REPORT #483 April 2002

Produced by the Belize Development Trust

In that spirit we supply the following that disturbs the country of Belize.

Published on Friday, April 5, 2002 in the lndependent/UK, recopied from the Belize Listserve.

A Speech Laced With Obsessions and Little Else
by Robert Fisk

Ariel Sharon could not have done better. The heaping of blame upon an occupied people, the obsessive use of the word terror - by my rough count there were 50 references in just 10 minutes - and the brief, frightened remarks about "occupation" and (one mention only) to Jewish settlements and the need for Israeli "compassion" at the end were proof enough that President Bush had totally failed to understand the tragedy he is supposedly trying to solve.

The mugger became the victim and the victim became the mugger. What, I wonder, is the exact distance between the Rose Garden and Bethlehem? So the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, is traveling to "the region'' next week. Next week? Why not now?

But of course, the White House, which according to the Israeli press has repeatedly been asking Mr Sharon how long he intends to reoccupy the Palestinian cities of the West Bank, is to give the Israeli Prime Minister more time to finish his invasion, destroy the Palestinian infrastructure and dismantle the Palestinian Authority.

The speech was laced with all the "war on terror'' obsessions: Iraq as a sponsor of terror for donating money to a family of Palestinian "martyrs'', and Syria for not making up its mind if it is "for or against terror''.

The European Union, fearful of rising oil prices and their effect on the eurozone economy, had earlier dispatched a mission to Israel; with typical contempt, Mr Sharon told its members they could not visit Yasser Arafat in Ramallah. The delegation, which had earlier announced that the Americans had failed in their mission as peacemaker in the Middle East, simply packed up and left Tel Aviv within hours.

But will Mr Powell do any better? The dollar has fallen against world currencies because of the Middle East crisis - as good a reason as any for Mr Bush to act - and the possible restrictions on Middle East oil production, though more damaging to Europe, must have helped to prompt the President's decision to dispatch Mr Powell.

The Palestinian suicide bombings, however, were the core of Mr Bush's address. He talked of the 18-year-old Palestinian girl who blew herself up and killed a 17-year-old Israeli girl, the Jewish state's "dream'' of peace with its neighbors."Terror must be stopped ... no nation can negotiate with terrorists ... leaderships not terror ... you're either with the civilized world or you're with the terrorists ... all in the Middle East ... must move in word and deed against terrorists ... I call on the Palestinian Authority to do everything in their power to stop terrorist activities.'' Arafat had agreed to control "terrorism'' - "he failed'.' The reoccupation of the West Bank was a "temporary measure'', Mr Bush announced, trusting the word of the Israeli occupiers. "Suicide bombing missions could well blow up the only hope of a Palestinian state.''

On it went, 11 September-speak applied to the Middle East. Israel's enemies must be eliminated - Al Aqsa, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbollah, which yesterday beat up a UN observer on the Lebanese border in the most dangerous incident of its kind since the Israeli withdrawal in 2000. The whole Bush speech revolved around Israel's well-being, with scarcely three minutes devoted to the Palestinians and their 35 years under occupation. Israel should, Mr Bush decided, show a "respect'' for and "concern'' for the Palestinian people.

There was some ritual mention of UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, which calls for Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied in the 1967 war but which Mr Sharon has already said he cannot accept, and an appeal to halt settlement building. But Jewish settlements are still being built, at an ever-faster rate, on Palestinian land.

Only a heart of stone could not respond to the suffering of those Israeli families whose loved ones have been so wickedly cut down by the Palestinian suicide bombers. But where was Mr Bush's compassion for the vastly greater number of Palestinians who have been killed by the Israelis over the past 19 months, or his condemnation of Israel's death squads, house demolition and land theft? They simply didn't exist in the Bush speech.

The money for "martyrs" does not, of course, only go to the kin of suicide bombers - it goes to families of all those killed by Israelis, most of whom have been struck down by American-made weapons. Certainly, America has never offered to make reparations for the innocents killed by the air-to-ground missiles and shells it has sold to Israel.

Far more instructive than the Bush speech was the measured, fair way in which Terje Larson, the UN's special Middle East envoy, and Nigel Roberts, the local director of the World Bank, tried to describe the tragedy. In a short press conference they appealed to both sides to end violence and respect international law and cited Israel as well as the Palestinians for breaking it. The so-called Israeli "closed military areas" were, Mr Larson said, "illegitimate and in direct violation of the [Oslo] Agreements". Mr Roberts talked of the surge in violence as a threat that could "consign to history the unique opportunity for reconciliation''.

But "closed military areas" achieved another Israeli victory over the Western television satellite stations. Yesterday, the BBC, Sky and CNN, with their own crews largely prevented from filming in the reoccupied Palestinian cities, all ran footage of the Bethlehem battle taken by Israeli soldiers. Rather than refuse to use the tape unless their own crews were permitted access to the carnage, the three channels all dutifully used the film taken by the army of occupation. Another milestone in the collapse of journalism in the Middle East. But not so serious as the collapse of America's peace-making.

Trustees editorial:


Lest you think I am anti-semitic, my father ran a Jewish Youth Escape line in Vichy, France in World War 11. I also helped him as a child, smuggle arms to the Jews of Palestine, between 1946 and 1949, and Jewish refugees between Austria and Italy segment of the smuggling chain. But the Jews of then, are not the Jews of now. These today are more Gestapo and Nazi style SS than the high moral standards of the early years of Zionism.

Behind the Jewish occupation of the West Bank is the great LAND GRAB! They have to terrorize the Palestinian population to make them leave their land. You pass laws to persecute them, as in Milosevich and Hitler. I believe the Jews of Israel want to ethnic cleanse the West Bank for the land. They don't want these citizens under military occupation for 35 years, to become Israeli citizens as in our Belizean multi racial/religious democracy here in Belize, or nearby USA. They don't want Moslems in their Army and they don't want them in the government and bureaucracy. They want them pushed over into Jordan, or in American Indian style reservations in the Sinai of Egypt or the Saudi desert. The Jews of Israeli want to steal the land of these residents. We call that nowadays "ethnic cleansing".

The Jewish Government and their military are practicing "STATE TERRORISM". Since the Intifada started, the Miami Herald in the USA, states that 1,707 people have been killed. Of this number only 416 have been Jews. the rest, 1,258 have been Palestinians. 47,000 Palestinians have been wounded. Their land is stolen, the persecution demolishes their houses, punishes the innocent and generally are similar to the policies of Milosevich of Serbia in Kosovo, or the Nazis under Hitler.

The Jewish military harbors over 2000 WAR CRIMINALS, "terrorists" who have shot and killed Palestinan unarmed citizens, including women and children under the thirty five year occupation. That is right, 35 years under the military bootheels of Nazi like STATE TERRORISM. All to get the land of the West Bank. The Nuremburg Trials that protected the Israel of my day, long ago, set the precedent! Murder of unarmed civilians by a military person is a WAR CRIME. It is terrorism! You cannot use the excuse you are obeying orders. When will these Jewish military snipers and soldiers who commit murder be taken to the Hague to answer for WAR CRIMES?

Religious Civil Wars are not nice. Especially when the goal is to supply land to a growing Jewish population. Israel is a Theocracy, it is not a democracy, or the Palestinian members of that land would be full and equal members of Israeli society by now, after 35 years of assimilation.

But we at the Belize Development Trust condemn the actions of the USA media and USA government in spouting diatribes quoting only the terrorism, or freedom fighter actions of suicide bombers without equal and factual presentation of the facts from the opposing side. As far as I am concerned, the Jews of my youth, should have killed their Nazi guards with their bare hands, instead of going to their cattle cars and death calmly. They did in the odd place, but not mostly. I think it is something proud that Palestinians are willing to accept death to take some of their oppressors stealing their land from them. The Jews I knew in my youth, didn't have the guts!

It is a different world out there today and the Jews of Israel are no longer enjoying my sympathy. They have become that they hated in World War 11. They need a lesson in multi-ethnic/religious democracy like we enjoy in our country of Belize. Or practiced in the USA. There is no room in the world anymore for Religious States practicing terrorism like Israel.

Published on Monday, April 1, 2002 by Tikkun Magazine

Israel's State Terrorism
by Lev Grinberg

What is the difference between State terrorism and individual terrorist acts? If we understand this difference we'll understand also the evilness of the US policies in the Middle East and the forthcoming disasters. When Yassir Arafat was put under siege in his offices and kept hostage by the Israeli occupation forces, he was constantly pressed into condemning terror and combatting terrorism. Israel's Stateterrorism is defined by US officials as "self-defense", while individual suicide bombers are called terrorists.

The only 'small' difference is that Israeli aggression is the direct responsibility of Ariel Sharon, Benjamin Ben Eliezer, Shimon Peres and Shaul Mofaz, while the individual terrorist acts are done by individuals in despair, usually against Arafat's will. One hour after Arafat declared his support of a cease fire and wished the Jews a Happy Passover feast, a suicide bomber exploded himself in an hotel in Netanya, killing 22 innocent Jews celebrating Passover. Arafat was blamed as responsible for this act, and the present IDF offensive has been justified through this accusation.

At the same time, Sharon's responsibility for Israeli war crimes is being completely ignored. Who should be arrested for the targeted killing of almost 100 Palestinians? Who will be sent to jail for the killing of more than 120 Palestinian paramedics? Who will be sentenced for the killing of more than 1,200 Palestinians and for the collective punishment of more than 3,000,000 civilians during the last 18 months? And who will face the International Tribunal for the illegal settlement of occupied Palestinian Lands, and the disobedience of UN decisions for more than 35 years?

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.

Yet in the public debate, State terrorism and individual suicide bombs are not even considered as comparable cases of terrorism. The State terror and war crimes perpetrated by the Israeli Government are legitimized as "self-defense", while Arafat, even under siege, is demanded to arrest "terrorists."

I want to ask: Who will arrest Sharon, the person directly responsible for the orders to kill Palestinians? When is he going to be defined a terrorist too? How long will the world ignore the Palestinian cry that all they want is freedom and independence? When will it stop neglecting the fact that the goal of the Israeli Government is not security, but the continued occupation and subjugation of the Palestinian people?

As Israelis in the opposition, we are fighting against our government, but the international support that Sharon receives is constantly jeopardizing our struggle. The whole international public opinion must be reverted, and the UN must deploy intervention forces in order to stop the bloodshed and the imminent deterioration. Israelis and Palestinians desperately need the awakening of the international community's public opinion and a reversal in the global attitude. These are needed both in order to save our lives (literally), and preserve our hope in a better future.

Dr. Lev Grinberg is a political sociologist, and Director of the Humphrey Institute for Social Research at Ben Gurion University

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