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ISRAEL IMPERIAL NEWS
2003 - Part 1

CONTENTS:
2. "Relative Calm" in the Middle East
3. A Poem by Hanoch Levin
4. Burning the Oslo Candle...
5. What Really Happened in Deir-Yassin?
6. The Harmonious Discord
7. Could it be War Crimes?
8. How to Defeat the Israeli Army
9. State of Terror



IIN cover Summer 2003: Was it a massacre or just plain murder?



THE TRANSFER IS ALREADY HERE!

In the last issue of Israel Imperial News, as in this current one, we have been saying that the hidden agenda of the Israeli government is Transfer - that is, the implementation of the policy of getting rid of the Palestinian people - Ethnic Cleansing in short. It's not a hidden agenda any more.

This is an article from the English edition of the daily newspaper Ha'aretz, published on the 26th of April 2002. In this light we have to see and understand the massacre in Jenin, the destruction of the houses and the vandalisation of the computers and the destruction of the software in the invaded towns of the West Bank.

DISPLACED PEOPLE
Yossi Klein

The transfer is already here. It is not the transfer that Benny Begin described with horror as "Jewish soldiers breaking into hundreds of homes and forcibly removing Arab families, dragging men and women and taking infants out of the cradles, and sending them on their way with their belongings." Jewish soldiers, as we know, will not break in, will not drag people and will not carry infants out in their hands. Jewish soldiers, to rely on the fragmentary reports from Jenin, level houses with bulldozers and crush vehicles with tanks - not least so that the refugees from Jenin will not want to return to the city. Or, so that if they do want to, they will have no place to go back to.

This form of population transfer dovetails well with the current bloody round of actions. No longer are we engaged in a boxing match with rules and a referee. What we have now is pummelling in the school corridor, with pinching and spitting and biting and fingers in the eyes. The present transfer is a wild brawl. It has no tactical goals, though it has one strategic aim: to make life unbearable, to instil fright and induce flight. Hundreds of dead from human bombs on buses will do the job - and so will toppling houses with their residents inside in refugee camps.

This transfer is not talked about openly. It does not exist officially; there is no government decision to implement it, and certainly it is not to be found in official operational orders. To be precise with the terminology, a big wink has to accompany this transfer as it is not just any old transfer, it is, you know, a "voluntary transfer," or in the more stylised language of Effi Eitam, the newly installed cabinet minister and leader of the National Religious Party, it is "evacuation by choice."

"Evacuation by choice" encapsulates a dream of the nullification of the Palestinians, of their complete and sudden disappearance like the fading of a bad dream - and without the physical contact of Jewish hand. That vision has captured the imagination of politicians from the early leaders of Zionism such as Berl Katznelson and David Ben-Gurion, to soldier politicians of the likes of Moshe Dayan and Rehavam Ze'evi. The methods were many and diverse, ranging from threats to inducements: from encouraging the flight of the refugees of 1948 and of southern Lebanon in the 1980s, to the attempt to tempt them with a grant of $3,000 per family for those who would agree to leave (Dayan, 1967). There were attempts to expel them by means of incentives to study abroad, by making possible free passage from Gaza to the West Bank, and even with help in liquidating and moving property (a team of experts established by Levy Eshkol in 1967).

The generous offers were of no avail: The Palestinians are still here. Another proposal, too, made by Ze'evi in 1992 - to prevent the Arabs from working and deny them access to the universities - also somehow failed to be put into practice. The most practical of all was Uzi Narkiss, of all people, who was the head of Central Command in 1967. At first he thought, as he told Gideon Levy in this magazine, that buses would be enough. He had them brought to the Jordan River bridges and tried to tempt the frightened refugees to escape into Jordan, but only about 20,000 took advantage of the convenient transportation.

A few days later, in the Latrun salient, he found a more efficient and less costly alternative. Buses were no longer needed in this case, only a veiled threat: "We come in the morning and say: 'Guys, go to Ramallah.' And they go. There was no resistance and no blows," Narkiss said, adding, "afterward, we levelled the villages and today we have Canada Park there."

Although success was not complete, Narkiss' method of implicit intimidation, like the blunter methods of the War of Independence and the Lebanon War, proved that Arabs could be made to flee without fear that Jews would get their hands dirty loading women and children onto trucks. This is only "a small injustice that is intended to prevent the greater injustice," says Prof. Aryeh Eldad. The "voluntary transfer" is far more than a mutual offsetting of unequal injustices: It bears the prospect of bringing about an absolute solution to the Palestinian problem.

Final and absolute solution

Prof. Aryeh Eldad, who is one of the supporters of this absolute solution, is first of all a physician. From 1979 to 2000, he was chief medical officer of the Israel Defence Forces. Today he is the director of the plastic surgery department at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem. He is also the son of the late Prof. Yisrael Eldad, a cultured man with broad horizons who had a clearer position than his son concerning the solution of the Palestinian problem. The senior Eldad was round of body, while the son is sharp and lean. From his father, he inherited the severe facial features and the eyebrows that dive like fire bombers in a diagonal thrust over the piercing eyes.

True, Yisrael Eldad had a Ben Gurion-type white mane, while his son has faded brown hair, but the ideas of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche are common to them both. Yisrael Eldad translated all of Nietzsche's writings into Hebrew and his son received his doctrine from him, though "diffusely," as he puts it. Like Nietzsche, Eldad also shows disdain for the universal rules of morality, respects force and esteems the will power that implements it. Force, Eldad Jr. says, is a language that everyone understands. To say "I want" is, in his view, an argument sufficiently persuasive so that it need not be supported by moral justifications, since in any case, "everything is hypocrisy."

Eldad is disappointed that Israelis still possess a ghetto mentality that makes them think that they need authorisation and approval before acting. He would enjoy being like the simple, bully-boy goy who needs neither approval nor reinforcements and who mocks the world. And if a goy, then an American goy. Not the soul searching, cowed American of Vietnam, but the American who bombs Iraq and shells Serbia, and even one who drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The atomic bomb and the bombing of Dresden in World War II are Eldad's examples of the revenge that is an integral element of every war (the house philosopher backs him up: "A little revenge is more human than no revenge," he wrote). The atomic bombs killed tens of thousands of Japanese civilians, but they prevented the death of American soldiers. The bombing of the city of Dresden by the British also killed tens of thousands of civilians, but spared the lives of thousands of British soldiers by shortening the war.

There is no absolute justice in the struggle between the two peoples, he says, there is relative justice - and ours is preferential to theirs. Transfer, for example, is a small injustice (to them) that will prevent a great injustice (to us). After all, what is it to walk a few kilometres when compared to incalculable bloodshed?

"There will be no forced transfer, no march and no buses or trucks," Prof. Eldad says reassuringly. "An ordinary Jew is incapable of taking people and uprooting them." He does not think that a "transfer by agreement" is possible. "Three thousand dollars will not make a Palestinian leave the home where his family has resided for hundreds of years," he says.

How, then, does one induce him to leave his home? "A war will expel him," he replies. "Panic and risk of life will compel him to flee the house where his family has lived for hundreds of years." Nietzsche: "You say, it is the good cause that hallows even war? I say to you: It is the good war that hallows any cause." We will bomb them from the air, Eldad says, actuating the philosopher's thought. We will bomb population centers and then they will flee, as they did in the War of Independence and in the war in Lebanon.

Small vs. great tragedies

"Transfer is an impossible idea because we will not let you do it," asserts the writer Amos Oz, "even if we have to split the army and the country. The right has to know that if it tries this, it will bring about the disintegration of the country." But Oz does not frighten Prof. Eldad. Eldad divides the fight against the Palestinians into two sections: the small tragedy (theirs), which is always preferable to the great tragedy (which is always ours).

Is the disintegration of the country the "small tragedy" that will save us from the "great tragedy" of loss of the Promised Land? "Even Amos Oz and his friends will stay quiet if the war that expels the Palestinians comes in reaction to a destructive operation of theirs," Eldad maintains.

And what is a "destructive operation"? "It will not be our reaction to one or two killed, even if that happens every day for months on end," he says. "I am talking about a reaction to [the use of] chemical or biological material or to mass killing, hundreds of dead."

Until masses of Israelis are killed, Eldad has a detailed and even partially up-to-date scenario: Hezbollah fires Katyusha rockets at cities in Galilee, Israeli Arabs attack and burn emergency depots of the army, "and then all you have to do is bomb them from the air. We will shell population centres in Nablus, in Hebron, in Gaza," he says. There will be a great fight, with people fleeing to Jordan, "but Jordanian policemen will shoot them in order to stop them from entering the country." The transfer, then, will be "the result of a catastrophe," and "Amos Oz will be able to live with that, the 53 percent who are against transfer [according to a survey by the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv University], the world, will be able to live with it."

The world will be able to live with it? The world according to Eldad (with the exception of United States today) is hypocritical and anti-Semitic, but we nevertheless need it, because without it's help, he confirms, "there will be devastation here." To ward off that possibility, Eldad is ready for a moment to stop being the neighbourhood bully and disguise himself as a Ghetto Jew - and then to hurl the anti-Semitism of the squire into his face in a way that will make it possible to reap the fruits of the resultant guilty feelings immediately. And will the world swallow the ingenious ploy?

Prof. Eldad relies on the world's blindness. In 1994, he headed an IDF mission to the refugee camps in Rwanda. "We actually treated the 'bad guys,'" he says, "but did anyone in the world distinguish between good and bad? They were all blacks, as far as the world was concerned. The world sees us as two wild tribes that are fighting each other to the death on a faraway hill, and I wish they would let us get on with the work without interruption."

Nietzsche assailed universal morality, calling it "herd morality." Does the Holocaust free us from any and all obligation to universal morality? "Our sensitivity is exaggerated," Prof. Eldad says. In Rwanda, he had to record the medical condition of the refugees on their arms with a felt pen, but was asked, "because of the associations," to write on their forehead. In Ramallah, an officer wanted to classify the different "wanted individuals," but wasn't sensitive enough to the association" and wrote numbers on their arms. Another officer, equally insensitive, forced wanted individuals to march in a procession wearing only their underclothing, because he was afraid they might be concealing explosives on their bodies. Operational efficiency? Lack of historical sensitivity? Injustice?

"Maybe, but definitely a small injustice," Prof. Eldad says, seeking accuracy. "So we made them march naked, so we drilled holes in walls, so we frightened the women and children a little - so what? In the end we saved lives of our soldiers."

War morality and society

"The moral imperative is the light flickering in the white darkness of human blindness. These are the simple human moral values that must be defended at any cost and that cannot be taken for granted … The blindness of Saramago is the blindness all of us."

These fine words were written by none other than Prof. Eldad, the man to whom "the simple human values" are alien when applied to Palestinians. It was with these words that Eldad wrote (in the Ha'aretz book review section) about the novel "Blindness" by Jose Saramago, the Portuguese writer who was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. About a month ago, Saramago likened the IDF's in the territories to those of the Nazis. His greatness as a writer does not offset his ignorance as a person, Prof. Eldad explains today.

Historian and Holocaust researcher Dr. Aryeh Arad believes in human moral values. Every aspect of his biography touches on a painful point of the events here today and their implications. He was a partisan fighter, an officer in the Armored Corps, the IDF's chief education officer, and the chairman of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Authority in Jerusalem. Dr. Arad is particularly sensitive to the points at which the unique Holocaust abuts on every war, including the present one, and as an educator and a soldier, he understands the effect of war morality on the society as a whole.

As someone who went through all the stages of command in the Armored Corps, he is asked about the sense of power that a tank accords to those inside it. Is there a type of enjoyment in the ease with which a house can be brought down by means of light movement of the steering apparatus? Does crushing a parked car offer the same forbidden pleasure that a naughty child gets from smashing a beetle with a stone? A danger resides in the sense of power, he responds. Wars hurt the victorious soldiers too, and also the whole society. The soldiers who went through the Vietnam War were not the same as they were before that experience.

"We chased crying children," Ido, one of the soldiers in Tul Karem, told Ha'aretz last week. "The mothers were crying, too. But we had no problem with that, we felt terrific, because these are people who are hurting us. We left our feelings at home." Will Ido find his feelings waiting for him when he returns home? There is a danger in the sense of power, Dr. Arad says.

In 1969, when he was chief education officer, Arad published an article in the IDF's weekly magazine entitled "War Without Hatred." In it, he called on soldiers to fight "purposefully and morally, without being dragged after instincts that will corrupt the human image of the fighter … and the image of Israeli society."

Asked whether the fact that we are victims of the Holocaust imposes on us a heavier moral responsibility or does it in fact absolve us of responsibility, he says: "It definitely imposes heavy moral responsibility. We will be the first in the world to suffer if human life has no value." The incident in which numbers were written on the arms of people in Ramallah makes him angry. It was, of course, "stupidity and insensitivity," but he does not accept the assumption that the act also contained an element of humiliation, a type of dehumanisation that transforms a human being into an object.

Practical approach

Aryeh Arad is, according to his description of himself, a "practical person." Therefore, he is not shocked by the spectacle of prisoners made to march in the cold dressed in their underwear. It is not humiliation if stripping them made it possible to check whether they had explosives. Arad is not an opposition type and he wants to avoid self-righteousness. He would have told the combatants who were holed up in Jenin that they had a certain amount of time to come out, otherwise the army would burst in with force. Even if women and children were there? Yes, he says, I would have taken responsibility and gone in.
All his adult life, he has held "state" positions; he doesn't want to hurt anyone, so his language is evasive and his style is thick, but his intention is clear: "In some of the actions in the territories, we are not reducing the reservoir of hate." In other words, levelling houses and crushing cars will only hurt us. Invoking the same pragmatic approach, he rejects proposals to punish the families of terrorists or to inflict damage on their villages. The Germans, he says, did that and failed. So a few families wandered around in the forest because their houses had been demolished, but did they hate less? Did they fight less?

Arad is scornful of the transfer advocates. Who is going to let them expel three million Arabs? After all, when we tried to expel 400 Arabs, they wouldn't let us - referring to the expulsion to Lebanon of 400 Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists by the government of Yitzhak Rabin in December 1992. Arad dismisses the concept of "voluntary transfer" espoused by Aryeh Eldad and Effi Eitam, "because it not practical." He, too, would like "the Arabs to disappear out of sight," but he knows that the world will not let us do things like that. The world? The world that was silent when the members of your family were murdered?

Even though Arad was a soldier for more than half his life, beginning in the Harel Brigade of the pre-state Palmach "shock troops," Prof. Aryeh Eldad would probably consider him a grovelling ghetto-type Jew. The former resistance fighter and chairman of Yad Vashem today takes an attitude toward "the world" that differs from the provocative position according to which we have a right to turn our back on the world because it was silent then. After all, as a "practical person," he knows that the world has changed: In 1945 the Soviets placed the Chechens on trains and within a few days scattered them to the four winds, without firing a shot as revenge for the collaboration with the Germans. Today, 60 years later, the Russians, with all their tanks and planes, are unable to suppress 2.5 million Chechens.

Look how we got embroiled in the case of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, he says; if anything happens to the church, Israel will feel the wrath of all Christendom. The world, he notes, considers national self-determination a "sacred value" and will not accept an attempt by Israel to prevent the Palestinians from achieving that status. And if we tell the world where to get off, in the spirit of Prof. Eldad's vision? In that case, the world is capable of "bringing us to our knees if it cuts off our oil supply for three months".

It is wrong to view every manifestation of opposition to Zionism as a case of Anti-Semitism, Dr. Arad believes. True, there are cases in which Anti-Zionism acts as a cover for repressed Anti-Semitism, but we must not make sweeping generalisations. The Jews suffered more than anyone from such generalising. Not all Europeans are Anti-Semitic. And what of Israelis, he asks: Do they all agree with the government? Dr. Arad identifies the pointlessness of the current state of affairs. The armed guards in front of cafes irk him. The guard at the post office in Ramat Hasharon drives him crazy. If all the guards in Israel held hands, they could encircle the country and do more good, he fumes. Nor does he understand why the finance minister is preaching war instead of doing something about the collapsing economy.

Unlike Prof. Eldad, Dr. Arad believes in universal values. He does so even though he lost his family in the Holocaust and is therefore ostensibly entitled to benefit from the "freedom of the victim" that permits him to deny those values. Prof. Yehuda Bauer, the well known historian of the holocaust, wrote: "Voluntary transfer, meaning ethnic cleansing, will inevitably be accompanied by mass murder. The attempts to implement these plans will bring an end to era of democracy in Israel … it will be total moral destruction and economic destruction as well. No one will want to invest in a racist, violent country."
The word "Holocaust" is not mentioned, and Dr. Arad also declines to link the Holocaust and it's moral implications directly to the events here, but even if it is not stated, it cannot be ignored.



"RELATIVE CALM" IN THE MIDDLE EAST
James J. David

Today's ambush of an Israeli bus in the West Bank that killed 7 Jewish settlers officially ended a 3 week period of what the American news media have called a "relative calm" in Middle East violence. In other words, the average American citizen who doesn't keep up with the Middle East as I do would naturally assume that there have been no killings during this 3 week period. This assumption would be correct if the terms "relative calm" was to define any other conflict. The distiction in the Middle East is that this is
not just any other conflict. This is not just a conflict between Israelis and Palestinians but a conflict between Israel and the news media. Whatever the case may be, there's no doubt that journalists generally understand critical words about Israel to be hazardous to careers. And not only do the
journalists feel the threat, but the News Outlets themselves have gotten the message.

There was a time when we could at least depend on CNN to give us a balanced account of the happenings in the Middle East but, if you've noticed lately, CNN seems to report only the news that is favorable to the public image of the Israelis. This all began about 3 weeks ago when the Israelis threatened to pull the plug on CNN unless they immediately tiltled all the news in favor of Israeli victims of terrorist attacks and stop all interviews with Palestinan victims. CNN immediately sent over their senior vice president to Israel to resolve the problem while correspondent Wolf Blitzer spent one week
in Jerusalem airing nothing but Israeli victims. Since then, CNN bends over backwards to insure only news of Israeli victims makes the airwaves.

Up until today, and during these last 3 weeks of "relative calm" there hasn't been one single Israeli killed or wounded and not one suicide bombing had been committed. Instead, there have been 43 Palestinians killed, most of them unarmed civilians, including 9 children and two young Palestinian mothers. Just 3 days ago the Israelis machine gunned and killed an innocent mother and her 2-year-old son, a 13-year-old boy and a Palestinian free-lance photographer. In addition to these unprovoked killings, there have been dozens of men, women and children maimed and injured by the Israeli occupation forces, and dozens of homes have been demolished including the complete destruction of the Palestinian Authority offices in Hebron. In addition there are over 3 million Palestinians confined to their homes and placed under long curfews for more than three weeks.

Have we heard any criticism or condemnation from President Bush, or Secretary of State Colin Powell? Have we seen National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice step up to the podium on the White House lawn to speak to reporters about Israeli violence? Have we seen Congressman Tom Lantos introduce any written document to withhold any more economic aid to Israel unless the violence stops? Of course we haven't. It only happens when the violence is Palestinian violence. And don't be surprised if you don't see the above actions taken today, not at Israel but at Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians after today's bus ambush that killed 7 Israelis.

I should also warn you to be prepared for the blitz of news coverage of today's Middle East violence. The 3 week period of "relative calm" will be over and our local and national news media will present headline coverage of today's bus attack where 7 innocent Jewish settlers were ambushed and killed. No mention will be made of Israeli troops killing the Palestinian mother and her 2-year-old son nor will there be any mention of the 13-year-old Palestinan boy who was killed by Israeli machine guns. Neither will there be
any mention of the 35-year-old Palestinian journalist Emad Abu Zahra, who was shot and killed by Israeli troops--if only he could get a fraction of the coverage that Wall Street journalist Danny Pearl received.

Since this report was written in December 1999, the number of innocent Palestinian homes demolished has almost doubled to 4700, causing more than 30,000 men, women, and especially children to become homeless with very little clothing and food.

The fact that today's news media consistently and deliberately ignores these dozens of Palestinians brutally killed by Israel demonstrates in the clearest possible terms that only Israeli lives are valued and only the concerns and security of Israel are taken seriously. Rarely since the Second World War has
a people been so vilified as the Palestinians and rarely has a people been so frequently excused and placated as the Israelis.

Downloaded from the Internet 18/07/02

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James J. David is a retired Brigadier General and a graduate of the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College, and the National Security Course, National Defense University, Washington DC. He served as a Company Commander with the 101st Airborne Division in the Republic of Vietnam in 1969 and 1970 and also served nearly 3 years of Army active duty in and around the Middle East from 1967-1969.



THE CLASSIC RECIPE FOR INDEPENDENCE
Hanoch Levin - translated from the Hebrew by Ran HaCohen

The classic recipe for independence:
Take people and send them to die.
Then make ceremonies, sew flags,
Sign a long charter with many words.
Feel how the back becomes erect,
Even though the hunchbacks remain crooked.

The classic recipe for independence:
Take people and send them to die.
Then open offices, eat watermelons, make love,
Shed sweat, feel in your mouth a light sense of disappointment.
Suddenly discover next to you another small nation, wretched and oppressed.
Let its buzz bother you like that of a fly.

The classic recipe for independence:
Take people and send them to die.
Then crush the nation next to you, oppress it to dust.
It wants what you wanted - don't give it anything.
It points a pistol - reply with a canon, it threatens - you murder.
Let the living shout, let the dead rot away, let the undertaker win.

The classic recipe for independence:
Take people and send them to die.
Then shake hands, visit the tomb of the unknown soldier, open an embassy.
Hold speeches on friendship, eternity, fraternity, commercial and cultural ties.
Sit comfortably in an armchair, open an evening paper, read with wonder:
Somewhere on earth, somebody is sending people to die.



Burning the Oslo Candle at Both Ends

Gideon Levy - Ha'aretz, 16 June 2002

Like the living dead, the Oslo Accords hover overhead: When it's good for Israel, we rush to embrace them; when it's not, we ride roughshod over them. This is an intolerable situation. Perhaps it really is time to declare Oslo dead, as Minister Tsachi Hanegbi repeats ad nauseum on the TV promo for "Politika." But there is a price to pay, for which Israel doesn't seem ready for.

Last week, the High Court of Justice heard the petition of a four-and-a half-year old boy from Jericho, Shamas a-Din Tabiyah, diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. The State of Israel has refused to finance oncological treatment for the boy, although there is no children's oncology ward in the territories. What are the parents supposed to do? Let him die?

By turning its back on him, that is the fate that Israel has prepared for him. Israel claims that according to the interim agreements, the Palestinian Authority is responsible for "providing medical services to minors and adolescents living in PA-controlled territory." All of a sudden, Israel has remembered the interim agreements. But when the High Court ordered the Physicians for Human Rights association, which submitted the appeal in the child's name, to produce a promise of payment from the PA, representatives of the association discovered that there was no one to talk to: Ramallah was under curfew and no one answered at the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

In a nutshell, reality was exposed in all its absurdity. Israel places responsibility for the health of citizens on a ministry that Israel itself has closed or prevented from carrying out its duties. A health ministry cannot be run under prison conditions, and the same goes for other government ministries, some of whose buildings have been destroyed by Israel. After a few days, Shamas' problem was resolved. But that is slight consolation: It took an appeal to the High Court to save the life of a
Palestinian child because the state hides behind signed agreements that it ignores itself every day, all for the sake of shirking responsibility for the fate of a sick boy. Think how many ailing Palestinian children never made it to the High Court.

If the Oslo Accords are valid, as the attorney representing the state claimed in court, Israel must immediately halt its daily incursions into Area A, perhaps the most flagrant violation of these accords. It must lift the siege and allow the Palestinian Authority to run at least the civilian side of life in the territories. It seems doubtful that the current government will agree. The implication is that Israel perceives the Oslo Accords as null and void. If so, Israel must renegotiate, without delay, its legal and moral responsibility for three million people who are again living under what is actually full occupation. It must provide these people with education, social services, sanitation and health care, as required by international law. Israel cannot continue to burn the candle at both ends.

In Operation Defensive Shield, Israel not only destroyed the security services of the Palestinian Authority, but also a large part of its civilian infrastructure. As a result, the population is now facing a situation it has never experienced before: There is no governing body that deals with daily affairs. The civil administration of old is gone, and the Palestinian Authority has basically been destroyed. Who is in charge of sanitation? Who supplies water? Who runs the schools and the welfare system?

Israel says it's the PA's responsibility, but in practice, it does not allow the Authority to do its work. It is impossible to collect the garbage and deliver water because of the blockades. How, for example, can water reach the Furik family, whose house is not connected to the water supply, if the roads are closed? How can teachers get to Beit Dajan, or students to Bir Zeit? And this is without even mentioning the empty coffers of the Palestinian Authority, the tax money that Israel refuses to hand over, the closure of Israeli markets to Palestinian produce, the restrictions on the transport of farm products and industrial goods within the territories and the high unemployment rates - all resulting from the Israeli siege. Amid all this chaos, all this desolation and destruction, one needs quite a bit of cynicism, insensitivity and moral obtuseness to claim, as Israel has, that the Palestinian Authority is responsible for the medical care of its citizens, among them a little boy with cancer.



WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN DEIR-YASSIN 54 YEARS AGO?
(a long projection into the past)
Assembled, translated & edited by Shimon Tzabar

The political and Military Background in Palestine in 1948:

The British left Palestine on the 15th of May 1948. Until that time there was no Israeli government, and no Israeli Army. Until that time, the Jewish military force consisted of three independent groups: The larger one was the Hagana. Within the Hagana there was a strike force known as the Palmah. Outside Hagana there were two more independent smaller forces. The biggest of the two was Etzel, which was the underground terrorist organisation of the opposition party led by Menahem Begin, and the smaller one was Lehi, known also as the Stern Gang, a splinter group which separated from the Etzel a few years previously.

There are many versions of what happened in Deir Yassin on the 9th of April 1948. Some of these versions are propaganda pieces, some of which will be dealt with later on. I wanted to find an Israeli version from a reliable eye-witness, if something like that existed. I sifted through the Israeli Hebrew press for many years until I found something that sounded more or less reliable. I say more or less, because this account is also biased (as we shall see). The account I found was a report done by Dr. Me'ir Pa'ill who is today a member of the Knesset representing the Meretz party. Fifty three years ago however, in April 1948, he was known as Colonel Me'ir Pilavski, a liaison officer representing the Palmah in the headquarters of the Hagana in Jerusalem.

The story of Colonel Me'ir Pilavski appeared in an interview which he gave to Ron Maiberg. The interview was published in the magazine Monitin, no. 32, April 1981, page 36.

The story of Colonel Me'ir Pilavski:

Etzel and Lehi had decided to carry out one operation together. They counted their men and discovered that together they could supply 130 fighters. Among the Etzel members there was one, Joshua Goldshmid, who lived in Giv'at Shaul, a western suburb of Jerusalem close to Deir Yassin and he was the one that pushed for Deir Yassin. The place itself was a small village of 750 inhabitants. It did not have a strategic location and wasn't situated on any important road. And, at that time, there was already an unwritten agreement between Deir Yassin and Giv'at Shaul that they would not shoot or snipe at each other and will not allow outside guards to enter. This agreement was observed until the village was attacked without provocation by the Lehi-Etzel gang.

One night at the end of March 1948, shots were heard coming from Deir Yassin. It was revealed the next morning that an Arab gang had tried to enter the village, but the villagers had fired at them and driven them off.

Since the Hagana was holding the lines of communications, Etzel and Lehi asked David Sha'altiel, the commander of the Hagana's Jerusalem district for a meeting. I'm telling you this to show that I knew what was going on, because I was in the picture from the beginning. Sha'altiel told them that the plan of the Hagana was, that when the British army leave (shortly), they would take over Deir Yassin and level it to build an airport. Instead of attacking Deir Yassin now, he advised them to attack Ein Karem instead... (I omitted here a few irrelevant remarks. Ed.) No, they said, Ein Karem is too difficult. Then Sha'altiel suggested they attack Kolonia. No, they said, that is difficult too. We want Deir Yassin! [ I omitted here too a few irrelevant remarks - Ed].

It was Friday, the 9th of April 1948 and I went in together with them. I had a tommy-gun with a disc magazine, 50 bullets and proper boots. On that day I did not fire even one bullet. With me was a guy with a good Leica camera capable of taking 36 still, black and white pictures. Half of them were shot during the battle and half afterwards. (Here, again, I omitted some irrelevant remarks. Ed.)

The raid was supposed to start two hours before dawn. The road to Deir Yassin was open. It was not mined or obstructed because it was constantly in use. The plan was, that the van carrying the Etzel/Lehi members would drive on this dusty road and a loudspeaker would call to the inhabitants to flee from the village. I was walking on this very road. They (Lehi) didn't know who I was. They were late and reached the village when it was already daylight. The van drove on without lights for about 100 or 200 meters. 'No great deal'. For some obscure reason it got off the road and couldn't get back on to it. I thought that now a small skirmish would develop, but there was actually a battle. From my battleground experience I noticed that the Arabs had only rifles. All their shots were single shots. Only the attackers had automatic weapons. They managed to take over the eastern side of the village with a handful of casualties. The Arabs took over a few houses on the western side of the village and were sniping at us. So it lasted a long time. They didn't move.

I was sitting with my photographer in one of the houses and waited. Suddenly, at about 11 o'clock in the morning, I heard the explosions of 2 inch mortar shells. I looked out of the window and I saw ten Palmah fighters under the command of the late Jacob Wog, descending and taking over the rest of the village. I ran up to them, "Yaki" I asked him", what are you doing here?". "I know" he said, "I returned last night from a raid on Ein Karem and at nine o'clock somebody walks to me and says 'come! There is a crisis. We have attacked Deir Yassin and we've got stuck. It could turn into a disaster! I equipped the platoon with mortars and did a flanking". The Palmach didn't have even one casualty. I said to Yaki: " This is a job by Etzel and Lehi. This isn't our quarter. Take your guys and go to sleep."

I think that if the platoon had stayed on, there would not have been a massacre. They (Etzel & Lehi), were not able to carry out even their own task. We had to send in a tired platoon to finish the job for them.

Suddenly I started to hear shooting from all directions in the village. I ran there with my photographer and I saw gangs of Etzel and Lehi running through the alleys. In my report I added: 'with bulging eyes' as if they were 'running amok'. They were running from house to house. They got inside, and butchered whoever was there by shooting, not by hand grenades! By shooting! I called it hot blooded murder. It was spontaneous, not planned. I ran after them shouting:' what are you doing?' They looked at me as if I was crazy, also with those bulging eyes. The photographer was taking pictures of scenes that I can still see, even now, with my own eyes: A corner in a room. A woman, children and an old man, butchered. Another house. A man, a woman and children were lying in a corner. Not along the walls. Here and there was somebody wounded.

This massacre ended in the afternoon, when some of our people came from Giv'at Shaul and started to shout. Then they stopped it. They gathered those who were still alive and put them in a house while shouting wildly: 'We will explode it on them'.

They took about 20 to 25 men and put them on a lorry. We joined them in their trip to town. They arranged a parade in some of Jerusalem suburbs where they had followers. The crowd cheered and clapped. Then back to the lorry. They took them to a quarry between Giv'at Shaul and Deir Yassin. Took them off the lorry, made them stand against the wall and shot them. This picture was also taken by my photographer.

They took all those that remained (alive in the village), put them on a truck and paraded them through the streets of Jerusalem to the Musrara quarter and from there they let them escape in the direction of the Jaffa gate.

On the Saturday, Etzel and Lehi notified David Sha'altiel: 'Tomorrow we leave the place. We are a crash unit. We don't hold to command posts. They were asked to at least bury the corpses. 'We don't care' was their answer. Two platoons of Gadna, seven and eighth grade students (a pre-military unit of the Hagana.. Ed.), were brought to Deir Yassin on the Sunday and they did most of the burying. They counted the corpses. The Red Cross arrived later on. There were 254 dead out of 750 people who had lived in this village. A third was killed, a third was evacuated and a third escaped.

I wrote my report and sent it to Israel Galili, the head of the Hagana".

This was what Dr.Me'ir Pa'yil told the members of kibbutz Hulda in 1979, when somebody who knew that he had been involved, asked him to tell the true story. Since the members of the kibbutz wanted to know the whole truth, they also invited Mordekhai Ra'anan, the commander of the Etzel unit that was active in Deir Yassin, to tell them his version of what happened on the 9th of April 1948. After Ra'anan told his story, someone in the audience rose up and said that two weeks ago they had heard a completely different story.

Ra'anans answer was: "Me'ir Pa'yil is a liar and a fraud. He was never in Deir Yassin at that time".

Amotz Peleg, the guy in the kibbutz responsible for setting up these debates, decided to clear this matter up. He wrote a letter to Israel Galili who was at the time the general commander of the Hagana. Galili confirmed that Me'ir Payil was actually there and had submitted to him a shocking report and photographs of what happened at Deir Yassin. He added that he had showed this report to Ben-Gurion who was Prime Minister at the time. A facsimile of that letter (in Hebrew) was reproduced in this article. However, Pa'ils original report and the photographs are locked-up in the archives of the Israeli Army and nobody can get access to them, not even Galili himself. Furthermore, even Me'ir Pa'yil the author was denied access to his own report and its photographs.

I mentioned earlier that this report was biased. But its bias consisted of more then just its claims about the incompetence of Etzel and Lehi said to be 'so incompetent as not to be able to conquer Deir Yassin on their own and they needed the help of the Palmah'. It was also biased in its claim that the Hagana was not responsible for the massacre, that it was only the work of Etzel and Lehi. Its similar to what happened years later after the massacres in Sabra and Shatila. The claim is that Ariel Sharon and the Israeli army did not carry out the massacre, and that it was perpetrated by the Christian militia! But who allowed the Christian militia to enter the refugee camp in the first place?

I tried to clear up the role of Etzel and Lehi in the massacre. I looked for an eye witness account from that group and managed to find an eye witness from Lehi. In an interview in the magazine Koteret Rashit on 26/12/1984, Nahum Barnea asks the writer Amos Keinan: "People say that you participated as one of the Lehi fighters in the massacre of Deir Yassin. Is it true?"

Amos Keinan: " I never kept it a secret. I told it to all my Palestinian friends. However, I cannot give an eye witness account because I was wounded early in the morning and was transferred to a hospital on Radak street. I did not see what was going on there. However, I can reconstruct some events from memory because I participated in the planning committee which set the aims of this operation. Nobody there mentioned a massacre. We were discussing two possible targets: Beit Hanina (North Jerusalem) or Deir Yassin. I participated in forward scouting of these two targets…"

I'm surprised by Keinan's first claim that he never kept it a secret, I was a close friend of his since our teenage years and I don't remember him ever mentioning it. He might have told it to his Palestinian friends as he so cheerfully states, and I, with all our friendship, am not a Palestinian but an Israeli. But why did he tell it to the Palestinians? Was it to gain their respect or to frighten them? This part of his interview does not make any sense to me. And, if he was as he claimed, a member of the planning committee, did Amos Keinan approve of the idea to parade 20 or 25 people of Deir Yassin in the Jerusalem suburbs and then execute them in a quarry?

Although my search for an eye-witness account of the massacre is not resolved by Amos Keinan's interview, I think that it is highly significant, because Amos was known as one of the leaders of the Peace Now movement and an interview like this would have allowed him to expose the murderous tendencies of some of his former allies unless, of course, he himself was personally involved.

I also mentioned, previously, that there are propaganda versions of the Deir Yassin massacre. One of them is by Menahem Begin, published on 06/05 1971: " The battle was very difficult. Almost from every house that was built of hard stone they shot at our people. To overcome this fire we had no choice but to throw hand grenades into the houses. After we broadcasted our announcement, we didn't believe that civilians stayed there, but they did. It was painful and tragic for us".

Another version was published by the Israeli Foreign Office on 16/93/1969: "When they entered the conquered houses they were shocked to discover that side by side with Iraqi and Palestinian fighters bodies, there were corpses of women and children. It may well be that these luckless peasants believed that the Arab soldiers would be able to overcome the assault or that they were forbidden to leave the village with the rest, when they had an opportunity to do so before the battle started or they were afraid to leave. They were innocent victims of a cruel war. The responsibility for their deaths falls directly on the Arab soldiers who had to behave according to all the war regulations - to evacuate them from the village the moment they had decided to turn it into a citadel."

The most extreme and bizarre version is that of Eliahu Amikam, a journalist on the staff of the tabloid Yediot Aharonot, who published on 19/08/1960: " In Deir-Yassin there were soldiers of regular foreign armies, including Nazis with swastika emblems. Among the corpses there were Iraqis, Syrians and Yugoslavs lying in their military uniform. Swastika ribbons were torn off their sleeves".



THE HARMONIOUS DISCORD
Khalid Kishtainy
Published in Arabic in Al-Sarq al-Awsat. Translated by the author

If there is anybody in the Middle East who deserves pity and ridicule, he is undoubtedly Shimon Peres. He never stops repeating his patethic words about his sorrow and regret for joining the government of Sharon. But he, nevertheless, keeps his post as Foreign Minister and keeps repeating his regret for joining the government. He has become the laughing stock of everybody, which is a pity for he is one of the few people within the Israeli establishment with some sympathy and understanding for the Palestinians.

Even the gentlemen on the Nobel Prize Committee began to feel embarrassed on his account. Some of them expressed their regret for not having any mechanism in the regulation of the prize which may allow them to withdraw the Peace Prize from those who put it to disrepute and trample its dignity under their feet. In view of the possibility that this government may actually kill Yasser Arafat, some members are feeling very worried about the possibility of one Nobel Peace Prize winner killing another Nobel Prize winner. This would be sheer black comedy, although not the first one in the cynical history of this grand prize.

In the meantime a joke has been circulating among the Israeli liberals and leftists, a recycling of the old anecdote of the Egyptian wit, Muhammad al Babli when crossing the Meditterranean with his soul mate, Imam Abd. The updated joke says that two Jews were crossing the Atlantic by sea and their ship hit an iceberg and started to sink. One of them hurried to his friend, shouting "Shlomo dear, this ship is sinking".His friend replied "So what, why are you so worried? Is it ours?"

The Israeli wit cited the joke in regard to Peres and Ariel Sharon. In a state of panic Peres said to his Prime Minister "The whole place is sinking in blood and fire". Sharon replied calmly "So what, is it ours?"

Most Arabs don't believe in any difference between the Labour party to which Peres belongs and the Likud party to which Sharon belongs as far as the Palestinians are concerned. Indeed, some of them think that the Likud party is better for the Arabs because of its frankness and exposure, whereas the Labour party is disguised and deceptive. Furthermore it is a party which claims socialism.



COULD IT BE WAR CRIMES?

Zuhair Sabbagh - Lecturer in Sociology in Bir-Zeit University, Palestine
A summing up and analysis of the events of the last four months in Palestine

On March 29, the Israeli colonial army launched a comprehensive war against the city of Ramallah. The military offensive was later expanded to include the invasion of Tul-Karem, Qalqilia, Jenin and Nablus. The Israeli government's aim was declared as "the liquidation of the Palestinian terrorist network inside area "A" which is administered by the Palestinian Authority." After occupying some sections of the city, 60 Israeli tanks encircled the Palestinian Authority Compound. After pounding with tanks and demolishing seven buildings, the Israeli invading army imposed a tight siege on Palestinian President Yasser Aarafat, where he was confined to two rooms.

News Blackout

In the first few days of the invasion, Israeli troops occupied and muted a number of Palestinian television and radio stations in Ramallah and other cities. Then, a clear message was sent to the international media, when an Italian reporter was shot and killed by an Israeli tank, another TV repoter was shot in the neck, and a number of TV reporters' offices were broken into and ransacked. Later, the TV reporter of Abu-Dabi was deported and the government journalist card was revoked for other TV reporters. Foreign TV reporters were denied freedom of movement except if permitted by the military authorities, so they confined themselves to their offices and began to function as televised radio reporters. In addition, a number of European and American volunteers and activists were deported by Israeli police. Moreover, the Israeli right-wing government has prevented the free access of the Israeli media into the reoccupied cities. Israel's official and private media were forced to rely, in their news coverage, on European and American TV reports. One must be reminded here that on January 19th, Israeli tanks and troops occupied the Palestinian Broadcasting Station and blew it up. This was a systematically planned campaign that ended on April 13th when Israeli troops took over the Jawal Telephone Company, a Palestinian Mobile Phone Company and disrupted its services. One hour later, the Israeli authorities disconnected our telephone access to the world. All communication, by telephone, facsimile and electronic mail, was completely severed.

Apparently, the use of intimidation and violence by the Israeli army was meant to: disrupt the work of Palestinian and international media; severe the electronic communication with the world; tightly shut the OPTs in front of all the media groups; and create a news blackout on its military activities. These measures provided the army with a tool to prevent any eyewitnesses from reporting what goes on inside, especially European television reporters. One should ask: was there something the Israeli army wanted, very much, to hide? In order to answer this question, we must provide a short political background.

A Short Background

Both the Barak and the Sharon governments have started a war of aggression against the Palestinian Authority as well against 3.2 million Palestinian civilians. In violation of the Oslo Accords, a signed agreement, General Barak: initiated a war of aggression that included the use of massive and disproportionate fire against Palestinian civilians that resulted in the killing and maiming of hundreds. Among other lethal methods, Defense Minister and Prime Minister Barak: used Apache helicopter gunships that fired anti-tank rockets on civilian houses, hospitals and security installations; stationed tanks, and used them to bombard civilian populated areas; began a campaign of extra judicial killings of Palestinian activists; allowed his army and police, including snipers, to shoot and kill a big number of Palestinian civilians who protested against his intransigent policies; allowed armed settlers to attack, shoot and kill Palestinian civilians; did not stop a number of ferocious racial attacks by Israeli mobs against Palestinian civilians who are citizens of Israel; allowed his police, including snipers, to shoot and kill 12 Palestinian civilians and citizens who participated in demonstrations protesting against Barak's intransigent policies; and prevented the entrance of food and medicine to besieged Palestinian civilian locations.

General Sharon, who on February 8th was elected by 62.3 percent of the Israeli electorate, replaced General Barak as Prime Minister, acted, towards the Palestinians, in the same fashion but with more intensity. The Israeli army continued to assassinate Palestinian activists, tanks continued to bombard Palestinian civilian localities, F-16 bombers and Apache helicopter gunships continued to raid Palestinian security installations and civilian commercial enterprises such as the Gaza Seaport, fishermen's boats, factories and workshops. On a number of occasions, the assassination of a Palestinian activist will be carried out in a period of relative calm, which then will provoke a Palestinian violent response. The government will then use this as a justification for retaliation. This was Sharon's style of avoiding political negotiations with the Palestinian authority because it might lead to a halt in colonial settlement, a concession that Sharon could not give.

Deligitimization of the PA

In the aftermath of numerous military incursions, raids and assassinations, Minister of Defense General Ben-Eliezer declared: "We are not interested in occupying the "A" areas. We do not want to bring down the Palestinian Authority. We are not fighting against the Palestinian people but against terror." This declaration was followed by a systematic propaganda campaign that aimed to discredit and deligitimised the Palestinian Authority. Numerous Israeli politicians, diplomats, security and military officers conducted a harmonized campaign of anti-Palestinian slander that was openly directed against Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. Then, the Israeli government took a resolution in which it called President Yasser Arafat irrelevant. Then more slander began to pour out. Yasser Arafat was accused of heading a terrorist authority and a coalition of terrorists.

One could detect that the use of slander, demonisation of Arafat and the terror Mantra by the Israeli right-wing government were meant to liquidate the Oslo Agreement by eliminating the Oslo partner, namely the Palestinian Authority. This development was a necessary precondition for the continuation of the Zionist colonial project inside the OPTs that kept on expanding under both a Left and Right Zionist governments.

After slander and deligitimisation, the Israeli government decided to isolate and humiliate Yasser Arafat. While being in the PA Compound in Ramallah, Apache helicopter gunships and F-16 bombers bombed out and rocketed Arafat's two helicopters and a small jet plane in the Gaza Strip. In addition, Israeli army bulldozers ploughed the Gaza Airport. Then tanks moved on and occupied parts of Ramallah, then withdrew under world pressure. Later on, Israeli tanks came as near as one hundred meters from Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah. These were escalating steps that led to the "Big Bang" on March 29th.

Zionist Customs of War

According to International Law, war crimes are violations of "the laws and customs of war" that are committed by states during war conditions. They could be classified into three categories: (a) crimes against peace; (b) war crimes; and (c) crimes against humanity.

(a) Crimes against Peace: Could be defined by International Law as including the "… planning, preparation, initiation, or waging of a war of Aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements, or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing."

(b) War Crimes: could be defined by International Law as including… but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment, or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity.

(c) Crimes against Humanity: These are war crimes committed by state armies against civilians. They include, according to international law, "… murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war …"

Throughout the period March 29-April 14, the Israeli army has carried out a number of violations, inside Palestinian cities, that clearly show distinctive features of war crimes. The Israeli army has murdered an unknown number of Palestinian civilians, security personnel and armed Palestinians. Some were shot and killed in the streets and inside their houses, while others were killed as a result of fire by heavy tank machine guns, anti-tank rockets, bombardment and explosions. Israeli tanks bombarded at least one hospital in Jenin for two hours on April 4th. Its oxygen, water, and electricity supply were devastated to a point where it could not function anymore as a hospital. In addition, an Israeli army bulldozer ploughed the street that leads to the hospital making it inaccessible. Other hospitals in Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem, Bayt Jala, and Hebron were encircled with tanks and cuts of water, electricity and telephone networks were frequently applied by the Israeli army. Moreover, Palestinian and Red Cross ambulances were denied the freedom to provide their emergency service to the wounded. Despite that, some Palestinian ambulances tried to provide medical help. Some of the ambulances were run over by tanks, others were expropriated by the army, while others were shot at, sometimes stopped, searched and kept waiting for over one hour while carrying wounded civilians inside. The only ambulance owned by the Jenin Hospital was put out of order. For twelve days Red Cross and Palestinian ambulances were denied entrance to Jenin and Jenin Refugee Camp. Obviously, the army wanted to deny medical treatment for the wounded making them bleed to death.

In addition, for the past twelve days, the Israeli army still lays a tight siege to the Jenin area, and still prevents the entrance of relief agencies, medical and food supplies, journalists, United Nations Relief and Work Agency, and anti war demonstrators.

This systematic policy by the Israeli army will logically leads us to conclude that the army is very anxious and determined to hide something from the Israeli and world public opinion. It also reveals that the Israeli army aims, as a matter of policy, at the maximization of Palestinian death toll. The murder of civilians and the systematic denial of medical treatment to the wounded and the sick, lead directly to the murder of civilians. These are war crimes that are deliberate, strongly immoral, and brutally inhumane and cannot be justified under any circumstances.

Plunder and Wanton Destruction

Other types of war crimes that were stipulated by International Law are the " … plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity." During clashes and after the cessation of fire, Israeli tanks and Apache helicopter gunships, bombarded and rocketed residential quarters in Nablus, Jenin and Jenin Refugee Camp. Tanks, military bulldozers, explosives and helicopter gunships demolished the old city of Nablus and the al-Yasmina quarter.

After the cessation of clashes, the Israeli army began a campaign of search, devastate and plunder. Numerous private vehicles were either run over or damaged by passing tanks. Many commercial enterprises such as supermarkets, stores, Banks, customers' safes, hotels, companies, workshops, money exchange bureaus and factories were devastated, ransacked and plundered by Israeli tanks and soldiers. In addition cultural centers, Ramallah's only theatre, the al-Sakakini Cultural Center, sports centers and human rights centers were also ransacked. Hospitals were encircled with tanks, besieged, and bombarded. Tanks bombarded water supply sources and electricity grids. Tanks purposefully knocked down traffic lights, electricity and telephone poles. Underground network of water pipes were dug out and cut by army bulldozers. The window glass of offices and private houses were shot at and shattered. The doors of residential buildings and private houses were forcefully opened, mostly at night, by either the use of heavy hammers or dynamite. Due to the daily march of rambling tanks, the city roads, sidewalks, trees, greenery and flowers were absolutely devastated.

In addition, a number of Palestinian ministries were ransacked and devastated, such as the ministries of education, agriculture, industry, health and social welfare. Prior to destruction, the Israeli army expropriated documents, data and the computer servers of ministries and government offices. This destruction could be added to the initial destruction of security centers and the interior ministry, which were rocketed and demolished inside the PA Compound.

Of course, war also means devastation, destruction and a lot of rubble and there has never been a "clean and noble" war. But, devastation and wanton destruction that takes place after the cessation of clashes cannot be justified by a military necessity. It could have been imperative for a hidden agenda that the army wanted to implement.

It is imperative to observe that most of the wanton destruction, caused by the Israeli invasion, to Palestinian cities, was systematically carried out to cause maximum economic damage to the civilian society. The Israeli army wanted to cause the maximum damage to the civilian infrastructure and to eliminate any economic enterprises that could provide employment and income to Palestinian civilians. The army intended also to lower the starting level of Palestinian independence, economic and nation building. The Israeli colonial bourgeoisie might, probably, have thought of the economic benefits that the Israeli economy might achieve during the process of the after war rejuvenation and rebuilding.

Deportation and Ethnic Cleansing

Ethnic cleansing and genocide against indigenous population are considered by United Nations instruments as two types of war crimes. Although, a campaign of slow ethnic cleansing has been carried out by the Israeli army inside the Gaza Strip during the Barak and Sharon governments, nevertheless, the largest campaign of ethnic cleansing was carried by the Sharon government in the Jenin Refugee Camp.

After occupying the cities of Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Nablus and Jenin, the Israeli air force began carpet bombing of the old city of Nablus and the Jenin Refugee Camp. In both the old city of Nablus and especially the Jenin Refugee Camp, the Israeli army met fierce Palestinian resistance that led to the killing of 13 Israeli soldiers in the Jenin Refugee Camp, in addition to two more dead soldiers in Nablus and Dura.

On April 9th, the Israeli army asked for a truce in the Jenin RC in order to get out unknown dead and wounded Israeli soldiers. After securing that, the army went berserk. It began massive demolishment of refugee houses in the JRC, using in the process 30 army bulldozers.

On the same day, it was reported that the residents of the old al-Yassaminah neighborhood in Nablus were threatened by the army to evacuate their houses "because it intends to demolish the entire neighborhood." On April 11th, the Israeli Television showed a Palestinian old woman in Nablus who emotionally told a foreign television reporter: "They bulldozed the martyrs and threw them inside the sewage system so as to prevent the press from seeing and photographing." On April 14th, the Abu Dabi Television showed how a group of Palestinians were pulling out a woman from inside a sewage hole. She was still alive.

On April 10th, Palestinian sources confirmed that over 130 dead Palestinians were under the rubble of the JRC. Then news began to filter out of the besieged JRC that the army began to carry out a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing. According to one source, the army evicted from the JRC "around 10,000 Palestinian refugees, out of population of 15,000." The evicted refugees were forced to go to the village of Rumana and other unknown locations. They resided inside schools, mosques and private houses, while other refugees slept in the open.

Already on April 9th, "rumors" began to circulate out of a tight military siege that the Israeli army has dug a mass grave for dead Palestinians that were taken out of the JRC. According to a number of eyewitnesses, the army was seen smuggling out in trucks Palestinian corpses and that "Israeli bulldozers began to dig out a mass grave in which over 300 corpses were buried." In response, ex-Chief of Staff General Dan Shomron fiercely defended the Israeli army. In an interview with the Israeli Television, he declared: "We have the most ethical army in the world…" On April 11th , a high-ranking Israeli officer emphatically declared: "There was no massacre. We neither used tanks or air force. If we wanted, we could have done it in one day…" In response to a question, the army spokesperson claimed that the reason for the tight siege on the JRC was that the army is busy trying to "neutralize booby-trapped Palestinian corpses… "

On April 12th , Two Arab members of the Israeli Parliament, along with Adala human rights organization, petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court, which issued an interim order that forbade the army from transporting and burying Palestinian corpses inside Israel.

During the army's campaign against the JRC, news began to spread that the army does not take any Palestinian prisoners, that they shoot at anyone moving inside or outside their homes and that tight military siege has strictly been imposed by the army. During that time, the Israeli television met with a number of Israeli soldiers who took part in the invasion of Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin and the JRC. One soldier boasted by saying: "We demolished the entire city. Nablus was once a beautiful city…" Then next day, General Sharon was seen in a meeting with soldiers in the Jenin area. One soldier asked Sharon: "Where this will lead us to?" He added: "When I take out, at midnight, a weeping child from his house, I feel I am creating the next terrorist!" Sharon's response was: "We shall not withdraw from Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin or Bethlehem until we bring about the capitulation of the terrorists"

On April 14th, Israeli troops murdered Abu Jandal, a military commander of the JRC resistance, who gave himself up along with an unknown number of fighters. Abu Jandal was shot and killed in cold blood, inside one of the courtyards of Jenin. A strong fear exists that other prisoners who gave themselves up to the Israeli army would meet the same fate

Is Sharon A Man of Peace?

During the course of the Israeli invasion and for a number of crucial days, anti-war and anti-Israeli demonstrations broke out in many Arab, Muslim, African, Asian, Latin American, European and American cities. Yet, the American Administration kept silent. When demonstrations in the Arab world began to become more intense and more critical of American support of Israel, the US Administration broke its silence.

On April 4th, American President Bush delivered a speech in which he severely criticized the beleaguered and captive Palestinian President and demanded from him to be tough on terror and terrorists. Then, President Bush demanded from Israel to stop and withdraw its forces. He concluded by saying that he will dispatch foreign minister Colin Powel next week.

The Bosh Administration carried out what could be best described as political and diplomatic acrobatics that showed pretension of being against Israeli aggressive invasion but not serious enough to stop it. It sent Powel on a tour of diversion that started with Morocco, then Egypt, Jordan, Spain and Israel, in order to provide the Israeli military machine with the necessary time to conclude their aggression.

On April 7th, "American White House Spokesman described Sharon" in clear Orwelian language, " as a man of peace." This was a clear insult to human intelligence and memory. General Sharon's dark history reveal that on numerous occasions he has shown absolute disregard for: human lives, human rights, peace initiatives, international law, international treaties, UN Charter, UN Accords and Human Rights Instruments, and the laws and customs of war. In the 1948 war, Sharon participated in the Zionist campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian civilians; in 1953, and as a commander of the infamous Unit 101, officer Sharon demolished several houses on top of their Palestinian residents that resulted in the murder of 53 civilians; in the 1972, Commander of the Southern Region, General Sharon demolished thousands of refugee houses in the Gaza Strip and ethnically cleansed thousands of Palestinian refugees; in 1982, and as Defense Minister, General Sharon launched a bloody war of aggression against Lebanon and the PLO forces. During the course of the war extreme brutalities were committed by the Israeli forces, especially the 80 days bombardment, and rocketing of the besieged city of Beirut. But the most appalling of these brutalities was the massacre that was organized by Israel's top military commanders, headed by General Eric Sharon. Today, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Sharon commits similar war crimes of war of aggression, murder, extra judicial killings, plunder, devastation, and ethnic cleansing in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. How can such a general with that dark record of war crimes be called "a man of peace"?

A Possible Hague Tribunal

According to International Law, laws and customs of war, the United Nations Charter, the individuals who could be charged with war crimes could be any of the following number of categories:

(1) Those who had personally committed some violation of the laws and customs of war; (2) those who committed some violation of the laws and customs of war under order from some superior; (3) those who belonged
to some organization declared to be criminal; (4) those who planned or ordered "criminal" policies before or during the war; (5) those who failed to prevent atrocities or criminal policies; (6) those who planned, initiated, or waged "illegal" war.

The present Israeli political and military leaders could be accused, by the international community and by a Hague Tribunal, of committing a number of war crimes. However, in order to bring the perpetrators of war crimes to justice, two conditions must be met: (1) An international, competent, and objective committee must be established by the international community. Its mandate must be clear and fully supported by a United Nations Security Council resolution, which will delegate it with the task of investigating the charges of war crimes that were committed by the Israeli army and the Israeli government; (2) The international community, especially Western Europe and the United States, must realize that Israel cannot be given the chance of freely violating international law. Israel, like other states, must abide by international law and UN resolutions, and Israeli violations and wanton brutality must be prosecutable and punishable and cannot remain camouflaged and justified by the brutal Occidental blanket of "terror and self-defense".


One must ask here a question. Why has the Israeli army systematically carried out a number of war crimes against the Palestinian civilian society? In order to comprehensively and truly answer this question, one must provide a necessary background that connects the Oslo Agreement with Sharon's present invasion of the OPTs. The following is an attempt to address the important issues.

Oslo And After

Israel has signed the Oslo Accords with the PLO in 1993, according to which Israel and the PLO have mutually recognized each other. In 1994, the PLO was allowed by Israel to establish its Palestinian Authority inside "autonomous zones", namely the cities and towns. Israel has also agreed to allow the PA to bring in about 40,000 security forces that were needed for policing the areas under its rule. According to the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority was supposed to last five years (1994-1999). In the beginning of the last year, permanent status negotiations between Israel and the PA were supposed to take place. For ideological reasons, Prime Minister Natanyahu helped in creating an impasse for refusing to start these negotiations.

In May 1999, Barak was elected as Prime Minister. He refused to carry out any withdrawal from area "B" to be added to areas "A" as stipulated by the Oslo Accords. Instead, Barak opted to go immediately to the permanent status negotiations, which is a stage to follow the interim period of autonomy. The logical consequences of the permanent status negotiations could have been total Israeli withdrawal from the OPTs; liquidation of the entire illegal colonial settlement inside the OPTs and the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state. However, Barak desired to partially withdraw from the OPTs, to control a strip of land around Palestinian territories under Israeli control for a limited period, to keep most of the colonial settlers inside three settlement blocks, and to keep occupied East Jerusalem under Israeli monopolized control. On the issue of the right to return of the Palestinian refugees, Barak did not yield.

Barak Opts For Colonial Hegemony

The Oslo Agreement was a camouflaged colonial solution to a colonial situation that was imposed on the Palestinians. It was definitely not a peace agreement nor a historical compromise. Yet, the ultra-nationalist Israeli Zionist right regarded Oslo as dangerous to the colonial project and was fiercely against it. After the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin by an anti-Oslo Israeli rightist. Shimon Peres replaced Rabin. During election campaign Peres wanted to act tough towards "the Arabs" so as to win right-wing voters. He, therefore, committed a massacre against Lebanese civilians. Israeli artillery bombarded "by mistake" a group of Palestinian refugees who found a temporary sanctuary inside a UN Forces camp. Over 100 Lebanese villagers were brutally killed by an Israeli shell. A UN vedio film was released by UN Secretary General showed how an Israeli plilotless small plane was seen guiding Israeli shelling and "the mistake" turned out to be a calculated killing of a mass of Arabs. Peres paid for "his mistake" in the election ballots. The public moved further to the right and ultra-nationalist Natanyahu was elected. Netanyahu began his subversion of Oslo and was engulfed with right-wing provocation when he approved the opening of the Tunnel under the al-Aqsa Mosque. Palestinians reacted with mass demonstrations and short three-day armed clashes took place leading to 14 dead Israeli soldiers and over 100 killed Palestinian security personnel and civilians. His procrastination regarding the permanent status negotiations and his impossible conditions created an impasse with the Palestinian side. Netanyahu's policies led to a deadlock and later to his political demise.

General Barak managed to maneuver his way to become the leader of the Labor Party. He projected himself as a "peace candidate" campaigning against a rejectionist right wing Netanyahu. The Israeli public moved a bit to the Zionist Left and the Palestinian electors inside Israel helped defeat Netanyahu and bring a "man of peace" to become Israel's Prime Minister.


Both Natanyahu and Barak followed policies that showed Israeli retraction from Oslo. Natanyahu the rightist signed the Hebron Agreement that led to the partition of Hebron giving 80 percent of its territory to the Palestinians and keeping 20 percent under the army's control. However, Natanyahu refused, for ideological reasons, to start the permanent status negotiations. But he withdrew from small percentage of territory that was transferred to the Palestinian Authority. Barak the "man of peace" did not withdrew from one inch but started permanent status negotiations with the PA that went no where.

The Demise of the Oslo Accords

Camp David II was a Barak manufactured attempt to impose his colonial conditions on the Palestinians. It offered the Palestinians part of the Palestinian occupied territories, fractured fictitious sovereignty and colonial subjugation. Barak desired a continuation of the colonial project (Israeli settlement blocks) and a Zionistan entity for the Palestinians. After realizing that the Palestinians could not capitulate to Barak's hegemonic colonial conditions, the Barak government halted the permanent status negotiations and started a war against the Palestinian people. It began with Sharon's provocative visit to al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. Accompanied by 2000 Israeli police, General Sharon marched provocatively inside the courtyard of the al-Aqsa Mosque. This act expressed the ultra-rightist position of colonial monopoly of Jerusalem and rejection of the Oslo Agreement. It was meant to provoke Palestinian mass demonstrations, a matter that was used a justification by Barak to start the army's onslaught. Then, the Israeli police and border guards reacted with massive fire that led to the killing of 8 Palestinian demonstrators in one day, who were killed around the Mosque. Israeli snipers injured over one hundred demonstrators. This provoked more mass demonstrations that were met with more fire. Palestinian civilians were killed inside West Bank and Gaza Strip cities, villages and refugee camps. Israeli border guards and police also gunned down twelve Palestinian demonstrators, citizens of Israel. Barak was determined to force his conditions by the use of fire, tanks and an aggressive war.

Palestinian civilians reacted with more demonstrations, and the numbers of those killed by the Israeli army began to increase. Mass demonstrations developed into a popular uprising, which the army did not like. Then armed clashes began to take place between armed Palestinians and the Israeli army. This militarization of the popular Uprising was a development that Israel helped to create.

As the political option was liquidated by Barak and in reaction to massive killing and maiming of civilians, Palestinian Islamists began to carry out commando operations inside Israeli cities. To which the Israeli army retaliated with the maximization of fire power. F-16 bombers and Apache Helicopter gunships began to target Palestinian security installations. This went on for months, and was escalated more by Barak's government. A hit list of "wanted" Palestinian leaders and activists were targeted for assassination. The Israeli government approved this illegal policy of extra judicial killings and the army began to implement it. The Israeli policy of targeted killing provoked more Palestinian suicide bombings that resulted in a number of killings of Israeli civilians. Then, the Israeli government retaliated with more air raids and more targeted killings of Palestinian activists. Using the impact of the suicide bombings, the Israeli army began slow ethnic cleansing in the Gaza Strip that was implemented through the eviction of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, leveling their agricultural land and demolishing their houses. Then tanks were stationed at the entrances of Palestinian cities and towns.

Typical of colonial societies, ultra right nationalism began to engulf the majority of the Israeli people. Racial violence by Israeli Jews aimed against Palestinian civilians began to take place inside Israeli streets. Around 2000 anti-Arab Israeli settlers attacked one Palestinian neighborhood of Nazareth, a Palestinian city located inside the State of Israel. Barak and his government was, in the public eye, unable to put an end to the fire it has ignited. Later on it was replaced by an ultra rightist General Eric Sharon.

Concluding Remarks

The right wing government of Israel, has clearly shown that it is ready to commit war crimes in order to continue its colonial subjugation of 3.2 million Palestinians. It uses the issue of "terror" to avoid paying the price of decolonization. It gets outright support from the American Administration and collaboration of the European and Arab regimes.

However, the ensuing war taking place now inside the Palestinian occupied territories is a stage in the conflict between the Israeli colonial army and the Palestinian national movement. It has a history of massive colonial violence aimed at subjugating a nation and its meagre resources to the sole benefit of the Zionist colonial bourgeoisie. The Israeli army acted in the past and acts now, as a tool in defense of colonial hegemony and interests. The Palestinian national movement embodies the national aspirations and rights of a colonized indigence people. Therefore, the American "mini security agreements" that concentrate on the issues of "terror" and the security of Zionist colonial hegemony and attempt to frustrate Palestinian national struggle, cannot camouflage the real issues. Zionist settler colonialism has been, for the past thirty-five years, trying to disparately patch up its colonial rule over the Palestinian indigence people. The Zionist colonial bourgeoisie has continued and expanded its settler colonial project inside the OPTs. It refuses to pay the price of decolonisation and keeps maneuvering and pretending to desire "peace". The present stage in the Zionist-Palestinian Conflict has proved beyond any doubt that Zionist settler colonialism contradicts in absolute terms genuine, true and lasting peace. Settler colonialism cannot coexist with genuine peace because it is grossly unjust, brutal, racist and militaristic political system. On the other hand, the Palestinian national movement has determined to continue the national struggle. The Palestinian people strongly insist on liquidating Zionist colonial hegemony, winning their right to self-determination and establishing their fully sovereign and truly independent state of Palestine.

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References to sources of the cited quotations, found in the original, have been erased in this copy for brevity and simplicity.



CAN THE ISRAELI ARMY BE DEFEATED? AND IF SO, HOW?

The aggressive Israeli army is called (I don't know why) the Israeli Defence Force. It is, actually, a very strong attack force. This is the strongest Army in the Middle East, and it also possesses chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, in short, weapons of mass destruction. That fact is not disputed by anyone. The only question is if this army can be defeated?

If we are talking about power, we all know that a military power can be defeated by a greater military power. In this sense the Arab power, even the combined Arab power, is not enough to defeat the Israelis and if we are talking about the Palestinians we must acknowledge that they don't have any power at all.

In the last thirty-two years, we, a small group of Israelis, have been trying to alert the world liberal public opinion to the fact that Israel intends to get rid of the Palestinians and take over and settle in their place. We must admit that in this task we have failed. The international public opinion didn't force their governments to curtail Israeli appetite for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. The inaction of great powers like the USA, Britain, France and Germany, only encouraged Israel to continue the policy of creating illegal Jewish settlements on confiscated Arab land.

We have now reached a situation where Israel has started not only to put settlers on Palestinian land but have also started to get rid, physically, of the Palestinians themselves. They do it in different cruel ways. Since the occupation of the West Bank in 1967, they have treated the Palestinians living in the occupied territories in the most degraded way. In the end, after many years of suffering, the Palestinians started to object. Their objection, known as the Intifada, began by throwing stones at soldiers, which the Israeli army answered by shooting and killing. I'll not go into the history of the two Intifadas because this is already in the public domain. I'll concentrate instead on the ethnic cleansing methods that Israel is employing. First they shoot to kill using the slightest provocation. When they shoot to kill, their main target is usually the leaders or those who are capable of leading - but anyone else will do, even a child. If they don't manage to kill, and only wound, they prevent the medics and the doctors from reaching the wounded, so that they die. When they don't manage to kill or wound, they arrest. The detained people are then tortured in order to extract "information". I don't know what kind of information they extract, but what I do know is that after they extract the information, these people are released, and then other Palestinians execute them because they are regarded as traitors. This suits the Israelis well. Palestinians killed by other Palestinians is even better.

The ethnic cleansing by these methods is sure and safe, but it is too slow. There are still too many Palestinians left. The Israeli Army hastens the process by demolishing houses. This system of demolishing houses is very clever. It doesn't enrage Europeans as do the killings, but is no less effective. If people don't have a place to live in, they go. In the beginning they go to live with their relatives or neighbours. If the house of their relatives or neighbours is also demolished, they are even more crowded or live in the open. In the end, those who have some money, like the rich and the middle class, emigrate and join their relatives abroad. The poor who are left without leaders will have to submit to slavery for very little money because they have to eat and feed their families. Recently, in the raid on Ramalla, Nablus and Jenin, Israel soldiers started something new: they broke computers, destroyed software and any information they could find that can keep a community going, (which is no less cruel and vile than the other things they do). They also made it look as if the soldiers did it just for fun. But I know the Israelis - I'm one of them - and I know that they wouldn't have done it if they were not instructed to do so.

Nobody, so it seems, is going to stop Israel getting rid of the Palestinians because the greatest power, the USA, is actually encouraging it, while the European powers do not lift a finger. Why should they sacrifice their soldiers and their economic interests because of the Palestinians?

The question then remains and is crying out even louder: is there a way for a lesser power to defeat a greater power, in this case Israel? You might be surprised but the answer to this question is yes, there is! Yes, there is a way, but this way is a revolutionary way that departs from the old, classic way of thinking and doing war. This way of thinking does already exist in some lesser branches of combat but has not penetrated yet to the real theatre of war.

Think, for example, of the combat art of Judo. In this art, the principle is to use the power of your opponent to defeat him. Can this approach be applied to war? Is it possible to use the power of the Israeli Army itself to defeat it? Yes, it has even been done in the past - there are already some historic examples.

There are two historic examples from ancient times. One is that of Alexander the Great in his famous victory when he defeated the Persian army in Arbela, and the other is the defeat of the Roman army at Canae, by Hannibal. However, I don't want to go back to antiquity. I will only go back 200 years.

200 years ago there was, in Europe, another invincible army, and that was the French Army under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte. This was an army that won all the battles it fought but, in the end, collapsed under the weight of its own victories. The Israeli army can be defeated in the same way, but one that needs a different approach to war and war strategy.

Let us have a look at the reasons for the collapse of the French army. As we all know, the French, under the command of Napoleon won all the battles they fought. This, naturally, gave them an appetite for more victories. After subduing all his opponents in central Europe, Napoleon looked for more enemies and found one in the east. He attacked Russia. The Russian Tsar and his generals knew the power of the French army and tried to avoid battle. Occasionally they fought small skirmishes, which they usually lost but which resulted in very little damage to their own troops. The French army was confident and continued to advance. The Russian Army retreated until the French conquered Moscow. Even then, the Russian Army refused to fight and the Russian Tsar refused to surrender.

Napoleon sat in Moscow waiting for a surrender that never came. The French army ate all the available food and drank all the available wine, and harassed the local population out of sheer boredom. After they burned half the city down and saw the cold Russian winter coming, they returned the same way they came. On their retreat they were harassed by guerrilla attacks by the Russians, which this time were much more successful, since the French soldiers were already tired from their many victories. The French retreated until they reached Paris, but this time they entered Paris with their tail dangling between their legs. This was the end of the invincible French army, and in their next battle in Leipzig, they were militarily defeated.

This is a good model by which the invincible Israeli army could also be defeated. But, as we've already said, it needs a revolutionary way of military thinking and acting.

Instead of offering peace for land as the Saudis are now proposing (which is actually an American plan), the Arab states have to declare war on Israel but, at the same time, they should not repeat the mistakes they made in 1967 and 1972. This time, after declaring war on Israel, they should avoid a military confrontation. When the Israeli Army attack them, they should retreat. They should avoid battles as much as possible and prefer instead small, guerrilla-style skirmishes. They should continue to avoid battles, go on retreating and let the Israeli army advance. They should let the Israelis advance and take over Cairo, Damascus and Beirut. Once Israel has conquered these capitals they will be entrapped. In order to keep these cities, the Israeli Army will be stretched beyond its limits. I don't know how much army one needs to keep Cairo with its 12 or 15 million inhabitants. The Israeli army will be so thin that it will be vulnerable to guerrilla and terror attacks from all sides. A myriad of small guerrilla attacks will cause it so much damage that in a short time the army will retreat and go back to Tel Aviv. This time, however, not as a proud and victorious army, but as a defeated one.

The only difficulty that I can see with this plan is that the Arab states will be unable or unwilling to implement it. Some might point to a possible danger. But then, what could be a danger? The only danger that I can see is this: that the Israelis, who will also know about this plan to defeat them, (because it will be in the public domain, published on this website as well as elsewhere), might try to avert their fate by not responding to the challenge, and not attacking the Arabs when they declare war on Israel. Worse still, they may raise the white flag themselves and surrender to the Arabs the moment war is declared. This is a real danger and I'll have to think hard how to react to such a challenge. But, knowing the Facist/Nazi character of Ariel Sharon and his complete reliance on the theories of Machiavelli and Klausewitz (1), there is no doubt that he will dismiss this article as a joke, thereby sealing the fate of the Israeli Army.

If you have a better idea about how to defeat the Israeli army, send it to us and we will publish it!

1.
It should be noted that in one of the last chapters in his book On War, there is a hint of the idea expressed in this article. When asked what should a weak nation do when confronted by a much stronger enemy, his advice is to attack although he doesn't elaborate on the subject.

The idea in this article is based on the book: The White Flag Principle - How to Lose a War and Why, by Shimon Tzabar, published by Allan Lane, (Penguin Hardcover Edition), 1972.



STATE OF TERROR

From SchNEWS - 05/05/02

History is repeating itself...This is fascism, how they [the Israeli soldiers] are dealing with people, detaining them in big schools and interrogating each one, writing numbers on them. People are terrified. The Israeli soldiers are shooting everything. Life here has totally stopped; it's dead. This is terrorism against civilians. It is organised terrorism by the state...this is an organised war against a whole people who have no weapons to resist tanks, and helicopters and F16s." - Ashraf, a Palestinian imprisoned in his home in Ramallah. It's Monday in Beit Jala, a small town near Bethlehem and 150 people from the International Solidarity Movement and dozens of Palestinians are marching peacefully in the deserted streets. They are attempting to visit families besieged in their homes, before Israeli tanks block their path. Two of the marchers start to move towards the tanks with their hands up in order to negotiate, but soldiers open fire at both the crowd and the reporters that are there. Eight people are injured, one seriously.

Other activists are holed up with Yasser Arafat in his headquarters. Mario Lill from Brazil's Landless Workers' Movement (MST) is one of those who are acting as a human shield and has become a sort of war correspondent broadcasting live to Brazil. Others such as anti-globalisation French farmer Jose Bove were arrested in the compound by Israeli troops.

Wednesday and two thousand people including internationals, Israeli and Arab civilians gather at a checkpoint near Ramallah trying to get humanitarian aid delivered to the besieged town. Soldiers fire tear gas and baton charge people. One of the protestors was Yehudith Harel. "Two Israeli faces surfaced today. One is the decent and humane face of the Israeli Anti-war movement - an alliance of Israeli citizens - Jews and Arabs, adamant to struggle together for Justice for the two peoples. The second is the ugly and brutal face of the Occupation mentality and practices threatening to crush us."

CASUALTIES

People from around the world have been volunteering in the occupied territories of the West Bank for over a year, taking non-violent direct action like clearing roadblocks and acting as willing human shields to protect the Palestinian people. Invited by Palestinian activists, these international supporters live and work in solidarity with them - a similar call out to the one made by the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico. People from abroad can often get away with a lot more when protesting, partly because they have the eyes of the international press on them - until Monday that was, when live ammunition was fired at the international observers for the first time.

As for the Palestinians, even the doctors, nurses and paramedics are being used by the Israeli army as human shields or forced to strip and sit on their knees at gunpoint in the streets. Israeli forces have stopped ambulances delivering aid or picking up the wounded and are detaining the Palestinian Red Crescent society and aid workers. 120 Palestinian paramedics have been killed in the last 18 months.

As Israeli tanks roll in to Palestinian settlements, they destroy telephone lines and cut electricity and water supplies. All men between the ages of 16 and 50 are rounded up. Some homes are destroyed, others have their windows blown out and walls dynamited as soldiers move from home to home. Soldiers occupy other homes forcing the residents to live together in a single room, with little or no access to telephone lines, news coverage or even food and water. An entire civilian population is being openly terrorised after over 50 years of occupation by the Israeli State.

Michael Ben-Yair, former Israel attorney general said, "The Intifada is the Palestinian people's war of national liberation. We enthusiastically chose to become a colonist society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the occupied territories, engaging in theft and finding justification for all these activities...we established an apartheid regime."

Lev Grinberg (Director of the Humphrey Institute for Social Research at Ben Gurion University) sums up the situation: "Suicide bombs killing innocent citizens must be unequivocally condemned; they are immoral acts, and their perpetrators should be sent to jail. But they cannot be compared to State terrorism carried out by the Israeli Government. The former are individual acts of despair of a people that sees no future, vastly ignored by an unfair and distorted international public opinion. The latter are cold and "rational" decisions of a State and a military apparatus of occupation, well equipped, financed and backed by the only superpower in the world."

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While Palestinians are being shot dead by Israeli troops and the Americans wage "War on Terrorism". BAE Systems, the world's biggest arms trading company, are laughing all the way to the bank as their share prices have increased by 13.8%.

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