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August 29, 2001


"They don't even talk about Arafat any more... There's only one joke going the rounds about him. Arafat is at Camp David and the Israelis are demanding that he 'ends the violence'. And Arafat replies: 'I can't end the violence until I can stop my lips from trembling.'" Arafat's growing senility is a source of deepening concern....

"Everywhere in Gaza, you notice the signs of collapse, of incipient anarchy."

"...we forget that this is the only colonial project still in existence – the French word for settlers, colons, is more accurate – and this battle between Palestinians and Israelis is the world's last colonial war. As long as the Israelis can puff it up as a 'war against terror', they'll be able to conceal this."

MID-EAST REALITIES - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 8/29/01: Gaza is the largest prison in the world. Most of its one million plus inhabitants, in a sense inmates, have never been let out. Whether the term be "ghetto" or "concentration camp" or just "prison", the historical parallels are all too damning. And now that the neo-apartheid realities of Israel's "military occupation" are finally exposed -- disguised by the gullible and complicitous corporate media as "the peace process" in years past -- an expanding racial, religious, and tribal conflict fueled by hate, fear, and revenge lies ahead. That is what happens when you subject a people to imprisonment, to brutality, to lawlessness, to savagery, and to international duplicity, for generations; as has been done to the Arab people of Palestine.

It's already not safe, soon it may not be possible, for concerned Americans and Europeans to go to Gaza to really see for themselves. Fortunately exceptionally courageous and talented journalists like Robert Fisk are making the trip for us all and brilliantly presenting the horrifying results to us all.

Make sure to read this article slowly and carefully. Let the images and the insights seep into rather than bounce off of your consciousness...and your conscience. Let the realities of what is happening in our time haunt your soul; for we are all now witness to and participants in a present, with tragic and deep roots in the past, that is creating a possibly cataclysmic future yet to come.

By Robert Fisk

In his 25 years as a foreign correspondent, Robert Fisk has reported from many of the world's worst trouble-spots. Few have filled him with such foreboding as Gaza, where he recently spent several weeks. These are his impressions of a region convulsed by hatred

[The Independent, UK, 29 August 2001]: There wasn't a scrap of Inas Abu Zein left. She was only seven, and the martyrs posters already going up around Khan Younis show her to have been a small, delicate-featured little girl. But there wasn't a trace of her amid the fragments of corrugated iron and plastic, not in the soft brown Gaza sand. Inas had been atomised, turned to dust in a millisecond. "I will show you where the missile came from," a whey-faced boy told me, pointing far across the sand to where a clutch of hovels – old concrete huts with rag windows and flapping, sand-caked washing – stood near the horizon. "The Israelis fired from behind those houses. It was a tank."

Was it so? I said that to myself, not as a question but as another of those little remarks you find yourself making in Gaza. Lie? Truth? Do they matter when a war has grown so brutal, so cruel as this? Inas's father Sulieman died with her. So did his six-year-old son, also named Sulieman. I don't think I've come across a war in which children are killed so quickly. If it's not an Israeli baby in a Palestinian sniper's crosshairs, it's two pesky Palestinian kids stupid enough to stand outside a Hamas office when the Israelis have chosen to blow the place away, or schoolkids who decide to take an early afternoon pizza, or Inas and Sulieman junior who got in the way or – if Hamas was lying and the Israelis are telling the truth – were turned to wet dust by their father's bomb.

The Palestinian Authority had made a clean sweep of the Abu Zeins' back yard. If he was making a bomb, it had disappeared, like Inas. I poked around amid the desert trash. There were some pulverised bits of plastic roofing, more corrugated metal. The explosion, in the late evening, must have occurred beneath the plastic. How could an Israeli missile fly over the other huts, turn the corner outside the Abu Zeins' back yard, pass over the yard walls and then dip below the plastic roof to blow the family apart? But who would make a bomb with his two tiny children standing next to him? Or maybe there was a bomb hidden at the back of the yard and Inas or Sulieman junior touched it.

A little crowd had gathered round us, unsmiling, suspicious. It's not so easy now to investigate these deaths. "I'm Norwegian, but Palestinians have started to look at me in the street and talk about me as if I'm an American," a smiling Norwegian lady aid worker told me. "They blame the Americans for what the Israelis do. And now they blame the Europeans because we do nothing to help them." Which is exactly what happened to foreigners in Lebanon 15 years ago. The Norwegian lady was right. I was watched as I walked through the street in Gaza City, scrutinised by small crowds in Rafah. At Kalandia – just outside Jerusalem, on the road to Ramallah – a Palestinian boy of perhaps 12 looked at my car's Israeli registration plates, picked up an iron bar and smashed it as hard as he could on to the back mudguard. Two men in a truck – we were all waiting at one of Israel's humiliating checkpoints – jeered at me.

Everywhere in Gaza, you notice the signs of collapse, of incipient anarchy. The murals used to show Yasser Arafat's beaming, ugly mug and pictures of the Al Aqsa mosque. Now they are filled with exploding buses and dead children and Israeli soldiers on their backs with blood squirting from their heads. "They don't even talk about Arafat any more," a Palestinian café owner says to me as three horse-drawn water carts clop lazily past us. "There's only one joke going the rounds about him. Arafat is at Camp David and the Israelis are demanding that he 'ends the violence'. And Arafat replies: 'I can't end the violence until I can stop my lips from trembling.'"

Arafat's growing senility is a source of deepening concern. Not far from Hebron, I meet a prominent Palestinian figure, important enough to require anonymity in this context, who shakes his head in despair. "What can Arafat do now? His marriage is in bits – he's only seen his wife for three minutes in the past 10 months. His child needs a father and he's not there. And he's allowing the whole place to tribalise and disintegrate. There is complete disintegration here."

It's true. On the road south of Nablus, a yellow Palestinian taxi is hit by a stone – apparently thrown by an Israeli driver in an oncoming car, or that's what the cops thought – and careers off the road. Its driver, Kemal Mosalem, is killed outright. But when his body arrives at the Rafidiye hospital, his family apparently believe he has been killed by a rival Palestinian clan led by Ali Frej. The two families have been feuding over control of the local branch of Fatah (the dominant faction of the PLO). The Frej family then ambush the grieving Mosalem family with Kalashnikov rifles. Among the four Palestinian dead are Ali Frej and a Fatah official who had been part of Jibril Rajoub's "preventative security" outfit. Six others are wounded. These are Arafat's people. They are killing each other. And Arafat remains silent.

Yet here's the thing. Ariel Sharon keeps saying that Arafat is a murderer, a super-terrorist, the leader of "international terror", linked to Osama bin Laden, a man who gives orders for the murder of kids in pizza parlours. And the Israeli public are buying this, their journalists front-paging it, their people repeating it over and over. Talking to Israelis – in taxis, on aeroplanes, in cafés – I keep hearing the same stuff. Terror, murder, filth. Like a cassette. Where have I heard this before?

In Gaza, I cannot fail to remember Beirut in 1982, when Sharon's invading army had surrounded the PLO. Gaza now is a miniature Beirut. Under Israeli siege, struck by F-16s and tank fire and gunboats, starved and often powerless – there are now six-hour electricity cuts a day – it's as if Arafat and Sharon are replaying their bloody days in Lebanon. And Sharon used to call Arafat a mass murderer back then. It's important not to become obsessed during wars. But Sharon's words were like a ghost to me. Every morning in these past few weeks, I would pick up the Jerusalem Post. And there on the front page, as usual, would be another Sharon diatribe. PLO murderers, Palestinian Authority terror. Murderous terrorists.

Each day, I travel to the scene of new Israeli incursions. The Israelis bomb Palestinian police stations, Palestinian security annexes, Palestinian police positions. Why the police? I drive round the Gaza Strip with an old friend from the Beirut war, a European aid worker who still bears the webbed scar of a bullet in his arm and stomach – the round punctured his spleen and liver. "Now if you look to your right, Bob, there's the police station that the Israelis bombed two weeks ago," he says. There's a mass of burned-out rooms and a crumpled office. "And just round the corner here is the police post the Israelis hit last week." More trashed buildings. "And down that road you can just see the Palestinian offices that were hit in July." After the early raids, the Palestinians would do a quick rebuilding and repainting job. Now they no longer bother. But how can Arafat "arrest the murderers" if the Israelis are going to destroy all his police stations?

There was a story told to me by one of the men investigating Sharon's responsibility for the Sabra and Chatila massacre, that the then Israeli defence minister – before he sent his Phalangist allies into the Sabra and Chatila camps – announced that Palestinian "terrorists" had murdered the Phalangists' newly assassinated leader, president-elect Bashir Gemayel. Sharon was to say later that he never dreamed the Phalange would massacre the Palestinians. But how could he say that if he had claimed earlier that the Palestinians killed the leader of the Phalange? In reality, no Palestinians were involved. It might seem odd in this new war to be dwelling on that earlier blood-letting. But I was fascinated by the language. Murderers, terrorists. That's what Sharon said then. And that's what he says now. Did he really make that statement in 1982? I began to work the phone from Jerusalem, calling up Associated Press bureaux that might still have their files from 19 years ago. He would have made that speech – if indeed he used those words – some time on 15 September.

One Sunday afternoon, my phone rings in Jerusalem. It's from an American Jewish man whom I met in Jaffa Street after the Hamas suicide bomber blew himself and 15 Israeli civilians to pieces on 9 August. An Israeli woman had been screaming abuse at me – foreign journalists are being insulted by both sides with ever more violent language – and this man suddenly intervenes to protect me. He's smiling and cheerful – courageous might be the right word after the atrocity that had just been committed – and we exchange phone numbers. Now on the phone, he says he's taking the El Al night flight back home to New York with his wife. Would I like to drop by for tea before he goes?

He turns out to have a luxurious apartment next to the King David Hotel and I notice, when I read his name on the outside security buzzer, that he's a rabbi. He's angry because a neighbour has just let down a friend's car tyres in the underground parking lot and he's saying how he felt like smashing the windows of the neighbour's car. His wife, bringing me tea and feeding me cookies, says that her husband – again, he should remain anonymous – gets angry very quickly. There's a kind of gentleness about them both – how easy it is to spot couples who are still in love – that is appealing. But when the rabbi starts to talk about the Palestinians, his voice begins to echo through the apartment. He says several times that Sharon is a good friend of his, a fine man, who's been to visit him in his New York office.

"What we should do is go into those vermin pits and take out the terrorists and murderers. Vermin pits, yes, I said vermin, animals. I tell you what we should do. If one stone is lobbed from a refugee camp, we should bring the bulldozers and tear down the first 20 houses close to the road. If there's another stone, another 20 houses. They'd soon learn not to throw stones. Look, I tell you this. Stones are lethal. If you throw a stone at me, I'll shoot you. I have the right to shoot you."

Now, the rabbi is a generous man. He'd been in Israel to donate a vastly important – and, I have no doubt, vastly expensive – medical centre to the country. He was well-read. And I liked the fact that, unlike too many Israelis and Palestinians who put on a "we-only-want-peace" routine to hide more savage thoughts, he at least spoke his mind. But this was getting out of hand. Why should I throw a stone at the rabbi? He shouted again. "If you throw a stone at me, I will shoot you." But if you throw a stone at me, I won't shoot you, I said. Because I have the right not to shoot you. He frowned. "Then I'd say you're out of your mind."

I was driving home when it suddenly hit me. The Old and New Testaments had just collided. The rabbi's dad had taught him about an eye for an eye – or 20 homes for a stone, in this case – whereas my dad had taught me about turning the other cheek. Judaism and Christianity had collided. So was it any surprise that Judaism and Islam were colliding? For despite all the talk of Christians and Jews being "people of the Book", Muslims are beginning to express ever harsher views of Jews. The sickening Hamas references to Jews as "the sons of pigs and monkeys" are echoed by Israelis who talk of Palestinians as cockroaches, who tell you – as my friend the rabbi did to me – that Islam is a warrior religion, a religion that does not value human life. And I recalled several times the Jewish settler who told me back in 1993 – in Gaza, just before the Oslo accords were signed – that "we do not recognise their Koran as a valid document".

Now it's my turn to get angry. I walk out of the Independent's office and home in the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Tor to find my car surrounded by glass. The driver's window has been smashed, the radio torn out. It is plastered with "TV" stickers, in the hope that Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers will not open fire. Abu Tor is mostly Arab although the Independent's house is right on the old green line, Arabs to the right of the front door, mostly Jews to the left. I drive down to the Hertz rental agency, sitting on piles of glass. The girl tells me that to avail of Hertz's insurance, I have to report the robbery to the police. She tells me to go to the Russian Compound.

I know a bit about the Russian Compound from Amnesty's reports. This is where most of the Israeli torture goes on, the infamous, and occasionally deadly, "shaking" of suspected Palestinian "terrorists". It should be an interesting trip. The moment I park my car, a loudspeaker shrieks at me in Hebrew. A cop tells me that for security reasons I have to park round the corner. No trouble with that. I watch two big police vans with sealed windows pass through the security barrier. I park and return to the door. "Where was your car robbed?" I was asked. Just outside the office, in Abu Tor, I replied. The policewoman shrugged. "Well, what do you expect?" she asked. I understood what she meant. Abu Tor is mostly Arab, Palestinian. And Arabs rob, don't they, they steal car radios as well as blow up pizzerias. I waited for an hour. There was no cop to make out a report, although there were more than 200 surrounding Orient House, half a mile away across the city.

I spent three days watching the pathetic demonstrations that followed Israel's seizure of the PLO offices. Hanan Ashrawi, the senior PLO spokeswoman and politician, turned up to demand the right to enter. She was refused. But she came a day late, when most of the TV cameras had gone. Always late, the Palestinians.

But even when the cameras were there, it didn't stop the border police turning on several Palestinian youths. They were beaten in front of the cameras, groined and punched and head-locked by six cops. One was laid in a van where he was held down so that another policemen could stamp on his testicles. A young security man couldn't take his eyes off this vile scene, bending down low, right in front of me, to see where the other cop's boot was landing between the youth's thighs. How could they do this in front of the cameras? I kept asking myself. And then the dark thought occurred to me: that the police want the cameras to film this, that they want the Palestinians to see what happens to them when they oppose Israel, when they demonstrate, when they object – as one boy did – by holding up a paper Palestinian flag.

I think it's the psychological shock of violence that always hits first. The sudden realisation that human beings are going to hurt each other. It afflicts everyone in this conflict. I had been attending the funeral of a Hamas man in Tulkarem, in the north of the occupied West Bank, and was returning to my taxi, which was parked on the Israeli side of the line. On the map of the West Bank and Gaza – a broken window of settler roads and frontiers – Area A is supposed to be Palestinian-controlled and Area C Israeli-controlled. When I'd crossed from Area C to Area A in the morning, the road was a litter of garbage and stones. But when I returned, there was a battle in progress, kids throwing stones at Israeli positions, rubber-coated steel bullets thwacking back through the trees, burning tyres.

I was tired and hungry and impatient to return to Jerusalem. So I grabbed the boys beside the burning tyres and told them I was a journalist, that I had to cross back through the line. I found two more sinister figures lurking in a wrecked bus shelter. I told them the same. Then I walked between the burning tyres towards the unseen Israelis, slowly, almost a dawdle. Then a stone landed at my feet. Just a very small stone, but it landed with a nasty little crack. Then, when I turned round, another hissed past my face. One of the Palestinian boys began to shriek with laughter. I kept walking slowly and realised that I would have physically to dodge each well-aimed stone calmly, as if it was perfectly normal for an Independent correspondent to be stoned by Palestinians on a hot summer's afternoon. The road ran parallel with Area A now, and a teenager with a sling-shot came crashing through the trees – I could hear the whir of the rope. The stone came towards me so fast that I couldn't duck, but it missed me by about a foot and smashed into the iron wall of an Israeli factory. The crash made me look around. I was in the middle of an abandoned garden shop, surrounded by pots and cement eagles and deer and tree-holders. One of the eagles had lost its head. Then three more stones, maybe 8in long. I realised what had happened, of course. The Palestinians knew I was a foreign journalist – I had shown them my Lebanese press card. But the moment I crossed the line, I had become an Israeli. The moment they could no longer distinguish my face, they no longer cared. I was an Israeli because I was on the Israeli side of the line. And I wonder what my friend the rabbi would have done.

Back in Jerusalem, I work the phone again, trying to track down that elusive quotation. If you call people animals, terrorists, vermin, can you be surprised when they behave so violently? Is it any wonder that Arafat is himself tribalising the garbage tips he still controls, playing the Musris and Nabulsis of Nablus off against each other, backing the Shakars of Nablus and the Shawars of Gaza, placating Hamas or Islamic Jihad by saying nothing about their organisations, merely issuing routine condemnation of suicide bombings, and by mouthing the old revolutionary rhetoric I used to hear in Lebanon 20 years ago? Some say he is now frightened of the religious men, fearful of the contrast between the ideology of the suicide bomber and the tired, inept, corrupt old men who surround him. I found one of them in an office, swigging from a beer bottle.

And I think of Lebanon again, of the disintegration of armies. And I realise, each time I see their checkpoints and their beatings, that the Israeli army is suffering its own disintegration; you notice it everywhere, the sullen, violent soldiers for whom stone-throwers are worthy of execution, the indiscipline of the police, the casual acceptance of murder squads and death-by-missile.

On the way to Jenin, we are stopped by Israeli border guards. On the sweaty road, we call the Israeli army press office for permission to pass. There's a small Jewish settlement up the hill, all red roofs and luscious foliage. It's strange how naturally we treat these little land-thefts now. By calling them settlements and their inhabitants "settlers", we all help to perpetuate a lie, that these people are in the Old West tradition, making the badlands bloom, ready to fight off the natives. And we forget that this is the only colonial project still in existence – the French word for settlers, colons, is more accurate – and this battle between Palestinians and Israelis is the world's last colonial war. As long as the Israelis can puff it up as a "war against terror", they'll be able to conceal this. But we should be using the word "colony". Just as the French did before they were driven out of Algeria.

Then the border guards get bored. One of them switches on the Jeep's loudspeaker and hooks the mike to his mobile phone and begins playing the music "hold" button. Three lines of the 1812 Overture, three lines of Beethoven's Fifth, three lines of the Water Music, all squawking out at high decibels, distorted and high-pitched, spilling its hi-tech destruction of the world's greatest musicians over the sweltering road with its lizards and bushes and garbage.

It's a relief to find sanity. On a flight into Tel Aviv I find myself sitting next to an Israeli paratroop officer. I give him my own gloomy assessment – an "intifada" that will go on until 2004. He says it will last well into 2006. "And in the end, we'll be back on the '67 border and give them East Jerusalem as their capital," he says. And then he adds: "But given the way we're treating them, I'd be surprised if they'd settle for that." I ask a Palestinian in Rafah what he thinks. "Two thousand and five, 2006, what difference does it make? But I tell you one thing. After this 'intifada' is over, there will be a revolt against Arafat. How did he ever allow this to happen? How did he ever think he could win?"

And again I remember Beirut. After Arafat and the PLO left Lebanon in 1982, a rebellion started among his own guerrillas. A man called Abu Moussa turned Palestinian against Palestinian, helping to lay siege to the PLO when Arafat briefly returned to the Lebanese city of Tripoli. The Syrians chose Abu Moussa as mutineer – he still lives in Damascus – and so I find myself asking who is the new Abu Moussa? Have the Israelis chosen him yet?

I am driving again through Gaza. Beside the road, a group of middle-aged men are sitting under a green awning; some have their heads in their hands, others are just looking at the sand. They are mourning Mohamed Abu Arrar, shot in the head by an Israeli soldier while throwing stones. He was just 13.

Every wall has become a mosaic of posters: dead youths, dead old men, dead children, dead women, dead suicide bombers; usually they have a coloured photograph of the Al Aqsa mosque behind their heads, a building some of them will never have seen.

Just outside Khan Younis, the Israelis have bulldozed acres of citrus groves and houses – for "security" reasons, of course, since there is a Jewish settlement in the distance – and left yet another bit of "Palestine" looking like the moon. "Well, they say it's for security of course," a European official tells me. "But I have a question. There were three houses standing over there, one of them was finished and lived in, the other two were still just walls and roofs. The Israelis said they could be used for ambushes. So a bulldozer comes and totally demolishes the completed home, and then just destroys the staircase of the two unfinished houses. Now, how can that be for 'security'?"

Down at Rafah, I come across the truly surreal. A middle-aged man steps out of a tent right on the border – the Egyptian flag behind him almost touching the Israeli flag – and asks me if I would like to see the ruins of his toy shop. And there it is, right beside the tent, a tumble of concrete blocks, model telephones, lampshades, clocks, toy helicopters and one large outsize till. "The Israelis destroyed it in May and I stayed till the very last moment, running into that alleyway when the tanks arrived," he says. Mohamed al-Shaer, it turns out, is a Palestinian with an Egyptian passport. "I've got one house over there behind the palm tree," he says, pointing across the Israeli frontier wall. "And I'm here to guard this property." He's allowed to pass back and forth like other dual-citizen Rafah residents because of a 1906 agreement between the Ottoman Empire and Britain that he proceeds to explain in complex and unending detail. Behind him, children are flying kites and – each time a kite floats over the frontier wire – an Israeli soldier fires a shot. It cracks across the muck and sand and the children shout with pleasure. "Cra-crack", it goes again. "They always shoot at the kites or the kids," Mohamed al-Shaer says. He learnt his English as a computer programmer in Cairo and explains fluently that the real reason he stays is that he has a brother whom he distrusts, that the brother lives on the Palestinian side of Rafah and might re-register the land on which the shop was built as his own if Mohamed returned to Egypt. Every night, Palestinians shoot from these streets at the Israelis – which is why the Israelis destroyed Mohamed al-Shaer's shop. "These were the bullet holes from last night," he says, pointing at three fist-sized cavities in the wall of the nearest building. "I could hear the bullets going over my tent." I wonder how this little cameo can be written: a Palestinian at war with his own brother, sitting in a tent next to a demolished toy shop watching the Israelis shooting at kites.

I call up an old friend, an American Jewish woman with a talent for going through archives. I give her the date that is still going through my head, 15 September 1982, the last hours for up to 2,000 Palestinians who were about to be murdered in the Sabra and Chatila camps in Beirut. She comes back on the line the same night. "Turn your fax on," Shifra says. "You're going to want to read this." The paper starts to crinkle out of the machine. An AP report of 15 September 1982. "Defence Minister Ariel Sharon, in a statement, tied the killing [of the Phalangist leader Gemayel] to the PLO, saying that "it symbolises the terrorist murderousness of the PLO terrorist organisations and their supporters".

A few hours later, Sharon sent the Phalange into the camps. Reading that fax again and again, I felt a chill come over me. There are Israelis today who feel as much rage towards the Palestinians as the Phalange felt 19 years ago. And these are the same words I am hearing today, from the same man, about the same people. Why?

August 2001


(August 31, 2001)
It's not likely this is the end of it, but indications are that the Arafat crowd -- as of the moment still in the pay of the U.S., Israel, and the despicable Arab "client regimes" -- has found a way to back away from the badly needed ideological confrontation, with the help of non other than that slimmy man for all seasons who never misses an opportunity to interject himself Jesse Jackson.

(August 31, 2001)
Hanan Ashrawi is no real hero, and she's made some terrible hard-to-forgive political mistakes in the "peace process" years in her search for the limelight and VIP status.

(August 31, 2001)
A pamphlet distributed at the United Nations anti-racism conference in South Africa equating the Star of David with a swastika has prompted the UN human rights commissioner, Mary Robinson, to declare at an official dinner: "I am a Jew".

(August 30, 2001)
Talk about humiliation. When the U.N.'s top human rights official was in occupied Palestine last year her car was shot at by Israeli settlers -- the Israeli army doing nothing to stop them. Now we learn that the very same Mary Robinson is herself Jewish and has been using her position to head off the urgently needed world censorship of Israel for its racist and apartheid-like policies.

(August 30, 2001)
Aging guerrilla leader Carlos the Jackal called from his French jail cell Wednesday for worldwide attacks on Israel and the United States in support of the Palestinian uprising.

(August 29, 2001)
Gaza is the largest prison in the world. Most of its one million plus inhabitants, in a sense inmates, have never been let out. Whether the term be "ghetto" or "concentration camp" or just "prison", the historical parallels are all too damning.

(August 29, 2001)
What we should all be thinking when the U.S. State Department spokesman gets in front of the cameras is -- "You've Got To Be Kidding!" Instead, the American government with its super sophisticated PR apparatus dishes it out. The gullible, or should we say complicitous, corporate media then broadcasts it -- not just CNN, also the rest of the networks along with PBS followed up by the big daily newspapers and newsweeklies --all lemming-like.

(August 28, 2001)
The American President and Vice-President both are giving public expressions of support to the Israelis; while the American CIA, military and Congress make Israeli policies possible with a continual flow of money, guns, and information.

(August 27, 2001)
The Israelis are clearly planning to totally crush the Palestinians -- Minister Uzi Landau is publicly saying as much -- probably thinking they can buy themselves still more years to consolidate their grip on the occupied territories and probably scheming for the opportunity to push as many Palestinians as they can across the Jordan and into a Hashemite Kingdom that will eventually, sooner or later, implode into a Palestinian State.

(August 26, 2001)
If we had an award for Middle East Journalist of the year, the Israeli writer Amira Hass would be very high on that list. A few years ago, long before it became politically correct to term Israeli policies "apartheid like", especially in Jewish and American circles, Amira Hass was doing just that in her writing and speaking.

(August 26, 2001)
The terribly weak, confused, and co-opted Arab regimes, Arafat's included, are miserably losing the "propaganda war". Sure, the Israelis have suffered in some quarters in some ways; but nothing compared to the Palestinians.

(August 25, 2001)
About 400 fanatical "settlers" have forced their way into homes in the middle of Hebron, a city of 120,000 Arabs. About 6000 fanatical "settlers" contnue to occupy about 35% of the Gaza Strip, amidst more than 1 million Palestinians.

(August 25, 2001)
If you want to understand what the Israelis are doing, and why, you have to understand the ideological underpinnings of what is called "Revisionist Zionism". This article was published many years ago in The Washington Post by Mark Bruzonsky, today the Publisher of MER.

(August 24, 2001)
If adjusted for differing population sizes, these would be the dead and casualties figures if a foreign military power occupied the United States and did to Americans what Israel, with U.S. money and arms, is doing to the Palestinians. And that's just in the past year or so.

(August 24, 2001)
As usual there is no serious introspection and self-criticism here. Arab and Palestinian Americans have failed miserably over a very long period of time to even establish viable organizations and publications. Moreover they have no lobbying and professional presence even worth discussion in the crucial capital of Washington, DC, even today.

(August 23, 2001)
It didn't begin this way. A few generations ago Arabs and Jews lived together in the same neighborhoods of the once Holy Land. In the 40's the famous Arab mayor of Haifa Hassan Shukri's only son married a Jewish woman.

(August 23, 2001)
Two rather insightful articles follow about how confused and insecure many Israelis have become, even though this often comes across to others as heightened arrogance and self-centeredness. In the first from Ha'aretz some Israelis are hedging their bets and wondering just what the future holds. There is a deep down awareness, not quite conscious for many, that what they are doing to the Palestinians could possibly in the future backfire in an orgy of hatred and recriminations far beyond today's situation.

(August 21, 2001)
Even as the U.N. Security Council gathered to demonstrate once again how badly it has been neutered and cast aside when it comes to the Middle East, the Israelis are further unleashing their basic policy of killing, destroying, repressing. General Barak, the previous PM, is busy taking credit for having "exposed" the Palestinians and "fathered" the concept of "unilateral separation" (i.e., apartheid forever).

(August 20, 2001)
Today's United Nations is pretty much an "appendage of the (U.S.) State Department". And that's not our phrase, it's one used by a senior U.N. official not that long ago in one of those quiet unpublicized off-the-record Washington discussions.

(August 20, 2001)
Professors Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, Tanya Reinhart -- Jewish American, Palestinian American, and Israeli -- all have explained this month why the "Peace Process" was a fraud, a deception, a conspiracy, from the start.

(August 18, 2001)
Everything stops for tea in Britain, or so they say. So when Angie Zelter and her fellow foreign protesters found their way from Palestinian-ruled Bethlehem to Jerusalem blocked by Israeli soldiers and police on Saturday, Zelter ever so politely ventured a few words of advice.

(August 18, 2001)
In a sense, a very important sense, the "Suicide Bombers" now so much in the news should have stamped on them "Made in Israel, Encouraged by USA". There were few if any "Suicide Bombers" just a few years ago. The phenomena first arose out of Israel's destructive invasion of Lebanon in and before 1982, then the occupation of about 10% of that country which only ended last year.

(August 17, 2001)
Months ago now the relatively new group of Muslim "client organizations" headquartered in Washington repeatedly promised at one press conference after another a wave of civil disobedience throughout the U.S. in view of what Israel and the U.S. are doing to the Palestinians.

(August 17, 2001)
The pathetically weak and terribly mislead Arab and Muslim groups in the US aren't doing any protesting worth mentioning about this or anything else; but thousands of South Africans are doing the work for everyone...and "internationals" are on the way.

(August 16, 2001)
A few weeks ago I said that the struggle of Palestinians today is how not to become a bomb and that the amazing thing is not the occurrence of the suicide bombing, rather the rarity of them.

(August 16, 2001)
Beneath that thick Israeli arrogance, many Israelis are really far more confused, and far more fearful, than they are going to admit. Theirs' is a complicated psychology especially as the scars of the Holocaust remain deeply buried and only occasionally visible.

(August 15, 2001)
While the Israeli Army surrounds Bethlehem and many of the "autonomous Palestinian population centers" created through the Apartheid-style "peace process", it is American weapons and money that make the brutal military occupation possible.

(August 14, 2001)
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

(August 14, 2001)
Gee..isn't this interesting. With the legitimacy of the Jewish State of Israel -- i.e. Zionism -- about to be challenged by much of the world in Durban; and with the "peace process" itself about to be finally condemned as a "new form of apartheid" -- just as so many of the independent experts have been saying for years now -- the Israelis are embarking on a major international public relations campaign whose top dogs are none other than soft barkers Shimon Peres and Yossi Beilin, chief architects and salesmen of the very same.

(August 14, 2001)
The Israelis are preparing everyone psychologically for more. Rather than everything at once, Sharon's tactics are a war version of "triangulation" which has become so famous in American political infighting. In this way he gets to be called "restrained" by many, creates the climate of confusion and anticipation that he wishes, uses Peres and Eliezer to confuse world opinion and even some of the more gullible Arab "leaders", and craftily prepares for that day when the tanks will roll in and roll over...and not just leave after a few hours of death and destruction.

(August 13, 2001)
The Israelis have been trying for years now to "reconfigure" the Middle East to their further advantage. That's really what the war for Lebanon that erupted most fiercely in 1982 was all about; and its what the various responses to the Intifada have always been about as well -- most especially the disengenous "peace process" which has now worse than collapsed.

(August 13, 2001)
"His was not an act of 'mindless terror', the words Israeli spokesmen use. He was the logical product of a people who have been crushed, dispossessed, tortured and killed in terrible numbers." Fisk on the 'Suicide Bomber'

(August 12, 2001)
Well we weren't expecting United Nations officials to heed our advice about Durban and get on with things, with or without the constantly threatening and vetoing Americans (see Part 1 published yesterday). In recent years some of their colleagues at the very highest levels of today's U.N. have in fact resigned in moral disgust -- and even said so in public.

(August 12, 2001)
It's not likely to happen -- Egypt's Third Army moving into Sinai for the first time since 1973 -- but it could. And in the Middle East there are historical precedents that this is sometimes the way big wars start with an initial bombardment of threats, bluffs, feints, and then the confusion takes on a life of its own.

(August 11, 2001)
"Israeli riot police on horseback yesterday charged into protesters sitting outside Orient House, the barricaded mansion that serves as an unofficial Palestinian capital, reopening the battle for Jerusalem. The occupation of Orient House, headquarters of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation in Jerusalem, by the Israeli army is one of the biggest acts of aggrandisement since the intifada began 11 months ago."

(August 10, 2001)
Conclusion first: Let the Americans and the Israelis stay home. So be it. There's been enough blackmail and bribery and vetoing for such a very long time now. The Americans and the Israelis have been two against the whole world so many times when it comes to the international community of nations. It was just a few years ago that the U.S. single-handedly black-balled Boutros Ghali and sent him packing.

(August 10, 2001)
Ariel Sharon has a terrible history of brutality and murder, and indeed by the usual definitions these days he is at the very least indictable as a war criminal. Even so, especially now in his new role as Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon is an extraordinarily crafty and sophisticated strategist as well as tactician.

(August 10, 2001)
They never ever let Yasser Arafat come to Jerusalem. And Arafat missed his moment on the day of Feisal Husseini's burial earlier this summer when he could have, and should have, called their bluff. Now the Israelis, commanded by General Sharon, have done what they have been planning to do for some time, using the excuse of yesterday's terror bombing on Jaffa Road -- they have closed Orient House, the very symbol of things Palestinian in East Jerusalem, as well as many other organizations associated with the PA.

(August 9, 2001)
NEWSFLASH -- 8/09/2001, 9:30pm -- For first time Israel has closed down Orient House in Jerusalem along with nine other offices associated with the Palestinian Authority

(August 9, 2001)
Tonight at 8pm (ET) on the History Channel part of the story about the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty on 8 June 1967 is going to be told. But from preliminary indications, just part, and not necessarily the most important historical parts which really involve top secret intrigue at the highest levels of the CIA, NSA, and White House complete with super secrets of state the Americans continue to want to keep out of sight out of mind.

(August 9, 2001)
The real questions -- and answers -- have been avoided for a very long time by the American Government, and in this case also by the "free and independent" American media. And from the preliminary indications, tonight's History Channel documentary about the USS Liberty doesn't actually answer the key questions (as it could) nor even deal with the key subject of the crucial role of the CIA (as it should).

(September 9, 2001)
It was just a few years ago that in all likelihood the Mossad and CIA helped the Turk's capture Kurdish Leader Abdullah Ocalan after first pushing him out of exile in Syria, the Moscow, then Greece, and then grabbing him in Nairobi. It was three years ago last month that MER first published an article about the great importance of the new military alliance that has developed between Israel and Turkey -- "New U.S./Turkey/Israel Alliance Circumvents and Bottles Up The Arabs." And it was two years ago that the prolific and courageous British journalist, Robert Fisk, first gave us some of the details behind the new strategic military relation Turkey actually courted with Israel.

(August 8, 2001)
The Israelis are controlling, repressing, dispossessing, and assassinating the Palestinians not on their own. They are doing so with the constant and considerable help of American arms manufacturers, the CIA, and of course the U.S. Congress (which of course is supposed to represent the will of the American people) which constantly appropriates billions yearly for Israel and sanctions (or the threat thereof) against Israel's foes

(August 7, 2001)
Israeli security forces have completely shut down access in and out of five large Palestinian towns following the killing of a pregnant Jewish settler, Israeli public radio said Monday, quoting security officials. The army sealed off the West Banks towns of Nablus, Tulkarem, Jericho, Ramallah and Qalqilya, the radio said, adding that it had partially closed the towns of Hebron, Bethlehem and Jenin.

(August 4, 2001)
Like in the movie LION OF THE DESERT, those who profess sympathy and understanding can often cause the most harm. The well-meaning Lieutenant Colonel who befriends Omar Muhktar, lures him into deceptive "peace negotiations" in the desert, and then salutes him as his own involvement leads to Muhktar's being hanged from the gallows, is an illustrative symbol from the past.

(August 7, 2001)
One thing about countries that have democratic features and most especially a professional and independent press -- sometimes insightful even amazing little tidbits result either from leaks or investigations. Like today's story about how Ariel Sharon himself is also the Commanding General in Israel's public relations war, shaking up and countermanding his troops in this arena as well.

(August 6, 2001)
Israeli sources said military intelligence has drafted a report that warns of the increasing likelihood of regional war in 2002. The report said the war could be sparked by either an Israeli offensive against the Palestinian Authority or an escalation in tension along Israel's border with Lebanon

(August 5, 2001)
It has not happened yet, but it is now the direction things are heading. Soon the Palestinians may start responding to Israel's increasingly brutal military occupation, unprecedented anywhere else in the world of our day, by targeting Israeli political leaders and maybe Zionist leaders outside of Israel.

(August 5, 2001)
The Egypt of Hosni Mubarak and associates has terribly betrayed itself. It is a regime of sadistic torture and omnipresent corruption. It is a country of gross repression and escalating fear. And to a certain extent all this is at least in part the legacy of the Camp David agreement Egypt was tricked and bribed into signing two decades ago, and for which Anwar Sadat was assassinated by his own soldiers on military parade.

(August 5, 2001)
In the past week the Israelis have substantially escalated the conflict with the Palestinians and risked enflaming not only the Palestinians but Arabs and Muslims around the world. Now senior Palestinian political leaders are being targeted.

(August 4, 2001)
In a sense it would be like the going after the associates of Jerry Adams and his Sein Fein colleagues in Northern Ireland. It was a policy followed to a lesser extent by the White South African government when it tortured and murdered persons associated with the ANC, almost in fact secretly poisoning Nelson Mandela in his prison cell

(August 3, 2001)
The very idea that the Americans and the Brits, after their long history of treachery and deception in the Middle East, are now going to do something other than continue on in that tradition is rather ludicrous. All the current talk at the moment -- especially from the Europeans and the usually gullible "peace" and "human rights" NGOs -- about helping the Palestinians by sending them "observers" is indeed a fitting CIA response to the predicament the American government finds itself in at the moment.

(August 3, 2001)
The Palestinians and their allies and supporters are extremely ill-prepared for what is happening. Israeli military might remains overwhelming, and political support remains amazingly strong, especially in view of today's situation with Ariel Sharon Prime Minister, the "peace process" undergoing slow and tortuous cremation, and Israel attacking Palestinians in the occupied territories with tanks and gunships heretofore reserved for real warfare between armies.

(August 2, 2001)
Eleven long bloody years. In the years just before the Gulf War there was the destruction of Lebanon, the terrible bloodletting of the U.S.-instigated Iran-Iraq orgy, the Kissinger-legacy of the Kurdish sell-out.

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