the West Bank town of Jenin. X rays show a bullet lodged in the back of his skull. His arms are listless and floppy like a rag doll's, and the room smells like excrement.

Mohammad Nada, 17 years old, was shot twice by an Israeli sniper on December 1 while clearing debris in front of his sister's house, close to the site of daily clashes in Ramallah. The second shot went into his left buttock and hit his sciatic nerve, which controls the up-and-down movement of the foot. X rays show evidence of a high-velocity bullet, which fragmented into hundreds of pieces. Doctors say he needs a graft to repair the nerve.

Isa Abu Abdullah, 19, was confronted by Israeli tanks in Gaza on the third morning of Ramadan, November 29. He threw stones, then was hit by a bullet in the left calf. While down, he was hit by six more bullets: three in his left thigh, two in his right thigh, and one in his right arm. Doctors at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza moved part of an artery from his right leg to his left, then sent him to Amman for further surgery.

Mahmoud Odeili, 23, lives in Gaza, near the Israeli settlement of Gush Katif, a constant flashpoint. Now he fills a bed in Amman's Shmesani Hospital. The unemployed father of two barely opens his mouth when he speaks, because of the high-velocity bullet that smashed his jaw before exiting through the back of his neck. He says he and his friends ran out to throw stones at an Israeli demolition crew sent to destroy their houses. He was shot by a soldier in a tank 100 meters away. "They shot us and kept going," he says.

"How many patients do you want to see?" asks Dr. Ghazi Hanania of the Abu Raya Rehabilitation Centre in Ramallah. The doctor, in a gray charcoal suit with a red scarf, looks across his desk with deeply tired eyes. "You can talk to 2000 patients if you want to."

Outside the center, four young men in wheelchairs gather at the curb, soaking up the December sun. Nasser Bilali, his leg in a heavy cast, says he was just walking home when clashes broke out. In the confusion he was hit by a high-velocity bullet that shredded several bones in his left foot. He's not sure if he'll walk again without crutches; it will be months before he can even think about going back to work. "I can't consider myself a hero," says Bilali. "Because I didn't even throw stones. I was just walking and I got shot."

An old woman in a white headscarf and a black Palestinian dress has been listening to Bilali's story. She begins to yell and wave her arms. "Look at him! He's young, and he's already in a wheelchair. Haram! Haram! This is a crime! This is a crime! We're using stones. They're using bombs and rockets and tanks!" She points to the rehab center's second floor. "My son is upstairs. A woman pours out the blood of her heart to raise a son through poverty and hardship, and now he gets shot."

Dr. Hanania says he is not so worried about the hundreds of patients his staff is contending with now. "The problem is what will be coming to the center in the coming days," he says. Because the Israelis are limiting freedom of movement between West Bank towns and villages, the doctor says, it's impossible to estimate how many young men will need rehabilitative care. But when the roads open, Dr. Hanania expects a flood. "There are reports that there are 25 to 30 percent of the injured in need of rehabilitative care"-several thousand people, given the current casualty figures. "If that's true, it's a national disaster."

Across the Jordan River in Amman, Dr. Khoury pulls back Fouad Mahed's bedcovers to reveal a bandaged stump-the remnants of his right leg. After he was hit, doctors in Gaza pumped 17 pints of blood into Mahed, to replace that which was pouring from the wound. Complications from a skin graft forced doctors to send him to Amman, where he could get treatment unavailable in the Gaza hospitals.

Khoury has operated on hundreds of injured Palestinians dating back to the first intifada. But never has he seen so many severely wounded. He puts his hand on Mahed's shoulder. "This guy is amazing," says Dr. Khoury. "After all he's been through"-the shooting, the amputation, the formation of ulcers that almost killed him-"the smile never leaves his face."

Mahed was shot in Gaza just after returning home from an afternoon of prayer. Israeli shells began to fall in his Khan Yunis neighborhood, 100 meters from an Israeli military installation. When parts of his ceiling caved in, Mahed, who says he has never taken part in the protests, decided to bring his wife and daughter to his brother's house. Just outside his door, he was hit.

The question of whether lethal force is justified rests in determining whether police or security forces are acting to defend themselves or others against the threat of imminent death or serious injury. Israeli officials say they are shooting in response to shooting. "The Palestinians are not only throwing stones like 10 years ago," says Major Rafowicz of the IDF, "but also using rifles, Kalashnikovs, within the demonstration."

Even in such cases, Israeli forces, supported by tanks and high-caliber fire from helicopter gunships, have often overwhelmed the Palestinian side. "Usually the Palestinian fire is pathetic," an anonymous IDF sniper told the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz. "The shooting is totally pathetic. . . . You know that most of it will be into the air."

Despite headlines describing a conflict between two armies-and despite repeated calls from Israeli and U.S. officials that it is the Palestinians who must stop the violence-approximately 90 percent of the dead and wounded have been Palestinians or Israeli Arabs. The IDF's own figures indicate that in three-quarters of the clashes, there was no Palestinian gunfire. "Israel's policy is directed in large part against the Palestinian civilian population, which is not firing at Israeli civilians or IDF soldiers and is the primary victim of Israel's human rights violations," says a recent report by B'tselem, the respected Israeli human rights group.

Of the dozens of patients interviewed in the 14 hospitals, all but four said they were throwing stones, coming to the aid of another wounded person, or simply walking past a flashpoint when they were shot. One patient admitted to firing a gun when hit; three others said they were throwing Molotov cocktails.

"Molotov cocktails can kill," says Major Rafowicz.

According to human rights groups, even the gasoline bombs pose little threat to soldiers equipped for riot control. "The Israeli security services were almost invariably well-defended, located at a distance from demonstrators in good cover, in blockhouses, behind wire or well-protected by riot shields," Amnesty International concluded in its October report. "Certainly, stones-or even petrol bombs-cannot be said to have endangered the lives of Israeli security services in any of the instances examined by Amnesty International."

The Palestinians, by comparison, have been easy targets.

Shadi Masri, 24, was shot three times in the abdomen on November 16, after throwing Molotov cocktails at a tank. Beside his bed at Amman Surgical Hospital stands a Palestinian flag. On the wall hangs a poster of Yasir Arafat, superimposed over a crowd of protesters. Masri doesn't know how long it took him to get to Jordan, but says he does remember Israeli soldiers taking his picture and punching him in the ambulance. It was the third time he was injured during this intifada.

Mohammed Bassam, 15, was shot while protesting on November 26 in Birzeit, near Ramallah. A high-velocity bullet went through his shin, crushing the bone. Surgeons inserted steel rods through his leg and an "external fixator" resembling perforated file-cabinet rods. He uses a walker to get around his hospital room.

Adil, 31, was shot during what he says was a peaceful protest following a funeral of a man killed in the clashes. A bullet splintered a bone in his left leg. Adil says he saw fragments of the limb in the street before he passed out.

Morad, 15, breathes slowly, with the aid of a respirator. The machine clicks, his chest fills with air, it clicks again, his chest falls. His eyelids are purple and swollen, his head wrapped in a bandage. A heart monitor is connected to his chest. A bullet is lodged in his brain.

Sharif Darwish, 34, sits sideways on his bed at Hussein Hospital in Beit Jala, near Bethlehem. A heavy cast holds in place the shattered bones of his foot. "The guy who carried me to the ambulance was killed," he says. Darwish stares ahead at nothing. A few weeks before, a rocket hit his Beit Jala house, landing next to his bedroom. "I had just woken up to get some breakfast," he says.

Palestinians, almost without exception, trace the beginnings of the Al Aqsa Intifada to the September 28 arrival of Ariel Sharon at Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary, or Temple Mount to the Israelis), backed by a thousand Israeli troops and riot police. The high casualties, they say, began as part of a brute-force strategy by then prime minister Ehud Barak to try to achieve a swift end to the conflict.

"These are good tactics if one wants to wipe out an enemy," said Dr. Stephen Males, a former senior police officer in the U.K. who accompanied an Amnesty International fact-finding team to the region. "They are not policing."

Israelis say Sharon's visit was merely an excuse to adopt a carefully orchestrated intifada planned and backed by the Palestinian Authority. "We are talking about a very organized and very planned violent strategy chosen by the P.A. to try to achieve political goals from the very beginning," says Major Rafowicz. "To try more quickly to achieve political objectives, mainly, we believe, to improve the Palestinian position abroad by reinforcing the image of the underdog of the big, bad Israeli.

"We have been dragged into this situation not by our own policy. We look very bad on TV because we are a regular army facing a so-called popular demonstration. But on the other side it is a strategy."

Publicly, IDF officials keep to their explanations of restraint in the face of violence. General Eiland, in his letter to the Israeli human rights lawyer, wrote: "[W]ithin a rioting crowd of unarmed residents, there are also those . . . who are armed. You cannot demand of a soldier to shoot only when he is convinced there is no danger for whoever stands next to a Palestinian opening fire at him."

Privately, some IDF soldiers and generals have been telling Israeli journalists something else. "I don't know if the IDF takes revenge," an IDF sniper told the newspaper Ha'aretz. "But every time, after there's a serious incident, it's political, you can feel it. You as a soldier know that if in the papers today they have written about a lot of things that happened to the IDF, then they will allow you to shoot more."

The sniper told Ha'aretz that soldiers are allowed to shoot at Palestinians who pose a potential threat, as long as they appear to be over the age of 12. "Twelve and up is allowed," said the sniper. A senior IDF officer told another Ha'aretz reporter: "Nobody can convince me we didn't needlessly kill dozens of children."

The high casualties sustained by Palestinians during the first two months of clashes, and the international condemnation of Israel that followed, have prompted a shift in tactics on both sides. Casualties began to decline in December, says Ghassan Khatib, director of the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center. He calls that decrease "a sign of fewer massive demonstrations at Israeli army checkpoints."

This is not an indication of renewed faith in the prospects for peace. Palestinians, says Khatib, have lost faith in an Oslo process that they no longer believe can deliver on basic issues of sovereignty, Jerusalem, and the right of Palestinians to return to their homeland. Increasingly, says Khatib, Palestinians are equating discussions of peace and security with the continuation of the Israeli occupation. A recent poll by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center shows two-thirds of Palestinians support the most extreme measures, including suicide bombings, "under the current political conditions." The poll also indicates 70 percent of Palestinians support continuing the Al Aqsa Intifada.

In the hospital interviews in Jordan and the West Bank, young men appeared eager to again pick up the stone.

Mohammed Mahmoud Abu Fodeh, at 22, is already a veteran of the Palestinian struggle. Now, he lies in a bed in Amman's Specialty Physiotherapy Hospital, after being shot twice while protesting at the checkpoint between Jericho and the Allenby Bridge into Jordan. One high-velocity bullet lodged in his left shoulder. Another pierced a lung. His friends thought he was dead, until they saw him crawling toward the ambulance. The bullet from his chest rests in a jar beside his bed, "for memory and for evidence," he says.

"We're not afraid of their bullets, but they fear our stones," he says. "God gave us the stone-it has God's will in it. It's all we have.

"The stone has awakened the Arab world, from the leaders to the laymen," he says. "This is only the beginning."

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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