Zahikim on 25 Oct 2000 21:21:49 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Editorials about Palestine

To Whom,

I got a message at work saying that you are interested in alternative info 
and viewpoints on the Middle East. Here are two editorials that I recently 

Hope you can find a way to use them,

Kim Jensen
1442 Excelsior Avenue #1
Oakland, CA 94602
(510) 482-9505

Kim Jensen is a writer and editor who has lived and taught in the Middle 
East. She is a regular contributor to several publications, including Boston 
Book Review and Al Jadid Magazine.

Palestinians are Facing an Escalation of Violence and Repression

Word Count: 650

Two weeks ago, ninety-four out of one hundred US Senators signed a letter to 
President Clinton, urging him to continue to give unconditional support to 
Israel, and to veto any "anti-Israel" security council resolutions. In the 
Congress, Reps Gilman (R-NY) and Gejdenson (D-CT) have sponsored a bill which 
would place exclusive blame for the current violence in Israel on the 
Palestinians. In the meantime the two main Presidential candidates (who 
refused to let Arab-American presidential candidate Ralph Nader even to sit 
in the audience at the debates), are practically tripping over each other to 
prove their unfailing loyalty to this openly racist state.

It shouldn't be any surprise then that the Palestinian people refuse to 
pacify their justified anger, in order to re-enter a lopsided peace process 
sponsored by the greatest military ally of Israel. Again and again, the 
United States claims to be an "honest broker" of peace in the Middle East, 
and yet by clearly siding with Israel and continuing to offer it six billion 
dollars in aid and weaponry a year, the US gives Israel the green light-not 
for peace, but for war. 

This past week, Amnesty International issued two separate statements 
concerning Israel's violation of human rights; and it is urging a ban on all 
transfers of attack helicopters to Israel who has been using them to "fire on 
Palestinian civilians, including children." Amnesty International has 
re-iterated its call for an International investigation into the very serious 
human rights abuses in the Occupied Territories. Also, the UN commission on 
Human Rights has condemned Israel's "disproportionate and indiscriminate use 
of force in violation of international law...which constituted a war crime 
and a crime against humanity."

Now in the most recent turn of events, the supposed dove, Ehud Barak, for 
whom 97% of Arab citizens voted in the last elections, has invited extreme 
rightwing war criminal, Ariel Sharon, into his government. This invitation 
should lay to rest any false notions that Ehud Barak is or ever was a man of 
peace. Although Israeli pundits and ambassadors would like to portray him as 
someone on the scale of Ghandi in his generosity toward "the other," nothing 
could be further from the truth. On his watch, the territories have seen an 
expansion of illegal Jewish settlements the likes of which the Likud had ever 
overseen. The violence of the current military campaign against Palestinian 
mourners and demonstrators is unparalleled in the history of Israeli 
occupation of the Palestinian territories. It is clear that the government of 
Israel, lead by Barak, intends to murder and maim an entire generation of 
Palestinians with impunity. They are now threatening to seal off the 
territories in an apartheid-like attempt to starve and bomb Palestinians into 
total submission. It's a very very frightening prospect.
But Palestinians have proven that they will not settle for anything less than 
justice and self-determination. For 52 years, since Israel was founded on the 
ruins of Arab villages and towns, Palestinians have been fighting and dying 
for their cause, and they are not about to stop now. It is their legitimate 
national right to liberate themselves from illegal occupation. So if we 
Americans would like to help the cause of peace in that region, we need to 
start by acknowledging the history that has led to this current debacle. 
As American citizens we must demand that our government stop all military and 
financial aid to this rogue State which is in violation of numerous UN 
resolutions and which uses excessive force to solve all of its problems. 
Innocent children are dying, and not just the stone throwing youth. Access to 
hospitals is blocked by the Israeli military; civilian apartments and homes 
have been bombed; villages are under siege; fanatic settlers have been 
murdering poor peasants all week. The situation has become intolerable. The 
Palestinian population is in dire need of protection- not tomorrow, not in a 
week or a month, but right now.

Palestinians Demand Freedom From Israeli Occupation 

The turbulent events during the past weeks in both Yugoslavia and in 
Palestine offer us an opportunity to gage, yet again, the ongoing hypocrisy 
of US foreign policy. Both countries have been experiencing popular 
uprisings, violence, and political upheaval, yet both of these separate yet 
simultaneous revolts have been treated very differently by the US 
administration and media.

Spurred by an election victory which President Milosevic threatened to annul, 
Yugoslavs of all stripes have poured into the streets in protest. They 
occupied government buildings by force, set fires, beat people they 
considered collaborators. To his credit, Milosevic did not employ brutality 
to quash the protests; and he finally submitted to the overwhelming evidence 
of his defeat. Had Milosevic let loose a military response using live 
ammunition, tear gas, tanks, helicopters, and rockets, of the sort that we 
have seen in Israel, no doubt he and his regime would have been condemned 
roundly in the West and perhaps even threatened with another war. As it 
happened, all the West European and American leaders-who desire to see 
Yugoslavia as yet another "free market" playground-praised this change of 
Serbian leadership as nothing short of a revolution.

In the Arab World another popular revolt has been shaking up the status quo, 
though in the United States it has been framed in an entirely different 
light. The Palestinian people, utterly disenchanted with their 33 year 
occupation, tired of constant Israeli provocation and violence, infuriated by 
the increase of Jewish theft and settlement of their land-have bravely stood 
up yet again, frustrated with a "peace process" which would deny them 
sovereignty over their own lands, control of their borders, water rights, 
their capital as East Jerusalem (which is still considered an occupied city), 
and the right for refugees to return to their homes. Considering that 
Palestinians have lost, in a 50 year Zionist land grab, 80% of historic 
Palestine, it should be clear to anyone concerned about human rights and 
"ethnic cleansing" why Palestinians are so angry.

But even as the whole world watched Israel's use of brutal and repressive 
force against a largely unarmed people, the US administration and media 
continue to divide the blame evenly, deploying the usual arsenal of cliches: 
"cycle of violence," "spiral of violence," "age-old conflict," "masked Arab 
rioters" etc. And even as the world watched the supposedly "unforgettable" 
footage of an innocent boy, Rami al-Durrah, being gunned down in cold blood, 
the Israeli side is still permitted to set the news agenda with its arrogant 
ultimatums and threats, its blame-the-victim rhetoric. And even though 
everyone knows that there have been more than 2500 Palestinian casualties in 
the popular uprising for the democracy and liberation, Barak is still allowed 
to appear as if he's the only leader interested in maintaining the peace.

Indeed, Israel is interested in "maintaining peace"-a peace of Palestinian 
surrender and submission which would allow them to quietly slip out of the 
international headlines, so they can continue to steal land unchecked. This 
includes the land of those other Palestinians-the so-called "Israeli-Arabs" 
whose situation is less publicized.  

Meanwhile, the US promotes this sort of submissive "peace" not only in 
Israel, but all over the Arab world where US-friendly dictatorships rule with 
an iron fist (and American-made weaponry). The popular demonstrations that 
have erupted in Morocco, Egypt, and Jordan are not a cause for American 
elation and joy as they are in Yugoslavia. No, these demonstrations are 
viewed as a "de-stabilization" and a threat to US interests in the region. 
This sort of self-serving hypocrisy is the very reason that the US government 
lacks credibility among the oppressed people of the world.

In the last two weeks, both the Serbians and the Arabs have demonstrated 
their inalienable right to take their rulers to task. Of the two 
"revolutions" only the Palestinian one was met with bloody repression. 
Courageously facing down the most sophisticated military power in the region, 
Palestinians have been willing to die for the cause of self-determination in 
their homeland. The question, then, begs to be answered-how long will this 
US-Israel friendship stand in the way of the legitimate rights of the 
Palestinian people? And how long will the corporate media continue to act as 
the mouthpiece of the Pentagon and the State Department- regurgitating all 
the usual cliches, in an effort not to inform the public, but rather to 
conceal the true history of the Zionist conquest of Palestine?

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