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BLEAK FUTURE FOR BOTH PALESTINIANS AND ISRAELIS

March 1, 2001

Shimon Peres has many secrets to try to keep, and that explains his desperation to stay in power practically at any cost. Ariel Sharon knows this.

Yasser Arafat has many secrets to keep, and that also explains his desperation to stay in power practically at any cost. And Ariel Sharon also knows this.

Everything is likely to get still worse for the Palestinian people -- soon.

The collapse, impoverishment, imprisonment, and despair now taking place is the price of so many years of ineptitude and corruption at the top. Anarchy and internal shake-downs are no positive substitute for principled and dignified leadership which have been desperately needed for so many years now.

And much will also likely get worse for the Israeli people -- but not so soon. The facism, militarism, cockiness, and racism now more evident than ever when it comes to Israeli ways is the result of so many years of self-deception and brutality coming from the top. Stretching these black behaviours even more through a Sharon led "unity government" is no positive substitute for realizing the basic errors of their ways and the urgency of contrition.

The current path leads eventually, sooner or later, toward more war and destruction in "the Holy Land". A whole new course is needed for the welfare, indeed for the survival, of both the Palestinians and the Israelis. Whether it will come before, or after, is the basic question thoughtful and sane people should be contemplating.

PALESTINIAN RULING BODY TO COLLAPSE IN WEEKS, SAYS UN

By Phil Reeves in Jerusalem

[The Independent, UK, 1 March 2001] United Nations officials say Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority may have only one month left before it collapses financially, plunging the occupied territories into anarchy.

Their warnings back recent statements by the UN's Middle East envoy, Terje Roed-Larsen, about the growing fiscal crisis facing the Palestinian Authority (PA) because of the five-month intifada and Israel's economic blockade of the West Bank and Gaza. The envoy's office is trying to convince the international community to take these predictions seriously and to help bail out the Palestinians before it is too late.

"There is no question in our minds that the PA could collapse by the end of March, if nothing is done," said one source. "We have been criticised for saying this but we seriously believe it to be true. We do not want to be accused, after the event, of saying nothing."

The Palestinian intifada - and particularly Israel's unprecedentedly harsh and almost uninterrupted blockade of the occupied territories - has devastated the Palestinian economy, tripling unemployment (to at least 30 per cent) and pushing the number of people living below the poverty line to about one million.

About 100,000 Palestinians have been unable to cross into Israel to work. Figures released this week by Mr Roed-Larsen's office showed income losses of $1.15bn from October to January. The main fear of Western diplomats is not that the financial collapse of the PA - which cannot pay its 130,000 employees - will bring about the fall of Yasser Arafat. His role as a figurehead, the international face of the Palestinian cause for decades, is well understood by his domestic opponents.

But diplomats fear that the Palestinian leader's already partial control over his population of three million will be so eroded that he will no longer be in a position to negotiate with the Israelis - for example over restoring calm - and that the occupied territories will slide into anarchy, withwarlords and armed groups running amok. There are already signs that armed and largely criminal elements are increasingly active and influential in parts of the West Bank and Gaza.

The UN's drive to rescue the PA has been complicated by well-founded international concerns about the deep corruption within it and fears that aid money will disappear into private bank accounts. Mr Arafat is understood to be planning an anti-corruption drive, not least because the PA's dismal reputation for graft boosts his increasingly popular nationalist opponents, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

The warnings may be getting through. The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, pointedly called for an end to Israel's "siege" of the occupied territories on his visit to the region on Sunday. America also pressed Israel to release more than $50m in Palestinian tax revenues collected by Israel. This week, the European Union agreed to turn a $57m loan to the Palestinians into a grant.

These measures have coincided with efforts on the ground to ease the growing poverty. The UN's World Food Programme began an emergency distribution of flour in the occupied territories. This went ahead despite the Israeli army's refusal to allow WFP officials access to one of the most needy areas, southern Gaza.

Nor was the UN's efforts to generate help for the Palestinians made any easier yesterday by allegations from Israel's armed forces chief of staff, Shaul Mofaz, that the PA is stockpiling weapons - including anti-tank and antiaircraft missiles - smuggled into the Gaza strip by sea and through tunnels from Egypt. These accusations were dismissed as "baseless" by an aide to Mr Arafat.


March 2001


Magazine






SHARON UPSCALES VIOLENCE TO UNPRECEDENTED LEVELS
(March 31, 2001)
Yesterday, on Palestinian Land Day, the Israeli army killed five Palestinians in Nablus and one in Ramallah during civilian demonstrations protesting the Israeli occupation. 150 Palestinians were injured, several of them in critical condition.

CHOMSKY ON THE MID-EAST CONFLICT
(March 31, 2001)
Well, just how dangerous is the crisis in the Middle East? There is a UN Special Envoy, a Norwegian, Roed-Larson. A couple of days ago, he warned that Israel's blockade of the Palestinian areas is leading to enormous suffering and could rapidly detonate a regional war.

FIVE PALESTINIANS KILLED AS WAR OF WORDS FLARES IN MIDDLE EAST
(March 30, 2001)
Clashes raged across the Palestinian territories Friday, killing five Palestinians, as Israelis and Palestinians exchanged fiery rhetoric on the traditionally violent anniversary of a 1976 Israeli crackdown on Arab demonstrators.

CLASHES ERUPT AMID WAVE OF ANTI-ISRAELI PROTESTS
(March 30, 2001)
Israeli troops opened fire with live rounds on Friday to try to halt Palestinians marching in cities across the West Bank and Gaza Strip to demand civil rights and an end to Israeli occupation.

AN ISRAELI OFFERS HOPE AMIDST THE DARKNESS
(March 30, 2001)
In the past two weeks, we are witnessing the beginning of a new phase: Israelis and Palestinians are extending a hesitant hand to each other, across the IDF's barricades and checkpoints.

A CONFLICT SINKING TO NEW DEPTHS
(March 29, 2001)
The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has sunk to appalling new depths with several days of intensified violence that left children on both sides to form the bulk of the dead.

ISRAELIS STRIKE, NOBODY RESPONDS
(March 29, 2001)
The Egyptians and Jordanians could and should totally suspend their relations with Israel; but they do not. The Arabs could collectively demand Israel be suspended from the U.N. General Assembly; but they did not decide to do so at their little summit just ended where they in fact did nothing serious.

ASSAD & SADDAM "ATTACK"
(March 28, 2001)
Lot of rhetoric, more than expected in fact. But mostly a smookescreen for never-ending impotence and inexcuseable weakness. So much for the Arab Summit in Amman. Until those Arab "leaders" who have squandered the wealth and heritage of their countries, and indeed of their once powerful civilization, are replaced; until the "client regimes" of the Arab world are no more; this tragic spectacle known as Arab "summits" will continue to be a deep embarrassment and a historic tragedy.

ARAB SUMMITS - RIDICULOUS SPECTACLES
(March 27, 2001)
Arab "leaders", the "client regimes", and Arab "summits", have been ridiculous spectacles for a long time now. Last time they met like this the American armies were descending on Arabia, getting ready to destroy Iraq and put one of their own, the despicable British-created Emir, back on his oil throne in Kuwait City.

ARAB SUMMITEERS AND CROCODILE TEARS
(March 26, 2001)
"They will talk and talk and talk and look important and remain as always, impotent, indecisive and inactive. They might pledge a few pennies to the Palestinian dying or the mortally wounded, they might voice support of the 6-month-old Intifida, but nothing but pomp and ceremony will come of it all."

TIME TO FORCE A U.S. VETO AND TAKE SERIOUS ACTION AGAINST ISRAEL
(March 25, 2001)
What the Arab States meeting in summit in Amman on Tuesday should do is not a mystery: First they should insist on a U.N. Security Council resolution that has teeth; and if the U.S. vetos so be it.

THE U.N. AND THE ARAB LEAGUE CHARADES
(March 25, 2001)
The U.N. and Arab League charades have gone on for so many years now. Never has either body taken serious action when it comes to Israel. Always the U.S. is there to block the way, to twist things from potentially useful to impotent, to manuever so that the U.S. remains dominant internationally and Israel remains dominant in the region.

ISRAELI ARMY BRUTALLY ATTACKS PEACEFUL CIVILIAN PROTEST MARCH
(March 24, 2001)
Today at 1:00 p.m., the Israeli army fired sound bombs, tear gas, and rubber coated steel bullets at thousands of peaceful protesters at the Al-Ram checkpoint.

SHARON MOVING FAST
(March 24, 2001)
haron and company are now likely to move quickly to further "control" the Palestinians and establish their hegemonic and war-threatening policies in the Middle East.

Today in Occupied Palestine
(March 23, 2001)
Amr Moussa and the Arab political elite representing the "client regimes" have been deceived and acted foolishingly, as well as selfishly, for quite a long time now.

AL-JAZEERA - ARAFAT STILL TWISTS TO ISRAELI AND U.S. TUNE
(March 22, 2001)
Al-Jazeera satellite TV now feeds a hungry Arab world, one starved for so long that even this carefully-controlled Qatari-financed TV news and pictures source has met with considerable success.

WHAT SHOULD BE WITH ISRAEL
(March 22, 2001)
If the Arabs regimes were serious, indeed if they were truly independent, they would institute a Arab and Muslim regional boycott of Israel at this point, at least suspend all diplomatic and economic relations with Israel, and forcefully move to have the U.N. General Assembly suspend Israeli credentials (as was done with South Africa in the days of Apartheid) as soon as the U.S. again prevents the Security Council from acting in the days ahead.

ARAB AND MUSLIM GROUPS IN USA WORSE THAN EVER
(March 20, 2001)
We were wrong in our analysis earlier today. The Arab and Muslim groups did not even manage a few hundred protestors at the White House today -- the number was closer to a few dozen at most, including the handful of fanatical bearded and side-curled Naturei Karta Jews who are encouraged by these groups to show up these days.

WASHINGTON SCENE: ARAB AND MUSLIM GROUPS PROVE IMPOTENCE ONCE AGAIN
(March 20, 2001)
It's depressing, almost pathetic, to watch the Arab and Muslim American groups "protest" these days. Leaderless and strategyless, though as usual feverishly combining all of their capabilities together to create even this, the groups managed to bring maybe five or six hundred persons to the sidewalk across from the Washington Hilton last evening for a carefully self-controlled demonstration.

WHAT ISRAEL IS DOING IS "FORBIDDEN"
(March 19, 2001)
"What is being done in the territories is simply forbidden. To safeguard against such acts, people have established laws and norms; those who wish to return to the norms current a century ago ought not to be surprised when they are treated as pariahs - indeed, as ghosts from bygone days."

ARABS URGE U.N. TO SEND INTERNATIONAL FORCE TO PALESTINIAN
(March 16, 2001)
The Israelis will insist on a U.S. veto of any Security Council resolution involving any serious observer force. And Shimon Peres willingly serving Ariel Sharon as his Foreign Minister makes it much easier for the Israelis to deflect international pressures.

WE DIDN'T SEE; WE DIDN'T KNOW
(March 15, 2001)
The Palestinian people have many symbols, and one of them is Bir Zeit university near Ramallah - the secular intellectual center of the society.

SHARON COMETH
(March 14, 2001)
Monday in Washington the various Arab-American groups will stage a protest demonstration outside the Washington Hilton where now Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will be talking to the lead organization that makes up the Israeli-Jewish lobby in Washington.

U.S. MEDIA ESTABLISHMENT HELPS PREPARE SHARON'S WAY
(March 13, 2001)
Sharon's PR people are working hard preparing his way for a triumphant visit to the USA in a few days. They choose Lally Weymouth, long a "friendly journalist", for one of his first major interviews -- published in Newsweek this week.

ISRAELI CONCENTRATION CAMPS
(March 12, 2001)
If barbed wire were used, the symbolism would be too much like concentration camps of old.

BIR ZEIT UNIVERSITY CRIES OUT FOR HELP
(March 11, 2001)
As usual these days, the Palestinian people are being collectively tortured into submission with still expanding forms of bondage, oppression, and brutal force.

PERES FRONTS FOR SHARON AS ISRAELIS PUSH FORWARD MAJOR PROPAGANDA
(March 10, 200198)
Who is more despicable is debateable these days. But surely Shimon Peres is deserving of nomination. As Israeli army snipers pick off Palestinians and as Israeli army bulldozers dig trenches around Palestinian towns and cities, Peres fronts for the new Sharon regime telling the world the Israelis are going to "make life better for the Palestinians"!

TRENCH AND SIEGE WARFARE
(March 8, 2001)
The words, and the acts, go back before the bible itself -- trench warfare and siege. The Romans built walls and laid siege to Jerusalem and Masada. Trenches, though for a different purpose, became synonymous with World War I.

CRIES FROM PALESTINE AND CRIES FROM ISRAEL
(March 6, 2001)
My sister-in-law just called crying - about 4 hours ago Al-Bireh had about 3 minutes of heavy gunfire..... her neighbor, Aida, was walking back home on the Friends road from Ramallah after shopping for the Eid holiday.

OH MY GOD! CLINTON WON'T LEAVE THE WORLD ALONE!
(March 5, 2001)
They came to Washington -- the two-for-one power couple -- with the campaign promise to bring health care to all Americans; they left (but Hillary is already back on Capitol Hill) with the dangerous corporate for profit HMO's in power and more uninsured than ever despite the economic juggernaunt.

MIDEAST CONFLICT TEARS AT BROTHERLY BOND
(March 5, 2001)
Hostilities engulf West Bank siblings, who remain close despite their split between Jewish and Muslim faiths.

BOMB BLAST IN ISRAELI COASTAL CITY
(March 4, 2001)
A powerful bomb exploded during morning rush hour Sunday in a crowded open-air market in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya.

ISRAELIS LAY SIEGE TO PALESTINIAN CITIES
(March 3, 2001)
Sometime in the future there will be a day of reckoning for the Israelis. But that day is not yet here while the suffering of the Palestinians is, literally, more and more as each day dawns.

FIELD OF THORNS
(March 3, 2001)
The Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which in late September 2000 began as a wave of popular protest against Ariel Sharon's belligerent incursion into Jerusalem's sacred Haram al-Sharif, has developed into a full-fledged war of attrition against the Israeli occupation, which rather ironically paved the aggressive right-wing leader's path to power.

REGIONAL WAR PREPARATIONS AND PUBLIC OPINION MANIPULATION ESCALATE
(March 2, 2001)
Iraq responded to U.S. air strikes on Feb. 16 by deploying thousands of troops from six divisions to positions near the Jordanian border, triggering military alerts in Tel Aviv, Washington and in several Gulf capitals.

SHARON AND PERES TEAM UP
(March 2, 2001)
It was a massacre. Not since Sabra and Chatila had I seen the innocent slaughtered like this. The Lebanese refugee women and children and men lay in heaps, their heads or arms or legs missing, beheaded or disemboweled.

SHARON GETS READY TO ACT. ARAFAT GETS READY TO LEAVE?
(March 1, 2001)
Arafat and regime are about collapse -- i.e., the money and capabilities provided by the U.S. and Israel to keep the PA going are being cut off if Arafat doesn't shape up!

BLEAK FUTURE FOR BOTH PALESTINIANS AND ISRAELIS
(March 1, 2001)
Shimon Peres has many secrets to try to keep, and that explains his desperation to stay in power practically at any cost. Ariel Sharon knows this.




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