molly hankwitz on 3 Nov 2000 02:40:05 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Report from the IAC - on US involvment and US media

>From: Max Watts <>
>To: Watts, Max <>
>Subject: PALJ01031
>Date: Thursday, 2 November 2000 0:22
>Palestine Journal October 31, 2000
>Five questions on the Intifada
>[The following is the fourth report from a four-person delegation from the
>International Action Center from their humanitarian and fact-finding
>mission to Palestine during what is being called the Al Aqsa Intifada, or
>uprising. The delegation aims to bring back a first-hand report
>documenting the repression inflicted by the Israeli army and to bring
>medical supplies for Palestinian hospitals, which have been declared a
>state of medical emergency. The Emergency is caused by the dual problem of
>the heavy casualties inflicted by the Israeli repression and the inability
>of sick and wounded people to pass through Israeli checkpoints on their
>way to the hospital. The IAC delegation includes Richard Becker, Sara
>Flounders, Randa Jamal and Preston Wood.]
>Question: The media in the United States, at least the corporate media,
>has made it appear that with the fighting going on in Palestine there are
>two sides more or less battling it out evenly. What does it look like to
>you there?
>IAC delegation: That's ridiculous. By today, Oct. 31, the official death
>toll in a month of fighting rose to 154 Palestinians killed and 12
>Israelis—that's almost 13 to one. And the bullets and shells of the
>so-called Israeli Defense Force have wounded another 6,600 Palestinians.
>The Israeli troops are armed to the hilt with machine guns. They are
>backed up by tanks and helicopter gunships that for the past three days
>have been shelling and firing rockets at Palestinian towns and cities, and
>firing heavy machine guns at unarmed demonstrators. We watched Palestinian
>youths today fighting tanks and troops with stones and slingshots.
>The Israeli troops are basically waging a one-sided aggressive war against
>an unarmed population. The gunships, by the way, are the helicopters the
>Pentagon supplies Israel and calls "Apache," which is an insult to Native
>people in North America. Most of the weapons come from the U.S.
>Question: Besides making it look like an even battle, the U.S. media
>portrays the IDF as acting with constraint, with only using force to stop
>the attacks on them. What did you observe on this?
>IAC: We witnessed last night a rocketing in Ramallah, and there was
>another one that we didn't see with widespread damage to residential
>areas, so there's tremendous anger in the population. The hardest hit city
>was Nablus, where there were four different areas that were hit by
>Around noon local time today there was a demonstration, which took place
>at the north entrance to Ramallah, coming just 12 hours after the rocket
>attacks in residential neighborhoods in several cities. There were marches
>that took place all over Palestine, including one that we participated in
>at midnight in Ramallah.
>Young people marched, converging on the north entrance to Ramallah, which
>is very close in, really in the city itself. Palestinian youth were
>confronting the Israeli soldiers. And the Israeli soldiers were pulled up
>right, almost into the city and it shows how very limited the area under
>Palestinian control is.
>The Palestinian youth began throwing stones and using slingshots against
>the soldiers who were confronting them. There were soldiers right behind
>the troops on the front line that were hard to see but we could make them
>out, in both the City Inn hotel and in an adjoining office building.
>These were snipers. These snipers have been firing from long distances at
>people who are demonstrating, picking them off. So we could see them. But
>after the demonstration went on for a little while--we were no more than a
>hundred yards from this--the Israelis first used tear gas, or really CS
>gas, then they began firing automatic weapons.
>Then the Israeli troops began firing from tanks at the youth, firing 500
>mm and 800 mm bullets, big bullets that just destroy somebody if they hit
>them. These were really criminal tactics. Between the shells and the
>snipers, it was obvious the Israelis were shooting to kill.
>Question: What has been the impact of the Israeli military tactics on the
>demonstrations? Have they discouraged the people from coming out in the
>IAC: So far the brutal tactics have been counter-productive. Look at what
>happened today in Ramallah.
>The courage of the youth in confronting this was really incredible to see.
>There were hundreds and hundreds of youth along the sides and some who got
>up very close to where the soldiers were and even with all the firing
>going on they would continue to resist, they would continue to throw
>The youths were making the statement that they're not going to be
>intimidated, that they're not going to be defeated by the use of these
>tactics, which really have to be considered to be criminal tactics. They
>are determined to continue this struggle.
>Of course when the army began opening up with the tank weapons against
>people, the crowds began to scatter, to move back and to move forward
>again. Bullets were whistling over our heads, bouncing off buildings near
>where we were. And finally the crowd was driven back.
>But this was I think one of many instances like this, and it shows the
>tremendous level of morale and the tremendous determination by the youth
>and by the people as a whole. And it really is the people as a whole, as
>we can testify to from the many encounters that we've had with people from
>all walks of life here.
>This morning, before the demonstration, we had visited with two different
>Palestinian medical committees, the Union of Health Work Committee and the
>Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Association. We had met with them and
>we had gone to hospitals and visited some of the wounded.
>In two different hospitals, in Ramallah hospital and in another
>rehabilitation hospital where more seriously injured people are being
>treated. One of the things explained to us in the meeting that we had with
>the doctors was that the medical committees here, and this is a new
>development, have been training hundreds of medics, volunteer medics, and
>they go out with the ambulances to demonstration sites.
>They've been trained how to get people who have been shot, how to carry
>them out in ways that they're safer, into the ambulances. But of course
>it's not safe for the people who are doing this at all, because many of
>them have been wounded. At least 15 of these medical rescue workers have
>been seriously wounded with gunshot wounds to the chest, to the back and
>the head.
>But after we heard this explained early in the morning in the meetings, we
>then got to witness it first hand where the ambulances were racing in the
>areas where the fighting was taking place amid the tank fire and automatic
>weapons and bring out wounded Palestinians.
>It's very dramatic to see this. It was a scene where bullets were flying,
>ricocheting around, tear gas. The Israeli tactics had brought the entire
>Palestinian population into the Intifada, the uprising.
>Question: What evidence have you seen of the U.S. role in the conflict in
>IAC: At the demonstration today, we picked up one of the tear gas
>canisters, CS gas canisters that had been fired, and verified by looking
>at it, we have it our possession that it was made by Federal Labs in the
>United States.
>In 1988, at the time of the first Intifada, one of our delegation
>participated in a sit-in demonstration at Federal Labs out in Western
>Pennsylvania. The Israelis were using CS gas in such quantities in the
>first Intifada, firing it into people's homes, that many people were dying
>from it. But Federal Labs is still producing CS gas and they're still
>supplying it to the Israeli military, along with all the other weaponry
>like the helicopters that comes from the United States.
>And the people here know the U.S. role is not that of an honest broker but
>a supplier for Israel. Last night at an apartment house damaged by
>rockets, one man picked up a piece of a wall that was blown into his
>apartment, through his window >from the house that was blown up across the
>street. He held it up and said, "I want to send a message to President
>Clinton, I want to send this back to him."
>As soon as we got to Nablus today we visited the Fatah office here, which
>had been hit by two missiles last night and it was totally destroyed. It
>was a large building, unlike the building we saw last night in Ramallah,
>which was a very tiny office of Fatah, where much greater damage was done
>to surrounding residential buildings.
>The Israelis are using U.S.-produced heavy weaponry against civilians and
>the civilians are continuing to carry on the struggle and continuing to
>resist despite this, but it's truly criminal, what's going on. It's truly
>a violation of international law to use this type of weaponry.
>Question: What do you think the Israelis want to accomplish with their
>IAC delegation: In the seven years since the Oslo Accords were signed, the
>Israelis have doubled the number of settlements on the West Bank. They've
>built a series of roads connecting them that only Israeli vehicles can
>travel on. They've armed the settlers and put them on hilltops where they
>can command the territory and terrorize the nearby Palestinian villages.
>Now the Israeli regime wants to stuff what is a rotten agreement down the
>throats of the Palestinians. They are using murder, intimidation and
>terror with tanks, helicopters and snipers to try to get their way.
>They have been interfering with the vital olive harvest, with heavily
>armed settlers shooting at farmers gathering the olives while army troops
>stop farmers at checkpoints and confiscate their crop.
>The reaction has been that the entire Palestinian population has said "No"
>to this agreement and has reopened a struggle.


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