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ARIEL SHARON - WAR CRIMINAL?

June 15, 2001

What the International Media Should Now Do

MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 6/15: Years ago the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kurt Waldheim, was brought before a mock international court through a joint effort of Home Box Office (HBO) in the USA and a major British TV network. The question before the court was whether Kurt Waldheim was possibly guilty of war crimes and should he be tried by some recognized international body, possibly the International Court of Justice. It was a very elaborate and expensive undertaking. It aired LIVE on HBO in the US and on national TV in England. The conclusion reached, very dramatic at the time and in the way it was done, was that there was insufficient evidence to even justify indictment of Waldheim on the charge of "war crimes".

It's time for a similar effort by someone in the international media in regard to Ariel Sharon, now the Prime Minister of Israel. Since there is no likelihood any other means will be found in the foreseeable future to pursue these very important issues, the time has come for the independent media to step up to the plate once again. In recent years international courts have taken on the former President of Chile on war crimes, even though his own government had given him immunity from the charges. Just last year it was a sitting President of Yugoslavia who was an indicted international war criminal according to a U.N. tribunal and NATO. If international law is to have real meaning and real legitimacy, the person and actions of Ariel Sharon must now be considered one way or another in the context of war crimes; and it appears BBC1 and the prestigious program "Panorama" are taking the first small but significant step this Sunday.

That the Israelis are already so furious and trying to block or somehow compromise the broadcast is certainly a good sign! But there's a very long and difficult road ahead. Who has the courage and integrity to take this one on? Will a group of credible Jews in the U.S. and Europe step forward and publicly call for such an international inquiry?

Please, email us at MER@MiddleEast.Org if you are willing and able to help make this happen, along with your ideas and suggestions.

*************************************** ABOUT PANORAMA Panorama is the BBC's flagship television current affairs programme. It has a distinguished history and it is the longest-running public affairs TV programme in the world. ***************************************

ISRAEL FURIOUS AT BBC FOR SHARON CLAIM

By Brian Whitaker in Jerusalem and Vikram Dodd

[The Guardian - Friday June 15, 2001]: Israeli officials attacked the BBC yesterday for a Panorama programme which concludes that the prime minister, Ariel Sharon, could be tried for war crimes in connection with the massacre of Palestinians in Lebanon in 1982. Israel army radio said efforts were being made to prevent the programme being broadcast on Sunday, or to include an Israeli reply in it.

After Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, its forces, under Mr Sharon's command as defence minister, allowed Lebanese Christian allies to enter the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila.

More than 1,000 Palestinians were massacred by the Phalangist militias.

But the Israeli justice minister, Meir Sheetrit, said the programme made by Fergal Keane, The Accused, was proof of the BBC's consistently "anti-Israel" and "pro-Palestinian" bias.

Gideon Meir, the Israeli foreign ministry's deputy director of communications, said: "The programme is a scandal. It's a systematic decision of theirs [the BBC] that is entirely against Israel. There's no doubt we'll have to consider our path towards the BBC."

A BBC spokeswoman said it deplored the Israeli threats and stood by the programme.

Panorama interviewed Mr Sharon's foreign press adviser, Raanan Gissin, for the programme, but an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said: "It was not done in a bona fide, fair or professional way...

"They wrote a letter saying the programme was about Sabra and Shatila in the light of humanitarian law, but didn't mention war crimes.

"I'm 100% sure that if Gissin had known, he would not have given the interview.

"Somebody is manipulating the BBC by raising this specific subject. It's a public trial of the prime minister - the whole idea looks to us unfair."

He said Mr Meir's remarks did not threaten reprisals against the BBC as a whole. "We have constant dialogue with the BBC. We're speaking about Panorama and the fact that BBC1 is going to host it."

In London, the Israel press attache, David Schneeweiss, said: "We've been in touch with the BBC at all levels to find out what the programme's about. One has to question why they are focusing on old news. These events happened 20 years ago."

Mr Sharon resigned as defence minister in 1983 after an Israeli commission of inquiry criticised him for his role in the massacres.

It found that he had failed to carry out his duty by disregarding the risk that Phalangists would carry out acts of vengeance when he decided to let them enter the camps, and by "not ordering appropriate measures" to reduce the danger of a massacre.

It is believed that the programme does not reveal any new facts about responsibility for the atrocity, but shows interviews with legal experts who conclude that Mr Sharon could be indicted for war crimes for his role in it.

In a statement, the BBC said: "This week's Panorama is a legitimate analysis of a human rights issue. It looks at the question of ultimate legal responsibility for the massacres... at a time when Ariel Sharon was defence minister.

"Panorama asked Prime Minister Sharon for an interview about the issues raised, and that offer still stands. The programme contains a contribution from Raanan Gissin, who was made fully aware of the issues which would feature in the programme."

THE ACCUSED

Sunday, 17 June, at 22:15pm London Time on BBC1

Nearly 20 years ago the man who is now Israel's Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, sent Lebanese militiamen into the Palestine refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla. When they left 36 hours later at least 800 people lay dead after a rampage of murder, torture and rape.

The massacre provoked international outrage. In Israel itself 400,000 people took to the streets in the largest demonstration the country had ever seen. Ariel Sharon was forced to resign as Israel's defence minister.

But he has maintained that he could not have foreseen the danger of a massacre in the camps. Fergal Keane investigates this claim, and talks to key witnesses and survivors of the massacre.

In the light of developments in international war crimes prosecutions the programme asks whether the evidence should lead to indictments for what happened in the camps.


June 2001


Magazine






TURKEY HEADING TOWARD "SOCIAL EXPLOSION"...i.e., "REVOLUTION"
(June 30, 2001)
In geostrategic and military terms, the unnamed U.S.-Israel-Turkish military alliance that emerged full-blown during the last decade -- of course with the Turks using the "peace process" as the excuse for such close relations between Turkey and Israel -- was one of the most important developments.

WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTIONS EMERGING
(June 29, 2001)
In a sense there is an arms race under way at this time of a different kind -- a race for whether weapons of mass destruction will be used in a serious and ongoing way should a new war break out first in the Subcontinent over Kashmir or in the Middle East over Palestine.

LABOR AND LIKUD MORE ALIKE THAN DIFFERENT - MER FLASHBACK
(June 29, 2001)
Long before what was to happen with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (remember him?), MER was informing who he really was and what to really expect. Same with regard to Shimon Peres. Expect the same cutting-edge information and analysis in the months ahead.

Washington Scene: THE HISTORICAL MOMENT
(June 27, 2001)
The Middle East region totters now between further repression and oppression, terrorism and war. The outcome in the short term is indeterminate of course. But the winds and directions are clear; however much camaflouged by the politicians and the usually gullible mass media.

THREATCON DELTA ORDERED TODAY
(June 22, 2001)
One day they will probably get Osama bin-Laden, former confident of King Fahd in Saudi Arabia, former CIA asset against the once mighty Soviet Empire, now arch nemesis of the American Empire.

"ALGERIA IS IN CRISIS"
(June 22, 2001)
"The Battle of Algiers" left North Africa biggest country terribly bloodied and traumatized. This time it was French imperialism and the French military that did the dirty horrifying deeds.

EGYPT ARMING WHILE REGIME IS SHAKING
(June 21, 2001)
Arab States, including Egypt, are arming at a growing pace. Even combined they are still no match to defeat Israel. But their detterence capabilities are growing, they might be able to seriously bloody Israel in years ahead...

ARAFAT'S FLUNKIES
(June 20, 2001)
There are many reasons the Palestinian people are suffering so terribly, worse by the year in fact, and are now endangered by the possibility of a second "nakba" (disaster).

"THE SECOND HALF OF 1948"
(June 20, 2001)
Official declarations and many reports in the Israeli media indicate that the Israeli military and political leadership are aiming, eventually, at a total destruction of the Palestinian authority, and, with it, the process of Oslo, which is now dominantly considered by them a 'historical mistake'.

TELEGRAPHING WHAT I S TO COME
(June 19, 2001)
Arafat had two roles he had been assigned. That's why none other than former "terrorist" Arafat was the most frequent visitor to the White House during the years 1993 through 2000.

SHARON'S LONG MARCH: NEXT TO WASHINGTON THEN TO THE ATTACK
(June 19, 2001)
Ariel Sharon is proving what others before him, including Generals Patton and MacArthur of American legend, learned about modern warfare. There's a heavy messure of political theatrics and personal legend involved in making war, more so now than ever in this age of instant TV and the Intenet.

SHARON Coming To US Again To Coordinate War Plans
(June 19, 2001)
Sharon is coming to the States again next week. Only a firm "absolutely not" from the Americans is likely now to prevent much further brutal subjugation of the Palestinians; quite possibly the exiling again of Yasser Arafat.

SON OF IMPORTANT ISRAELI FAMILY REFUSES OCCUPATION MILITARY SERVICE
(June 17, 2001)
Coordinated non-violent but serious civil disobedience -- there in the Middle East, in Europe, and in the United States -- that is what today's situation desperately calls out for.

ARIEL SHARON - WAR CRIMINAL?
(June 15, 2001)
Years ago the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kurt Waldheim, was brought before a mock international court through a joint effort of Home Box Office (HBO) in the USA and a major British TV network. The question before the court was whether Kurt Waldheim was possibly guilty of war crimes ...

PREPARING FOR DESTRUCTION
(June 15, 2001)
"If a cease-fire does indeed take hold, then all the better... If Arafat rejects the document or professes to accept it, but does not fulfill his part of the bargain, Israel will win more points in the court of world opinion and a more conducive political backdrop will be created for a military response to Palestinian violence."

ALGERIANS FIRE INTO DEMONSTRATING CROWDS TODAY
(June 14, 2001)
The Berbers in Algeria, the brutal civil war in Sudan, the Palestinians in the once Holy Land, the Kurds in Iraq and Turkey, the ongoing Kashmir crisis -- all conflicts exploding throughout the greater Middle East region today in 2001, all conflicts the legacy of Western colonial policies of yesteryear and American imperial policies of today.

MARCH TO WAR CONTINUES: ISRAEL WARNS IRAN AGAIN
(June 14, 2001)
There are major historical and military reasons why Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton (representing of course huge constituencies who at the time pushed them to pursue the policies they did) pressed Yasser Arafat so hard to sign an agreement at Camp David.

THE SO-CALLED "AGREEMENT"
(June 13, 2001)
There is no real "agreement". There is a dictate. Yasser Arafat is in no position anymore to do much other than what his American handlers tell him to do; a day of reckoning he brought on himself by so many mistakes and so much corruption over such a long time.

Another Muslim Rep Foolishly Plays To The Cameras On Behalf of the Regimes
(June 13, 2001)
A week ago outside the State Department one of the latest Muslim organization reps to grab for the cameras -- Khalid Turaani -- declared in loud tones how the time had finally come for "civil disobedience" and how he and the other leaders of the assembled Muslim "client organizations" were going to get arrested in a peaceful protest ...

HASHEMITE KINGDOM CLOSES BORDERS TO PALESTINIANS
(June 13, 2001)
The Hashemite Regime has always, right from the start, been in deep collusion with the Israelis and since World War II with the CIA. This latest step to close off Jordan to Palestinians -- to essentially put a seal on the jar which now contains the Palestinians ...

CIA TELLS ARAFAT WHAT HE HAS TO DO AND WHAT IT WILL DO FOR HIM
(June 12, 2001)
When the Director of the CIA is himself involved so extensively, goes on site half way around the world for a lengthy stay, and the situation is so critical he has to publicly acknowledge his role ...

CLOVIS MAKSOUD DID IT TWENTY YEARS AGO, APPEARING WITH SHIMON PERES
(June 11, 2001)
Those who know Raghida Dergham know what she is, and its certainly not a truly independent journalist. She's been an opportunist for a very long time, and she's used her sexuality to climb the ladder with backing from one influential Arab diplomat or royal along the way for a long time now.

CALAMITY AHEAD
(June 10, 2001)
"A whole nation is now huddled around one tribal bonfire to lament its bitter fate, mourn its dead and ignore the dead of the other side. As usual, it views itself as the victim, turns the enemy into Satan and waits, inactive and bravely unthinking, for the calamity that is about to befall it and for which it is in no small measure to blame."

WAR POSSIBLE WARNS TOP SAUDI
(June 10, 2001)
Normally one of the last places one would turn for truthfulness, integrity, and information would be the Saudi royal family. Currently headed by a former playboy who drank, gambled, and womanized his life away in Beirut and London -- before assuming the throne -- it is the Saudi "royal family which epitomizes the "client regime" realities that have so fractured, weakened, and prostrated the whole region once known as "the Arab world."

CHRISTIAN LEADERS: WRONG TIME, WRONG ADVICE, WRONG REASONS
(June 8, 2001)
"Be assured of our prayers for you and the President and all others in the Administration as you seek to forge a fair and just policy for the two peoples and three faiths who share a common religious heritage in the land we hold as holy."

THE CRUEL REGIMES OF ARABDOM
(June 7, 2001)
There are huge cultural gulfs between East and West, old world and new world. And of course the West is extraordinarily dominant these days not only it terms of financial and military might, but also in terms of cultural influence and "moral" standards.

SHARON'S RISE
(June 7, 2001)
"In reality the Zionist and Hashemite leaderships continue to plot how to control and repress the Palestinians in ever more crafty and ever more duplicitous ways."

ARAFAT 4 YEARS AGO - MER FLASHBACK
(June 6, 2001)
Last year MER first carried information about the increasingly close CIA, Shinbet, and Mossad connections with Yasser Arafat's "Palestinian Authority".

MUSLIM ORGS EMBARRASS THEMSELVES AT STATE DEPT
(June 5, 2001)
With much press fanfare (they just love to play to the cameras) leaders of half a dozen Muslim American groups held a press conference gathering across from the State Department today.

DESPITE THE LULL, WAR CLOUDS LOOM
(June 4, 2001)
Despite the lull, there are many ominous signs of impending major attacks against the occupied Palestinians about to take place; and there is a real possibility of regional war.

EGYPTIANS THREATEN WAR!
(June 4, 2001)
When the American Secretary of State cancels long-planned foreign travel and publicly warns of the "abyss" from which "there may no return" you can bet the situation behind-the-scenes is far more dangerous and explosive than is publicly realized.

SHARON'S HAWKS PLAN FOR WAR
(June 3, 2001)
Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor, reports on Israel's growing mood for full-scale hostilities in the aftermath of 17 deaths in a nightclub suicide bomb attack

24-HOURS AND COUNTING
(June 2, 2001)
"Americans should not travel to Gaza at the present time and those who live there should depart to a safer location when they can do so." U.S. Embassy, Israel

HATED RAJOUB GETS READY
(June 2, 2001)
With the days of Yasser Arafat maybe coming to an end one way or another, with Feisal Husseini passed from the scene, with the other Palestinian tough guys bottled up in Gaza, the frontrunner strong man to "control" the Palestinian people throughout the West Bank and Jerusalem appears to be Jibril Rajoub.

ARAFAT'S LEGACY
(June 2, 2001)
Yasser Arafat was hired, courted, and well-paid to control his own people and lead them, however much they tried to resist, to the Apartheid-style arrangement the Israelis always had in mind with the so-called "Oslo Peace Process".

ISRAELIS PLANNING BLITZKRIEG?
(June 1, 2001)
For a long time now we have been desperately warning about what the true Israeli intentions are. We have also been warning that the Palestinians are not at all prepared for these eventualities, neither with the terrible leadership provided by the "Palestinian Authority" nor for the world-wide information and public relations battle that accompanies all major developments in our world these days.




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