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September 14, 2001
Report of the unreported days



Report of the unreported days

GUSH SHALOM - pob 3322, Tel-Aviv 61033 - www.gush-shalom.org/

Sept. 13: Today, the editorial of the mass-circulation Ma'ariv pointed out "the rare opportunity to turn international public opinion Israel's way", since "The world is horrified by the ideological alliance between Arafat and Bin Laden". This, the paper believes, makes it possible for Sharon "To seize the moment and use against terrorism the kind of means which hitherto he did not dare to use for fear of international reaction".

Sharon needed little urging, as indicated by the frankly brutal report carried in Yediot Aharonot, Ma'ariv's great rival, also of today: "At about 2.00 PM the IDF forces reached the building in Arabeh Village where three Islamic Jihad activists had barricaded themselves. The three refused to surrender, and were liquidated by missiles and shells. A 12 -year old girl was also killed in the shooting on the inhabited building. Later, another wanted Palestinian was liquidated as well. In the three hours' exchange of fire, four Palestinian civilians were killed by mistake and about fifty wounded".

In the Israeli media it was reported, though ruthlessly - on the international networks it had no chance. (A group of firebrand politicians, led by former PM Netanyahu, seem to find such operations insufficiant; they are making shrill calls for total destruction of the Palestinian Authority and the killing or exiling of Arafat.)

Altogether, at least 18 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army in the past two days. Among those killed was a 71-year old man from Beit Likia, shot by soldiers for the crime of trying to bypass the earthen barrier blocking the single exit road from his village; and a wounded Palestinian policeman died when his ambulance was delayed by the soldiers maintaining for the third consecutive day a close siege over the town of Jenin. One Israeli got killed, a settler woman caught in a Palestinian ambush near Hable.

It is now - a late night hour - the fourth night since Israeli soldiers started the siege of Jenin, which involves occupying parts of the "A" area - the area where they should not be present according to the Oslo agreement - signed eight years ago to the day. It is an invasion of the Palestinian territory far longer - and with far more severe consequences - than the April invasion of the Gaza Strip which at the time drew a sharp reprimand from the US State Department (nothing of the kind this time, needless to say). Another big-scale invasion by an armoured column took place during the past day at the venerable town of Jericho, and there were sundry bombings and bombardments at various other spots, altogether "the largest number of simultaneous operations since the uprising started" according to the Israel Radio's military correspondent.

The weekly Gush Shalom ad, due to be published in Ha'aretz in the morning, sounds a caution to the PM and the rest of the warmongers: "(...) Sharon hopes that from now on he will get the automatic support of the Americans and Europeans for the continuation of the occupation. In this he may be disappointed. The opposite can also happen: the Americans and Europeans may interfere in order to put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is poisoning the international atmosphere. This would be in the interest of the Israeli people, too."

Certainly, it seems that Secretary of State Powel has no intention to accept Sharon's "Arafat equals Bin Laden" formula. Instead, Powel has pointedly mentioned Arafat among the heads of state whose condolonces to the American people he had received, and pushed for a meeting between the Palestinian President and Israel' Foreign Minister Peres, which is due to take place on Sunday. But PM Sharon, evidently displeased with the intended meeting, gave Peres a very narrow mandate: to call for immediate ceasefire without offering the Palestinians even the most remote hope of an end to the occupation, the oppression, the settlement extension. In other words, a demand for unconditional surrender, with Peres playing the part of "Good Cop" on Sharon's behalf. Not much hope there.

Meanwhile, there are some initiatives to do whatever grassroots activists can still do in such a rotten situation.

The International Solidarity Movement and its Israeli-Palestinian component Chapter 48 are establishing a two-weeks-long presence in the West Bank village of Harres. Activists will be staying (for anything between one night and the whole two weeks) at a house which the army threatens to take over as "an observation post". They will monitor and record the situation, taking photos and films and sending out reports. There will be training on how to react to attacks by soldiers or settlers in a non-violent manner, which would be as effective and as safe as possible. To join call Liad at 058-277-849 or mailto: liadland@yahoo.com.

On Saturday, September 15, Ta'ayush is organizing a solidarity convoy of food, water and school-equipment to the small villages in South Hebron area, where houses and dwelling-caves were destroyed in a military rampage several months ago. The convoy will proceed from Shoket junction (near Be'er Sheva) at 10.30 AM (contact 057-662099 or 052-868398). Car owners can come directly there, or join the convoy at the meeting points (8.30 AM from Tel-Aviv's Arlozorov Street Railway Station, contact 055-390402 arab_jewish@hotmail.com, and also at 8.30 AM from Binyanei Ha'uma. in Jerusalem, contact 051-921696 debey@mscc.huji.ac.il).