"It was...enough to turn a Palestinian into a suicide-bomber. It was also very, very weird. Here we were, perhaps a hundred journalists watching a hundred 'peace' demonstrators... and every few minutes, on a signal from a fat policeman in a blue shirt, his colleagues would run amok... A thought kept recurring in our minds: if this is what the Israeli police do to Palestinians in front of us, what do they do to them behind our backs?"
MID-EAST REALITIES © - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 8/14: How ironic that the Jewish Israelis are acting like modern-day storm troopers, perpetrating ongoing Crystal Nachts, their victims akin to dark images from the Warsaw Ghetto of yesteryear...and so many "Good Israelis", so sadly reminiscent of the "Good Germans" of their own terrible past when they themselves were powerless victims, are cheering with mindless hatred.
As reports come in that the Israeli army is now massing to attack Bethlehem, this report from that most seasoned of correspondents, Robert Fisk, writing for The Independent:
[The Independent - 14 August 2001] Heavy fighting erupted last night after Israeli tanks moved into the heart of the Palestinian-ruled West Bank town of Jenin and seized several Palestinian Authority buildings.
Witnesses reported seeing the bodies of two people lying in a street after being hit by Israeli gunfire during heavy fighting with Palestinian gunmen and armed activists who rushed to the frontline to confront the Israeli forces.
The incursion followed a day-long troop build-up near Jenin from where two suicide bombings were launched against Israelis in recent days. It appeared to be the deepest penetration into Palestinian- ruled territory since an uprising against Israeli occupation erupted last September.
Palestinian security officials said armoured bulldozers were destroying two police stations and Israeli soldiers had taken over the Palestinian security headquarters in Jenin which is used by Yasser Arafat when he visits the town.
Undercover Israeli soldiers, dressed in civilian clothes, were exchanging fire with Palestinian gunmen in the streets of Jenin, which was handed over to Palestinian rule in 1995 under interim peace deals.
Earlier, at the Arab "day of rage" protest at the Israeli occupation of Orient House, the Israelis were the ones demonstrating their rage. A Palestinian youth who dared to hold up a Palestinian flag made of paper was seized by six border guards and plain-clothes police, kicked, beaten, punched in the face and the back, and then kneed in the groin in front of us all.
Many of the police had come from Haifa, where a Palestinian suicide bomber had blown himself up a few hours earlier in a vain effort to murder Israelis in a café, and there was a tangible desire to inflict pain on some of the crowd.
A tall, thin, young man who tried to escape a policeman's grasp at the iron security barriers was dragged back into the police lines and set upon by eight men. There must have been 20 television cameras and a score of photographers running level with the Shin Bet intelligence boys as they dragged the man screaming up the road towards Orient House, kicking him in the chest and forcing back his head until he choked.
The moment he was in the back seat of a police van, an Israeli plain- clothes man in a red shirt set upon him. As he was held down, the Israeli kicked him again and again between the legs until he was crying in a high, animal voice.
It was, as one of the foreign protesters muttered, enough to turn a Palestinian into a suicide-bomber. It was also very, very weird. Here we were, perhaps a hundred journalists watching a hundred "peace" demonstrators, European, American, Christian and Jew, and Palestinian, and every few minutes, on a signal from a fat policeman in a blue shirt, his colleagues would run amok.
After all the talk of Israel being a peace-loving state, founded upon the rule of law, the police would suddenly prove that those constant Palestinian complaints of beatings and brutality were true, right in front of us. Up the street, closer to Orient House, his colleagues were taking good care of their prisoners. In front of the horrified eyes of a group of humanitarian workers, one of them American, they beat the captured Palestinians all over again.
The crowd had no chance of seizing back Orient House, occupied by Israeli troops and police after Thursday's suicide bombing in Jerusalem which massacred 15 Israelis. They were kept a quarter of a mile from the building. .
A thought kept recurring in our minds: if this is what the Israeli police do to Palestinians in front of us, what do they do to them behind our backs?
Nor was it difficult to guess what these young men were thinking. Just a few hours before, they had heard that a Palestinian girl aged 10 had been shot dead by Israeli troops in Hebron, and that, after a night of grieving, her 60-year-old grandmother had died of a heart attack. A little after midday yesterday, the little girl and her grandmother were buried together in the same grave.