They Call This A Summit?
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They Call This A Summit?

MID-EAST REALITIES - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 3/26/2002: 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". But then as the old saying goes "politics abhors a vacuum" and readers of MER will also be quite aware that the "Arab leaders" are going through all this pretense and hubbub hoping to make it appear they are actually doing something when in fact they are impotent, powerless, bewildered, corrupted, co-opted, and most of all frightened.


By Robert Fisk in Beirut

Arafat and Sharon in battle of wills over summit

Bush pins hopes on Saudi plan despite setback

[The Independent - 27 March 2002]: Israel's Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, threw Yasser Arafat into the valley of humiliation last night, banning his visit to the Beirut Arab summit in the face of feeble American protests. "Unfortunately, the conditions are not yet ripe for Chairman Arafat's departure for Beirut" Mr Sharon said after two Palestinians set off a bomb at an Israeli checkpoint in Jerusalem.

Later, two military observers from an international force stationed at Hebron in the West Bank were shot and killed while driving down a Jewish settlers' road, apparently by Palestinian gunmen. The two victims, believed initially to be Norwegian, were the first members of this unarmed force, set up in 1997 to help ease tensions after the partition of Hebron into Israeli and Palestinian zones, to be killed. Another observer was slightly wounded in the ambush.

President George Bush, who has urged Mr Sharon to allow the Palestinian leader to travel to Beirut to endorse a watered-down version of a UN resolution demanding the return of Israeli occupied land for peace, let Mr Sharon off the hook. Mr Bush's spokesman, Ari Fleischer, said: "The President's position is simple and clear. We're dealing with a sovereign [Israeli] government. Governments have the right to make determinations [sic]''.

Mr Arafat, could, perhaps talk to Arab leaders via a video-link although he would appear a prisoner of the Israelis on any screen in Beirut. But the Arabs have already seen the trap. And if anyone can smell a rat, Hosni Mubarak can. When the Egyptian President decided last night he would not attend the summit, the word was out. Stay away. Yasser Arafat - even if the Israelis were generous enough to allow him to travel to Lebanon at the 11th hour - was told by his cronies to remain in his office in Ramallah.

Colonel Gaddafi would not come. Nor would Saddam Hussein. Not even the ruler of the United Arab Emirates deigned to come. Nor the Emir of Qatar. They call this an Arab summit?

In truth, it is a tragedy. For symbolism, one might glance at the ruins of the Holiday Inn. Punched into Irish lace by a hundred shell holes during the civil war, its gaunt facade has been covered by a 500ft advertisement hoarding depicting the far more ancient ancient Roman ruins of Baalbek. "Vivre le Liban," it says. Long live Lebanon. But the summit is dead.

The Americans wanted the Arab kings and presidents to endorse Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's Heath Robinson "peace plan", a vague and ambiguous proposal of "land for peace" which is itself a watered-down version of UN Security Council Resolution 242, the famous - or infamous - tract that demanded Israeli withdrawal from Arab territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war in return for the security of all states in the area, including Israel.

But the Saudis did not want to talk about Palestinian refugees - tens of thousands of whom languish in mud and filth scarcely four miles from the summit conference hotel in Beirut - nor about the occupied Syrian Golan Heights which President Bashar Assad of Syria, wants to hear about.

The latest version of the Saudi proposals concentrates on compensating refugees, which few of them would accept. Nor would the Lebanese, the hosts of this ghost summit, who would like the 250,000 Palestinians on their land to go home - wherever "home" might be. So what hope of peace in the rain-squalled streets of Beirut last night?

Well, Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general is coming. Javier Solana, Europe's best known and least eloquent statesman is here. Indeed, the non-Arabs seemed to be more important than the Arab rulers who have chosen to come to the city in which Mr Arafat and his Israeli nemesis, Ariel Sharon, together helped to ruin in 1982.

Mr Solana was talking last night about a "ray of hope" but the Arabs could not see it. Even if the great and most corrupt of potentates managed to come to Lebanon, they would only have been able to accept the most amorphous of Saudi "peace" plans. Indeed, by mid-morning, the best on offer - a new version of the Abdullah proposal - was an "end to conflict" with Israel. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of peace and security for either Jew or Arab.

Many Palestinians believed for Mr Arafat to accept Israel's "permission" to attend would amount to a shameful humiliation. Since Mr Sharon told Mr Arafat he must not "incite violence" in any Beirut speech, the Palestinian leader would be a prisoner of the Israelis.

By late last night, the Lebanese were suggesting the two-day summit might last only a day. There would be a ritual nodding in the direction of Crown Prince Abdullah's "peace plan" - who would ever offend a Saudi in the Arab world - and an equally ritual warning that bombing Iraq would not be a good idea. A draft communiqué for Arab leaders stated there was "serious concern" about Iraq's "unity and safety" and rejected "the use of force or any threats of using force" against Saddam Hussein. And that will surely have President Bush shaking in his boots.


By Bassem Mroue

SIDON, Lebanon (AP - 27 March) - In Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camp, the talk is of war and despair.

Palestinians stuck in refugee camps such as Ein el-Hilweh in southern Lebanon have little hope that the upcoming summit of Arab leaders will improve their lives or those of Palestinians fighting Israel occupation.

``In previous summits, they made many promises concerning the Palestinians but did not achieve anything,'' said Nasser Youssef Huleihil, 37, who is originally from Safad in what is now Israel.

Arab leaders are to discuss a Saudi plan offering an end to the Israeli-Arab conflict in exchange for Israel's withdrawal from the territories it occupied in the 1967 Mideast war.

In its simplest form, it does not specifically address the issue of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, such as the 60,000 people living in squalid conditions in Ein el-Hilweh.

But several documents said to be drafts of the resolutions call for refugees to be allowed to return to their homes or to be compensated as stipulated in a long-standing U.N. resolution.

When asked about the Saudi initiative, refugee Khalil Mustafa replied: ``All the Arabs are going to recognize Israel.''

``Regrettably I have no hope of dying in Palestine,'' said Mustafa, who left 54 years ago. ``I think I will die in Lebanon.''

The summit comes amid the bloodiest period in the Arab-Israeli conflict in 20 years. At least 1,210 people have been killed on the Palestinian side and more 350 on the Israeli side in the past 18 months.

The summit should ``adopt a firm stance and put pressure to force the enemy to withdraw from all Palestinian territories and give moral and real support to our Palestinian people,'' said Abu Adham, a Palestine Liberation Organization official secretary in southern Lebanon.

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon live in harsh conditions. They have suffered from Israeli attacks in the past, and their Lebanese hosts blame them for a 15-year civil war. They have no civil rights and are not allowed to work except at menial jobs.

Many refugees in Lebanon have joined armed guerrilla groups and some camps have become lawless territory where government authority does not exist.

On Monday, dozens of protesters held two demonstrations against the possibility that Palestinian refugees would be resettled elsewhere instead of being allowed to return to their homes in what is now Israel. The demonstrators burned American and Israeli flags as well as a tent symbolizing resettlement in what has become a routine scene in the camp.

Mahmoud Hamdan, 80, did not think the summit will improve his chances of returning one day to the village of Loubya in the Tiberias area of northern Israel.

``Can they (Arab leaders) take us back to Palestine?'' he said as he strolled through the crowded vegetable market in Ein el-Hilweh. ``We want to fight. The intefadeh (uprising) needs help and they should let us fight to liberate Palestine.''

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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