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The "Palestinian State" Charade

October 9, 2001


MID-EAST REALITIES © - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 10/09: Most of the Arab regimes, including that of Yasser Arafat, have proved themselves so co-opted and so gullible over the years that you can't blame the Americans for continuing to try their little tricks and deceptions -- just look how well, at least from their point-of-view, such things have worked in the past.. The very idea that by uttering the two words "Palestinian State" in the way he did at this point in history after all kinds of U.N. resolutions; all kinds of past broken U.S. promises; historic conferences in Madrid, Washington, Cairo, Sharm, Wye River, and Camp David in recent years; and all kinds of vaguely similar statements by Israeli leaders, including Ariel Sharon himself, that "a Palestinian State" is in fact their goal as well; the very idea that there is any significant change here is on its face laughable. But nevertheless the compliant media, especially in the U.S. and the Arab "client regime" countries, took it all in and regurgitated it as if there was something new and significant to this -- just what and when the American government wanted. This even though George W in a less publicized subsequent follow-up himself noted that there really was nothing knew it was he said and that he was in fact agreeing with his friend Prime Minister Sharon who had in fact said the same thing the week before!

When it comes to serious discussion about a possible "Palestinian State" in today's situation the real questions are just where is that State going to be; who's going to control it; how independent is it really going to be; and what happens to all the settlements and "by-pass roads" that no other independent state in the world has within it's sovereign borders. Indeed, if George W were really serious he would have already done something to roll back Israel's still expanding settlements policies -- 25 new ones set up semi-clandestinely this year aline in fact since Bush took over at the White House, with "thickening" of many others.

To repeat...George W was not really doing something new or significant in mentioning that the eventual goal is a "Palestinian State"; and the very notion that he was is laughable to those most aware of the real history involved here. What George W was doing -- and the same could also be the case when it came to the little Israeli-US splat that conveniently took place at just the right political moment for the Americans -- was using the media to project his words in an attempt to try to diminish all the hatred created by U.S./Israeli policies over so long a period of time in order to make it easier for the U.S. to pursue its current "anti-terrorist" alliance priorities.

This very thoughtful article by Palestinian American journalist Muna Hamzeh spells out some of the crucial realities of this situation:


By Muna Hamzeh*

President Bush's recent discovery that a Palestinian state is part of his "vision" for peace in the Middle East brings back a sense of déjà vu. It was only a few years ago that the Clinton Administration tried to convince Americans that the Oslo Peace Accord, signed between Israel and Yasser Arafat in 1993, has finally brought "real" peace to the area.

Back then, it was fascinating to live in the Palestinian Territories and witness the difference between what American, Israeli and even Palestinian leaders were saying about the new Oslo era of "peace" and between what every ordinary Palestinian was witnessing on the ground. It bordered on the hilarious to listen to presidents and prime ministers talk about the implementation of the agreements, while watching the continued confiscation of Palestinian land, house demolitions, restrictions on movement and travel, as well as the continued growth of Israeli settlements around every Palestinian town and village. For the average Palestinian, developments on the ground starkly contradicted the agreements reached on paper. And I am not talking here about Palestinian intellectuals who had read the details of the "peace" agreements and realized just how disastrous they were. I am referring to the simple and uneducated Palestinians who could not see a single change, no matter how minute, to make them feel that they are any closer to independence or that their daily hardships have subsided.

Now, almost a decade after Oslo, President Bush is telling the world that "the idea of a Palestinian state has always been part of a vision, so long as the right of Israel to exist is respected". What "vision" is the president talking about? Whether Bush knows it or not, there is a legal basis for Palestinian statehood, and one which is long overdue. UN Resolution 181 (1947) gave legality to the establishment of both a Jewish state and an Arab state in Palestine. While only a part of the Resolution was implemented - the establishment of the state of Israel on most of the territory of historical Palestine - the other which deals with an Arab state has not.

The antiquated argument that the U.S. would bless the establishment of a Palestinian state so long as Israel's right to exist is respected ought to be seriously revised. Occupying the Palestinians since 1967 has hardly resulted in the respect that Israel desires. The only way that Israel can live with security and respect is to come to terms with the fact that its occupation of the Palestinians must be brought to a full end. Anything short of giving the Palestinians their full political, national and human rights will mean a continuation of this conflict. The solution seems so elementary in its simplicity.

Perhaps the most startling difference between the agreements signed on paper between Israel and the Palestinian since the Madrid talks of 1991 and today is the fact that Israel has never halted its confiscation of additional land in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Only last month, an Israeli military order transformed 1.4 percent of West Bank land into a closed military zone - a move that normally precedes an all out confiscation. An aerial survey conducted by the Israeli Peace Now movement early this month indicates that ten new Israeli settlements were established in the West Bank between June and September 2001. An earlier survey found 15 new settlements established between February and May 2001.

While Israeli Prime Minister Sharon is blaming Arafat for the "violence" and going so far as to call him a Ben Laden, his government has been actively grabbing more Palestinian land and building more settlements. Against this backdrop, what sort of peace does Sharon really envision himself making with the increasingly weakened Palestinian leader? And how can peace be made if it doesn't involve territorial concessions of a land Israel occupied by military force in 1967? Even a Palestinian child in the West Bank can see Israeli bulldozers working away to uproot olive trees dating back to the Roman Age, destroy agricultural land and then watch as new settlement housing fills the landscape. How to convince that child that the Israelis want to make peace becomes the challenge. But how to convince that child that the U.S. is an "honest-broker" in the Middle East becomes an even greater challenge.

It appears that Bush's remarks in support of Palestinian statehood has brought on significant division within the American-Jewish community. A letter signed by at least prominent 50 American Jewish figures was presented to the White House October 5, in support of the administration's war on terrorism and policy efforts in the Middle East. It follows criticism of the administration's plan by pro-Israel lobby groups. The idea of a Palestinian state is so frightening to the pro-Israel lobby? If genuine Palestinian statehood is achieved in all the territory occupied by Israel in 1967, there would be a chance for real peace. The results would mean political stability and economic stability in the region. Why would the pro-Israel lobby be so terrified of such a notion? Should ever-lasting peace be reached, there is a considerable possibility that stability may, 20 or 30 years down the road, naturally end in a bi-national state where Jews and Arabs would live side-by-side. If this were to happen, the entire concept of a Zionist state for a Jewish people would no longer be viable. Perhaps this is what frightens the pro-Israel lobby.

The Palestinians, meanwhile, view Bush's remarks as nothing more than a political maneuver to give the Arab states the pretext they need to join America's war on Ben Laden and the Taliban, and perhaps even justify an attack on Iraq and Islamic training camps in Arab countries such as Sudan, Yemen and Lebanon. Several Arab regimes have made it clear that their support of the war on terrorism is conditional to an American promise of a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and an end to the sanctions on Iraq. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been going on for 34 years and the sanctions on Iraq for nearly a decade, yet the Arab states have hardly brought any pressure on the U.S. to change its policy. For a year now, the Arab and Muslim worlds have been watching, along with everyone else, the Palestinians getting killed and wounded, their homes shelled and demolished, and their land confiscated, while only paying lip-service to their plight. The Palestinians are all too aware that of this. Since the start of the current uprising in late September 2000, they've watched Arab leaders make empty statements on television, claiming support of the Palestinian uprising. On the ground, and for the average Palestinian who is bearing the brunt of Israeli air and land raids, there have been no visible signs of this support. The fact that 22 Arab states, with the oil wealth of some and the economic clout of others, cannot bring any reasonable pressure to bear on the U.S. to rethink its policy towards Israel's occupation of the Palestinians reveals the extent of their weakness.

More importantly, what is the use of getting the Bush Administration to "promise" a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? The situation in the Palestinian Territories requires something far more courageous than promises. It requires a hard, long look at a continually failing American foreign policy that is neither giving Israel the security it insists on having, nor the Palestinians the statehood they have long aspired for. It is time for the U.S. to become an honest peace broker in the Middle East. And it ought to do so in order to preserve its own interests in the region. Otherwise, the outcome for American interests in the Middle East looks very bleak. All over the Palestinian Territories, children collect the remains of Israeli tank shells. They point out to journalists the inscriptions in English: 'Made in Mesa, Arizona'. They mention that the Israeli Apache gunships, F-16 and F-15 fighter jets shelling their homes are also made in America. Tell these children that the U.S. is an honest peace broker and they laugh in your face. Ask them if they hate Americans and they tell you it is America's policy they hate. But for how long will this last?

One of the best parts of the American Constitution is: " We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

This is the American spirit that should be exported overseas and should guide our foreign policy-makers. So long as we don't regard all mankind as equal and with unalienable rights equal to ours, we will continue to allow our tax money to pay for weapons that are exported to kill innocent civilians, when our hard-earned dollars could be better spent on Medicare, education and the medical research in this country.

* Muna Hamzeh, a Palestinian-American writer, recently returned to the US after living in the Palestinian Territories for ten years. She is the author of "Refugees in our Own Land: Chronicles from a Palestinian Refugee Camp in Bethlehem" (Pluto Press, September 2001 - now available from

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October 2001


Bio and Nuclear Threats Escalate As Purposeful Leaks Proliferate to Mass Media
(October 26, 2001)
The timing of newsstories like this in the major Western media should be suspect now more than ever. For more than ever in fact governments and intelligence agencies are using the mass media by leaking things at times of convenience and more importantly with their own twists and turns.

"Stop Israel!" Pleads Israeli Professor
(October 26, 2001)
One Israeli, not invited by the naive and misguided American Jewish "liberals" to the USA, speaks up from Israel with tremendous courage and conviction. Her name is Tanya Reinhart and she deserves to be taken very seriously -- though far too many don't even know about her.

"Palestinian Statehood" - Another Grotesque Deception Unfolds
(October 25, 2001)
The political smokescreens are lifting a bit as the pressures build to go beyond mere words, yet at the same time a purposeful distorting haze is taking over. Bottom line: the kind of "Palestinian State" Yasser Arafat has maneuvered his people toward and is being cornered into implementing is a grotesque distortion of their aspirations and of what use to be meant by the term "Palestinian State."

"A Pen Bought And Sold" - A Saudi Poem Revisited - MER FlashBack
(October 21, 2001)
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(October 24, 2001)
Both of the Georges are oh so full of themselves cocky -- just the personality type so many American's truly love. One is (to the amazement of many who wonder how in the world the U.S. chooses such persons to lead it) the President of the United States.

Massacres and Devastation Escalate Further In Palestine
(October 24, 2001)
The Palestinians are essentially defenseless with their backs up against the wall, the firing wall. Their "leadership" has been so corrupted and infiltrated that the Arafat regime has hardly any credibility with its own, not to mention anyone else.

Torture Now Coming to USA?
(October 22, 2001)
Adopting the tactics (as well as the goals) of the Israelis, and the methods long taught by the CIA in Latin America as well as the Middle East, the brave new world post 11 September is changing the face of the American homeland in ways nearly all Americans would have seriously resisted just a few long weeks ago.

Millions Likely To Die in Afghanistan U.N. Warns
(October 21, 2001)
As for Afghanistan, the American CIA worked behind the scenes to bring on the Soviet invasion of 1979, then engaged the Soviet Empire in a way that brought about the near-total devastation of Afghanistan and a huge uncounted death toll.

It's "New Imperialism" says leading British MP
(October 21, 2001)
Much pressure is building at the United Nations to not open itself to still more charges of being complicitous in "genocide", not to mention to do something to stop being seen as "an extension of the American State Department" (the actual private words of a senior U.N. official).

"Comply! Resistance Is Futile!"
(October 20, 2001)
British MP (Member of Parliament) George Galloway calls it the "new imperialism" (his article coming later today). On the whole the Anglo-British press is working up quite a frenzy (with notable exceptions like The Guardian and The Independent in the UK, sometimes The Nation in the U.S.).

The "Arafat Era" Collapsing or About To Be Reborn?
(October 20, 2001)
Yasser Arafat is losing both his grip on power (extended to him by the Israelis and the Americans for the past decade since the Gulf War) and his credibility (with his own people) at the same time.

The Coming Arab Crash
(October 19, 2001)
The west's most important friends in the Arab Middle East - Fahd of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah of Jordan, Mubarak of Egypt and the PLO's Yasser Arafat - are probably the world's most vulnerable political quartet.

Saudi Amb Bandar Badly Fails, Saudi Royals in Paralysis, US Relations in Doubt
(October 19, 2001)
Prince Bandar bin Sultan's 20+ year strategy has now substantially failed. Years ago, very much behind-the-scenes of course, the very controversial and in some circles much despised Saudi Ambassador in Washington began a relationship with the some of the most conservative and militant circles in Washington, very much including those associated with the powerful Israeli/Jewish lobby.

Worse Than Worthless Wartime "Promises"
(October 18, 2001)
The list of broken and disingenuous "promises" made to the Arabs by Western political leaders is something befitting a "Saturday Night Live" parody skit -- if only they would dare!

"New Era" Says Sharon Reacting In Character to "Gandhi" Assassination
(October 17, 2001)
He had called the Palestinians "lice" and "vermin" and "cancer", and he had urged their "transfer" or "extermination". Just Monday he has tendered his resignation as Minister of Tourism, insisting that Ariel Sharon was being too moderate and too compromising.

(October 17, 2001)
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(October 17, 2001)
For some time now Palestinians have been warning that because of Israel's assassination of Palestinian leaders, "crossing the red line" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they would respond.

Red Cross Bombed in Kabul Before Presidential Red Cross Visit in Washington
(October 16, 2001)
You gotta love the chutzpa of the Americans. Today the President went a few blocks from the White House to the Headquarters of the American Red Cross -- a little photo op designed to further enlist "the children of America" in his recently announced effort to help the children of Afghanistan. But just as President Bush was getting ready to do his Red Cross pictures reports came in from Afghanistan that the major Red Cross center in Kabul, complete with large Red Cross emblem on its roof, was destroyed by American bombs.

Saudi/U.S. "Meltdown"? And Neutralizing Al Jazeera With A Firm Embrace
(October 16, 2001)
While American and British officials rush to make one TV appearance after another with continual reassurances everything is going "as planned", that's not quite the reality of the situation as this article in today's Guardian makes quite evident.

What Can We Do About Terrorism? by Lt. Col Robert M. Bowman (ret)
(October 15, 2001)
"Mr. President, you did not tell the American people the truth about why we are the targets of terrorism. You said that we are the target because we stand for democracy, freedom, and human rights in the world. Baloney! We are the target of terrorists because we stand for dictatorship, bondage, and human exploitation in the world."

Pentagon Far More Confused and Uncertain Than Americans Realize
(October 15, 2001)
The Bush administration is growing increasingly alarmed by the direction of the military campaign in Afghanistan after a week of almost continuous bombing has failed to dislodge either Osama bin Laden or the Taliban leadership.

Al-Qaeda Weekend Statement
(October 15, 2001)
This isn't really about "secret messages". Anyone with a $300 satellite dish can watch the statements in full, in Arabic, on al Jazeera; and the text is widely available on the Internet, in this case from London and the BBC!

Hundreds Dead in Nigeria
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akistan's Benazir Opens Campaign in Washington as Pakistan Trembles Anarchy
(October 14, 2001)
Benazir Bhutto came to Washington this week to open her campaign for a third term as Prime Minister of the world's second largest, and only nuclear armed, Muslim State -- her first two terms she was overthrown, political and financial corruption was rampant, and her arranged husband remains in a Karachi prison.

Iraq Likely To Be Next "Phase"
(October 14, 2001)
A powerful coalition of "hawkish" government officials, lobbyists (especially those connected with the Israelis and the arms corporations), conservative press publications and columnists, many of the national Jewish organizations, as well as millions of Christian fundamentalists associated with Pat Robertson and his daily TV "700 Club" program, is mobilized to make sure that "America's new war" does not end with Afghanistan and al-Qaeda.

Saudi Royals Bugged, Embarrassed, Unstable
(October 13, 2001)
The following information is about to come out in THE NEW YORKER MAGAZINE on Monday and is being leaked in Washington this weekend to stir up interest and try to get publicity for the magazine and author on the Sunday talk shows tomorrow.

Attacks and Demonstrations Escalating in Arab and Muslim Countries
(October 13, 2001)
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in various cities in the Middle East to protest the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan. Many more thronged to mosques for Friday prayers throughout the region and heard anti-American sermons.

Western Commando Forces Getting Ready
(October 13, 2001)
This article in The Telegraph today is a good outline of what now seems likely to be immediately ahead in Afghanistan, pushed forward by weather considerations as well as by current expectations that American-sponsored key governments in Pakistan, Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, as well as the Arafat Regime, will all be able to weather the political storms with much expanded and mostly covert continual help from the western governments and intelligence services.

"War of the Worlds" by Mark Bruzonsky
(October 11, 2001)
In the case of America's new war, the full might of the USA is being mobilized not against the armies of other nation states, but against the fanatical descendants of a puritanical militant Islam whose calling has become relentless opposition to American hegemony and passionate assertion of their own quaintly medieval religious constructs.

Arafat Begs Israelis To Save Him
(October 10, 2001)
It's a most complicated political dance than ever at this historical crossroads. But bottom line Yasser Arafat and his regime have now, even more than before, thrown their future to the Israelis and the now omnipresent CIA...

Uri Avneri - Fronting for Arafat and for a Castrated "Palestinian State"
(October 10, 2001)
The Israeli writer and activist Uri Avneri is "on tour" in the USA on his way to Washington. It shouldn't come as a surprise that a few naive or on- the-take "peace groups" -- Jewish and otherwise -- have invited him to speak.

After Afghanistan, U.S. has Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine in its Sights
(October 10, 2001)
In this case there should be no one saying down the road that they didn't know what was being planned. The Americans have said publicly and in many different ways right from the start of this "new war" that it wasn't going to end with Osama bin Laden, with the Taliban government, or with Afghanistan.

The "Palestinian State" Charade
(October 9, 2001)
Most of the Arab regimes, including that of Yasser Arafat, have proved themselves so co-opted and so gullible over the years that you can't blame the Americans for continuing to try their little tricks and deceptions -- just look how well, at least from their point-of-view, such things have worked in the past..

Anthrax Terrorism Now Likely
(October 9, 2001)
Federal officials suspect foul play rather than an environmental source is at the root of two Florida anthrax cases that have left one man dead and hundreds of co-workers lining up for medical tests.

Biological Attack? Inept or Demonstration?
(October 9, 2001)
Is someone sending a message that they can do it, a kind of primative, and deadly, deterrence attempt to try to protect themselves? Might this be an "inept attack" as today's TIMES in London suggests in its headline? As the third case of Anthrax in Florida is reported this morning, something seems to be up as the following reports indicate.

Bush versus bin Laden - Syria Elected to Security Council
(October 8, 2001)
It's all quite amazing really, President George W. Bush versus Osama bin Laden. On the one hand you have the most powerful man in the world commanding the full might of not only the world's only superpower but a whole entourage of Western European allies, the new Russia, and to a considerable extent at least behind-the-scenes many Arab and Muslim "client regimes".

Arafat's Army Opens Fire On Its Own - More Anthrax in Florida?
(October 8, 2001)
The Palestinian leadership rushed to distance itself Monday from Osama bin Laden while its police forces opened fire on university students protesting the U.S.-led military strikes on Afghanistan.

FBI Knocked...He's Not Home But You Can Find Him at the White House
(October 8, 2001)
Now the world will become much more confusing and dangerous, and the opponents of the American Empire will obviously be forced even deeper underground -- both literally and figuratively -- becoming even more insular and isolated among themselves leading to who knows what kind of future blowback.

US Journalist Warns: "Do not try to change the government in Afghanistan!"
(October 7, 2001)
Late friday evening one of the leading American journalists who is an expert on the Middle East and Islamic affairs was asked a question on CNN to which she immediately briefly answered...and that was more was asked or answered.

"Our Friends are Killers, Crooks and Torturers"
(October 7, 2001)
Surely the British Prime Minister should know better than to try to simplify such a complex world we live in to that understandable by a third-grader. If not we have a little weekend reading Mr. Blair should be doing, starting in one of his own newspapers which we surely hope, especially now, he can find a few moments to read on a regular basis, The Independent.

History Corrected - U.S. Wanted Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
(October 6, 2001)
The world believes that there was an invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union on 24 December 1979 and then, in response, the U.S. and Muslim countries rallied to help Afghanistan repel the invaders. Wrong...just as so much of the widely accepted history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the actual realities of U.S. involvements in the Middle East are wrong because of the manipulation of history by various governments and intelligence agencies -- most especially the U.S. and Israel, the CIA and the Mossad.

(October 6, 2001)
"Could it be that the stygian anger that led to the attacks has its taproot not in American freedom and democracy, but in the US government's record of commitment and support to exactly the opposite things - to military and economic terrorism, insurgency, military dictatorship, religious bigotry and unimaginable genocide (outside America)?"

(October 5, 2001)
The government in Afghanistan, popularly known as The Taliban, has finally taken what could be a significant step. Just hours ago through its official representative in Pakistan the Afghan government has publicly offered to turn Osama bin Laden over...not to the United States, but to another Islamic country.

(October 5, 2001)
"The women in the audience -- academics, union members, mental health workers and advocates for female inmates, embraced her anti-American rhetoric, repeatedly interrupting her with cheers and standing ovations."

(October 5, 2001)
Now we know that a few years ago, when President Bill Clinton was meeting privately one-on-one with the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, the U.S. "hired" the agents of the infamous Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) to assassinate Osama bin Laden.

(October 3, 2001)
The United States and Britain yesterday called off military strikes against terrorist targets in Afghanistan at the last minute. Washington officials say today that a severe attack of last-minute cold feet by some key Arab members of the coalition caused President Bush to postpone the operation.

(October 3, 2001)
Osama bin Laden, arch nemesis of America today, is blowback from recent history -- the Gulf war, the permanent stationing of American forces in Arabia, and other American policies in the region, including the deceptive "peace process" fronting for Israel's brutal subjugation of the Palestinians.

(October 3, 2001)
The American Secretary of Defense is rushing to the Middle East, goal #1 to try one more time to "convince" the Saudis that Prince Sultan Airbase and its super-modern regional control center -- just completed in fact during the summer at a cost of many billions -- is needed for the new war.

(October 2, 2001)
"Drafted with a small coterie of loyal aides, mainly civilian political appointees at the Pentagon, the plans argue for open-ended war without constraint either of time or geography and potentially engulfing the entire Middle East and central Asia... The plans put before the President during the past few days involve expanding the war beyond Afghanistan to include similar incursions by special ops forces - followed by air strikes by the bombers they would guide - into Iraq, Syria and the Beqaa Valley area of Lebanon, where the Syrian-backed Hizbollah (Party of God) fighters that harass Israel are based."

(October 2, 2001)
Anyone with an ear tuned to Washington's politicians, lobbyists, and opinion molders can hear it quite loudly and clearly at this point. After taking down Osama bin Laden's al Queda network (said to be in some 50+ countries), after changing the government in Afghanistan, the American-led crusade (now more politely known by Colin Powell's term "campaign") will attempt to march on through the Middle East, next stop Baghdad.

(October 2, 2001)
It took them who intially talked of "crusade" nearly three weeks to figure out that all the "coalition building" wasn't going nearly as well as they keep saying in public and that doing something about all the Israeli oppression and "terrorism" against the essentially imprisoned Palestinian population would be a good idea in the post 11 September world and before the bombs start falling on Muslims here and there.

(October 1, 2001)
The situation is now so tense in Israel in dealing with the "Palestinian Authority" -- which it should be remembered the Israelis themselves created just a few years ago -- that Shimon Peres is getting more and more desperate.

(October 1, 2001)
The Palestinian opposition is usually very weak and confused. Had that not been the case for some time now Yasser Arafat would never have been able to do the things he has done for so long now, especially since the Gulf War; nor would Arafat have have been able to retain power these past few traumatic years, however weakened himself at this point.

(October 1, 2001)
Yes, it will be very interesting to see if and how Noam Chomsky answers the at first blush surprising attacks from Christopher Hitchens, who has now not only endorsed the new war but also at least parts of the "New World Order" that underpins it.

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