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   PoliticsIsrael to U.S. : Now Deal with Syria and Iran


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To: Ed Huang who wrote (5932)10/4/2004 4:48:56 AM
From: GUSTAVE JAEGER
   of 22250
 
Judeofascism's Pope Pat Robertson outjews Ariel Sharon:

Mon., October 04, 2004 Tishrei 19, 5765

Pat Robertson chides 'carving' WB, Gaza
By Associated Press and Haaretz Service


As participants in the annual Jerusalem March prepared to flood city streets on Monday afternoon, American evangelist Pat Robertson, leading thousands of Christian pilgrims showing support for Israel, indirectly rebuked Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan, saying that God would "judge those who carve up the West Bank and Gaza Strip."

As many of 20,000 marchers were expected to take part in the procession, which was to pass through the heart of the city in the afternoon. A number of main traffic arteries were closed to allow the parade to pass.

In a gathering of more than 4,000 pilgrims at a Jerusalem convention center Sunday, Robertson warned that some Muslims were trying to foil "God's plan" to let Israel hold on to its lands. The number of pilgrims was about 25 percent higher than the past three years, according to organizers with the International Christian Embassy.

"I see the rise of Islam to destroy Israel and take the land from the Jews and give East Jerusalem to [Palestinian Authority Chairman] Yasser Arafat. I see that as Satan's plan to prevent the return of Jesus Christ the Lord," said Robertson, a Christian broadcaster.

In two Jerusalem appearances, Robertson Sunday praised Israel as part of God's plan and criticized Arab countries and some Muslims, saying their hopes to include Israeli-controlled land in a Palestinian state are part of "Satan's plan."

Robertson, who has made critical statements of Islam in the past, called Israel's Arab neighbors "a sea of dictatorial regimes."

He said he "sends notice" to Osama bin Laden, Arafat and Palestinian militant groups that "you will not frustrate God's plan" to have Jews rule the Holy Land until the Second Coming of Jesus.

Only God should decide if Israel should relinquish control of the lands it captured in the 1967 war, including the Gaza Strip, West Bank and East Jerusalem, Robertson said, in a reference to Sharon's plan to pull out of Gaza next year.

"God says, 'I'm going to judge those who carve up the West Bank and Gaza Strip,'" Robertson said. "'It's my land and keep your hands off it.'"

Blowing rams' horns and exclaiming "Hallelujah," hundreds of pilgrims - including visitors from Norway, England and Germany - gathered in downtown Jerusalem to pray for peace and celebrate Israel's unification of the city with the capture of East Jerusalem in 1967.

haaretz.com

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To: GUSTAVE JAEGER who wrote (5931)10/4/2004 12:09:55 PM
From: AK2004
   of 22250
 
LOL, you mean to say that Russia is secretly planting nukes in the backyard of the unsuspecting innocent terrorists?

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To: Crimson Ghost who wrote (5936)10/4/2004 11:20:13 PM
From: Ed Huang
   of 22250
 
The extreme ego, strong materialism and togetherness push the group to the peak; Those same things then caused the group fall to the trough.

This pattern started and repeated in the history long before the Spain and Germany instances mentioned by Rabbi Michael Lerner.

As long as the nature of this thing remains the same, the 'roller-coaster' pattern would not be changed, IMO.

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To: Ed Huang who wrote (5939)10/5/2004 6:06:17 AM
From: Crimson Ghost
   of 22250
 
I am a believer in long-term "reversion to the mean" whether in politics or the stock markets. And the more out of balance things become, the bigger the inevitable swing in the opposite direction.

The huge Zionist influence in the US today has reached a truly gross and unsustainable extreme. If the Zionists persist on their current course, the inevitable backlash and reversal will surprise many by how far it goes.

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To: Crimson Ghost who wrote (5940)10/5/2004 10:40:54 AM
From: Ed Huang
   of 22250
 
>>..."reversion to the mean" whether in politics or the stock markets. And the more out of balance things become, the bigger the inevitable swing in the opposite direction.<<

I think you are right. Nowadays we hear often the Zionists claim they will never let the bad thing happen to them again while they are doing the extreme things. Objectively, the natural law does not work that way.

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To: Ed Huang who wrote (5941)10/5/2004 11:21:28 AM
From: Emile Vidrine
   of 22250
 
WHY NOT TWO PEOPLE, ONE STATE?.......................

Michael Tarazi NYT Tuesday, October 5, 2004
Israelis and Palestinians

Israel's untenable policy in the Middle East was more obvious than usual last week, as the Israeli Army made repeated incursions into Gaza, killing dozens of Palestinians in the deadliest attacks in more than two years, even as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reiterated his plans to withdraw from the territory.
.
Israel's overall strategy toward the Palestinians is ultimately self-defeating: It wants Palestinian land but not the Palestinians who live on that land.
.
As Christians and Muslims, the millions of Palestinians under occupation are not welcome in the Jewish state. Many Palestinians are now convinced that Israeli support for a Palestinian state is motivated not by a hope for reconciliation, but by a desire to segregate non-Jews while taking as much of their land and resources as possible.
.
They are increasingly questioning the most commonly accepted solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict - "two states living side by side in peace and security," in the words of President George W. Bush - and are being forced to consider a one-state solution.
.
To Palestinians, the strategy behind Israel's two-state solution is clear. More than 400,000 Israelis live illegally in more than 150 colonies, many of which are atop Palestinian water sources. Sharon is prepared to evacuate settlers from Gaza - but only in exchange for expanding settlements in the West Bank. And Israel is building a barrier wall not on its land but rather inside occupied Palestinian territory. The wall's route maximizes the amount of Palestinian farmland and water on one side and the number of Palestinians on the other.
.
Yet while Israelis try to allay a demographic threat, they are creating a democratic threat. After years of negotiations, coupled with incessant building of settlements and now the construction of the wall, Palestinians finally understand that Israel is offering "independence" on a reservation stripped of water and arable soil, economically dependent on Israel and even lacking the right to self-defense.
.
As a result, many Palestinians are contemplating whether the quest for equal statehood should now be superseded by a struggle for equal citizenship. In other words, a one-state solution in which citizens of all faiths and ethnicities live together as equals. Recent polls indicate that a quarter of Palestinians favor the secular one-state solution.
.
Support for one state is hardly a radical idea; it is simply the recognition of the uncomfortable reality that Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories already function as a single state. They share the same aquifers, the same highway network, the same electricity grid and the same international borders.
.
Some government maps of Israel do not delineate Israel's 1967 pre-occupation border. Settlers in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem) are interspersed among Palestinian towns and now constitute nearly a fifth of the population.
.
But in this de facto state, 3.5 million Palestinian Christians and Muslims are denied the same political and civil rights as Jews. These Palestinians must drive on separate roads, in cars bearing distinctive license plates and only to and from designated Palestinian areas. It is illegal for a Palestinian to drive a car with an Israeli license plate. These Palestinians, as non-Jews, neither qualify for Israeli citizenship nor have the right to vote in Israeli elections.
.
In South Africa, such an allocation of rights and privileges based on ethnic or religious affiliation was called apartheid. In Israel, it is called the Middle East's only democracy.
.
Most Israelis recoil at the thought of giving Palestinians equal rights, understandably fearing that a possible Palestinian majority will treat Jews the way Jews have treated Palestinians.
.
They fear the destruction of the never-defined "Jewish state." The one-state solution, however, neither destroys the Jewish character of the Holy Land nor negates the Jewish historical and religious attachment (although it would destroy the superior status of Jews in that state). Rather, it affirms that the Holy Land has an equal Christian and Muslim character.
.
For those who believe in equality, this is a good thing. In theory, Zionism is the movement of Jewish national liberation. In practice, it has been a movement of Jewish supremacy. It is this domination of one ethnic or religious group over another that must be defeated before we can meaningfully speak of a new era of peace; neither Jews nor Muslims nor Christians have a unique claim on this sacred land.
.
The struggle for Palestinian equality will not be easy. Power is never voluntarily shared by those who wield it. Palestinians will have to capture the world's imagination, organize the international community and refuse to be seduced into negotiating for their rights.
.
But the struggle against South African apartheid proves the battle can be won. The only question is how long it will take, and how much all sides will have to suffer, before Israeli Jews can view Palestinian Christians and Muslims not as demographic threats but as fellow citizens.
.
Michael Tarazi is a legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization.

See more of the world that matters - click here for home delivery of the International Herald Tribune.
< < Back to Start of Article Israelis and Palestinians

Israel's untenable policy in the Middle East was more obvious than usual last week, as the Israeli Army made repeated incursions into Gaza, killing dozens of Palestinians in the deadliest attacks in more than two years, even as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reiterated his plans to withdraw from the territory.
.
Israel's overall strategy toward the Palestinians is ultimately self-defeating: It wants Palestinian land but not the Palestinians who live on that land.
.
As Christians and Muslims, the millions of Palestinians under occupation are not welcome in the Jewish state. Many Palestinians are now convinced that Israeli support for a Palestinian state is motivated not by a hope for reconciliation, but by a desire to segregate non-Jews while taking as much of their land and resources as possible.
.
They are increasingly questioning the most commonly accepted solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict - "two states living side by side in peace and security," in the words of President George W. Bush - and are being forced to consider a one-state solution.
.
To Palestinians, the strategy behind Israel's two-state solution is clear. More than 400,000 Israelis live illegally in more than 150 colonies, many of which are atop Palestinian water sources. Sharon is prepared to evacuate settlers from Gaza - but only in exchange for expanding settlements in the West Bank. And Israel is building a barrier wall not on its land but rather inside occupied Palestinian territory. The wall's route maximizes the amount of Palestinian farmland and water on one side and the number of Palestinians on the other.
.
Yet while Israelis try to allay a demographic threat, they are creating a democratic threat. After years of negotiations, coupled with incessant building of settlements and now the construction of the wall, Palestinians finally understand that Israel is offering "independence" on a reservation stripped of water and arable soil, economically dependent on Israel and even lacking the right to self-defense.
.
As a result, many Palestinians are contemplating whether the quest for equal statehood should now be superseded by a struggle for equal citizenship. In other words, a one-state solution in which citizens of all faiths and ethnicities live together as equals. Recent polls indicate that a quarter of Palestinians favor the secular one-state solution.
.
Support for one state is hardly a radical idea; it is simply the recognition of the uncomfortable reality that Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories already function as a single state. They share the same aquifers, the same highway network, the same electricity grid and the same international borders.
.
Some government maps of Israel do not delineate Israel's 1967 pre-occupation border. Settlers in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem) are interspersed among Palestinian towns and now constitute nearly a fifth of the population.
.
But in this de facto state, 3.5 million Palestinian Christians and Muslims are denied the same political and civil rights as Jews. These Palestinians must drive on separate roads, in cars bearing distinctive license plates and only to and from designated Palestinian areas. It is illegal for a Palestinian to drive a car with an Israeli license plate. These Palestinians, as non-Jews, neither qualify for Israeli citizenship nor have the right to vote in Israeli elections.
.
In South Africa, such an allocation of rights and privileges based on ethnic or religious affiliation was called apartheid. In Israel, it is called the Middle East's only democracy.
.
Most Israelis recoil at the thought of giving Palestinians equal rights, understandably fearing that a possible Palestinian majority will treat Jews the way Jews have treated Palestinians.
.
They fear the destruction of the never-defined "Jewish state." The one-state solution, however, neither destroys the Jewish character of the Holy Land nor negates the Jewish historical and religious attachment (although it would destroy the superior status of Jews in that state). Rather, it affirms that the Holy Land has an equal Christian and Muslim character.
.
For those who believe in equality, this is a good thing. In theory, Zionism is the movement of Jewish national liberation. In practice, it has been a movement of Jewish supremacy. It is this domination of one ethnic or religious group over another that must be defeated before we can meaningfully speak of a new era of peace; neither Jews nor Muslims nor Christians have a unique claim on this sacred land.
.
The struggle for Palestinian equality will not be easy. Power is never voluntarily shared by those who wield it. Palestinians will have to capture the world's imagination, organize the international community and refuse to be seduced into negotiating for their rights.
.
But the struggle against South African apartheid proves the battle can be won. The only question is how long it will take, and how much all sides will have to suffer, before Israeli Jews can view Palestinian Christians and Muslims not as demographic threats but as fellow citizens.
.
Michael Tarazi is a legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization. Israelis and Palestinians

Israel's untenable policy in the Middle East was more obvious than usual last week, as the Israeli Army made repeated incursions into Gaza, killing dozens of Palestinians in the deadliest attacks in more than two years, even as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reiterated his plans to withdraw from the territory.
.
Israel's overall strategy toward the Palestinians is ultimately self-defeating: It wants Palestinian land but not the Palestinians who live on that land.
.
As Christians and Muslims, the millions of Palestinians under occupation are not welcome in the Jewish state. Many Palestinians are now convinced that Israeli support for a Palestinian state is motivated not by a hope for reconciliation, but by a desire to segregate non-Jews while taking as much of their land and resources as possible.
.
They are increasingly questioning the most commonly accepted solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict - "two states living side by side in peace and security," in the words of President George W. Bush - and are being forced to consider a one-state solution.
.
To Palestinians, the strategy behind Israel's two-state solution is clear. More than 400,000 Israelis live illegally in more than 150 colonies, many of which are atop Palestinian water sources. Sharon is prepared to evacuate settlers from Gaza - but only in exchange for expanding settlements in the West Bank. And Israel is building a barrier wall not on its land but rather inside occupied Palestinian territory. The wall's route maximizes the amount of Palestinian farmland and water on one side and the number of Palestinians on the other.
.
Yet while Israelis try to allay a demographic threat, they are creating a democratic threat. After years of negotiations, coupled with incessant building of settlements and now the construction of the wall, Palestinians finally understand that Israel is offering "independence" on a reservation stripped of water and arable soil, economically dependent on Israel and even lacking the right to self-defense.
.
As a result, many Palestinians are contemplating whether the quest for equal statehood should now be superseded by a struggle for equal citizenship. In other words, a one-state solution in which citizens of all faiths and ethnicities live together as equals. Recent polls indicate that a quarter of Palestinians favor the secular one-state solution.
.
Support for one state is hardly a radical idea; it is simply the recognition of the uncomfortable reality that Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories already function as a single state. They share the same aquifers, the same highway network, the same electricity grid and the same international borders.
.
Some government maps of Israel do not delineate Israel's 1967 pre-occupation border. Settlers in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem) are interspersed among Palestinian towns and now constitute nearly a fifth of the population.
.
But in this de facto state, 3.5 million Palestinian Christians and Muslims are denied the same political and civil rights as Jews. These Palestinians must drive on separate roads, in cars bearing distinctive license plates and only to and from designated Palestinian areas. It is illegal for a Palestinian to drive a car with an Israeli license plate. These Palestinians, as non-Jews, neither qualify for Israeli citizenship nor have the right to vote in Israeli elections.
.
In South Africa, such an allocation of rights and privileges based on ethnic or religious affiliation was called apartheid. In Israel, it is called the Middle East's only democracy.
.
Most Israelis recoil at the thought of giving Palestinians equal rights, understandably fearing that a possible Palestinian majority will treat Jews the way Jews have treated Palestinians.
.
They fear the destruction of the never-defined "Jewish state." The one-state solution, however, neither destroys the Jewish character of the Holy Land nor negates the Jewish historical and religious attachment (although it would destroy the superior status of Jews in that state). Rather, it affirms that the Holy Land has an equal Christian and Muslim character.
.
For those who believe in equality, this is a good thing. In theory, Zionism is the movement of Jewish national liberation. In practice, it has been a movement of Jewish supremacy. It is this domination of one ethnic or religious group over another that must be defeated before we can meaningfully speak of a new era of peace; neither Jews nor Muslims nor Christians have a unique claim on this sacred land.
.
The struggle for Palestinian equality will not be easy. Power is never voluntarily shared by those who wield it. Palestinians will have to capture the world's imagination, organize the international community and refuse to be seduced into negotiating for their rights.
.
But the struggle against South African apartheid proves the battle can be won. The only question is how long it will take, and how much all sides will have to suffer, before Israeli Jews can view Palestinian Christians and Muslims not as demographic threats but as fellow citizens.
.
Michael Tarazi is a legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization. Israelis and Palestinians

Israel's untenable policy in the Middle East was more obvious than usual last week, as the Israeli Army made repeated incursions into Gaza, killing dozens of Palestinians in the deadliest attacks in more than two years, even as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reiterated his plans to withdraw from the territory.
.
Israel's overall strategy toward the Palestinians is ultimately self-defeating: It wants Palestinian land but not the Palestinians who live on that land.
.
As Christians and Muslims, the millions of Palestinians under occupation are not welcome in the Jewish state. Many Palestinians are now convinced that Israeli support for a Palestinian state is motivated not by a hope for reconciliation, but by a desire to segregate non-Jews while taking as much of their land and resources as possible.
.
They are increasingly questioning the most commonly accepted solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict - "two states living side by side in peace and security," in the words of President George W. Bush - and are being forced to consider a one-state solution.
.
To Palestinians, the strategy behind Israel's two-state solution is clear. More than 400,000 Israelis live illegally in more than 150 colonies, many of which are atop Palestinian water sources. Sharon is prepared to evacuate settlers from Gaza - but only in exchange for expanding settlements in the West Bank. And Israel is building a barrier wall not on its land but rather inside occupied Palestinian territory. The wall's route maximizes the amount of Palestinian farmland and water on one side and the number of Palestinians on the other.
.
Yet while Israelis try to allay a demographic threat, they are creating a democratic threat. After years of negotiations, coupled with incessant building of settlements and now the construction of the wall, Palestinians finally understand that Israel is offering "independence" on a reservation stripped of water and arable soil, economically dependent on Israel and even lacking the right to self-defense.
.
As a result, many Palestinians are contemplating whether the quest for equal statehood should now be superseded by a struggle for equal citizenship. In other words, a one-state solution in which citizens of all faiths and ethnicities live together as equals. Recent polls indicate that a quarter of Palestinians favor the secular one-state solution.
.
Support for one state is hardly a radical idea; it is simply the recognition of the uncomfortable reality that Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories already function as a single state. They share the same aquifers, the same highway network, the same electricity grid and the same international borders.
.
Some government maps of Israel do not delineate Israel's 1967 pre-occupation border. Settlers in the occupied West Bank (including East Jerusalem) are interspersed among Palestinian towns and now constitute nearly a fifth of the population.
.
But in this de facto state, 3.5 million Palestinian Christians and Muslims are denied the same political and civil rights as Jews. These Palestinians must drive on separate roads, in cars bearing distinctive license plates and only to and from designated Palestinian areas. It is illegal for a Palestinian to drive a car with an Israeli license plate. These Palestinians, as non-Jews, neither qualify for Israeli citizenship nor have the right to vote in Israeli elections.
.
In South Africa, such an allocation of rights and privileges based on ethnic or religious affiliation was called apartheid. In Israel, it is called the Middle East's only democracy.
.
Most Israelis recoil at the thought of giving Palestinians equal rights, understandably fearing that a possible Palestinian majority will treat Jews the way Jews have treated Palestinians.
.
They fear the destruction of the never-defined "Jewish state." The one-state solution, however, neither destroys the Jewish character of the Holy Land nor negates the Jewish historical and religious attachment (although it would destroy the superior status of Jews in that state). Rather, it affirms that the Holy Land has an equal Christian and Muslim character.
.
For those who believe in equality, this is a good thing. In theory, Zionism is the movement of Jewish national liberation. In practice, it has been a movement of Jewish supremacy. It is this domination of one ethnic or religious group over another that must be defeated before we can meaningfully speak of a new era of peace; neither Jews nor Muslims nor Christians have a unique claim on this sacred land.
.
The struggle for Palestinian equality will not be easy. Power is never voluntarily shared by those who wield it. Palestinians will have to capture the world's imagination, organize the international community and refuse to be seduced into negotiating for their rights.
.
But the struggle against South African apartheid proves the battle can be won. The only question is how long it will take, and how much all sides will have to suffer, before Israeli Jews can view Palestinian Christians and Muslims not as demographic threats but as fellow citizens.
.
iht.com

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To: Brasco One who wrote (5922)10/5/2004 1:37:34 PM
From: Brasco One
   of 22250
 
Israeli Strike Kills Islamic Jihad Chief <<NEWS

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To: Crimson Ghost who wrote (5934)10/5/2004 1:48:10 PM
From: Brasco One
   of 22250
 
time for Iran to do down!

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From: Crimson Ghost10/5/2004 6:31:40 PM
   of 22250
 
Israel accused of Nazi tactics
By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
Tuesday 05 October 2004, 17:29 Makka Time, 14:29 GMT  
Israel has vowed to continue its onslaught in Gaza

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A high-ranking Palestinian Authority official has accused the Israeli occupation army of adopting "Nazi tactics" against Palestinian population centres in the Gaza Strip.

The official, PA Deputy Foreign Minister Abd Allah Abd Allah, told Aljazeera.net that the ongoing Israeli blitz in northern Gaza was "nothing but a Nazi-like rampage of murder and terror against a defenceless civilian population".
 
"Israel is simply slaughtering innocent civilians under the pretext of fighting terror. I don't know how much Palestinian blood would satiate Israel's thirst. I don't how many Palestinian children would have to be killed in order to make up for two Jewish kids who died last week," said Abd Allah.
 
So far, as many as 80 Palestinians, more than half of them children and non-combatants, have been killed in one of the most ferocious Israeli army campaigns since the outbreak of the current Palestinian uprising four years ago.

Slaughter
 
Abd Allah accused Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of wanting to slaughter "as many Palestinian children as it takes to enhance and consolidate his political standing in Israel".
 
"He [Sharon] knows quite well that the only thing that makes him popular among Israelis is Palestinian blood" 

Abd Allah Abd Allah,
PA deputy foreign minister "He knows quite well that the only thing that makes him popular among Israelis is (shedding) Palestinian blood. This explains it all."
 
An Israeli foreign ministry spokeswoman denied charges that Israeli forces were deliberately killing Palestinian civilians.
 
Amira Oron pointed out that Palestinian fighters were hiding in homes and crowded streets, forcing the Israeli army to target them at the risk of killing and injuring innocent civilians.
 
"We know that civilians are killed in this conflict. We are sorry about that, but we have no choice but fight the terrorists."

Death toll
 
When asked how many Palestinians would make up for the two Israeli children killed in a Hamas missile attack on the town of Sderot, Oron said: "We don't calculate it this way. We don't kill the civilians deliberately."
 
However, the Israeli spokeswoman's assertions seem to be at odds with casualty figures released by human rights groups, including the Israeli human rights organisation, B'tselem.
 
On Monday, B'tselem reported that as many as 31 Palestinian civilians, including 19 children, have been killed by the Israeli army since the onset of the army campaign in northern Gaza.
 
Three more Palestinians civilians, including a four-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl were killed by Israeli troops in the past 24 hours. The Israeli army said the two killings were carried out "mistakenly".

Rocket claim
 
Meanwhile, the Israeli foreign ministry has removed from its website a story containing Israeli allegations that Palestinian resistance fighters used an UNRWA car to move Qassam rockets during the weekend.
 
An UNRWA school lies destroyed
in the Jabalya refugee camp The story was sent out in North America and Europe, along with Israeli accusations that the UNRWA was indulging in activities incompatible with its mandate.
 
However, it has now become clear that the story was false and that the elongated object which appeared in the Israeli aerial photograph was a stretcher.
 
This led the Israeli army spokesman to retract the story, saying "we can't swear that the object was a rocket".

Misinformation tactic
 
One Israeli commentator, Amos Ariel, suggested in an article published in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Tuesday that the story about the UNRWA car may have been a deliberate Israeli disinformation gimmick aimed at distracting international public opinion from the killings in Gaza.
 
The PA official Abd Allah Abd Allah accused Israel of seeking pretexts to discredit UNRWA and other international organisations operating in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
 
"They want to exterminate the Palestinian people but they don't to see any witnesses around."

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To: Crimson Ghost who wrote (5945)10/5/2004 6:54:06 PM
From: Karen Lawrence
   of 22250
 
A Shiite-Sunni Islamist 'high command' may be forming

By Patrick Seale
Special to The Daily Star
Monday, October 04, 2004

There are ominous signs that, far from dying down, the conflicts in the Middle East are set to widen in the coming months, sucking in new actors and posing new threats to the United States and its allies.

In the eyes of Arab and Islamic militants, the war against American forces in Iraq and Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation are increasingly seen as one and the same battle. In the absence of any prospect for peace on either battlefield, alliances are being formed and command structures established which suggest that the struggle is entering a new and more lethal phase.

Western intelligence sources report that a new high command is emerging made up of Hizbullah, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood (represented in the occupied Palestinian territories by Islamic Jihad); and, last but not least, the Islamic Republic of Iran. The striking features of this alliance are that it bridges the Sunni-Shiite divide and unites Arab nationalists and Islamists in a common cause. As a member of one of these groups put it to me: "There is today no difference between resistance and jihad."

Several factors lie behind the new, more organized and determined militancy. First, American backing for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon - for his expansion of Jewish settlements, his separation wall in the West Bank, and his all-out war against the Palestinians - has ruled out any prospect of a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The international consensus of a two-state solution seems increasingly unrealistic.

As a result, Palestinian moderates have been silenced while the Palestinian Authority has virtually collapsed under Israeli blows and the bitter frustration of a population under siege. The initiative has passed to militants who argue that there is no alternative but armed struggle. The huge sacrifices the Palestinians have endured in their four-year intifada are, paradoxically, seen as arguments for continuing the battle, however long it takes.

Second, in Iraq, American attempts to crush the insurgency by force (there are reports the U.S. is planning an all-out campaign before the end of the year to "clean out" Fallujah and other centers of resistance in preparation for elections in January) are rallying anti-American forces in many parts of the world. For Arab and Islamic militants, Iraq has become a fighting issue and a mobilizing cause as intense as the Palestinian cause itself.

Third, repeated American and Israeli threats to strike at Iran in order to destroy its alleged nuclear weapons program have also contributed to the hardening mood in that country and in the region. They have encouraged hardliners in the Iranian regime to act forcefully and preemptively in both Iraq and the Palestinian and Lebanese arenas so as to hold American and Israeli ambitions in check.

The victory of the militants was not inevitable. Movements like Hizbullah and Hamas had long been reluctant to act outside their own respective battlefields of Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. They wanted their local grievances to be recognized and addressed. They sought to "engage" the United States and are still hoping for a change in American policy. But American and Israeli insistence to label, denounce and outlaw them as terrorist movements has, in fact, increased their popularity and legitimacy and driven them to seek a wider arena for their actions.

A debate about the wisdom of suicide bombings has been raging for months in Palestinian circles. Moderates have argued that the bombings play into Sharon's hands, keep him in power and provide him with a pretext to destroy not just the Palestinian Authority but Palestinian society itself. The bombings have allowed Sharon to equate the Palestinian struggle with international terrorism and have legitimized his infamous "apartheid wall." They have also traumatized the Israeli population, destroying the peace camp and silencing any serious opposition to Sharon's brutal repression.


The moderates argued that, if the Palestinians were to abandon suicide bombings and adopt a strategy of nonviolent resistance, they could win over world opinion to their just cause and arouse the conscience of the world - including the conscience of many Israelis. In this way, they could help the international community lure Israel back into the world of law and political negotiation, and away from messianic fanaticism and the blind use of force.

In today's climate, these arguments cut little ice. On the contrary, the militants argue that the intifada and the suicide bombings have hit Israel hard. Occupation and repression have brutalized Israeli society, domestic investment has dwindled, unemployment and crime have soared, tourism has plummeted, young people are leaving and world opinion has turned hostile. Israel, they argue, is more isolated than ever and would not survive were it not for American backing. The strategy must therefore be to hit American as well as Israeli targets even harder, so as to bring home the price the U.S. has to pay for its one-sided policies and persuade Israelis to return to sanity. This is the dominant trend in the region today.

The debate in the Arab and Islamic world is being echoed by a still relatively muted debate in the U.S. Open opposition is beginning to surface on the internet, in speeches by prominent figures, and even in the mainstream press against the neoconservatives and the "civilian leadership of the Pentagon" who are held responsible for the Iraqi debacle and for the hatred against America in the Arab and Muslim world. Mounting casualties and the soaring cost of the Iraq war, together with fear of terrorist attack, has empowered American critics to speak out against what they see as the consequence of the capture of America's foreign and security policy by right-wing friends of Israel.

Such views are to be heard among members of America's more traditional foreign policy establishment and among senior officers. The failure to recognize the threat from the neocons is being much lamented, as is the failure to block their rise to prominence over the past decade. A full-page advertisement in The New York Times two Sundays ago by an anonymous group calling itself americanrespect.com denounced America's "profound misunderstanding" of the causes of terrorism and the mistaken war against Iraq. "Terrorists are not inherently malevolent," the group declared; "they are filled with passion and a sense of being aggrieved - as true of Al-Qaeda as the Palestinians under Israel ..." Muslims "view U.S. foreign policy and aid to be heavily biased in favor of Israel and a significant threat to Islam ..."

Such public advertisements are the tip of a large iceberg. Dissent against the policies of the Bush administration is widespread, but it may not be strong or organized enough to put the Democratic challenger John Kerry in the White House.

Needless to say, the neocons are far from surrendering. They retain the upper hand in many parts of the Bush administration. If President George W. Bush is reelected, they will fight to retain their posts and their influence, not only inside the government but also in the many Washington think tanks. The battle in the coming months between the U.S. and Israel on one hand and a worldwide Islamic and nationalist insurgency on the other is likely to be exceedingly hot.
tompaine.com

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