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Assissination, siege and war crimes

January 9, 2001

"The Israeli government, both as a group and as individuals, bears full responsibility for the crimes that were committed. We will do everything possible, including declaring members of this government war criminals who are eligible for trial by the world tribunal." Palestinian Authority "Minister"

As Ariel Sharon approaches the pinnacle of power in Israel, everyone is getting more and more nervous. Yasser Arafat's crowd is even wondering if the Israelis will use the next excuse to bring their regime to an end; or maybe just to knock off more of its leadership, possibly including some of the bigger players. There are even those who believe there is a conspiracy between the Israelis and Arafat to use their expanded assassination policy to eliminate those who might join in a coup against Arafat's rule. All this may well account for the new escalation by some in the Arafat Authority to publicly accuse the Israelis of "war crimes", upping the ante


JERUSALEM (Reuters - 1/09) - The Palestinian Authority wants members of the Israeli government to face war crimes charges for what the Palestinians say is a policy of assassinating their activists, a Palestinian official said Tuesday.

The Israeli army has killed a number of Palestinians who it says carried out or planned to carry out attacks on Israelis, but it denies having a policy of political assassination or committing any war crimes.

The Palestinian Authority says more than 30 Palestinian activists have been assassinated since the start of a Palestinian uprising for independence in late September.

"The Israeli government, both as a group and as individuals, bears full responsibility for the crimes that were committed," Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said in a statement.

"We will do everything possible, including declaring members of this government war criminals who are eligible for trial by the world tribunal," he said.

He appeared to be referring to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. He did not say which Israeli ministers he considered should face charges.

Israel's deputy defense minister, Ephraim Sneh, told Reuters last week that security forces were authorized to "hit precisely those top operatives of terrorist organizations who mastermind and organize" attacks on Israelis.

But Israeli officials say such attacks are not carried out against Palestinian political figures.

Earlier Tuesday, a lawyer said the series of killings were against Israeli law and contravened the Geneva Convention.

The lawyer, Naila Atiaa, filed a petition calling on Israel's Supreme Court to stop the army. She said she was asking for the Supreme Court to issue an injunction until it ruled on her petition.

The Palestinians say one victim of the attacks was Thabet Thabet, a local political leader of President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction who was shot dead in the West Bank town of Tulkarm last month.

At least 305 Palestinians, 13 Israeli Arabs and 43 other Israelis have died in almost 15 weeks of violence.


We, members of Palestinian civil society, urgently call on the international community to pressure Israel to end its policy of systematically assassinating Palestinian leaders in the Occupied Territories.

In the past two months, over 20 Palestinian activists and leaders have been murdered by Israeli security forces in an attempt to silence the recent uprising for independence. Following the latest assassination of Dr. Thabet Thabet outside his home on December 31 2000, even Israeli political figures have denounced the murder policy. Dan Meridor, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee was quoted in the Israeli newspaper Ha 'aretz (January 4, 2001) as stating, "a democratic state cannot adopt a policy of liquidation as a form of deterrence and punishment". Justice Minister Yossi Beilin and other Israeli political leaders have also demanded that the Israeli security services stop assassinating Palestinian activists.

These acts of state-sponsored terrorism at the hands of Israel are illegal according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits "any measure of such a character as to cause physical suffering or extermination to persons living under occupation". UN Security Council Resolution 1322 adopted on October 7, reaffirmed Israeli's status as the "occupying power" in these areas and denounced Israel's use of excessive force against Palestinian civilians. Source: Palestine Monitor - January 8.


Never since 1967 have Gazans faced such harsh Israeli military measures aimed at curbing the movement of people and goods within and outside the Strip, which has now been divided into four parts by the Israeli army. The Gaza International airport and the Rafah crossing point to Egypt have also been sealed. Several witnesses report that life has become unbearable forcing business to halt and students to stay home as they are unable to reach their schools and universities. To many Gazans, the full closure and military siege is reminiscent of the Ansar III prison erected in the area by the Israeli army during the first Intifada (1987-1993), only on a much larger scale.

The Union of Palestinian Students and other local student organizations have written letters of protest to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, asking the international organization to put pressure on Israel to stop "its war, military and economic siege of the Palestinian Territories and allow students to resume their schooling". While student representatives point out that the international community may not physically prevent Israel from imposing its current siege, they hope that unveiling the Jewish state's current policy of economic suffocation and humiliation will show the rest of the world that it is not serious about peace.

Israeli authorities justify this heightened state of closure, enforced in the wake of a car bomb explosion in Netanya last week, on the grounds that it will prevent further attacks. In reality, the internal and external closure of the West Bank and Gaza, in place since the beginning of the Intifada three months ago, is merely a collective punishment measure and an economic weapon to force Palestinians to surrender. As a result of the internal closure since September 28, 2000, the Palestinian economy has incurred losses that amount to US$ 388 million. Some US$ 117 million was also lost in the form of Palestinian labor income from Israel due to the external closure of the Territories. Moreover, as a form of reprisal immediately following the bomb explosion in Netanya, Israel once again stopped all payment to the Palestinian Authority of the various taxes collected on its behalf, a retaliatory measure initially implemented during the first weeks of the Intifada. The current siege will further harm the Palestinian economy, which was otherwise forecast to grow by 5% in 2001, to a point where it may take years for it to recover. By its systematic attempt to destroy the Palestinian economy, Israel is deliberately threatening the viability of a future Palestinian state.

The West Bank has hardly been spared as the Israeli army's tanks recently encircled villages located in area A (under full Palestinian control) in clear violation of the Oslo accord and related agreements. It is worth mentioning that many areas of the West Bank and Gaza where the Israeli army is currently stationed to enforce its closure should have been liberated as per the Wye Plantation accord and subsequent agreements, which illustrates yet again Israel's total disregard for agreements it nonetheless willfully endorsed.

International law, soon to be reinforced by the International Criminal Court to which Israel has finally agreed to adhere, forbids collective punishment such as that suffered by Palestinians under full closure. Putting a civilian population under siege also violates the Fourth Geneva Convention, which deals specifically with the responsibilities of military powers during periods of prolonged occupation.

We, members of Palestinian civil society are deeply concerned by the short-term and longer-term psychological and economic impact of Israel's prolonged policy of closure and encirclement. We urgently appeal to the international community to insist that Israel lift the siege on Palestinian villages and towns. We add our voice to the widespread call for international protection to prevent further escalation of the situation. Source: Palestine Monitor - January 9.

January 2001


Leila Khalid - refugee from Haifa, fighter for Palestine
(January 31, 2001)
When Palestinian liberation fighter Leila Khaled hijacked her first plane in 1969, she became the international pin-up of armed struggle. Then she underwent cosmetic surgery so she could do it again. Thirty years on, she talks to Katharine Viner about being a woman at war.

The end of Israel?
(January 30, 2001)
At a time with rampant current events breaking daily, often hourly, there is much need to remember the importance of sometimes taking time for reflection, of sometimes stepping back to contemplate both the past and the future.

Sharon - the REAL legacy of Clinton and Barak
(January 30, 2001)
As the Barak era fades from view -- more short-lived than anyone predicted just a long year and a half ago -- his epitaph is already being written and Ariel Sharon's government and policies are already being debated.

Looming civil war in Palestine
(January 29, 2001)
Fears are growing in the international community that Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority (PA) is heading for collapse.

Arafat blasts, Peres maneuvers, Barak sinks
(January 29, 2001)
For all practical purposes Ehud Barak is gone and Yasser Arafat is now desperately trying to save his own skin.

Barak's 3 no's, and Bush's 7 minute call
(January 28, 2001)
The Americans leaked it, a 7-minute Saturday call from the new U.S. Pres to the sinking Israeli PM -- leaked its brevity that is.

The Bomb and Iraq
(January 28, 2001)
As war clouds gather in the Middle East public opinion is being prepared for a possible regional war that could likely include a combined Western/Israeli effort to take out the weapons of mass destruction in Syria, Iraq and Iran.

The "nuts" in the next room
(January 27, 2001)
In recent years Israel's most important and serious newspaper, Ha'aretz, has taken to not only reporting Palestinian affairs much more deeply but to interviewing major Palestinian personalities abroad.

Get ready for Prime Minister Sharon
(January 27, 2001)
The new Ma'ariv-Gallop poll questioned a particularly large sample of 1,100 people, putting special emphasis on the Arab population and new immigrants.

Panic in the Barak camp
(January 27, 2001)
All the tricks and lies of the Israeli Labor Party have now come back to haunt it. Barak, never a politician, bears the brunt of popular blame for all the political deceptions and tricks that have for so long accumulated.

War alert in Europe and Middle East
(January 27, 2001)
We've noted the "war fever" growing in the region for some months now. There's considerable anxiety about who may now strike first.

Israeli and Jewish soul-searching
(January 26, 2001)
The Intifada, coupled with Israeli brutality and recognition that the term "Apartheid Peace" is in fact applicable after all, are having an effect on at least some Israelis and some Jews; even while Ariel Sharon marches to the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem (and maybe because of this).

"Disastrous" American intervention
(January 26, 2001)
ou've got to wonder about these Palestinian "negotiators". What others saw decades ago those who have been most involved are apparently beginning to see only now.

Sharon marches on, Barak stumbles on
(January 25, 2001)
The 554,000 Arabs eligible to vote represent 12.3 percent of the electorate. The Arab turnout in 1999 was 76%, and 95% voted for Barak.

An alliance of the outcasts? Iran, Iraq and Syria
(January 24, 2001)
So the Israelis are going to elect war-criminal tough-guy General Ariel Sharon to be Prime Minister. This after the most top-heavy military-intelligence government in peacetime history for Israel -- that of General Ehud Barak.

General Powell says no to sanctions on behalf of Corporate America
(January 23, 2001)
Hamas has struck again and the "negotiations" are "suspended" again. Two Israelis were assassinated by masked men while eating at a restaurant in Tulkarm. Though this time it was Israelis who were killed it was another warning to Yasser Arafat. Last week similarly masked men in Gaza killed a close Arafat friend, the head of Palestinian TV in Gaza, just as it was rumored Arafat was about to sign some kind of new deal with the Israelis.

EyeWitness Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa
(January 23, 2001)
The depressing element of this entire struggle is that the Arafat regime survives and...will be the one to ultimately determine the fate of the Palestinian people.

War Fever - Israel and Syria
(January 23, 2001)
Tensions continue to grow in the Middle East region, armies continue to prepare, public opinion continues to be manipulated. Though Ehud Barak too is a militarist -- a former commando, General, and Chief of Staff of the Army -- Ariel Sharon brings with him historical baggage and war-criminal image which could easily contribute to a clash of armies sooner rather than later, even if not fully intended by either side.

EyeWitness Gaza
(January 22, 2001)
A year or so ago, I visited the Mouwasi area in Gaza. It was a green paradise, on top, and in the midst, of white sand dunes. I particularly remember this Guava grove, where the guavas hanging from the trees were the size of large oranges; I hadn't seen anything like that ever before.

Reaping what they have sown
(January 22, 2001)
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak abruptly cut short a radio interview on Sunday after being asked about his poor showing in opinion polls, prompting speculation he was buckling under pressure of a February 6 election.

Israel's president departs
(January 21, 2001)
There has never been, and there probably never will be, a president who had such fantastic relations with the State of Israel. It's unbelievable.

Ross officially join Israeli lobby
(January 19, 2001)
During the Lebanon War of 1982 -- some think of it as Sharon's war -- the Israelis and their American Jewish friends felt they had a difficult time when it came to public relations. And when the American Marines pulled out, symbolizing the failure of the Israelis to force Lebanon into the American-Israeli orbit and out of the Syrian-Arab one, the Israelis realized that they had much power in Washington on Capitol Hill, but not enough power with the media, intellectuals, and think-tanks.

War preparations in Israel
(January 19, 2001)
It's always called "The Peace Process" but more behind-the-scenes the whole Middle East region continues to be an arms bazaar with more weapons being sold to the countries in the area than ever before, most by American arms merchants and allies.

Palestinian TV Head killed
(January 17, 2001)
It may have been a warning to Arafat not to dare sign any new agreements, as has been rumored in the past few days he was planning to do tomorrow in fact. It may have been another Israeli assassination - though usually they don't take such risks and use such methods, strongly preferring instead to use high-technology and long-distance means.

Iraq, Saddam and the Gulf War
(January 17, 2001)
It was 10 years ago yesterday that the U.S. unleashed the power of the Empire against the country of Iraq after created the regional conditions that lead to the Iraq-Iran and then the Iraq-Kuwait-Saudi wars. In that period of time somewhere in the number of 1.5 million Iraqis have been killed, the history of the Middle East altered, the future of the region more uncertain and dangerous than ever.

Last night in Gaza ghetto
(January 16, 2001)
It's quite a game of international political brinkmanship. At the same time that Yasser Arafat is being tremendously pressured, and quite possibly further tricked, to sign some kind of "framework agreement" with Clinton and Barak before it is too late -- his regime is also being threatened with extinction both from within and without.

Generals Sharon and Barak as politicians
(January 16, 2001)
With Jan 20 (Clinton leaves office) and Feb 6 (Barak likely to be defeated by Sharon) fast approaching, desperation and near panic are evident in the traditional power centers, including various Arab capitals.

"Unilateral separation" one way or another
(January 15, 2001)
The separation plan would go into the event of one of the following three scenarios: as a response to a unilateral declaration of statehood on the part of the Palestinians; under a severe security threat; or as part of an agreement with the Palestinian Authority

Up in arms against Apartheid
(January 13, 2001)
At the end of the second millennium, three million Palestinians are imprisoned in ghettoes by the very man whom the Palestinian leadership hailed as the saviour of peace. Netanyahu had driven the peace ship off course. Barak scuttled it.

Locking in Oslo
(January 12, 2001)
The Americans and the Israelis continue to try to twist the screws. Their minimum goal now is to "lock in" the "Oslo Peace Process" approach to the conflict. It may be an "Apartheid Peace", and it may have resulted in considerable bloodshed, but even so it is leading to a form of "Palestinian Statehood" and "separation" that the Israelis strongly desire as the best alternative for themselves.

Sharon charges on
(January 12, 2001)
he long-serving (now recalled to Cairo) Egyptian Ambassador to Israel was quoted saying last week that if an Israeli-Palestinian agreement isn't reached in the next two weeks there won't be an agreement for the next two decades.

"Sharon leads to peace"
(January 11, 2001)
The last time the Israeli "Arab vote" was pushed toward Shimon Peres for Prime Minister -- back in 1996 -- there was much resistance. Then Peres was acting Prime Minister after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli Army had just committed the Qana massacre in Southern Lebanon, and Peres was busy trying to cover it up.

Grandfather Sharon
(January 10, 2001)
If the polls remain as disastrous as they now are for Ehud Barak, expect him to be pushed out and Shimon Peres substituted. Barak has no chance; Peres has some, especially with the "Arab vote".

The Dangerous weeks, months ahead
(January 10, 2001)
Guys like Commando-General-Prime Minster Ehud Barak don't go easily from the scene. Barak's daring-do was lavishly praised just a few years ago; now it has even the military types fretting. No telling just what Barak and friends might try in the next few weeks.

Assissination, siege and war crimes
(January 9, 2001)
The Israeli government, both as a group and as individuals, bears full responsibility for the crimes that were committed. We will do everything possible, including declaring members of this government war criminals who are eligible for trial by the world tribunal." Palestinian Authority "Minister"

Soul-searching Israelis
(January 9, 2001)
The "liberals" among them, the most cosmopolitan and internationally-oriented of the Israelis, are now getting extra nervous. Not only is Ariel Sharon coming to power, not only is regional war possible, not only are the cold treaties with Egypt and Jordan in jeopardy, but even Israel's future has come into question

Israel acts while Arafat talks
(January 8, 2001)
srael continues to take major steps designed to shrink, isolate and control the Palestinian areas forever. The policy is termed "unilateral separation" and it is linked to bringing about a so-called "Palestinian State" that serves Israeli interests, making everything worse than ever for the Palestinian "natives".

Clinton's Israel speech
(January 8, 2001)
On his way out the Presidential door Bill Clinton went to New York City to speak to his American Jewish supporters and further grease his way toward his future. This is the Bill Clinton that turned the U.S. government over to the Israeli/Jewish lobby in his years in office; of course pretending otherwise.

Specter of an "ugly future"
(January 5, 2001)
Lofty, humanitarian goals like 'peace and democracy'? No, America's primary interest in the Middle East is effective control of the world's most important energy reserves, Noam Chomsky tells Ha'aretz

Prime Minister Sharon
(January 5, 2001)
Did President Hindenburg and the German intelligentsia feel this way in 1930s when they saw that Adolf Hitler, and his brownshirt thugs, were about to be elected to power?

Barak and Sharon
(January 5, 2001)
While the Labor "Doves" are busy running ads in Arab papers showing dismembered corpses in Palestinian Refugee Camps -- with the caption "Sharon" -- the reality is that Generals Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon are more two of a kind than anything else.

Arab nations add their voices to the chorus of despair
(January 4, 2001)
All chance of a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians in the near future is vanishing, destroyed by hardening opinions on both sides, continuing violence, the precarious position of the political leaders involved and disagreements over key issues.

Darling of American Jewry
(January 4, 2001)
Over the years, most of the strongest advocates of Israel have usually been people who are not Jewish....[I] look forward to working with him...

Barak publicly warns of regional war
(January 4, 2001)
Amid veiled threats from the Israelis to start targeting even more senior Arafat Regime persons, and even to bring the Arafat "Palestinian Authority" to an end, Ehud Barak has also started publicly talking about the possibility of regional war.

No deal for Arafat
(January 3, 2001)
In particular, the Palestinians are concerned that the proposed settlement would create Palestinian territorial islands separated from each other by Israeli territory and therefore not viable as a nation. They object to a proposed land swap that would allow some Israeli settlers to remain on the West Bank in exchange for land that the Palestinians claim is desert and a toxic waste dump.

Arafat rushes to Washington
(January 2, 2001)
Clinton and the Israelis have set the stage for the last act of their multi-year drama attempting to trap the Palestinians on controlled reservations and calling it "an end to the conflict". But like a modern-day computer game the users can interact and change the outcome to various scenarios.

Top Palestinian Leader in the Arafat Regime
(January 2, 2001)
The whole house of political quicksand built by Bill Clinton at the behest of the Israelis (and popularly known as the "Peace Process") is bubbling, steaming, and swallowing many of its key participants.

Arafat hangs up on threatening Clinton
(January 1, 2001)
The coming issue of TIME magazine reports that Arafat hung up the phone receiver on Clinton a few days ago, turning to an aide and saying: "He's threatening me!

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