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Arafat rushes to Washington

January 2, 2001

"Signing a bad agreement under threat and coercion of an artificial deadline would be the essence of irresponsibility." Hanan Ashrawi Ramallah, Occupied Palestine

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. Essentially the "or else" threats to Yasser Arafat are now coming through big time and may finally come true. Arafat is being told either control your people, stop the violence, "end the conflict", sign the deal, or your regime is likely to be brought to an end. If you can't or won't do these things, what are you needed for? If Clinton is leaving, and if Barak is going to be replaced by Sharon, Arafat is being told that he too is dispensable...unless of course he continues to make himself indispensable. And we all know what that now means. But Arafat knows very well at this point that making himself indispensable to the Americans and Israelis may mean they are more than ever willing to sacrifice him to his own people, as they have done with others before. And so we may be witnessing not only the final hurrah of Bill Clinton -- at least before he becomes a talk-show host -- but the end of the Arafat Regime and the disengenous "Peace Process" as we have known it, plus of course the coming to power of the bloody Israeli thug, Ariel Sharon, who has not only masterminded his own rise to power but been the main architect of what has happened in the occupied territories as well as the kind of "peace process" that evolved because of it.

Welcome to the big bad dangerous year of 2001.


Arafat to U.S. as Netanya bomb hurts 54, Israel imposes sanctions on PA, VIPs barred for first time. Arafat visit a last-ditch peace effort

HA'ARETZ - E n g l i s h E d i t i o n - By Amos Harel, David Ratner, Mazal Mualem and Amit Ben-AroyaTuesday - January 2, 2001:

Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat prepared to head for Washington last night to the echo of yet another car bombing in central Israel.

The car bomb in downtown Netanya injured 54 people, one critically, but most lightly.

Palestinian officials announced Arafat's trip as a last-ditch search for a breakthrough before U.S. President Clinton leaves office. It followed a new phone call from Clinton putting pressure on Arafat to say 'yes' to his bridging proposal.

Arafat spokesman Nabil Aburedeneh said it would be a decisive visit at which the future of the peace process would be determined. Clinton will give Arafat the clarifications the latter has requested on details of the American proposal.

Israel, meanwhile, responded to yesterday's Netanya car bomb with a series of sanctions against the PA, including - for the first time since the violence broke out in September - restrictions on the movement of Palestinian VIPs. The VIPs will be barred from entering Israel and their movements will be restricted in parts of the territories under joint Israeli-Palestinian control.

The government also ordered the closure of Gaza international airport and the Allenby Bridge border crossing, and barred all goods other than humanitarian essentials such as food and medicine, from entering Palestinian territory. A plan to allow 16,000 Palestinian workers to enter Israel was also put on ice. Last the government essentially reversed all the steps it had taken over the last month to ease the closure on the PA.

Prime Minister Ehud Barak, speaking earlier to the IDF general staff, warned that if Arafat does not accept the American bridging proposal, the current violence is likely to escalate further and could lead to a regional conflict. If this happens, Israel would impose additional military and economic sanctions on the PA, he said.

In Netanya the explosion occurred at the corner of Dizengoff and Herzl Streets at about 7 P.M. Witnesses initially said they heard three separate explosions, but police believe all came from the same 10-kilogram bomb, placed in a stolen Suzuki Baleno. Police said the explosion was not the a suicide attack but the bomb apparently was set off by remote control. Witnesses said immediately after the bomb went off, they saw a car fleeing toward the West Bank.

However, police believe the bomber was in fact the one seriously injured person when the bomb was apparently detonated from close by. Police said that given the size of the bomb and the rush-hour streets, the low level of casualties was a miracle.

"There was a boom, boom and another boom," said a witness who was crying and gave his name only as David. "All the windows were blown out. It was terrifying."

"People are hysterical," another witness, who did not give her name, told Israel Radio. "Shop windows have been blown everywhere. People are crying. There is black smoke everywhere."

No one yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which coincided with the 36th anniversary of the founding of Arafat's Fatah movement. Though Israel is investigating this angle, there is as yet no evidence to show that the timing was anything but coincidence.

However, evidence obtained by the security services recently indicates that Fatah has been involved in other attacks inside the Green Line over the last few months, for the first time since 1993.

The other leading suspect is Islamic Jihad, which executed a similar attack in Hadera in November. The Shin Bet security service has recently had warnings of a planned Jihad attack in the center of the country, and the movement is known to be strong in northern Samaria, from whence the terrorists apparently came.

Following the explosion, police and ambulances immediately rushed to the site, where police began checking nearby parked cars for possible additional bombs while Magen David Adom crews treated the wounded. The one seriously injured victim was sent to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva.

Another 17 casualties were sent to Netanya's Laniado Hospital, all of whom were lightly injured, while 14 were sent to Hillel Yaffe Hospital in Hadera, of whom two were lightly to moderately injured and the rest lightly injured. Another two lightly injured people were sent to Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava. Most of the injuries were caused by either shrapnel or shock.

The bomb also caused heavy damage to parked cars and nearby stores and apartments.

Shortly afterward, Netanya residents rushed to the site for an impromptu demonstration. Demonstrators shouted "death to the Arabs!" and attacked Barak's government, while crying "Hooray for Bibi [Benjamin Netanyahu]!" Several right-wing leaders demanded that Barak break off talks with the Palestinians in response to the attack, as did Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau.

"The slogan that we negotiate as if there were no terror and vice versa has gone bankrupt," said Lau. "If there is a Palestinian leadership, it must take control of events, and if Arafat is not in charge, then he is also not someone with whom we can negotiate."

A spokesman for Barak called the attack a "very serious terrorist bombing."

"Israel will not be able to tolerate the wave of attacks of the last week or 10 days without continuing to act with determination against those who direct the terrorists and those who carry out the attacks," added Danny Yatom, a top Barak aide.

Communications Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said Israel should respond against Palestinian targets. "I think the time has come to stand up and say 'enough,'" he told Israel Radio. "In my opinion, the reaction has to be vigorous and immediate ... It has to be made clear to Yasser Arafat, whom I still see as responsible for all that is happening ... that there will be no more forbearance.




[Palestine Monitor - 2 January 2001]
The Israeli government has recently heightened the state of siege imposed over the Palestinian territories by sealing all exit and entry points into the West Bank and Gaza through the military closure of all land bridges and of the Palestinian Airport. The Gaza Strip has been divided into four areas separated by Israeli erected roadblocks and checkpoints. The north of Gaza, the central region, as well as Rafah and Khan Younis in the south have all been placed under closure, not allowing passage of peoples or goods between each of these areas.

Every major town and village in the West Bank has also been placed under complete closure and Israeli tanks have recently been positioned threateningly close to the borders of Palestinian controlled areas. The effects of closure upon the Palestinian population have been disastrous. The health care system in Palestine is now completely paralyzed, bringing the national vaccination program to near collapse.

In the West Bank town of Ramallah yesterday the Palestinian Red Crescent Society's Headquarters was attacked with automatic machine gun fire and other heavy ammunition shot from Pisgot settlement. Five first aid vehicles were destroyed, including an ambulance as well as a vehicle used to transport deaf children. The water reservoir on top of the building was also destroyed.

While the Israeli military and government continue to claim that their soldiers only fire live ammunition at civilians when they are endangered, the story of Jadallah al-Jabari, a Palestinian man from Hebron, proves otherwise. Yesterday, Al-Jabari, a 50 year-old sanitation worker for the city, approached an Israeli soldier on foot at a barrier of concrete blocks. After the soldiers asked the man where he was going, an Israeli soldier shot Al-Jabari in the foot. An Associated Press cameraman was present and filmed Al-Jabari whose foot had been severed from his leg, leaving it hanging by sinew and flesh. Eyewitnesses attest that the soldiers delayed the call for a medic for fifteen minutes after the man had been shot while he lay in the street bleeding.

We, members of Palestinian civil society are appalled at the Israeli army's use of excessive force against Palestinian civilians. We urgently appeal to the international community to insist that Israel lift the siege on Palestinian villages and towns and cease attacks on unarmed civilians. We add our voice to the widespread call for international protection to prevent further escalation of the situation.

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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