NPK-info 01-08-2001- Nederlands Palestina Komitee / www.palestina-komitee.nl

Ter attentie: ELECTRONIC INTIFADA http://electronicIntifada.net

* Israelische leger opent kantoren, ook in Amsterdam [.. in case of war
threat..]; wie is de oorlogvoerder?
* Sharon's deadly calculus, Ali Abunimah
* Apartheid is alive and well, Al-Ahram Weekly Online, 19 - 25 July 2001
* The price of restraint, Gideon Levy, July 22, 2001, Ha'aretz Newspaper
* The Peace Criminal, Uri Avnery, 21.7.01, PCJP <pcjp@palnet.com>
* News Release by Amnesty International, 1 August 2001
* U.S. Media Bias toward Israel Conflicts with Journalist's Experience, 27
July 2001
=> But "then I began to see pictures of children throwing stones against
tanks, and I was told that these children represented a threat to those
=> "I began to suspect that this was the most censored story I had ever
encountered."  Weir decided to go to the West Bank and Gaza and "see for

* July-August-issue of Settlements:
[via Adobe Acrobat Reader,
Zie Sharon's kaart voor een "long-term interim agreement".
* Robert Malley 8 Juli NY-times [en NRC 19 Juli: "Arafat deed in Camp David
ongekend veel consessies"]
De "genereuze aanbod"-mythe van Barak, die voor Israel een jaar dienst heeft
gedaan, wordt doorgeprikt door Malley. Hij was "special assistant for
Arab-Israeli affairs to President Bill Clinton from 1998 to 2001."
Barak hervertelt [Volkskrant van 1-8-2001] zijn mythe; een kaart ontbreekt
bij het artikel evenals kolonisatiegetallen.
* Robert Siegman (Council of Foreign Relations, USA), International Herald
Middle East Conflict: Seek Palestinian Confidence in What?
* RSF-report finds the Israeli army possibly responsible for wounding 30
journalists by gunfire, and urges the authorities to adopt emergency
measures to guarantee the safety of journalists
Source: Reporters sans frontires (RSF, Reporters without Borders)
See: http://www.rsf.org/uk/home.html
* Zie via http://www.miftah.org/Articles/
 vooral "The fraud of American "peacemaking"

NPK/WL, 1-8-2001

                                     UPDATE FROM
                               THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA


We haven't had a direct action alert for some time. Today's alert is
additionally important as it relates to a pervasive trend with CNN
coverage since the beginning of the Intifada.

Please spend some time reading both this and our previous alert about
this issue.

As the language in question is used regularly, misleads, and is so
convoluted that it is obvious that CNN has consciously formulated it,
this is a case where it is completely reasonable to conclude active
political bias by this media organisation.

If you haven't responded to one of our action items before, please
start with this one.

As always, write a brief, polite letter and BCC us what you send at
info@electronicIntifada.net. Especially important in this case is to
forward any responses you receive.

Action item #16:

"The unique, pervasive, and one-sided nature of CNN's convoluted
linguistic formulations about the Israeli military occupation compel
any reasonable observer to conclude political bias."



16 July 2001

* Coverage trend: Misrepresentation of Barak's offer at Camp David as
"generous" and "unprecedented" was once again updated and re-edited
today, with the addition of maps and a link to the Palestinian
Authority's Negotiation Affairs Department FAQ about why the
Palestinians rejected Barak's offer.

* New document: English translation of the text of the case against
Ariel Sharon for war crimes lodged in Belgium on 18 June 2001.

17 July 2001

* Chronology: Israel's "unilateral cease-fire" was updated up until,
and concluded on, 10 July, the 50th day of the so-called cease-fire.
The decision to conclude the chronology on this date was made both
because of the time it took to maintain and the feeling that the
document had met the primary goals that it had set out to achieve,
namely that there was never any reduction in Israeli violence and
that the Palestinians were by no means the sole violators. The 50-day
chronology remains open for any information enhancements to dates
between 22 May and 10 July 2001. If you find events or quotes from
either Israeli or American leaders that are not listed on the
relevant dates, please follow the submission instructions given on
the pages of the chronology.

18 July 2001

New articles:
* Photostory: Three times a refugee
   A report from Rafah by I. Sulaiman, The Electronic Intifada, 18 July

* Suffering a violent form of "restraint"
   Susan Abulhowa, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 18 July 2001.

* Arab politicians eye up makeover
   Brian Whitaker, The Guardian, 16 July 2001.

* Imagine Suburbia Under Siege
   Laurie King-Irani, The Electronic Intifada, 13 July 2001.

19 July 2001
* New article: Sharon's deadly calculus
   Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 19 July 2001.

Nigel Parry
for The Electronic Intifada team

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Agence France Presse
July 21, 2001 Saturday 5:17 AM Eastern Time

Israeli army to open offices in nine cities worldwide in
case of war threat


BODY: The Israeli army is planning to open offices in nine cities
worldwide to allow faster calling-up of its reserves in case of the
threat of war, a military spokesman said Saturday.

The spokesman said the offices would be established in embassies or
consulates in Amsterdam, Bangkok, Bombay, Frankfurt, Johannesburg,
London, Los Angeles, New York and Paris but did not say when they
would be opened.

"These offices will be responsible for repatriating Israelis who have
been living abroad for more than a year or who are travelling while on
reserve status in the event of the threat of war," the spokesman said.

After a required three years of military service, Israelis also do as
much as several weeks of reserve duty each year until the age of 40.

The Israeli army currently has a standing force of 186,000 troops and
another 445,000 on reserve, according to the latest edition of Middle
East Military Balance published by the Jaffee Centre for Strategic
Studies at Tel Aviv university.

Fears have been mounting that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could
erupt into a wider regional war after the failure of a June 13
ceasefire brokered by the United States to take hold on the ground.

Sharon's deadly calculus

By Ali Abunimah

The Jordan Times
July 19, 2001

THE ISRAELI press these days is full of articles and comments that
suggest that Ariel Sharon is preparing for full-scale war. On the one
hand, Sharon's cosmetic show of restraint may simply be an effort to
ensure that when he does choose to launch his war, he can say that he
had no choice and that it was a last resort, while, on the other, the
increasing atrocities against the Palestinians, including mass
demolitions, executions, kidnappings and car bombings may be an effort
to provoke a Palestinian response which could be used as a
justification for any war plan.

Israel was about to launch an enormous military assault in the
occupied territories hours after the June 2 bomb attack in Tel Aviv
which killed 21 Israelis, but the assault was forestalled because of
PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat's announcement that he accepted a
ceasefire, according to an unnamed Israeli military official quoted
by the Associated Press on July 12.

Sharon's record, from the 1950s through the Lebanon war and up until
the present day, leaves no doubt that he is both capable of and eager
for the most reckless and bloodthirsty actions. Rather than being
surrounded by voices of restraint and moderation, Sharon faces
increasing calls from his base constituency for war, and the Israeli
Army Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz has in recent months made comments
that suggest he would't be opposed to further escalations of the
Israeli aggression either.

With these warning signs in the air, the possibility that Israel will
choose to launch a total war against the Palestinians cannot be
dismissed. This could take the form of a limited operation to
destroy the Palestinian National Authority, or even start a wider
regional war involving neighbouring countries under the cover of which
Israel might seek to expel a large number of Palestinians and thereby
hope to forestall for a little longer its eventual and inevitable
withdrawal from the occupied territories.

Yet it is also clear that any military adventure which results in
Israeli troops returning permanently to the streets and alleys of
Palestinians cities and refugee camps in so-called Area A will be
almost impossible for Israel to maintain. The winner or loser of any
war between the Israeli army and the Palestinian people will not be
determined by military strength (by that measure Israel will always be
the winner), but by the ability of each side to withstand casualties
and pain over the long haul.

War exacts an enormous cost on any society, first and foremost human,
but also economic. Israel is extremely sensitive to casualties and can
barely tolerate the loss of any soldiers. It was this weakness that
led to the collapse of its occupation of southern Lebanon. The
Palestinians are able to bear a higher level of casualties, not
because, as Israeli government racist incitement claims, Palestinians
value life less but because Palestinians have more at stake.
Palestinians are resisting occupation and struggling for survival
against an insatiable power that is determined to strip them of the
little of their land that remains beneath their feet. Most Israelis
know, by contrast, that their soldiers are not dying in order to
ensure the survival of Israel, an economic power bristling with the
most fantastic and deadly weapons, but only to ensure the existence of
colonies populated by a minority of fanatic settlers. In short,
Palestinians are fighting for freedom, Israelis for empire.

Israel, as a highly industrialised country with a relatively small
population and an army which relies on reservists, cannot fight a
protracted war. Mobilising the reserves removes the best and the
brightest from the economy and diverts them into economically
unproductive military activities. Israel simply cannot field the tens
of thousands of troops it would need to try to control every street
and village in the occupied territories for any lengthy period.
Already, Israel's economy has suffered grievously as a result of the
Intifada, and a lengthy mobilisation of reserves would deal it a death
blow. For this reason, Israeli military planners have always sought to
limit wars to a few days and to launch them at the moment they see as
most opportune.

The Palestinians, on the other hand, have little to lose on the
economic front. Their relatively tiny economy has already been
crippled by Israeli siege and collective punishment and they have
learned to withstand extreme deprivation for the sake of freedom.

Israel has always been aware of these costs: its entry into the Oslo
process was not an attempt to end the occupation and secure peace, but
only to change the calculus and make occupation less expensive and
risky. By removing Israeli troops from town centres and besieging the
towns from the periphery, Israel gave up none of its control over
Palestinian life, but it reduced the number of soldiers needed to
control the occupied territories and the number of points at which
Israelis could be vulnerable to Palestinian resistance. So, in
contrast to the first Intifada, where every street and alley was a
potential confrontation ground, clashes in the new Intifada are
reduced to relatively few major intersections and checkpoints. As bad
as Sharon thinks things are now, he must know that going back to the
situation where every soldier in every alley is a target, this time
not for stones but for bullets, is one which while he may not mind,
the Israeli public could not accept or withstand for long. If the
Israeli army returns to the refugee camps, it can expect to lose
soldiers every day.

Perhaps because of the limited opportunities to confront occupation
troops, Palestinian resistance fighters have shifted to attacking
settlers and soldiers as they travel the roads of the West Bank and
Gaza. The Israeli army has no answer for this and, in response to
several recent attacks on settler cars, has resorted to the failed
Barak tactic of shelling Palestinian police stations. In southern
Lebanon, Hizbollah became so adept at setting off undetectable
roadside bombs that Israel withdrew its troops to fixed positions, on
the theory that hundreds of miles of road are far harder to protect
than a few bunkers. But retreating to fixed positions only made the
Israelis sitting ducks and hastened the collapse of the occupation.

Throughout the Oslo years, Israel greatly expanded its roads and
settlements in the occupied territories in the false belief that under
the guise of a US-sponsored peace process it had got away with an
historic theft. But all it has done has greatly increased its
exposure. The Palestinian people have made it quite clear that they
will resist the occupation until it ends completely, and they are
learning more about the occupier's vulnerabilities every day. Even
Sharon will have to stop and think before he does anything more
foolish than he has so far.

The writer is an analyst based in the United States.

Sent to you by Ali Abunimah

Al-Ahram Weekly Online
19 - 25 July 2001

Apartheid is alive and well

Arab Knesset members have denounced Israeli attempts to control Palestinian
demographic growth in Israel and the occupied territories as "naked
racism." Khaled Amayreh reports from Hebron

Israeli law-makers, intellectuals and even government officials are
becoming increasingly open about exploring "prospective solutions" for
Palestinian demographic growth in Israel and the occupied territories, with
the suggested solutions ranging from collective deportation to
institutionalised apartheid.

Meetings, seminars, symposia and workshops are springing up throughout the
Jewish state, all bearing, more or less, the same message: unless Israel
does something to curb Palestinian population growth, Jews will become a
minority in the area of the pre-1948 Palestine mandate (Israel and the
occupied territories) within 19 years.

On Monday, 16 July, the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee held
an "exploratory session," in which participants discussed "the Arab
demographic threat" and the "dangers facing the survival of Israel as a
Jewish state."

The meeting was attended by several experts, including Haifa University's
Arnon Sofer, who advocates "radical solutions for solving the looming
demographic problem" facing Israel.

Calling the current demographic situation a threat to Israel's existence,
Sofer pointed out that, by the year 2020, and if the present demographic
trends were not reversed, Jews in mandated Palestine would be a minority,
outnumbered by Arabs by 20 per cent.

He said that there were already equal numbers of Arabs and Jews in the
combined Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with the Jewish
population reaching 4.9 million and the Arabs 4.8 million.

The number of Jews, he added, would grow to 6.4 million in 2020, with the
corresponding figure for non-Jews topping 8.8 million.

Arab Knesset members denounced the meeting as "naked racism," and a " big
scandal in a state that claims to be civilised and democratic."

"It is racist, just racist, there is no other name for it," said Arab
Knesset member Hashem Mohamed, who boycotted the meeting.

Knesset member Isam Makhoul of the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality
also castigated the meeting. "If anything like this were discussed anywhere
in the world, it would be condemned as brash racism, but here, in a state
that claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East, we see dignified
lawmakers candidly discussing ways and means to curb the birth rate of a
given segment of society on the grounds that they don't have the right race
and religion. It's racism, it's disgusting."

Israeli lawmaker and former Justice minister Dan Meridor, who chaired the
meeting, sought to defend the discussion.

He argued that it was imperative that Knesset members understand the
demographic situation which, he said, was crucial for the continuation of
the Zionist enterprise and a Jewish majority.

However, when asked why only Arab demographic growth was under discussion,
Meridor had nothing to say except repeating the old Zionist mantra that
Israel was a Jewish state and that it was inadmissible for non-Jews to be
allowed to make up a majority of the population in the state.

The Knesset meeting was only the latest in a plethora of secret,
semi-secret and public discussions on the sensitive subject which have been
taking place of late.

A few months ago, a number of Israeli strategic planners, former army
generals and scholars met behind closed doors in Hertzlya in northern
Israel to discuss "adequate solutions for dealing with the demographic
threat." The Hebrew press reported that the "expulsion idea" loomed large
during the meeting in Hertzlya and enjoyed "unprecedented acceptance" among

In addition to "transferring" a significant number of the non-Jewish
population out of "Eretz Israel," participants also reportedly discussed
other alternatives, including institutionalised apartheid (whereby non-Jews
would be granted civil rights while denied political rights), forced
sterilisation, induced immigration (through economic pressure), and "other

According to Israeli sources, and in light of permeating political trends
in Israel, many Israelis who object to adopting "transfer" as official
policy are not really opposed to the principle of expelling the
Palestinians, but are rather discouraged by what they call "the logistical
difficulties impeding the execution of the idea."

Indeed, the bulk of religious and right-wing Israeli parties, including
Likud, support in varied degrees "the expulsion alternative" and only
differ on whether it would be realistic to carry it out successfully.

Furthermore, some right-wing and religious elements in Israel believe their
government should seek to induce an all-out regional war in the hope of
creating conditions conducive to expelling a significant number of
Palestinians. Such thinking is gaining a modicum of pre- eminence in the
Israeli media, especially in the so-called national camp.

The Palestinians, for their part, are aware of discussions to that effect
in Israel and are reasserting their resolve not to repeat the 1948
disaster. "We will not allow them (Israel) to drive us away again. The
worst they would be able to do is to murder us, but we shall not leave
again," Palestinian Authority official Ahmed Abdel-Rahman said in a recent


Sunday, July 22, 2001
Ha'aretz Newspaper

The price of restraint
By Gideon Levy

On Thursday evening, three members of the Tmeizi family were ambushed and
murdered, including a 10-week-old infant, Diya, and the recently married
young man, Mohammed. One may assume that the murderers - almost certainly
Israelis, apparently settlers - will be apprehended shortly since the Shin
Bet security services and the police will make a special effort to capture
them this time: The murder was a particularly shocking one, which was
quickly denounced by the country's leaders.

But even if this is the case, the three deaths are the direct result of the
restraint of the law and order authorities. After all, even if the murderers
are apprehended, tried and convicted - a rare occurrence in the case of
violent acts committed by settlers - they will serve minimal sentences, to
judge by past experience.

The restraint has its roots in the first Intifada. Even then, Israel chose
to close its eyes to civilian violence in the occupied territories. Out of
48 cases in which Palestinians were killed by Israeli citizens, 27 cases
were closed before any charges were filed. These statistics have only gotten
worse over time: A report published about four months ago by B'Tselem, the
Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories,
documents 199 cases of manslaughter and murder of Palestinians by Israeli
citizens; only six yielded murder convictions. In six cases of death, the
police did not initiate an investigation, and in another 39 the cases were

The punishments were also minimal: The sentences of four of the Jews who
were convicted of murder were reduced, five of those convicted of
manslaughter were sentenced to less than four years in prison, and five of
the seven Israelis convicted of negligent manslaughter did community service
instead of prison time.

On the other hand, in all 114 cases of murder and manslaughter of Israelis
by Palestinians in the territories (up to March of this year), the cases
were investigated. Thirty Palestinians were convicted of murder, 17 were
killed by the security forces, 12 homes of murderers were demolished. No
sentences were shortened, and of course there is no point in even mentioning
a pardon.

This picture is a difficult and infuriating one when it comes to less
serious crimes than murder and manslaughter, too. In most cases of violence
or damage to property, no investigation is ever initiated. The message is
clear: It isn't terrible to kill Arabs, hurting them or their property is
almost normal. Revenge is understood and sometimes also permitted, as long
as it's Jewish.

This situation has reached a new low in recent weeks. In a time of
increasing Palestinian terror, no day passes without pogroms by settlers,
and the police, the Israel Defense Forces and the other security forces
stand there, sometimes closing their eyes and sometimes winking. Amir Ahmed,
13, was badly wounded when he was shot by settlers. Abdallah Ka'ik, an
Israeli Arab who was mistakenly thought to be from the territories, was
badly beaten. Settlers rampaged in Kifal Harith, near the West Bank city of
Ariel, and injured 15 people. In Sinjil, north of Ramallah, settlers fired
shots, burned and destroyed property. Near the Gaza Strip settlement of Kfar
Yam, settlers destroyed property and rioted. In Hebron, settlers smashed
shops and injured police officers and soldiers. In Silat Al Dahar, settlers
shot at passengers in a car. Mustafa Alian of the Askar refugee camp was
stoned to death. Two olive harvesters were badly injured near the settlement
of Yitzhar. Tahrir Rizq was shot in the head and killed near Hizmeh.

In most of these cases and in many others, no one was arrested. Yaron Degani
and Gad Tena of Itamar, who were arrested on suspicion of killing olive
harvester Farid Nasasrah, were released after five days on the grounds of
"insufficient evidence" and "the Palestinian Authority is not cooperating in
the murder investigation."

After four shooting incidents similar to the one at Idna last Thursday, no
one was arrested although the head of the Shin Bet is already speaking about
a "Jewish terror cell" and it should be relatively easy to apprehend because
of the small population from which it is reckoned to have come.

The restraint over actions by the extreme right includes all governmental
authorities: the police, the IDF, the Shin Bet, the courts and the
authorities that grant pardons. It is a dangerous restraint, whose putrid
fruits led to the most recent murder at Idna: The persons who carried it out
believed that their chances of getting caught were infinitesimal.

Responsibility for this murder, like its predecessors, must then also lie at
the feet of the Israeli legal authorities. The writing has been on the wall
for a long time: suffice it to look at the 1982 Karp Report and the 1994
Shamgar Report on settler violence against Palestinians. Even Attorney
General Elyakim Rubinstein, whom no one could accuse of hating settlers,
spoke in 1998 about a "continuing and serious situation of under-enforcement
of the law against Israelis living in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip."

Beyond the legal and moral aspect of a state that discriminates between
peoples, permits acts of violence and murder by closing its eyes and treats
the crimes of its citizens with understanding - the restraint has a heavy
price. It has already led to much bloodshed, on both sides, and in the end
it will lead to acts that even the extreme right could be sorry for.
Settlers from Yitzhar have already threatened an IDF officer with drawn
guns; in Hebron soldiers have been hit more than once.

Anyone who shows forgiveness to those who burn fields, pardons those who
beat up Arabs and does not punish their murderers, will one day also be
faced with the killers of Israeli soldiers.

In the meantime, the restraint also undermines Israeli arguments regarding
the PA's inability to fight terror: it is a little hard to complain about
the "revolving door," the lack of arrests and failure to prevent terror at a
time that Israel, a sovereign state rich in security apparatuses, does the
same thing when it comes to its own, homegrown terror.

From PCJP <pcjp@palnet.com>

Uri Avnery, 21.7.01
                                               The Peace Criminal

     Everybody knows who is a war criminal. For example, somebody who kills
prisoners-of-war or massacres a civilian population (or allows others to do
this) is one.
     The time has come to define who is a peace criminal: somebody who kills
peace and thereby makes war inevitable. Golda Meir, for example, in the
early 70s, killed the chances for peace with Egypt and caused the Yom Kippur
war, in which 2000 Israelis and countless others died.
     Ehud Barak is a peace criminal. He brought about the failure of the
Camp David summit and its consequences, primarily the present intifada, in
which hundreds have already died. This might well lead to a general war, in
which thousands will perish.
      If there were an International Court for Peace Crimes, Ehud Barak
would be indicted on two counts:
      Count 1: The accused pressured Arafat and Clinton into agreeing to the
summit and brought about its failure by presenting to it an ultimatum of
unacceptable proposals.
      Count 2: The accused spread the lie that he had offered Arafat
"everything he asked for" and that Arafat rejected it. By spreading this
lie, the accused destroyed the Israeli peace camp which believed him,
brought the extreme right to power, prepared the ground for a "national
unity" based on the lie and almost obliterated any real opposition.
     At the Barak trial, evidence will be produced to show that he proposed
at Camp David the formal annexation of 10% of the West Bank area
("settlement blocs") and informal annexation of another 10% (Jordan valley
etc.), with the rest of the territory cut up into enclaves and cut off from
the neighboring countries (Egypt and Jordan); that he pretended to "give up"
East Jerusalem but without giving the Palestinians full sovereignty there,
and especially not over the compound of the mosques ("Temple Mount"); that
he did not agree to any compromise on the refugees; and that he demanded
that the Palestinians declare this to be "the end of the conflict".
     Until now, Barak's blind admirers have fervently denied these facts.
But this week a witness appeared who could decide the outcome of the trial.
He is a neutral and objective eye-witness, whose integrity cannot be doubted
by any judge: Robert Malley, personal assistant to President Clinton on the
Middle East, who took part in all the Camp David deliberations. He will
testify to the following facts, among others:
     0  Before the summit, Barak reneged on his promise to transfer to the
Palestinian Authority the village of Abu Dis and two other villages near
Jerusalem, in spite of the fact that Clinton personally conveyed this
promise to Arafat. Also, Barak refused to honor Israel's obligations under
the previous agreements: the third withdrawal from most of the West Bank
areas, the release of Palestinian prisoners etc. Because of this, Clinton
was furious with Barak on several occasions.
     0  Before the summit, Barak continued to enlarge the settlements and
build by-pass roads at a furious pace, thus destroying any vestige of
Palestinian trust in his intentions.
     0  Before and during the summit, the Palestinians not only gave up 78%
of Mandatory Palestine, but also agreed to the annexation to Israel of
"settlement blocs" and the Jewish neighborhoods built in occupied East
Jerusalem. They also agreed to the principle that the Right of Return should
be implemented without prejudicing the demographic and security interests of
Israel. No other Arab government has ever agreed to similar concessions.
     0  In exchange for the settlement blocs, Barak offered the Palestinians
areas amounting to one ninth of the territory to be annexed, a ratio of 1 to
9, without specifying where.
     0  During the course of the summit, Barak did not submit any proposal
in writing nor specify the details of his oral proposals, and, most
importantly, did not disclose either to Arafat or even to Clinton his ideas
for a final settlement. In return, Arafat, too, did not submit any
proposals, so that in practice there was no negotiation at all.
     0  Clinton agreed with Arafat that Barak is "politically inept,
frustrating and devoid of personal warmth", but believed, in spite of this,
that Barak wanted peace. Arafat believed that Barak did not want peace; he
only wanted to convince the world that the Palestinians don't want peace. As
a matter of fact, since the summit Barak's main boast has been that he
"unmasked Arafat".
     0  Clinton broke his word to Arafat. Before the summit, he promised
that if it fails, he would not blame the Palestinians. Only on this
condition did Arafat agree to come to the conference, which took place
without proper preparation. After the failure, Clinton put the sole blame on
Arafat, in order to help Barak in his reelection campaign.

                                                 *    *    *
    When Barak's admirers were compelled to admit that the story about "the
generous Camp David offers" is a legend, they fell back to another line:
"True, at Camp David no reasonable offers were made, but later, at the Taba
meeting in January 2001, much more generous offers were made. These met all
Palestinian demands, but were nevertheless rejected by them. At Taba the
Israeli negotiators also submitted a map that reduced further the areas that
Barak wanted to annex."
    Here are some of the answers:
     0  If Barak really wanted to make much more "generous" offers, why did
he not make them at Camp David, even when he realized that the summit was
about to break down?
     0  The failure of the summit caused the outbreak of the intifada, as we
(and, it now appears, the Americans, too) prophesied. From that moment on,
the political reality on the Palestinian side changed completely, hundreds
were killed, and it became much more difficult for Arafat to convince his
public to halt the uprising without getting an important political
achievement in advance.
     0  The Taba proposals were never put to paper, and until this very
moment it is not clear what was proposed, who proposed what and on whose
authority. Barak, of course, repudiated everything the next day.
     0  In the meantime, the election campaign had started in Israel and all
the polls showed that Barak was about to be defeated by a landslide. How
could Arafat make sweeping concessions to a man who, almost certainly, would
lose power within two months? Especially since Barak did not reveal the
proposals to his own public?
     0  Arafat did not reject the Taba proposals, but declares even now that
they must serve as a basis for any future negotiations, while Barak himself
proclaims that the Taba proposals are null and void.
     At the end of the trial, the question will remain: Did the accused,
Barak, sincerely intend to reach a peace agreement, and only a mixture of
arrogance, ignorance and political stupidity prevented him from achieving it
(as Clinton believes, according to Malley), or did he, from the beginning,
not have any such intention, but only intended to convince the world that he
wanted peace while Arafat wants to throw the people of Israel into the sea?
     It's up to the judges to decide that.

* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty
International *

1 August 2001
MDE 15/069/2001

By killing eight Palestinians in Nablus, Israel showed once again an utter
disregard for human life in the Occupied Territories, Amnesty
International said today.

The Israeli Air Force killed yesterday eight people, including two
children and two journalists, and wounded 15 others, including a human
rights defender, as they shot two missiles from an Apache helicopter
against the Nablus-based Palestinian Centre for Information, run by a
Hamas leader, Jamal Mansur.

Amnesty International reiterated its long-standing calls to Israel to end
its policy of liquidations and other arbitrary killings and urged the
international community to send international observers with a human
rights remit to the area.

AThe Israeli authorities must have known and totally disregarded the fact
that the media centre targeted was likely to be frequented by journalists
and others,@ said Amnesty International. "In these state assassinations
the Israeli authorities offer no proof of guilt, no right to defence.
Extrajudicial executions are absolutely prohibited by international law.@

The call for international observers has received worldwide support,
including by the European Union foreign ministers and US Secretary of
State Colin Powell. Up to now it has been blocked by the Israeli

AThe international community must no longer accept any excuses or any
delay in sending independent observers with a human rights mandate and
sufficient expertise, resources and powers to monitor, investigate and
make public reports,@ Amnesty International stressed.

On 30 July six Fatah activists, reportedly Awanted@ by Israel, were killed
by an explosion in a shack near the West Bank village of Fara. The
Palestinian Authority said they were targeted by Israel; Israel said they
died when their own bomb exploded.

AIndependent monitors with military expertise are vital to rule on the
claims and counterclaims and clarify the circumstances of each killing,@
said the human rights organization.

Amnesty International expressed grave concern at Hamas statements
threatening that Israel would pay a heavy price for the killings.  Hamas
attacks, including suicide bombs in public places in Israel, have killed
many civilians, including children.

Whatever human rights violations are committed by a government, nothing
can justify attacks targeting civilians,@ said Amnesty International. ANor
can any killings by opposition groups justify this shocking disregard for
basic human rights principles by a government@.

The two Hamas leaders targeted, Jamal Mansur and Jamal Salim, had
both been held in administrative detention by Israel. Jamal
Mansur's case had been taken up again by Amnesty International
when he spent more than three years in detention without charge
or trial under the Palestinian Authority between 1997 and 2000. A
leader of the political wing of Hamas, he was a journalist and

Ahmad Abu Shallal, a human rights defender, critically injured
and now in intensive care, works for the International Solidarity
organization, based in Washington. He works for political
detainees, both in Israel and in the areas administered by the
Palestinian Authority. He was reportedly visiting the office of
the Palestinian Centre for Information in order to collect
material for a report he was writing for the London-based journal
The Return Review (al->Awdeh).

Muhammad Beshawi and 'Uthman Qatanan were both journalists
apparently interviewing Jamal Mansur at the time of the attack.

Two children, Ashraf Khader, aged six, and Bilal Khader, aged 11,
were killed as they played outside, while their mother visited a
clinic in the same building.

Visit <http://www.amnesty.org> for information about Amnesty International
and for other AI publications. Contact amnestyis@amnesty.org if you
need to get in touch with the International Secretariat of Amnesty

For The Record
Number 79
27 July 2001

The Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine / 2425-35 Virginia Ave., NW /
Washington, DC 20037 / Tel: 202.338.1290 / Fax: 202.333.7742 /

U.S. Media Bias toward Israel Conflicts with Journalist's Experience

"As a journalist, the more you look into the issue of Israel and Palestine,
the more you sense that something is not quite right; the images and the
narration are out of sync, a little like a foreign film that has been
awkwardly dubbed," said Alison Weir at a 24 July 2001 CPAP briefing.  Weir,
a freelance journalist who recently spent a month in the Occupied
Territories, said that as she explored the conflict, she discovered that the
media coverage is "not just odd, it is deeply disturbing."

In her journalism career, Weir has mostly covered domestic news.
She explained that like most Americans, she just skimmed articles on the
Middle East.  But "then I began to see pictures of children throwing stones
against tanks, and I was told that these children represented a threat to
those tanks."  This was illogical, so she looked at the issue more closely.
When covering a topic, Weir continued, journalists should explain
the background, provide some statistics, and present both sides.  In the
U.S. news, however, articles on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict offer
little history and few statistics, and Palestinian perspectives are rarely
heard.  "I began to suspect that this was the most censored story I had ever
encountered."  Weir decided to go to the West Bank and Gaza and "see for

When she arrived, she began to wonder what it would be like "at the
very epicenter of the region portrayed widely as extremely hostile to
Americans in general and to women in particular."  However, she discovered
that these were just two myths among many about the region "that are quite
false."  People invited her to their homes, treated her "with respect," and
she was "completely safe, except when I came too near the Israeli military."

Nonetheless, articles in the American press presenting Muslims and
Palestinians as "inherently violent" and Israel as "under a terrible siege"
are prevalent.  Stories describing the conflict as one "in which
Palestinians are the ones who have been killed, whose cities are being
shelled, whose land is being ruined, who are shown to be highly educated . .
. are minimized."  These articles may even be "omitted entirely."  Americans
rarely "read about the 49 percent unemployment" in Palestine, "the
skyrocketing poverty rate," or Palestinian children who have been killed.

Once in awhile, there is a balanced story presenting the
difficulties Palestinians face, and this satisfies most Americans' sense of
even-handed reporting.  However, "we don't know that we read about every
Israeli casualty . . . while we read only a fraction of the destruction
being rained down on Palestinians."  During the month she was there, for
example, the San Francisco Chronicle published articles about the 10
Israelis who died during that period.  There were also references to nine
Palestinians killed during the same month.  In reality, 29 Palestinians died
while she was in the West Bank and Gaza.

In her visit to the occupied Palestinian territories, "I saw an
economy and a people being ruined.  I think this merits news coverage."
Weir witnessed the flattening of agricultural land, leaving Palestinians who
had farmed the land for generations "bereft."  She met breadwinners who had
been out of work for months and extended families of 40 people being
supported by one worker.  This poverty has not happened by accident, Weir
argued.  "I was seeing newly, artificially, purposefully created poverty.
Poverty being created by America through its support of a regime that is
consciously, and again, quite effectively, squeezing out people it does not
want around."

"When a rare, crazed, would-be freedom fighter escapes this prison and tries
to strike his oppressor, we need to read about the prison he has exploded
out of."  Rather than an "inexplicable, fanatical terrorist, we would see
what we had helped create with our aid to Israel-a terrorized victim who has
tragically but explicably turned to violence himself."  As she showed slides
of people she met, Weir explained that suffering "wasn't difficult" to find.
"All I had to do was go to the nearest hospital."  While there, she saw
"boys with holes through their stomachs, in their heads.  I saw a brain-dead
12-year-old.  He had dared to throw stones [at tanks and] Uzi-carrying . . .
soldiers."  Of the boys she saw who were paralyzed, she said "they won't
skip, they won't have children . . . Their childhoods are finished."

In Ramallah, she went to visit the family of a 9-year-old boy who
had just been shot and killed.  Apparently there had been a dispute near the
boy's apartment building and shots were fired.  Hearing this, Israeli
soldiers opened fire on this residential neighborhood for 10 to 15 minutes,
killing the boy.  She later went to the room and saw "where his father had
been painting the wall, and where the boy has been sitting, watching his
father paint.  I saw the wet paint, the toy trucks on the bed, the blood on
the floor."  She saw "the mother and older sisters weeping and weeping and
weeping.  I saw his father walk around in a daze, shell shocked, sleep
walking in a bad dream that will never quite end."

During the time she was there, the gunfire she heard was invariably
from Israeli positions.  She explained that only a few times did she see
Palestinians carrying guns-mostly at funerals to express "grief and futile,
powerless bravado."  But one time, she saw three young men with guns trying
to defend a sand barricade in Rafah from Israeli tanks.  These guns "were
smaller than the ones I saw Israeli soldiers carrying in shopping malls."
The men asked her not to take their photo, so she did not.  "But I wish I
could have.  I'd like to show you these Palestinian guns.  And then I'd like
to show you the tanks that were approaching from the other direction.  And
then you can decide . . . how much of a security threat they presented [to]
the fourth strongest military in the world."

Despite the desperation of the situation, Weir believes it can
change.  She argued that many believe since it has gone on for so long, it
will continue.  She believes the opposite-that it cannot persist for much
longer.  "This will change, . . . the cracks [in the system] are occurring."
These cracks can be widened.  Israel/Palestine is "one of the most
changeable countries in the world."

The above text is based on remarks delivered on 24 July 2001 by journalist
Alison Weir.  Her views do not necessarily reflect those of the Center for
Policy Analysis on Palestine or The Jerusalem Fund.  This "For the Record"
was written by CPAP Publications Manager Wendy Lehman; it may be used
without permission but with proper attribution to the Center for Policy
Analysis on Palestine.  To contact Weir, write to <alisonweir@yahoo.com>.



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