News from Palestine & Israel


Saturday, June 22, 2002

From: "Palestine Monitor"
Subject: UPMRC - Urgent Appeal From Nablus
Date sent: Sat, 22 Jun 2002 20:21:58 +0200

Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC)
Urgent Appeal From Nablus
June 22, 2002

The Israeli army has launched a massive military operation against Nablus City, including its four refugee camps. For the fourth time in three months Israeli troops have reinvaded the city and suburbs under the pretext of fighting terrorism. However according to the Israelis, this time the invasion will be for a longer period of time. The one hundred and fifty thousand residents of Nablus are forced to remain inside their homes as a strict 24-hour military curfew has been imposed over the city.

Already Israeli tanks and armoured vehicles have vandalized the streets of the city causing enormous physical damage to the infrastructure. Additionally they have taken permanent positions on top of high buildings, forcing the residents to remain in one apartment of the building.

Mass arrests are taking place in most of the neighbourhoods of the city ­thus far dozens of Palestinians have been seized and sent to detention centers. The whole social, educational and medical systems have come to a standstill; the end of year high school exam (tawjeehi) has been cancelled due to the fact that students are unable leave their homes to attend school.

Medical teams are prevented from moving freely, ambulances are frequently stopped and medical personnel are harassed. One doctor and the driver of Medical from medical relief were detained for two hours while attempting to transport an ill two-year-old baby.

Yet again the Israeli army is creating a situation of fear and terror among the civilian population, as well as endangering their lives. There is no justification for the attacks on civilians, and collective punishment Palestinians are subjected to.

This latest Israeli aggression against Palestinians is another facet of the continuing aggression of the Israeli occupation. The international community should realize that the main cause of the current dangerous situation in the region is this occupation, and security and regional stability will not assured until this occupation is ended.

We appeal to the international community to intervene immediately and force the Israeli government to comply with international law and to withdraw its forces immediately from the Palestinian areas.

For more information contact Dr Mustafa Barghouthi ­ +972 (0)50 254 218, and Dr.
Allam Jarar in Nablus, +972 (0)59 649133

posted by Hagerty 2:47 PM

Israeli settlers rampage after blood-soaked week
Armed Israeli settlers appeared to have taken the law into their own hands yesterday by raiding a West Bank town as divisions emerged within the Israeli government over how to respond to the latest wave of Palestinian attacks. . . . Palestinian witnesses said that a convoy of Jewish settlers, some armed with M-16 assault rifles, descended on the Arab town of Howara and killed a 22-year-old Arab man and set fire to cars. Israeli police said they were checking the reports. . . . But divisions have emerged over the reoccupation plan within Mr Sharon's coalition government. Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, the Defence Minister, and the Foreign Minister Shimon Peres – both from Labour – denied that they have agreed to the new policy. Yesterday, in response to the Itamar killings, Israeli forces sent 50 tanks into Nablus, and dug in further in Jenin, but it was unclear how long they planned to stay. . . . Underlying this debate is a general uncertainty in Israel over its next move. Assassinations, blockades, curfews, mass arrests, demolitions, and the bombing of the Palestinian infrastructure have failed to stop the attacks.
posted by Hagerty 12:45 PM : Were Israelis Detained on Sept. 11 Spies?
(, June 21, 2002)
The arresting officers said they saw a lot that aroused their suspicion about the men. One of the passengers had $4,700 in cash hidden in his sock. Another was carrying two foreign passports. A box cutter was found in the van. But perhaps the biggest surprise for the officers came when the five men identified themselves as Israeli citizens. . . . According to the police report, one of the passengers told the officers they had been on the West Side Highway in Manhattan "during the incident" — referring to the World Trade Center attack. The driver of the van, Sivan Kurzberg, told the officers, "We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem." The other passengers were his brother Paul Kurzberg, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner and Omer Marmari. . . . sources told ABCNEWS, was that the FBI believed Urban Moving may have been providing cover for an Israeli intelligence operation. . . . The FBI searched Urban Moving's offices for several hours, removing boxes of documents and a dozen computer hard drives. The FBI also questioned Urban Moving's owner. His attorney insists that his client answered all of the FBI's questions. But when FBI agents tried to interview him again a few days later, he was gone. . . . Since their arrest, plenty of speculation has swirled about the case, and what the five men were doing that morning. Eventually, The Forward, a respected Jewish newspaper in New York, reported the FBI concluded that two of the men were Israeli intelligence operatives. . . . many people in the U.S. intelligence community believed that some of the men arrested were working for Israeli intelligence . . . Despite the denials, sources tell ABCNEWS there is still debate within the FBI over whether or not the young men were spies. Many U.S. government officials still believe that some of them were on a mission for Israeli intelligence. But the FBI told ABCNEWS, "To date, this investigation has not identified anybody who in this country had pre-knowledge of the events of 9/11."
posted by Hagerty 12:32 PM

Friday, June 21, 2002

Palestine Chronicle - Palestinian Public Figures, Intellectuals Issue Appeal to End Suicide Bombing
(Palestine Chronicle, June 21, 2002)
A number of Palestinian intellectuals and officials made an “urgent appeal to stop suicide bombings,” in a statement issued yesterday. The signers included Sari Nuseiba, Hanan Ashrawi and Eyad Sarraj. The statement appealed to the “parties behind military operations targeting civilians in Israel to reconsider their policies and stop driving our young men to carry out these operations.” . . . “Suicide bombings deepen the hatred and widen the gap between the Palestinian and Israeli people. Also, they destroy the possibilities of peaceful co-existence between them in two neighboring states,” the statement read. . . . Instead the bombings, “strengthen the enemies of peace on the Israeli side and give Israel’s aggressive government under Sharon the excuse to continue its harsh war against our people. This war targets our children, elderly, villages, cities, and our national hopes and achievements.” . . . A Palestinian intellectual told that Chronicle on condition of anonymity, “there is no point in calling for an end to these missions if Israel continues to massacre Palestinians.” . . . “The issue is much simpler than many think,” he said, adding, “if you deny people the right to live, to be free and dignified and dehumanize an entire nation, you should not be dictating to them what they should consider as a proper response for them to defend themselves.” . . . Others who signed the statement include: Saleh Ra’fat, Salah Zuheika, Mamdouh Nofal, Hanna Sineora and Dr. Mohammad Ishtiya.
posted by Hagerty 3:04 PM

Thursday, June 20, 2002

Hackers Hijack, Use E-Mail Addresses of Activists to Propagate Falsehood on the Internet
Thus far, unknown hackers have managed to hijack and use e-mail addresses of leading Palestinian and pro-Palestinian writers, intellectuals and organizations. . . . Another journalist said that the issue is very serious for "those desperate hackers are attempting to spread false messages and misrepresent what Palestinians have to say." . . . "On the other hand," he added, "this most recent attempt to harm the repuation of Palestinian intellectuals and respected organizations reflects a level of desperation and bankruptcy. If those hackers had something legitimate to say, they would not seek to steal other people’s identities and propagate falsehoods over the Internet." . . . He said that the issue is being carried to authorities in the US to trace the sources of the hacking and to have those responsible investigated.
posted by Hagerty 8:28 AM

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Israel to reoccupy lands
(Peter Beaumont and Julian Borger, The Guardian, June 19, 2002)
Israel last night said it would reoccupy Palestinian land on the West Bank and hold it indefinitely in reprisal for the suicide bombing of a Jerusalem bus that killed 19 people and injured more than 50. . . . Israeli tanks moved into Jenin in the immediate wake of yesterday's rush-hour bombing, encircling the Palestinian refugee camp within the West Bank city. The tanks then moved into the camp, as helicopter gunships opened fire from above. . . . The move pre-empts a long expected speech on Middle East policy by President George Bush in which he is expected to lay out a framework for salvaging a peace settlement from the cycle of violence. The speech, originally planned for today, was expected to deal with the eventual creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. . . . yesterday the prospect of that state seemed further away than ever.
posted by Hagerty 8:06 AM

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Jenin residents had no chance to run, soldier says
(Ben Lynfield,, 14 June 2002)
Moshe Nissim, driver of a massive army bulldozer during the incursion, told Yediot Ahronot newspaper in an interview that he was in too much of a hurry to care about whether people might die from his actions. . . . "Over the loudspeaker, they were told to leave their houses before I destroyed them. But I did not give a chance to anyone. I did not wait. I did not touch the house and wait for them to come out. I would simply give the house a massive blow so that it would collapse as quickly as possible. I wanted to do it as quickly as possible in order to get to other houses. To do a lot." . . . In Jenin camp in May, The Scotsman correspondent was witness to Palestinians digging through the rubble to extract the remains of a wheelchair-bound man whose house was demolished on top of him. . . . He said he drank from a whisky bottle as he operated the bulldozer, from which he had hung the flag of his favourite football team, Beitar Jerusalem. . . . The army has awarded a citation for excellence to Mr Nissim’s unit for its service in the camp, according to the Israeli human rights group B’tselem and Ha’aretz newspaper.
posted by Hagerty 2:00 PM

Palestinian elections now
(Edward Said
, Al-Ahram, 13 - 19 June 2002)
Sixth, finally, is the Palestinian people who are now justifiably clamouring both for reform and elections. As far as I am concerned, this clamour is the only legitimate one of the six I have outlined here. It's important to point out that Arafat's present administration as well as the Legislative Council have overstayed their original term, which should have ended with a new round of elections in 1999. Moreover, the whole basis of the 1996 elections were the Oslo accords, which in effect simply licensed Arafat and his people to run bits of the West Bank and Gaza for the Israelis, without true sovereignty or security, since Israel retained control of the borders, security, land (on which it doubled and even tripled the settlements), water and air. In other words, the old basis for elections and reform, which had been Oslo, is now null and void. Any attempt to go forward on that kind of platform is simply a wasteful ploy and will produce neither reform nor real elections. Hence the current confusion which causes every Palestinian everywhere to feel chagrin and bitter frustration. . . . I should like to point out that when a major rupture with the past occurred, a new basis of legitimacy has to be created by the only and ultimate source of authority, namely, the people itself. . . . Only such a group, constructed by the people themselves and not by the remnants of the Oslo dispensation, certainly not by the shabby fragments of Arafat's discredited Authority, can hope to succeed in re- organising society from the ruinous, indeed catastrophically incoherent condition in which it is to be found. . . . We have never faced a worse, or at the same time, a more seminal moment. The Arab order is in total disarray; the US administration is effectively controlled by the Christian Right and the Israeli lobby (within 24 hours, everything that George Bush seems to have agreed with President Mubarak was reversed by Sharon's visit); and our society has been nearly wrecked by poor leadership and the insanity of thinking that suicide bombing will lead directly to an Islamic Palestinian state. There is always hope for the future, but one has to able to look for it and find it in the right place. It is quite clear that in the absence of any serious Palestinian or Arab information policy in the United States (especially in the Congress) we cannot for a moment delude ourselves that Powell and Bush are about to set a real agenda for Palestinian rehabilitation. That's why I keep saying that the effort must come from us, by us, for us. I'm at least trying to suggest a different avenue of approach. Who else but the Palestinian people can construct the legitimacy they need to rule themselves and fight the occupation with weapons that don't kill innocents and lose us more support than ever before? A just cause can easily be subverted by evil or inadequate or corrupt means. The sooner this is realised the better the chance we have to lead ourselves out of the present impasse.
posted by Hagerty 1:45 PM

U.S. expresses reservations about fence
(Nathan Guttman, Ha'aretz, June 18, 2002)
While President George W. Bush was putting the final touches on a planned speech on U.S. Middle East policy yesterday, his State Department chided Israel for the separation fence that Israel says is aimed as a shield against suicide bombers. . . . "We remind the Israelis that offering hope to Palestinians, offering them a decent life, an end to the barriers, is an important part of achieving security and peace," he added. . . . Through its spokesman Scott McClellan, the White House also sought to distance itself from the decision to build the fence. . . . Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has termed statehood premature, but Bush's proposal received approval in advance from Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. . . . Arafat's proposal also soft pedals the refugee issue. It calls for a solution based on a UN resolution that says Palestinian refugees wishing to return to their homes should be able to do so. But a specific "right of return" was not demanded, according to Palestinian sources.
[Hagerty comment: I remember when the news came in about the construction of the Berlin Wall. The cold war really heated up after that moronic move. Here we go again.]
posted by Hagerty 9:45 AM

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | CNN chief accuses Israel of terror
(Oliver Burkeman and Peter Beaumont, CNN, June 18, 2002)
Ted Turner, the billionaire founder of CNN, accuses Israel today of engaging in "terrorism" against the Palestinians . . . "The Palestinians are fighting with human suicide bombers, that's all they have. The Israelis ... they've got one of the most powerful military machines in the world. The Palestinians have nothing. So who are the terrorists? I would make a case that both sides are involved in terrorism." . . . Mr Turner is moved to tears at one point in the interview by the "depressing" combination of conflicts like that in the Middle East and the state of the environment, which he says demands massive global attention - "or, you know ... it's goodbye".
posted by Hagerty 9:39 AM

Israel Starts Building Fence Along West Bank: Palestinian Interim State Is Rejected by Sharon
(Washington Post) Israeli bulldozers began work today on a controversial project to erect a fence and sophisticated security system along the entire length of the West Bank in an attempt to seal off the Palestinian-controlled territory from Israel following a series of suicide bomb attacks. The project, which has been discussed for years, has come under fire from both Israelis and Palestinians for a variety of political, religious, economic and social reasons. But it has drawn many new advocates -- including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon -- and gained wider popularity in recent months following suicide bombings that have killed dozens of Israelis and terrorized urban areas across the country. Meanwhile, Sharon today told a meeting of his cabinet ministers that "the conditions are not ripe" for the establishment of any kind of Palestinian state, according to a statement released after the meeting.
posted by Hagerty 7:11 AM

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