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."
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
Welcome to the big bad dangerous year of 2001.
ARAFAT RUSHES TO WASHINGTON
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
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
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
"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
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
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.
ISRAEL HEIGHTENS SIEGE OVER PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES
EXCESSIVE USE OF MILITARY FORCE AGAINST
UNARMED CIVILIANS CONTINUES
[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
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.