"We will harass these Palestinians 'til they move like drunk cockroaches in a bottle." -Rafael Etan, former Israeli general, heads rightist Tzomet party
In Sept. 1997, the San Francisco Chronicle headline read: "Israel Halts Peace Process After Attacks." It was Prime Minister Netanyhu's complete and disdainful disregard for the so-called Oslo Accords that set the stage for those suicide bombings in Israel. Netanyhu's scenario: squeeze the Palestinians, deny them hope, treat them as less than human and after their anticipated violent response, scream "Terrorism" while making repeated public demands for "security." Has anything changed with Barak?
After Ariel Sharon's purposefully intimidating visit to Islam's Haram al-Sharif with 1200 armed Israeli military had started Intafada II, Columbia University Professor, Edward Said, (Palestinian by birth) wrote (The Nation, Oct. 30): "Labor and Likud leaders alike made no secret of the fact that Oslo was designed to segregate the Palestinians in noncontiguous, economically unviable enclaves, surrounded by Israeli-controlled borders with settlements and settlement roads... violating the territories integrity. Expropriations and house demolitions proceeded inexorably through the Rabin, Peres, Netanyhu and Barak administrations, along with the expansion of the settlements (200,000 Jews added to Jerusalem, 200,000 more in Gaza and the West Bank) military occupation continuing and every tiny step toward Palestinians sovereignty-including agreements to withdraw... stymied, delayed, canceled at Israel's will."... "The 4 million Palestinian refugees-now the largest and longest existing such population anywhere-were told they could forget about return of compensation... with his corrupt and repressive regime supported by both the Mossad and the CIA, Yasar Arafat continued to rely on US mediation, even though the US negotiating team was dominated by former Israeli lobby officials and a president whose ideas about the Middle East showed no understanding of the Arab-Islamic world."
Such was the background for the ongoing Intafada II, a violent protest supported by the total Palestinian population against half a century of carefully-crafted, disdainful, malicious and often violent subjugation by the Jewish occupiers of their land.
The prevailing attitude of Jews toward their captive Arab population was perhaps best expressed by Israeli columnist Art Shavit in the Hebrew newspaper Haartaz (May 17, 1996) right after that Qana massacre when Israeli troops butchered over 100 Lebanese refugees in the UN "Safe Haven." Shavit wrote: "All we knew was that a large-scale killing of civilians was inseparable from the futuristic combat style the Israel Defense Forces have chosen. All we knew was that it could be assumed that the operation would kill 100 civilians, give or take a few. Still, it was important to be precise. ...We killed them because the yawning gap between the unlimited sacrosanct importance we attribute to our own lives and the very limited sacred character we attribute to the lives of others allows us to kill them. We killed them out of a certain naive hubris. Believing, with absolute certitude that now, with the White House, the Senate and much of American media in our hands, the lives of others do not count as much as our own... and we have the right to kill without being guilty... It was very important to us that the victims stay faceless, nameless people. People who are quite unreal."
By the 20th of this November, after five weeks of violence, there are more than 250 Palestinians killed, a quarter of them under the age of 17, with over 8000 wounded and of these, 1200 crippled for life. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has repeatedly violated the Geneva Convention which includes a law against any force that results in "disproportionate or indiscriminate killing or violence against civilians. The IDF even violates its own rules for crowd control.
The American group Physicians for Human Rights reports numerous instances were the IDF blocked access to hospitals, preventing the injured from receiving care. The IDF targeted well-marked medical personnel and the Red Crescent (Mideast Red Cross) reported 33 ambulances hit by gunfire with 7 destroyed in 64 separate attacks.
Unlike the 1987-93 INTAFADA, where the use of live ammunition by an Israeli solder which killed a Palestinian required a police report, Barak's orders require no such reporting.
The attitude of Israeli's soldiers toward their Palestinian captives if best exemplified in the official Israeli military handbook, published by the Central Regional Command of the Israeli Army and required reading for every IDF soldier:
"When our forces come across civilians during war or in hot pursuit in a raid, so long as there is no certainty that those civilians are incapable of harming our forces, then according to the Halakhah*, they may and even should be killed... under no circumstances should n Arab be trusted, even if he makes an impression of being civilized... in war, when our forces storm the enemy, they are allowed and even enjoined by the Halakah to kill even good citizens, that is, civilians who are ostensibly good." (*Halakah is the legal system of classical Judaism observed today by Orthodox Jews.)
The ongoing oppression of Israeli's Arab population which created Intafada II seldom makes the western media. Columnist Amira Hess wrote: "How perfectly natural that 40,000 persons should be subject to a total curfew for more than a month in the Old City of Hebron in order to protect the lives and well-being of 500 Jews... or that 34 schools attended by thousands of Palestinian children should be closed down... and their pupils imprisoned in crowded homes... while their Jewish neighbors frolic in the street."
Tel Avai's paper Haaretz notes (Nov. 15): "The policy of hermetic closure cut of 110,000 workers... employed in Israel from their work... olives are turning black on the trees because owners are confined to their villages... and thousands of fruit and olive trees have been uprooted so the IDF could improve its firing and observation positions... the correct assessment of the situation is that about three million Palestinians are living in the shadow of death." On Nov. 16, Israel froze the $60 million/month tax receipts due the Palestinian Authority to further pressure Arafat.
Professor Edward Said again wrote (Nov. 3): "The past four weeks have been a total triumph for Zionism in the United States... discourse has transformed Israel into the victim... The general picture painted by the media is that Israel is so surrounded by rock-throwing 'barbarians' that even the missiles, tanks and helicopter gunships... are warding off a terrible force... Terrorism is always on the Palestinian side... defense on the Israeli... American Zionism has made any public discussion of Israel a taboo." Even though "US supporters of Israel have plotted for seven years to produce a document (Oslo Accord) designed... to cage people like inmates in a prison... passing off their scheme to the world as peace."
The US Congress is truly "Israeli occupied Territory." The first week in November, while Palestinian children were being shot dead in the streets by Israeli soldiers, our House of Representatives passed Resolution 426 condemning the Palestinian leadership for "encouraging the use of violence against Israel." Only 30 brave members voted against it. Rep. Dana Rohrbaacher (R-Cal) said: "All these years, (Palestinians) have been ignored and not treated as human beings."
Overseas the message is somewhat different. The Malaysian government urged Israel to "stop the crackdown on the Palestinians." Jordan's QUDS Committee urged all Islamic countries to sever political and economic ties with the Zionist regime. Qatar cut its ties with Israel, while a huge march of citizens in India's New Delhi protested Israel's aggression against "innocent Palestinians."
Politicians in Iran at the meeting of the State Emergency Council stated: "The massacre of Palestinian youth, women and children proved that Israel is an 'abnormal entity' and cannot honor any convention." In London on Nov. 11, MP John Butterfil, Vice Chair of the Conservative Friends of Israel, was actually ejected from Parliament for complaining about expressions of sympathy shown the Palestinians in a foreign affairs debate... while the UK rejected calls from the Zionist lobby to cut off British funding for Palestinian schools... and Amnesty International called on the US Government to cease its transfer of attack helicopters to Israel." Again, the Zionist government of Israel and Washington are at odds with the world.