Black Friday and Saturday in the once Holy Land
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Black Friday and Saturday in the once Holy Land


MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 3/10/2002: The war in 1973 was intense and almost lead to a nuclear confrontation -- remember the infamous "Kissinger nuclear alert"? But for most Palestinians alive today there hasn't been such a bloody day in their lives as on Friday at least 44 Palestinians were killed, hundreds injured. Also remember, adjusting for size of population, this means that the equivalent of more Palestinians were killed on just Friday alone than on 11 September at the World Trade Center.

Not since 1967 in fact when the Israeli military occupation began, have more Palestinians been slaughtered. And for the majority of Palestinians today all they have known throughout their entire lives is a military occupation that has become more and more oppressive, more and more destuctive, more and more deceptive, and more and more deadly.

It was the weakness and corruption of the Arab regimes -- especially in Jordan and Egypt and Syria -- that made it possible for Israel to overwhelm the entire Arab world in both 1948 and 1967. And is the weakness and corruption of these same "client regimes" that makes it posible for the Israelis to do what they are doing today. Furthermore, it was the United States which then provided secret CIA and military help making Israel's 1967 and 1973 victories possible; support which has become much more prevalent and public ever.

The Palestinian people are determined this time to finally free themselves from this horrible occupation.

The Arab regimes have failed them. The United Nations has failed them. The Europeans have lied to and tricked them. The U.S. has financed and armed Israel making possible the occupation while preventing and vetoing any action to stop it. Their own corrupt and inept leaders (U.S., European, and "client regime" sponsored) have miserably betrayed them while gorging themselves. And so they themselves, the Palestinian people themselves, have been forced to scream out ENOUGH and take up the cry for FREEDOM.


By Ibrahim Barzak

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip, Associated Press, 9 March 8:40pm-- Missiles fired by Israeli helicopters early Sunday destroyed Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's seaside office building in the Gaza Strip, witnesses said.

At least 25 missiles fired by Israeli attack helicopters slammed into the compound, collapsing walls. Israeli gunboats also took part in the assault, witnesses said.

The assault came hours after double attacks by Palestinian militants on Israel. In the first attack, a 9-month-old Israeli girl was killed and more than 30 people were wounded by two gunmen in the seafront town of Netanya. A suicide bomber blew himself up shortly after in a crowded cafe in Jerusalem, killing 12 people including himself.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the Gaza attack.

The building, next to the Gaza beach on the Mediterranean Sea, was empty, witnesses said. Officials evacuated it on Saturday, after Israeli gunboats started firing machine guns at it.

Besides Arafat's office, the building housed the main studios of Palestine TV and the broadcasting authority's satellite channel. At Arafat's insistence, all news and live discussion programs originated from the studios in his office compound.

Arafat himself has not been at the office for more than three months. He has been trapped in his West Bank headquarters in the town of Ramallah by Israeli forces. Israel insists that he must fulfill a number of conditions, including a crackdown on militants and arrest of the assassins of an Israeli Cabinet minister, before they will allow him freedom of movement.

After Palestinian security arrested a leading suspect in the Oct. 17 assassination, there were calls in Israel to remove the restrictions from Arafat's travels.

The seaside building was known to Gazans as "al-Muntada," or the meeting place. Before Arafat began using it as an office, it was a social club for local residents.

Arafat made his headquarters in Gaza in August 1994 after returning triumphantly from exile under terms of interim peace accords with Israel. At first, the building was a small, three-room structure with an entrance hall.

Builders added a second story. Arafat received world leaders there and held many joint news conferences with them after their talks.

After the Israeli attack, the building was a pile of rubble, witnesses said. Black smoke wafted over large parts of the Rimal neighborhood in Gaza City, where the building was located.

One of the missiles was so powerful that its explosion shook nearby buildings and broke windows in a large area, witnesses said.


[Jerusalem - 6 March - BBC] This intifada is much bloodier than the 1987 uprising Friday has become the bloodiest day in the 17 months of the Palestinian uprising, or intifada, against Israel, with some 50 people reported dead.

Following the killing of five Israeli students by a Palestinian gunman, Israeli forces launched a fresh assault on the territories.

At least 44 Palestinians were killed with Yasser Arafat's security forces bearing the brunt of the casualties.

With the violence raging, Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has said negotiations for a ceasefire with the Palestinians could take place while hostilities continued.

Mr Sharon told Israeli television he had hoped for a period of respite, but what he called a war situation was now being experienced.

However, the BBC's Stephen Cviic in Jerusalem says Mr Sharon's willingness to negotiate a ceasefire does not appear to change his longstanding demand that full peace talks can only happen after a week of what he describes as complete calm.

The fighting erupted just after US President George Bush announced he was sending his peace envoy Anthony Zinni back to the region.

An aide to Mr Arafat, Nabil Abu Rudeina, promptly accused Israel of trying to wreck Mr Zinni's mission next week by waging "all-out war".

Violence raged from the night attack on the students at Atzmona settlement in the Gaza Strip up to Israeli helicopter strikes in the West Bank and Gaza on Friday evening.

The Palestinian dead included a general and a nine-year-old boy while one Israeli soldier was also killed.

Major General Ahmed Mefraj, the deputy Palestinian commander in Gaza, was the most senior Palestinian to be killed since the start of the Intifadah.

He and at least 16 other Palestinians died fighting Israeli troops on a search mission in the Gaza village of Khozza, while another 11 died elsewhere in the strip.

In the West Bank, 11 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed in fighting in the Tulkarm area, where 10 gunmen later surrendered to the Israelis.

Another four Palestinians died around Bethlehem.

Throughout the day, Israeli helicopter gunships were on the attack, with five Palestinians killed in one rocket strike on a Palestinian police base in northern Gaza.

Palestinian medics said in some areas Palestinians bled to death after Israel prevented Palestinian ambulances from reaching victims.

But Israel's West Bank commander, General Yitchak Gershom, said the Palestinians were using ambulances to carry "armed terrorists" around refugee camps.

As darkness fell, gunships were reportedly in action again, striking near Hebron in the West Bank and the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.

Israel has been in shock at the attack on the heavily guarded Jewish settlement of Atzmona in the Gaza Strip.

A Hamas gunman kept up a grenade and gun attack for 20 minutes before being shot dead by Israeli soldiers.

The Israeli army commander in Gaza, Brigadier General Israel Ziv, said Israel was dealing with "people without any morals, any values - a cruel enemy".

On Friday afternoon, Israeli police shot dead a suspected would-be suicide bomber in northern Jerusalem.

Correspondents say the rising death toll and the increasing force of Israeli military action and rhetoric have stung Washington into action.

President Bush called on Mr Arafat to try harder to stop attacks on Israelis and he appealed to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to do everything he could to make Mr Zinni's efforts a success.

US Vice President Dick Cheney will also begin a tour of the region on Sunday.


Tactic of attrition against Palestinians suggests worse is yet to come

By Ewen MacAskill, diplomatic editor

The Guardian, UK, Saturday March 9, 2002: Even after a day like yesterday that saw the biggest Israeli assault yet on the Palestinians, there was little sign of either side being chastened. The mood among the Israelis and Palestinians appears to be overwhelmingly in favour of violence.

A source in the Israeli administration, reflecting on the options available in the coming months to the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, was pessimistic yesterday: "Israeli public opinion wants Israel to use more violence. And the other side wants more violence from their own people. They want more suicide attacks."

Although another Israeli official yesterday expressed hope that the death toll might prove to be a turning point, the dominant view is that worse is yet to come.

Mr Sharon, a former soldier, has opted to try to hammer the Palestinians into negotiation. He said this week he "intends to hit the Palestinians hard" and yesterday the Israeli army did just that: assaults throughout Gaza and the West Bank produced the highest death toll since the Palestinian uprising began 18 months ago. Instead of a cycle of violence in which the one side reacts to incidents by the other, the Israeli army is engaged in a rolling programme against the Palestinians.

The Israeli prime minister's tactics are to fight a war of attrition, hoping to grind down Palestinian resistance and then enter negotiation with a weakened Palestinian leadership.

He has said publicly that he supports the idea of a Palestinian state but European foreign ministers who have discussed this with him say that the Palestinian state he has in mind is a Bantustan, the artificial homelands created by the apartheid government in South Africa.

He has rejected the two main alternatives. Right-wingers in his cabinet are pushing for him to remove the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, and re-occupy the West Bank and Gaza. The right has even called for the forced removal of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza.

The Israeli army is opposed to reoccupation. Israeli soldiers stationed in Nablus or Ramallah or Gaza City would be permanent targets, symbols of occupation.

The other main alternative, pushed by sections of the Labour party, which is also in his coalition government, is for the withdrawal from Gaza and the West Bank, setting up a Palestinian state and entering quickly into negotiations.

The Israeli foreign minister, Shimon Peres, who is also the most prominent Labour member, is pressing Mr Sharon to accept a plan roughly along these lines. The Palestinian state could be in existence within 12 weeks under his plan.

Mr Sharon, keen to keep Mr Peres in the coalition, has not dismissed it outright, complaining only that the timetable is too quick.


Even if Labour was to leave the coalition, Mr Sharon has enough support left to continue in government. Only if the right was also to desert him would he face a vote of confidence in the Israeli parliament. If more than half the 120-member Israeli parliament voted against him, it would trigger an election.

If Mr Sharon was to fall - and there is little sign of a vote of confidence, a leadership challenge or an early general election - he would almost certainly be replaced by the former prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, whose rhetoric is to the right of Mr Sharon. Mr Netanyahu has been vocal in support of re-occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and toppling Mr Arafat. Mr Peres, who signed the Oslo accords with Mr Arafat a decade ago, argues that the Palestinian leader is the only one who could sell a deal to his people.

Mr Sharon is indifferent to this argument. According to those around him, he believes that he can deal just as readily with the next generation of Palestinian leaders.

The only person outside Israel that Mr Sharon will listen to is the US president, George Bush. Mr Bush has sent his special Middle East envoy, General Anthony Zinni, who is scheduled to arrive in the region early next week.

There is speculation that he may try to persuade Mr Sharon to drop his demand that there be a cessation of Palestinian violence for at least seven days before he will regard the peace process as underway. The US is now believed to favour an immediate start to the peace process.

But Mr Bush is not about to play the part of honest broker that he hinted at in the aftermath of September 11. He will remain Mr Sharon's best friend. In spite of several visits by Mr Sharon to the White House, he has still to invite Mr Arafat.

The Saudi peace plan also now looks doomed, as too much an expression of hope and too short on detail.

A year ago, Meir Shalev, a columnist on the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth and a maverick leftwinger, said that there will be at least a few more years of bloodletting and only then will there be a genuine desire on both sides to enter real negotiations. That assessment seems even more accurate after yesterday's carnage.

Comment on these article(s)

March 2002


Saudi Future Unstable; More Money to Secretly flow to Palestinians
(March 29, 2002)
What goes on in public and on CNN/Al-Jazeera is one thing. This is political theatre meant for all to see. But like the proverbial icberg the great bulk of what is going on is beneath the waves and hidden from regular view.

Arafat Surrounded - And A Letter from Bir Zeit University near Ramallah
(March 29, 2002)
"Reports are rampant, breaking news that there is a planned incursion, occupation, total destruction... who knows of Ramallah and so we have to act and act quickly."

Saudis plead, Bin Laden emals, Arafat sits, Jesse offers...US and Israel prepare
(March 28, 2002)
With the #2 summit Saudi suffering a stroke and hospitalized (how appropriately) at the American University in Beirut, the Arab League summit was even more of a circus and disaster than we had predicted.

The "Saudi Peace Plan"...of 20 Years Ago
(March 28, 2002)
In April 1981 Crown Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia unveiled the "Saudi Plan" which then dominated the Arab League summit held in Fez, Morocco, in November.

Saudis Humiliated, Betrayed, and now "Invited"
(March 28, 2002)
Quite literally as Saudi Royal "Crown Prince" Abdullah was following his script in Beirut no matter what, the U.S. Government was announcing in Washington that he had "accepted" to visit the Bush Presidential Ranch in Texas at the end of next month.

"The summit is heading toward total chaos"
(March 27, 2002)
Today's "Arab Leaders" always seem to manage to bumble themselves from one disaster to another. Then the controlled media and commentators they either own or manipulate in one way or another mostly cover up for them, including such subsidized and sponsored English-language publications as "Middle East International" in the UK and "Washington Report on Middle East Affairs" in the U.S.

Arafat Unheard at Summit - Secret Israel Phone Calls to Cairo and Amman
(March 27, 2002)
How much is factual, how much is disinformation from Mossad, how much is twisted and spun....these are all legitimate questions needing consideration, especially these days. But there's no doubt Irish author Gordon Thomas has considerable connections in the murky world of intelligence and especially with the Israeli Mossad, and he's been on target with quite a few things in the past.

They Call This A Summit?
(March 26, 2002)
Readers of MER won't be nearly as surprised as most may be that journalists are already proclaiming the grand Arab summit in ruins and as the BBC correspondent concluded this evening, "they might as well go home now before it starts".

What a Mess the Arab World is in
(March 26, 2002)
Such a mess. "Arab Leaders" who are mostly inept and corrupt and miserably repressive. An Arab League that is impotent and crippled. Arab media that can't figure out whom to interview about what.

Huge Damascus Demo Screams About Sharon and Warns Arab Summiteers
(March 26, 2002)
History is repeating itself after 20 years, but everything is even worse today for the vast Arab world and its fast growing now over 200+ million.

"Grand Plan" For War On the Palestinians
(March 25, 2002)
As the impotent Arab League run by the corrupt and repressive Arab "client regimes" prepares to meet and do nothing real and serious as usual; the Israelis, with an American wink and much under-the-table help, are preparing even bigger assaults against the Palestinians.

Vital History - Origins of Israel's "Arab Problem"
(March 25, 2002)
In 1947, the then representative of the Zionist Organization in Washington, Nahum Goldman, urged David Ben-Gurion not to declare a "Jewish State" but rather to hold out for finding some way of accomodation with the Palestinians that could lead to a unified "bi-national state" ...

Draft Text of Arab Summit Resolution - More of the Same Sweet Nothings
(March 25, 2002)
Much too weak, fractured, and frightened to actually act in any serious and independent manner -- even in the face of such repeated Israeli and American provocations and humiliations -- the grand "Arab world", meeting in summit in Beirut later this week, is poised to essentially do nothing.

Europeans See Americans Far Better Than Americans See Themselves
(March 23, 2002)
Time magazine was wrong a few months ago, but understandably so under the circumstances and few really expect much more from the mass American media .

Cheney Admits US will attack Iraq 'for Israel's sake'
(March 22, 2002)
While the mostly co-opted and cowardly "Arab leaders" -- the Arab "client regimes" -- fly their lavish private jets into Beirut 20 years after the Israelis besieged the city, destroyed the country, and attempted at great cost to bring Lebanon under their and American domination ...

Threatening With Nukes Could Well Lead to Use of Nukes - Part 1
(March 22, 2002)
One dreadful day they will be used. That likelihood seems now to be growing, especially as irresponsible leaders in both the US and UK keep publicly threatening to do just that rather than insisting that such weapons should never ever be used ...

Marching toward an American Police State - Part II
(March 22, 2002)
The above title was used to headline an article published on Wednesday, the same day we now learn the federal government was raiding Muslim homes and organizations in the Washington DC area.

U.S. Shifting to Large once Secret Qatar Military Base for Regional Control
(March 21, 2002)
The Americans have apparently agreed to let the Saudis off the hook when it comes to Prince Sultan Airbase, the largest and most sophisticated in the region, as long as they are on the hook when it comes to controlling the Arab Summit and fronting politically with "the Saudi Plan".

A Plea to US and Europe: Don't Participate in Killing and Torture of our People
(March 21, 2002)
All of the American "client regimes" in the Middle East -- including the main ones in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan -- use censorship, intimidation, torture, and the omnipresent secret police, to control their societies and prevent popular expression against their policies and corruption.

NewsFlash: Some U.S. Forces Beginning to leave Saudi for Qatar
(March 20, 2002)
Just days after Vice-President Richard Cheney visited Saudi Arabia and other countries in the area there are reports coming from the region that U.S. military forces are beginning to move out of Prince Sultan Air Base, a facility the U.S. is said to have spent tens of billions of dollars to make the most modern command base in the region.

Marching toward an American Police State - "Washington Scene"
(March 20, 2002)
A FOX NEWS cameraman was accosted by Pentagon Police outside the building on Tuesday -- as he was shooting pictures of an arrest being carried out by Virginia State Police on a highway that runs alongside the Pentagon but outside Pentagon property!

Squeezing and Smothering Arafat To Death
(March 20, 2002)
The Israelis, and the Americans of course, have Yasser Arafat right where they want him now. He either does as he is told and paid or he's a way or another.

More Humiliation for the Arabs both in Palestine and at the upcoming Arab Summit
(March 19, 2002)
It's terribly humiliating of course, but the Israelis have now told Arafat, in public, that he can go to the Arab Summit in Beirut if he does as he's told and declares the fighting ended.

(March 18, 2002)
We already know it was a CIA operation back in the late 1980s that resulted in American-created anthrax spors being sent to Iraq and paid for by the U.S. Congress. We've just learned that a secret CIA team has recently gone to Northern Iraq to secretly meet with the Kurds and help prepare the coming war there.

Angry Demonstrators Condemn both Israel and U.S. in Arab world
(March 17, 2002)
For a second straight day, thousands of Arabs took to the streets across the Middle East on Saturday to burn Israeli and American flags and express anger over the rising Palestinian death toll.

Greater CIA Regime Being Thrust on Palestinians
(March 17, 2002)
Now the Israelis ... are proposing to try to save the "Authority" of Yasser Arafat by putting CIA "monitors" in Palestinian cities, offices, and jails; and CIA listening amd "monitoring" devices throughout the Palestinian bantustans and "occupied territories".

Has The U.S. Lost Its Way?
(March 16, 2002)
We comprise slightly less than 5 per cent of the world's population; but we imbibe 27 per cent of the world's annual oil production, create and consume nearly 30 per cent of its Gross World Product and - get this - spend a full 40 per cent of all the world's defence expenditures.

Transfer? Expulsion? Jordan is Palestine? Approaching the End Game
(March 16, 2002)
If the Palestinians are unable to strike further in view of Israel's and the CIA's unprecedented war to crush them into submission Sharon will undoubtedly say his tactics are working.

Massive New Super Bomb Being Built To Kill Saddam and Threaten All
(March 15, 2002)
With its soldiers beginning to even look a bit like the Centurions in the Star Wars saga, the U.S. appears intent on enforcing the new "new world order" through brute force as well as technological marvels and overpowering firepower and information gathering capabilities.

(March 15, 2002)
Like so many words, this one "conspiracy" is overused and misused by many. That makes it all the more important to know whom to trust and rely on, whom to take seriously, whom to discount.

Manger Square has become a wild, blood-drenched place
(March 14, 2002)
After nearly 35 years of increasingly brutal military occupation since the 1967 war, Palestinian society itself has been tortured and disfigured. The Israelis have used informers and all kinds of means to bring the Palestinians to their knees ...

The U.N.'s latest cowardness, impotence, and duplicity
(March 13, 2002)
It should be a Saturday Night Live skit...the U.N. uttering (or is the correct word stuttering) the term "Palestinian State" after the U.S., Europe, Ariel Sharon and nearly everyone else has other than the crazy Israeli racist fundamentalists.

The Latest As Israel's Slaughter of the Palestinians Escalates Still Further
(March 12, 2002)
Israeli forces killed 31 Palestinians on Tuesday in their biggest offensive in the West Bank and Gaza since Israel captured the territories in the 1967 Middle East war.

Journalists Carefully Targeted by Israelis
(March 12, 2002)
Israeli forces fired for 10 to 15 minutes from tank-mounted machine guns on a hotel where journalists were photographing armor targeting the al-Amari refugee camp early Tuesday.

"Nazi Behavior" Charges Arafat As Israelis Crush Palestinians into Submission
(March 12, 2002)
Nothing like this has happened to the Palestinians since the 1967 War. And this time the cowardly "Arab leaders" are simply watching and pretending; while those who claim to be supportive of the Palestinians in the U.S. are, disorganized, inept, impotent, demoralized, and used up.

Two Poems
(March 11, 2002)
These two unpublished poems were written by a 25 year old Israeliwoman at the time of the first Intifada.

Black Friday and Saturday in the once Holy Land
(March 10, 2002)
The war in 1973 was intense and almost lead to a nuclear confrontation -- remember the infamous "Kissinger nuclear alert"? But for most Palestinians alive today there hasn't been such a bloody day in their lives as on Friday at least 44 Palestinians were killed, hundreds injured.

Israelis Kill and Rampage - U.S. Rhetorically Complains but in Reality Helps
(March 9, 2002)
Serious and urgent questions need to be asked: Why have not the governments of Egypt and Jordan at the very least broken political relations with Israel; and why in fact are these governments actually preventing demonstrations against what the Israelis are doing?

The Israeli Spy CoverUp
(March 9, 2002)
In addition to the "spy coverup" there is now a "media coverup". "We stand by the story" said a FOX News spokesman on 20 December. But now "The Story No Longer Exists" and FOX News has covered up the story of what happened, and why.

American Univ in Washington - Second Rate and Third Class
(March 8, 2002)
When it comes to international affairs and matters relating to the Middle East serious and honest people should keep away from American University in Washington, DC.

Now the US Says it was the Iranians and the Palestinians not the Libyans. Right!
(March 8, 2002)
You just gotta love the Americans, no shame at all. All these years they have been repeatedly and loudly insisting it was the Libyans who bombed Pan Am 103 out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland - more than a decade of sanctions ensued in fact.

Israeli Spying on US - Spiked Story from FOX News - Who Done It?
(March 7, 2002)
Just who pressured FOX News? Why did FOX News cave in so easily? What now months later when an expanded story is not just coming back to life in foreign publications but appears to be the greatest spy scandal ever involving the Israelis spying on the Americans?

Israeli Spying On The U.S. - Essential Background
(March 6, 2002)
The world of spying, like the world of "black ops", is full of confusion, disinformation, and false leads. Those in the media, even the biggest establishment news outlets, usually lack the means (as well as the will) to penetrate very far into this world on their own.

LeMonde on the Israeli Spy Ring in U.S.
(March 5, 2002)
Tremendous pressure was brought to bear in a coverup in which the U.S. government is now thought to have participated.

Israeli Spy Rings Rolled Up in U.S.
(March 5, 2002)
Israeli spying on the U.S. has long been going on; but it is usually covered up or glossed over by the major American news media.

Arafat in Dog Kennel, Sharon in Twilight Zone, Hosni Lost in Space
(March 5, 2002)
After some 20 years in power Hosni Mubarak, chatting with George Bush II today at the White House, has helped lead his country to nowhere, the Palestinians to disaster, and the Arab world to impotent feebleness. More on Mubarak and his shameless Egypt to come -- for he as well as Saudi Abdullah are Lost in Space.

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