NPK-info 04-06-2001- Nederlands Palestina Komitee / www.xs4all.nl/~npk

Op 5 juni 1967 startte Israel haar 34 jaar bezetting van "de bezette
gebieden", niets wijst er op dat Israel aan die bezetting ooit een eind wil
maken [in tegendeel, er zijn nu plm. 400.000 kolonisten]. Evenmin zijn er
tekenen dat de internationale gemeenschap Israel wil dwingen de bezetting te
Petition to the European Union: Stop the occupation and colonization
op http://www.PetitionOnline.com/intifada/petition.html

Er zijn twee bijeenkomsten in Amsterdam [zie www.felix.meritis.nl,
020-623.13.11] met Illan Pappe, auteur van "The making of the Arab-Israeli
Conflict, 1947-1951".
Na een kennismakingsbijeenkomst op 6 juni is er op zaterdag 9 juni een
miniconferentie "Het Israelisch-Palestijnse conflict in historisch
perspectief", met Mahmoud Issa, Ludwig Watzal en Göran Rosenberg.

Er is een debat in Nieuwspoort te Den Haag op 13 juni over "Palestine and
Israel: The Intifada and beyond".
Sprekers zijn Dr. Mustafa Barghouti (Palestina, Union of Palestinian Medical
Relief Committees) en Michael Warschawski (Israël, Alternative Information
Zie van Barghouti in http://www.palestinemonitor.org/: Making sense of
Sharon, Why Palestinians could not accept Barak's proposal.

Overige berichten:
* The Mitchell Report: Oslo's Last Gasp? Mouin Rabbani
* All the way from the sea to the river, Amira Hass, Ha'aretz
* New Amnesty report on Israel
* B'Tselem Press Release
* Sharon sued in Belgium over 1982 Palestinian massacres
* Full Military Closure of Occupied Territories, June 2, 2001

Zie ook
* http://al-awda.org/terminate_israel_aid.htm
* http://www.ahram.org.eg/weekly/archives/intifada/index.htm

NPK/WL, 4-6-2001

ICCO, NOVIB en IKV nodigen u uit voor een
Publieksdebat "Palestine and Israel: The Intifada and beyond"
Woensdag 13 juni - Nieuwspoort - Den Haag - 20..00 uur

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti (Palestina)
Voorzitter van de Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees
Palestijns NGO-netwerk

Michael Warschawski (Israël)
Directeur van het Alternative Information Centre

Bert Koenders, PvdA, Tweede Kamerlid (ovb)
Farah Karimi, GroenLinks, Tweede Kamerlid
Harry Derksen, Hoofd Midden-Oosten, ICCO
Bert Boer, Directeur van MDO (ovb)

Onder leiding van:
Dr. Frans Bauke van der Meer
Oud-voorzitter IKV, universitair docent bestuurskunde

Aanmelden kan per mail bij
Erik Ackerman
Tel: + 31 (0) 30 6927995

MERIP Press Information Note 59

The Mitchell Report: Oslo's Last Gasp?

Mouin Rabbani

June 1, 2001

(Mouin Rabbani is director of the Palestinian-American Research Center in
the West Bank town of Ramallah.)

On May 29, Israeli and Palestinian security officials held their first
publicly acknowledged meeting since April. The encounter, conducted under
CIA supervision, was arranged by William Burns, recently appointed US
Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, after a series of
discussions with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon. The very public US effort to knock Israeli and Palestinian
heads together has been lauded throughout the region and the world as
signaling the Bush administration's "re-engagement" with the Middle East
crisis. The basis for these moves, the Mitchell Committee's "Report on
Israeli-Palestinian Violence" officially released on May 21, has earned
fulsome praise for its "balance" and "pragmatism."

The Mitchell Committee and the report's various sponsors make no secret of
their determination to resuscitate the Oslo "peace process" that was
critically wounded at the Haram al-Sharif on September 28-29, 2000. Indeed,
the rather brief document has rightfully been termed a road map for putting
Oslo back on track. Yet, by refusing to deviate from Oslo's conceptual
framework and political assumptions, and seeking to reinforce them instead,
the Mitchell report has set the stage for its own failure. Future historians
are likely to consider it Oslo's last gasp.


The Mitchell Committee was established pursuant to the October 2000 summit,
hastily convened by Bill Clinton in the Egyptian resort of Sharm al-Sheikh.
The summit ended in abject failure, since the US and Israel refused to budge
on the issues which precipitated the Palestinian uprising. But the talks did
persuade the Palestinian leadership to abandon its demand for an
international commission of inquiry under UN auspices, and instead accept a
"committee of fact-finding" appointed by Clinton. During "consultations" on
the committee's composition, the US and Israel rejected Palestinian
proposals to include Nelson Mandela, or any other prominent statesman with
suspect allegiances to anti-colonial struggles. Rather, the committee was
led by George Mitchell and Warren Rudman, former US senators who received
substantial campaign contributions from pro-Israel groups and consistently
supported successive Israeli governments while in office; former Turkish
President Suleyman Demirel, who presided over the expansion of the
Turkish-Israeli strategic partnership during the 1990s; Norwegian Foreign
Minister Thorbjoern Jagland; and Javier Solana, the European Union's High
Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Despite its mandate, one thing the Mitchell Committee did not do was find
facts. The report specifically refuses to assign responsibility for the
eruption and continuation of "the violence" (saying "we are not a
tribunal"), and provides no independent opinion of its cause. Official
Israeli and Palestinian viewpoints are summarized without commentary; by
default, the reader is left to conclude that the events of the previous
seven months were a tragic act of nature. One searches the report in vain
for relevant information on casualties, weaponry, the forces using them, the
division of the territories in question, the applicable conventions or even
the Israeli-Palestinian agreements that are in dispute. Absent such
information, the report conveys the impression that the Committee was
investigating a confrontation between equal forces, each equally responsible
for the "violence." Israel's harassment of the Committee, repeated appeals
to Washington to disband it and formal suspension of cooperation are simply
not mentioned.


Rather, the Mitchell report concentrates on (Palestinian) "violence" (a word
used 36 times) and "terror(ism)" (20 mentions), and (Israeli) "security"
(25). Together these terms make 81 appearances. By contrast, "settlements"
are mentioned 18 times, "occupation" four times (three times to describe a
Palestinian point of view), "illegal" twice (once referring to Palestinian
weaponry), and "human rights," "United Nations," "international law" and
"self-determination" once each. Crucially, "responsibility" is mentioned
only four times, thrice in reference to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and
once in connection with Israel's "responsibility to help rebuild
confidence." "Accountability" appears just once -- to criticize the PA's
chain of command. Given this framework, the report's recommendations are all
too predictable: an "immediate" and "unconditional cessation of violence,"
an "immediate resumption of security cooperation," a "meaningful
'cooling-off period'" to be followed by "confidence-building measures" and,
thereafter, a "resumption of negotiations."

As a confidence-building measure, the Mitchell report demands that "the
PA...make a 100 percent effort to prevent terrorist operations and to punish
perpetrators...[and undertake] immediate steps to apprehend and incarcerate
terrorists operating within the PA's jurisdiction." Such a vague formulation
can only be interpreted as a call for mass repression of popular and/or
organized resistance to continued Israeli occupation. The report effectively
holds the PA accountable for any act committed by a Palestinian individual
or political organization, including attacks within Israeli territory by
Hamas or other opposition elements. Mitchell's assessment pointedly declines
to call for an investigation of Israeli conduct in the Occupied Territories,
despite severe condemnations by international human rights groups of that
conduct. Hence the report rejects the notion that Israel can or should be
held responsible for gross violations of the human rights of civilian
Palestinian non-combatants (including the killing of at least 120
Palestinian children), or held to standards even remotely similar to those
applied to the PA. The deployment of an "international protection force" is
made conditional on Israeli approval.

The Mitchell report does not demand that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
withdraw their heavy equipment from the conflict, or call for an Israeli
redeployment to positions held prior to September 28. Rather, it says the
"IDF should consider" such moves, but only after the uprising has been
terminated, security cooperation has resumed and the cooling-off period is
completed. International human rights groups classify Israel's lethal
responses to unarmed Palestinian demonstrators, destruction of Palestinian
homes, roads, trees and other property, and the economic siege against the
PA and Palestinian population centers as illegal acts which must stop
immediately. The Mitchell report reduces Israel's cessation of these tactics
to confidence-building measures, a carrot for the PA provided it first
brandishes its stick against the raging anti-colonial revolt in the West
Bank and Gaza Strip. On the whole, the report allows only for a relationship
between Palestinian "violence" and the Israeli "response," ignoring the
possibility of a connection between Israeli conduct in the Occupied
Territories and the intensity of the Palestinian uprising.


In a seeming break with its otherwise uncritical adoption of Israel's
positions, the Mitchell report states that Israel "should freeze all
settlement activity, including the 'natural growth' of existing
settlements," and notes that "the kind of security cooperation desired by
[Israel] cannot for long coexist with settlement activity." No reference is
made to numerous UN Security Council resolutions characterizing all
settlements in the Occupied Territories as illegal and calling for their
dismantlement. The report fails to specify whether the "freeze" should be
temporary or permanent, and whether or not it includes settlements in East
Jerusalem and West Bank territory formally annexed by Israel.

On the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, perhaps the most
crucial point of all, the Mitchell report simply abdicates responsibility,
concluding that "it is not within our mandate to prescribe the venue, the
basis or the agenda of negotiations." Stated differently, the Committee was
not authorized -- and by all appearances was disinclined -- to explicitly
recommend that negotiations should aim to achieve a permanent settlement,
let alone to find that Palestinians are engaged in a revolt against military
occupation. Rather remarkably for a document meant to revive the Oslo
process, the report fails to provide a timeline for implementation of its
own recommendations.

Notwithstanding the Mitchell report's flaws, the PA almost immediately
accepted it in full, provided that Israel also took the Committee's
recommendations without any changes. Israel formally accepted the report,
but stipulated that the settlement freeze would only be discussed after a
"full and complete cessation of all violence and terrorism," the resumption
of security cooperation and a cooling-off period of two to six months. In a
public letter, Mitchell himself supported Israel's position. More
importantly, in a May 21 press conference, US Secretary of State Colin
Powell openly distanced the US from the report's recommendation of a
settlement freeze, announcing instead that it was a negotiable element and
asking Burns to help Israel and the PA "bridge the wide gap" between them on
this issue. Several days later, Sharon, at US urging, sought to take the
high ground by declaring a "unilateral ceasefire." In practice the
"ceasefire" has amounted to little more than refraining from attacks against
the PA in response to Hamas bombings, and reducing the scope of high-profile
"initiated operations." But Israel has continued to use tanks, heavy machine
guns and lighter weapons in daily invasions of PA territory. Arafat has
refused to follow Sharon's lead, insisting that Israel must first agree to
the Mitchell recommendations without reservation, and agree to a timetable
for their implementation and a monitoring mechanism.


In accepting the Mitchell report, Arafat was primarily motivated by his need
to impress Washington and the Europeans with a constructive approach, and to
respond to Arab leaders (and key elements of the PA) increasingly anxious
for the revival of the peace process. At the same time, the PA has acted on
the assumption that Sharon is unwilling and unable to accept a settlement
freeze. The PA hopes to use the Mitchell report to isolate Israel on this
issue, and avoid implementation of the report's recommendations, which would
invite serious internal dissent. It is a risky gamble. Peace Now's finding
that the Sharon government has established 15 new settlements, and Housing
Minister Natan Sharansky's approval of 700 new West Bank settler homes, have
elicited some international criticism. But the National and Islamic Forces
(NIF) coalition which coordinates the uprising has specifically rejected the
Mitchell report and any other proposal which does not explicitly provide for
the end of the occupation. Various Palestinian factions have escalated their
attacks within the Occupied Territories and Israel to drive the point home.

Similar calculations can be discerned within Israel. Sharon, Foreign
Minister Shimon Peres and many others openly speak of the need to win the
public relations war surrounding the Mitchell report so that it can either
be implemented on Israel's terms or not at all. While Peres plaintively
implores the world not to deny Jewish settlers the right to bear children,
Sharon has used recent Palestinian attacks to underline the Mitchell
Committee's core demand for an immediate and unconditional end to the

Both parties are maneuvering to escape being labeled the spoiler of a
process neither believes can succeed. For the PA, this means identifying
Israel's settlement policies as the cause of Mitchell's failure, and
persuading the international community to impose upon Israel the more
detailed Egyptian-Jordanian proposal instead. Harboring no illusions about
the short-term likelihood of serious permanent settlement negotiations, the
Palestinian leadership believes the combination of PA diplomacy and attacks
by NIF factions will cause the Sharon government to implode under pressure
from its flanks. Israel's current goal is to obtain both international
approval for its view that the PA is ultimately if not directly responsible
for continuing "the violence," and international support for overwhelming
force to suppress the uprising.

(When quoting from this PIN, please cite MERIP Press Information Note 59,
"The Mitchell Report: Oslo's Last Gasp?" by Mouin Rabbani, June 1, 2001.)

The forthcoming summer 2001 issue of Middle East Report (MER 219) features
Rema Hammami and Jamil Hilal's analysis of the position of the Palestinian
Authority vis-a-vis the uprising.

To order individual copies of Middle East Report or to subscribe, please
call Blackwell Publishers at 1-800-835-6770.

Press Information Notes are a free service of the Middle East Research and
Information Project (MERIP). To subscribe to the MERIP PIN distribution
list, simply respond to ctoensing@merip.org and provide your address in the
text message box, indicating "SUBSCRIBE PIN" in the subject line. To
unsubscribe, indicate "UNSUBSCRIBE" in the subject line. Thank you!


Ha'aretz: Wednesday, May 30, 2001
All the way from the sea to the river
By Amira Hass

Since the publication of the Mitchell Commission report
earlier this month, the Israeli public has been deliberating,
without any sense of urgency, the question of freezing
construction in the settlements. But this feeble debate must
not be allowed to divert attention from the heart of the issue:
the very existence of the Jewish settlement in the West Bank
(including East Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip.The question is
whether Israelis as a whole, most of whom still live within the
borders of June 4, 1967, are ready to live as a normal people
in a state with set boundaries, or whether they are prepared
personally, emotionally and financially to mobilize for a
lengthy war, so that the area of Israeli sovereignty be
determined by the location of the settlements.

Israel's development of the settlements creates a geography
of a single state, stretching from the sea to the Jordan River.
Israel has been working on this particular geographic layout
for over 20 years, but most insistently during the last decade,
"the peace process years," by linking the settlements' roads,
water and electricity systems to the infrastructure within the
Green Line. Israeli society, sending more and more of its
sons to defend the settlements, is thus replying to the
question posed above: It is ready for the prolonged war over
the right of the settlements to determine the state's borders.

But it is not only a question of borders. The fundamental
question is whether the Israeli Jewish people, seeing itself as
part of the West and competing in various European forums,
believes in its ability to maintain, from the sea to the Jordan
River, a regime that discriminates in its favor, merely
because it is Jewish.

In the geographic territory on both sides of the Green Line
lives another people.

Its development options are limited by a low-quality
infrastructure, deliberately kept that way by Israel's
governments since 1948. Its access to water and land
resources is limited, compared to Jewish access, by laws
(inside the Green Line) and military orders (outside the
Green Line).

A Jew born in Jaffa can move to Ma'aleh Adumim. A
Palestinian born in Jericho is not entitled to move to Jaffa,
much less to set up a neighborhood of villas for himself and
his friends on a mountainside in the Galilee. On the civil
administration committees, which decide where and how to
build roads for Jewish settlers, and when to send inspectors
to find Palestinian trees planted on "state lands" - there are
no Palestinian representatives.

A Jew from Beit El does not need a permit to travel to
Jerusalem, while a Palestinian from neighboring Ramallah in
ordinary times requires an Israeli permit to travel to East
Jerusalem or Gaza, not to mention Tel Aviv, and nowadays
may not even be able to go to Bethlehem. A Jew born in
Marseilles and currently living in Neveh Dekalim can study at
the Ariel College at any time. A Palestinian whose mother
was born in Ashdod and now lives in the Khan Yunis refugee
camp needs an Israeli permit to study at Bir-Zeit University or
at al-Najah University in Nablus, and is not at all certain to get

Summer is at hand, and there is not one Jew in one
settlement, nor in most of the towns inside the state of Israel,
who needs to worry that the water in his pipes will dry up. The
Palestinian neighbors of Beit El, Ma'aleh Adumim, Ma'aleh
Hahamisha, Kfar Sava and Yad Hana are at the same time
beginning to count the drops in their containers, because
Israel sets quotas for Palestinian personal water

In this single-state geography, a Jew born in Tel Aviv or
Moscow can live in a new residential neighborhood in Upper

A non-Jewish Israeli citizen, whose family's land in Nazareth
was confiscated for that same Jewish neighborhood, will not
manage to initiate and set up a new, Arab residential
neighborhood in the outskirts of Ramat Aviv, because the
"national land" cannot be leased to non-Jews.

True, he has the right to vote and fight for equal rights within
the state.

But when the state itself does everything in its power to blot
out the Green Line, why should the residents of Dir Hana,
Sakhnin and Taibeh be expected to sanctify this line and
present discrimination against themselves as something
separate and different than the discrimination against the
residents of Jalazun and Jabalya?

In this one-state geography there are two separate, unequal
systems of laws and rights.

The members of one ethnic group are more privileged than
those of the other community. The settlers' lobby is busily
trying to convince the Israeli public that in any case, all
Palestinians have their eye on the entire country.

The truth is that the vast majority in the Palestinian political
organizations still support a solution of two states in the June
4, 1967 borders, leaving the task of democratization inside
Israel to the Jewish-Arab Israeli society. However, this
policy-making generation, which in the years before the
closure learned to recognize Israel as a multi-dimensional
society, is dwindling; a new generation is growing up, for
whom the Israelis are all settlers and soldiers who aim to
ensure - in the entire area from the river to the sea - not only
their existence, but the superior position of their ethnic
community, at the expense of the other community.

How long can Jewish-Israeli society protect its privileges in
the single state

© copyright 2001 Ha'aretz. All Rights Reserved


New Amnesty report on Israel published today

May 30, 2001

"More than 300 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli security forces;
most were unlawfully killed during the new Intifada (uprising). More
than 2,500 Palestinians and Israelis were arrested for political
reasons. Scores of detainees were ill-treated. At least 25
Palestinians were held in administrative detention during 2000. All
Lebanese nationals held in the Khiam detention centre in southern
Lebanon under Israeli occupation were released. Hundreds of
Palestinians from the Occupied Territories were tried before military
courts in trials whose procedures fell short of international
standards. Houses in the Occupied Territories continued to be
demolished as a result of a discriminatory policy which denied most
Palestinians building permits."

That is the opening paragraph of the newly published Amnesty International
report on Israel and the occupied territories for 2000. You can read the
full report at:



30 May 2001
Press Release

Standard Routine
Beatings and Abuse of Palestinians by Israeli Security Forces
during the Al-Aqsa Intifada

B'Tselem is issuing today a 47-page report on abuse by IDF soldiers and
Border Police officers against Palestinians during the current Intifada.
The report presents twelve testimonies, drawn from the many dozens of
testimonies on this subject that reached B'Tselem since the events began,
which describe the maltreatment committed by security forces against
twenty-four Palestinians, who range in age from three to fifty-eight.

The acts of abuse documented in the report are not exceptional. The
phenomenon of beatings and abuse is not new. It is widespread and has become
an integral part of the daily life of Palestinians in the Occupied
Territories. With the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, the abuse and
beatings have increased significantly.

Israeli officials condemned the rare cases of abuse that were reported, and
abuse and beatings are not part of declared defense establishment policy.
However, no real effort has been made to uproot the phenomenon, and all the
promises made in this regard have been no more than lip service.

B'Tselem urges the Israeli authorities to take, at least, the following

* Clarify unequivocally to all security forces serving in the Occupied
Territories, through detailed education and information programs, the
absolute prohibition on abusing and beating Palestinians, even when they
ostensibly violate the law;
* Seriously investigate every complaint filed by Palestinians
regarding beatings and abuse by security forces;
* Suspend, until the end of the investigation against them, police
officers and soldiers suspected of using force; where the investigation
indicates that the complaint is justified, prosecute the offenders.
* Require all security forces coming in contact with the Palestinian
civilian population in the Occupied Territories to wear identification tags
in Hebrew and Arabic.

To download the report, go to WWW.BTSELEM.ORG

B'Tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied
Territories is the leading Israeli organization monitoring, documenting and
advocating to improve human rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Founded
in 1989, B'Tselem publishes reports, engages in advocacy and serves as a
resource center.
8 HaTa'asiya St. (4th Floor),
Talpiot, Jerusalem 93420, Israel
New Telephone: 02-6735599, New Fax: 02-6749111
mail@btselem.org <http://www.btselem.org>

Sharon sued in Belgium over 1982 Palestinian massacres: paper


BRUSSELS, June 2 (AFP) - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is being sued
in a Belgian court, holding him responsible for the 1982 massacres of 800
to 2,000 Palestinian civilians in Lebanese refugee camps, the daily Le
Soir reported Saturday.

The suit was filed under a unique 1993 law that allows Belgian courts to
try persons here, regardless of their nationality, for genocide and other
crimes against humanity committed abroad.

Sharon was due to visit Brussels next week, but Israeli television
reported the prime minister had cancelled the trip in the wake of a
suicide bomb attack in Tel Aviv, which killed 18 people.

The newspaper said Belgian judicial authorities were studying whether the
suit against him was admissible under terms of the law, which is currently
being used to try four Rwandans in connection with the 1994 genocide in
their central African country.

The plaintiffs in the suit against Sharon are a mix of Palestinians,
Lebanese, Moroccans and Belgians grouped in an ad hoc committee.

They accuse Sharon of allowing Christian militias to slaughter between 800
and 2,000 Palestinian refugees at the Sabra and Shatila camps located in
an area of Lebanon controlled by the Israeli military after Israel's 1982
invasion of Lebanon when Sharon was defense minister.

An Israeli commission of enquiry in 1983 found Sharon indirectly
responsible for the killings, a finding that forced him to resign his

And the United Nations has officially classified the Sabra and Shatila
killings as acts of genocide, Eric David, international law professor at
the Free University of Brussels, told Le Soir.

Last January, when he was campaigning for prime minister, Sharon expressed
his regrets for the "terrible tragedy" of the 1982 massacres, but refused
to apologise.

"What it was," he said in a press interview, "was an act of killing
carried out by Arab Christians against Arab Muslims."

Arabs also blame Sharon for provoking the current intifada or Palestinian
uprising with his visit to east Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound, the
third holiest site in Islam, last September 28.


The Palestine Monitor, An Information Clearinghouse
Full Military Closure of Occupied Territories
June 2, 2001
Following the suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, which left 17 Israelis dead and
87 injured, the Israeli military has imposed a total closure on the West
Bank and the Gaza Strip. Today's closures, unprecedented since the beginning
of this intifada, have had a devastating effect on Palestinian communities.
By 3 pm this afternoon, all Palestinian cities, towns and villages have been
completely severed from one another.
During previous closures, thousands of Palestinians have been forced to
cross military checkpoints and dirt barricades on foot in order to reach
essential and emergency care, jobs and services. However, the closures
today have completely paralysed Palestinian communities. Those seeking
emergency medial care have been denied permission to cross barriers and some
attempts to cross the checkpoints and barriers have been met with force.
Earlier this morning, a Palestinian youth was injured after being shot by
Israeli forces as he tried to cross a Ramallah area checkpoint on foot. He
had been travelling from Surda a village a mere six kilometres outside
Ramallah that is now completely cut off from Ramallah and the surrounding
In response to today's events, Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, has stated that "its
time to stop dealing with the symptoms of the disease, the cycle of action
and reaction and start dealing with the causes, namely the occupation of the
Palestinian Territories and its attendant policies especially the building
of settlements. He further stated, "It is also time that the international
community enforce international law and uphold the UN resolutions regarding
this conflict. This is the only way to secure a just and durable peace in
this region. Furthermore, an international presence is needed more than ever
as an instrument to prevent further deterioration of the situation."

For more information contact Mustafa Barghouthi: 050-254-218 and see the
Palestine Monitor website, www.palestinemonitor.org


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