Israel / Palestine – Update


Richard Moore

From: •••@••.•••
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2001 15:13:49 EST
Subject: Social Construction of Terrorism
To: •••@••.•••
Sender: •••@••.•••


For anyone interested in the issue of the social construction of 
terrorism may find this short piece of interest.

Khaldoun Samman

On Sunday, Prof. Ehud Sprinzak, the so-called "expert on
extremist movements," was interviewed on the lunchtime
programme [Yoman Hatzohorayim] of Channel 7. The
interviewer, Ariel Kahana, presented him as a "person of the
left". Sprinzak did not like this description. "I am a
person of the centre", he said, "and in general I dislike
labels". Then the following dialogue took place:

Kahana: "What do you think about the executions in the
Palestinian Authority?"

Sprinzak: "I have a very positive opinion; I mean, it is a
vital instrument, part of the struggle against terrorism and
I have no reservation, except for one thing..."

Kahana: "Ah, one moment, one moment: I was referring to the
executions of collaborators by the Palestinian Authorities,
not to the liquidations by our forces".

Sprinzak: "Pardon, pardon, I thought you were asking me ...
In any case, about the Palestinians: it is disgusting,
nauseating, this is how a dictatorial system operates,
without any juridical process. Absolutely unacceptable,
[Originally from GNAA]

Delivered-To: •••@••.•••
From: "Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space" 
To: <•••@••.•••>
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 06:29:02 -0500

Urgent Urgent Urgent

US - Israeli First  Manouvre of Missile Defense Systems

The first US-Israel joint manouvre of missiles and theatre
missile defense systems (TMD)  already started in the
Israeli Naqab desert, February 19, 2001 .

Israeli Missile defense systems are deployed in the region
to kill the missiles of its adversaries while its missiles
will be free to attack. The joint manouvre has taken place
few days after Israeli circles reiterated alarming threats
on possible breakout of wars in the region and US-UK Air
Raid on targets close to the Iraqi capital.

At the same time , Israeli armed forces continue their
aggressive acts against the Palestinian people to entrench
their occupation of Arab territories.

Of special concern is the fact that these events came just
few days before the visit of Mr. Powell, the US Secretary of
State, to the region. Hopes that this visit my help promote
peace in the Middle East have been  shattered.

NGOs are urgently requested to further their efforts in
order to halt the threats to use force and acts of
aggression in the Middle East.

 Bahig Nassar
 Coordinator, Arab Coordination Center
 20- 2- 2001

Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 90083
Gainesville, Fl. 32607
(352) 337-9274

From: MER <•••@••.•••>
To: "MER" <•••@••.•••>
Date: Wed, 07 Feb 2001 11:46:36 +0000
Subject: Holy War For Jerusalem
Reply-To: •••@••.•••
Organization: MiD-EasT RealitieS
MIME-Version: 1.0

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DAMASCUS, Syria, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Syria's official newspapers
Wednesday said the election of right-wing leader Ariel
Sharon as Israel's new prime minister was a "declaration of

The Al-Baath newspaper, mouthpiece of the ruling Baath
Party, said peace in the Middle East was almost impossible
to achieve as the "victory of the bloody terrorist, war
criminal and butcher Ariel Sharon is like an official
declaration of war."

"By choosing Sharon, Israel is choosing escalation,
terrorism and aggression while it pushes the region again in
the cycle of bloody violence," the newspaper said. "It also
put the fate of peace in the whole world under the mercy of
a war-crazy general."

Fayez al-Sayegh, director-general of Syrian television and
radio, called on the United States to control Sharon "before
the region further plunges into the cycle of terrorism that
is being practiced by Israel."

Ali Abdel Karim, director of the official Syrian News
Agency, said Syria "wants peace for itself and the others,
but peace cannot be achieved by inequitable negotiations."

He said Syria sought peace, but needed to be strong at the
same time and it did not matter who was leading Israel.

The state-run Tishrine newspaper said Sharon's election
would deal "a dangerous blow to the peace process as this
racist general only believes in the language of terrorism,
killings and expansion and he is counting on continued
support from the United States."

The newspaper said Israel did not "mature for peace."

"Any negotiations with it are not only sterile, but harmful
to the Arab cause."

It called on Arab countries to adopt a firm stand against
what it called Israeli threats and blackmail to be prepared
for "any possible Zionist adventure."

MiD-EasT RealitieS  -  http://www.MiddleEast.Org
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From: MER <•••@••.•••>
To: "MER" <•••@••.•••>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 10:09:58 +0000
Subject: "This Is Only The Beginning..."


                       OF YOUNG PALESTINIANS

                          SHOOT TO MAIM

                 by Lamis Andoni & Sandy Tolan

[The Village Voice - 21 February 2001]:  Held up to the
light, the X-ay of Fouad Mahed's right femur resembles a
piece of the sky on a clear desert night: countless specks
of white scattered against an ink-black backdrop.

But this milky way is actually hundreds of fragments of lead
and bone, the result of a bullet from an Israeli rifle that
shattered Mahed's leg. The image itself is of something that
no longer exists. After massive blood loss, doctors were
forced to amputate the limb two weeks after the shooting..

"Surgery is easy when you know the anatomy," says Dr. Nasri
Khoury, tracing the outline of Mahed's femur with a pen.
"But when the anatomy is destroyed, the surgeon is at a

Thousands of Palestinian young men and boys may become
permanently crippled from bullet wounds suffered during the
last five months of stone-throwing protests against Israeli
rule. As with Fouad Mahed, a carpenter from Gaza, many of
the 11,000 injuries came when unarmed people were shot.

The high rates of crippling injuries are in large part due
to the fragmenting bullets fired by M16s. The American-made
Colt weapons, introduced during the Vietnam War as
lightweight field rifles capable of inflicting maximum
damage on the enemy, are being used increasingly by the
Israel Defense Forces against civilian demonstrators. The
M16 ammunition often breaks into tiny pieces after
penetration, ripping up muscle and nerve and causing
multiple internal injuries, much like those of the
internationally banned dumdum bullets.

Forensics experts in the United States and Europe, who
agreed for this article to examine the X rays of Fouad Mahed
and other wounded Palestinians, confirm repeated casualties
from M16s, shotguns, and other live ammunition. These
images, together with other X rays seen in West Bank and
Jordanian hospitals, show a pattern some forensics
specialists call a "lead snowstorm," the fragmentation of
high-velocity military ammunition, fired at civilians. Many
of the wounded were hit at short range - less than 100
meters - compounding internal damage.

The reliance on these rounds is part of what human rights
groups have denounced as excessive use of Israeli force
against mostly unarmed Palestinians. "Shooting people with
high-velocity bullets to wound them is a form of summary
punishment being inflicted in the field," says Dr. Robert
Kirschner of the Nobel Prize-winning Physicians for Human

It's not yet clear how newly elected prime minister Ariel
Sharon, a lifelong hard-liner, will handle the spiraling
conflict. Last week the IDF sent helicopter gunships to
assassinate a senior Palestinian security officer. The next
day, a Palestinian bus driver plowed into a bus stop,
killing seven Israeli soldiers and one civilian. Charges
continued that Israeli troops were firing live ammunition
into unarmed crowds before trying to scatter them with tear
gas or water cannons, as the military code requires - the same
charges the IDF denied under Sharon's predecessor, Ehud

"Every new victim wounded or killed is not a goal for us,"
says Major Olivier Rafowicz, a spokesperson. "The violence
is initiated by the other side. If they can show victims,
wounded, blood, children - it is only serving the Palestinian
interest: 'See, we are only doing popular activities, and
the bad Israeli guy is killing us for nothing.' We are not
interested in that on the Israeli side."

Major Rafowicz argues that Israel has exercised considerable
restraint in the face of life-threatening demonstrations,
with gunfire from Palestinians.. In addition, he says,
Israel has tried unsuccessfully to acquire nonlethal riot
control from several European countries. Nevertheless,
Rafowicz insists, IDF soldiers operate under strict rules of
engagement. "We open fire only on people who are endangering
our lives," he says. "You can kill someone with a rock. A
stone is a weapon."

Adds another IDF spokesperson: "We don't shoot live bullets
when nobody's shooting at us."

Yet in more than 100 interviews for this article, patients,
doctors, and medical personnel in 14 hospitals and clinics
in Jordan and the West Bank paint a far different picture.
With no shooting from the Palestinian side, and often little
or no use of tear gas to disperse the protests, Israeli
soldiers have repeatedly fired live ammunition into unarmed

Ibrahim Mustafa Darwish, 17, was shot in the abdomen on
November 15, during protests at the Erez checkpoint that
divides Gaza from Israel. Six weeks later, he lies in bed at
Jordan Hospital in Amman. The bandages on his abdomen are
bloody and sticky, signs of multiple surgeries to remove a
meter of intestines. Israeli soldiers fired at the 18
stone-throwers from a distance of 15 meters.

Fadi Mohammed, 18, was also shot in the abdomen in late
November while throwing rocks at a protest. The single
bullet exploded two vertebrae, injuring his kidney and
paralyzing both legs. He arrived November 30 at Palestine
Hospital in Amman, where surgeons removed his spleen and
parts of his vertebrae.

Mahmoud Al Medhoun, 15, was hit three times - in the leg,
back, and abdomen - by soldiers firing from the hatch of a
tank. One bullet lodged in his spine, smashing three
vertebrae and pinching a nerve. His right leg is paralyzed.
Doctors have removed part of his colon and repaired his
liver; he is unable to eat. "God willing, I will walk
again," declares Mahmoud. But when his father cites the
doctors' opinion that the paralysis is probably permanent,
the boy rolls himself into a ball, burying his face in the
crook of his arm and crying.

Crippling injuries among Palestinians are estimated at
1500 - a figure likely to rise as more of the wounded seek
rehabilitation. Palestinian officials say the rate of
disabling injuries during this Al Aqsa Intifada, which began
in the shadow of East Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque on
September 29, is higher than during the first intifada,
which lasted from 1987 to 1993. "The Israeli response to
this intifada has been more ferocious, swifter, and more
intensive," says Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, head of the Union of
Palestinian Medical Relief Committees.

Lethal fire has come from M16, M3, and M24 snipers' rifles,
and from higher-caliber munitions, including
concrete-busting machine-gun bullets, grenade launchers,
120-millimeter tank shells, and Hellfire rockets fired from
American-made Apache attack helicopters. The heavier fire,
say Israeli analysts, has come in response to Palestinian
sniping. But even the more benign ammunition designed for
riot control, like so-called rubber bullets - steel balls
coated with a thin layer of rubber - can be fatal if fired at
short range. "They are the nightmare of the neurosurgeon,"
says Dr. Jihad Mashal. "Every time the patient moves his
head, it's like a marble moving in jelly. There's nothing
you can do about it."

In the first weeks of the Intifada, head and upper-body
injuries accounted for a great portion of Palestinian
casualties. "A large part of those wounded by live bullets
are those we indeed wanted to not only injure but kill,"
wrote General Giora Eiland in a letter to Israeli human
rights lawyer Neta Amar. "These are the same people that
shoot at us with live ammunition. The fact that most of them
are wounded in the upper body or head is a positive thing."

After a flurry of international condemnation, the rate of
head and chest injuries dropped, replaced by devastating leg
and abdomen wounds. "I consider it a form of torture," says
Kirschner of Physicians for Human Rights. "There's no
question in my mind that this was a very conscious military
decision to use this weapon to wound people as a form of
intimidation of the population. And as a result, probably
several thousand young Palestinian men will end up with
permanent disabilities."

The M16 ammunition was at first mistaken by Palestinian
doctors for the dumdum bullet, banned by the Hague
Convention in 1899. "Many people think that it's a dumdum
bullet, because if it does penetrate deep enough, it will
break," says Martin Fackler, a former army surgeon who now
runs ballistics tests for the U.S. Department of Defense.
"Fragmentation does cause more wounds."

The weapon was introduced in 1963, as an experiment with the
South Vietnamese army during the Kennedy administration.
Soon reports came back from the field, recounted in a 1995
article in the International Review of the Red Cross, of a
bullet that "does cartwheels as it penetrates living flesh,
causing a highly lethal wound that looks like anything but a
caliber ..22 hole." By 1966, army doctors reported "gaping,
devastated area[s] of soft tissue and even bone, often with
loss of large amounts of tissue" and a disintegrating
bullet. Seven years later, reports were circulating about
wounds that looked like those caused by the expanding dumdum
bullets, banned for causing "superfluous injury or
unnecessary suffering."

Years of experiments revealed that the lightweight M16
bullet was prone to "yaw" and "tumble" more quickly after
penetration - giving it greater potential to rip apart tissue
by flying through the body sideways. The higher velocity - a
trait now shared with other military rifles - also meant the
bullet created a larger "temporary cavity," destroying
solid, less flexible tissues like the spleen and liver - a
pattern of injury borne out in Palestinian medical records.
And the bullet fragmented more, causing multiple injuries
from tiny pieces of lead, each on its own haywire path.

The old dumdum had been banned from the battlefield, but now
some worried that a new bullet, with similar consequences,
was taking its place. For years, disputes over what actually
caused the wounds - the bullet's velocity, its tumbling, its
fragmentation - slowed efforts to ban the ammunition. In 1995,
the Swiss introduced an initiative to bring the M16
ammunition, along with others, under the umbrella of the
Hague Convention. In his analysis of the Swiss effort in the
International Review of the Red Cross, the humanitarian
scholar Eric Prokosch urged states to "seize the
opportunity" for the "adoption of the strongest possible ban
on the modern dumdum bullets."

Some ballistics experts in Europe agree. Dr. Peter J.T.
Knudsen, a Danish forensic pathologist who has written
extensively on bullets and humanitarian law, argues that all
M16 ammunition currently used by military forces should be
banned, because they all tend to shatter. "Fragmentation
adds unnecessary suffering and superfluous injury," he says.

Others caution that the M16 should not be singled out in
what amounts to a political struggle rooted in the Cold War.

"The concept of 'inhumane' rifle bullets is a product of
minds who know nothing of real war, and usually have
ulterior - usually political - motives," says Fackler, who
points out that heavier military bullets, with greater mass,
also produce large wounds. "I have seen many soldiers who
have had both legs and an arm blown off by explosive
devices: land mines, artillery, etc. That is inhumane. There
are no rifles on the battlefield that can disrupt anywhere
near that much tissue. So does it make good sense to declare
a rifle bullet inhumane and ignore the weapons that cause
far more tissue disruption?"

Defenders of the M16 say attempts to ban the rifle's 5.56mm
ammunition were started by the Soviet Union, envious of the
U.S. and NATO's lightweight, efficient military rifle. That
claim is disputed, but the issue remains politically
charged. After years of testing and repeated international
meetings, some humanitarian and ballistics experts would
like to raise the issue of high-velocity, fragmenting
bullets at an international conference in Europe later this
year. They say it's time that weapons causing the same
degree of unnecessary harm as the old dumdum bullets be
placed under the same kind of ban.

Chances for that appear slim. After floating a proposal that
might have put restrictions on the M16 ammunition,
potentially forcing NATO countries to develop entirely new,
nonfragmenting ammunition, the Swiss government now appears
ready to offer a more modest plan.

"Can you imagine if there were an attempt to ban 5.56[mm]
bullets?" asks Denmark's Dr. Knudsen. "Think about all the
countries that would have to discard all their M16
ammunition." Even if they replaced it with the
nonfragmenting bullets being tested, there's still a stark
political reality: None of the "safer" bullets are
manufactured in America. "Imagine if you told the U.S. Army
they would have to buy all their bullets from a foreign
country," Knudsen says. "Or how about the senator in whose
state the bullets are made? There's too much money

As humanitarians debate whether to consider a ban on
ammunition they believe excessively harmful to soldiers, the
IDF continues to use the weapons on unarmed Palestinian
civilians. Live ammunition has been used "routinely in an
illegal and indiscriminate manner," a Human Rights Watch
report said of the IDF, "resulting in deaths and injuries to

Nasri Showkat lies in his bed in Jordan Hospital, waiting
for doctors to extract the last bullet fragments, lodged
near his left eye socket. The graying edges of his short
black hair and his thin silver-frame glasses give a learned
look to Showkat, a history major who was due to graduate
this year. On October 25, he joined hundreds of
demonstrators in Ramallah. They marched to the
Israeli-guarded checkpoint and threw their stones. When
Showkat saw his friend shot in the head, he rushed out and
was himself shot, he says, by a sniper. The bullet hit
Showkat in the upper lip, exploding into seven fragments
inside his head. He lost the teeth on one side of his mouth,
which he covers with one hand when he tries to speak.

Amjad, 22, was hit in the head in the West Bank town of
Jenin. X rays show a bullet lodged in the back of his skull.
His arms are listless and floppy like a rag doll's, and the
room smells like excrement.

Mohammad Nada, 17 years old, was shot twice by an Israeli
sniper on December 1 while clearing debris in front of his
sister's house, close to the site of daily clashes in
Ramallah. The second shot went into his left buttock and hit
his sciatic nerve, which controls the up-and-down movement
of the foot. X rays show evidence of a high-velocity bullet,
which fragmented into hundreds of pieces. Doctors say he
needs a graft to repair the nerve.

Isa Abu Abdullah, 19, was confronted by Israeli tanks in
Gaza on the third morning of Ramadan, November 29. He threw
stones, then was hit by a bullet in the left calf. While
down, he was hit by six more bullets: three in his left
thigh, two in his right thigh, and one in his right arm.
Doctors at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza moved part of an
artery from his right leg to his left, then sent him to
Amman for further surgery.

Mahmoud Odeili, 23, lives in Gaza, near the Israeli
settlement of Gush Katif, a constant flashpoint. Now he
fills a bed in Amman's Shmesani Hospital. The unemployed
father of two barely opens his mouth when he speaks, because
of the high-velocity bullet that smashed his jaw before
exiting through the back of his neck. He says he and his
friends ran out to throw stones at an Israeli demolition
crew sent to destroy their houses. He was shot by a soldier
in a tank 100 meters away. "They shot us and kept going," he

"How many patients do you want to see?" asks Dr. Ghazi
Hanania of the Abu Raya Rehabilitation Centre in Ramallah.
The doctor, in a gray charcoal suit with a red scarf, looks
across his desk with deeply tired eyes. "You can talk to
2000 patients if you want to."

Outside the center, four young men in wheelchairs gather at
the curb, soaking up the December sun. Nasser Bilali, his
leg in a heavy cast, says he was just walking home when
clashes broke out. In the confusion he was hit by a
high-velocity bullet that shredded several bones in his left
foot. He's not sure if he'll walk again without crutches; it
will be months before he can even think about going back to
work. "I can't consider myself a hero," says Bilali.
"Because I didn't even throw stones. I was just walking and
I got shot."

An old woman in a white headscarf and a black Palestinian
dress has been listening to Bilali's story. She begins to
yell and wave her arms. "Look at him! He's young, and he's
already in a wheelchair. Haram! Haram! This is a crime! This
is a crime! We're using stones. They're using bombs and
rockets and tanks!" She points to the rehab center's second
floor. "My son is upstairs. A woman pours out the blood of
her heart to raise a son through poverty and hardship, and
now he gets shot."

Dr. Hanania says he is not so worried about the hundreds of
patients his staff is contending with now. "The problem is
what will be coming to the center in the coming days," he
says. Because the Israelis are limiting freedom of movement
between West Bank towns and villages, the doctor says, it's
impossible to estimate how many young men will need
rehabilitative care. But when the roads open, Dr. Hanania
expects a flood. "There are reports that there are 25 to 30
percent of the injured in need of rehabilitative
care" - several thousand people, given the current casualty
figures. "If that's true, it's a national disaster."

Across the Jordan River in Amman, Dr. Khoury pulls back
Fouad Mahed's bedcovers to reveal a bandaged stump - the
remnants of his right leg. After he was hit, doctors in Gaza
pumped 17 pints of blood into Mahed, to replace that which
was pouring from the wound. Complications from a skin graft
forced doctors to send him to Amman, where he could get
treatment unavailable in the Gaza hospitals.

Khoury has operated on hundreds of injured Palestinians
dating back to the first intifada. But never has he seen so
many severely wounded. He puts his hand on Mahed's shoulder.
"This guy is amazing," says Dr. Khoury. "After all he's been
through" - the shooting, the amputation, the formation of
ulcers that almost killed him - "the smile never leaves his

Mahed was shot in Gaza just after returning home from an
afternoon of prayer. Israeli shells began to fall in his
Khan Yunis neighborhood, 100 meters from an Israeli military
installation. When parts of his ceiling caved in, Mahed, who
says he has never taken part in the protests, decided to
bring his wife and daughter to his brother's house. Just
outside his door, he was hit.

The question of whether lethal force is justified rests in
determining whether police or security forces are acting to
defend themselves or others against the threat of imminent
death or serious injury. Israeli officials say they are
shooting in response to shooting. "The Palestinians are not
only throwing stones like 10 years ago," says Major Rafowicz
of the IDF, "but also using rifles, Kalashnikovs, within the

Even in such cases, Israeli forces, supported by tanks and
high-caliber fire from helicopter gunships, have often
overwhelmed the Palestinian side. "Usually the Palestinian
fire is pathetic," an anonymous IDF sniper told the Israeli
newspaper Ha'aretz. "The shooting is totally pathetic. . . .
You know that most of it will be into the air."

Despite headlines describing a conflict between two
armies - and despite repeated calls from Israeli and U.S.
officials that it is the Palestinians who must stop the
violence - approximately 90 percent of the dead and wounded
have been Palestinians or Israeli Arabs. The IDF's own
figures indicate that in three-quarters of the clashes,
there was no Palestinian gunfire. "Israel's policy is
directed in large part against the Palestinian civilian
population, which is not firing at Israeli civilians or IDF
soldiers and is the primary victim of Israel's human rights
violations," says a recent report by B'tselem, the respected
Israeli human rights group.

Of the dozens of patients interviewed in the 14 hospitals,
all but four said they were throwing stones, coming to the
aid of another wounded person, or simply walking past a
flashpoint when they were shot. One patient admitted to
firing a gun when hit; three others said they were throwing
Molotov cocktails.

"Molotov cocktails can kill," says Major Rafowicz.

According to human rights groups, even the gasoline bombs
pose little threat to soldiers equipped for riot control.
"The Israeli security services were almost invariably
well-defended, located at a distance from demonstrators in
good cover, in blockhouses, behind wire or well-protected by
riot shields," Amnesty International concluded in its
October report. "Certainly, stones - or even petrol
bombs - cannot be said to have endangered the lives of Israeli
security services in any of the instances examined by
Amnesty International."

The Palestinians, by comparison, have been easy targets.

Shadi Masri, 24, was shot three times in the abdomen on
November 16, after throwing Molotov cocktails at a tank.
Beside his bed at Amman Surgical Hospital stands a
Palestinian flag. On the wall hangs a poster of Yasir
Arafat, superimposed over a crowd of protesters. Masri
doesn't know how long it took him to get to Jordan, but says
he does remember Israeli soldiers taking his picture and
punching him in the ambulance. It was the third time he was
injured during this intifada.

Mohammed Bassam, 15, was shot while protesting on November
26 in Birzeit, near Ramallah. A high-velocity bullet went
through his shin, crushing the bone. Surgeons inserted steel
rods through his leg and an "external fixator" resembling
perforated file-cabinet rods. He uses a walker to get around
his hospital room.

Adil, 31, was shot during what he says was a peaceful
protest following a funeral of a man killed in the clashes.
A bullet splintered a bone in his left leg. Adil says he saw
fragments of the limb in the street before he passed out.

Morad, 15, breathes slowly, with the aid of a respirator.
The machine clicks, his chest fills with air, it clicks
again, his chest falls. His eyelids are purple and swollen,
his head wrapped in a bandage. A heart monitor is connected
to his chest. A bullet is lodged in his brain.

Sharif Darwish, 34, sits sideways on his bed at Hussein
Hospital in Beit Jala, near Bethlehem. A heavy cast holds in
place the shattered bones of his foot. "The guy who carried
me to the ambulance was killed," he says. Darwish stares
ahead at nothing. A few weeks before, a rocket hit his Beit
Jala house, landing next to his bedroom. "I had just woken
up to get some breakfast," he says.

Palestinians, almost without exception, trace the beginnings
of the Al Aqsa Intifada to the September 28 arrival of Ariel
Sharon at Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary, or Temple
Mount to the Israelis), backed by a thousand Israeli troops
and riot police. The high casualties, they say, began as
part of a brute-force strategy by then prime minister Ehud
Barak to try to achieve a swift end to the conflict.

"These are good tactics if one wants to wipe out an enemy,"
said Dr. Stephen Males, a former senior police officer in
the U.K. who accompanied an Amnesty International
fact-finding team to the region. "They are not policing."

Israelis say Sharon's visit was merely an excuse to adopt a
carefully orchestrated intifada planned and backed by the
Palestinian Authority. "We are talking about a very
organized and very planned violent strategy chosen by the
P.A. to try to achieve political goals from the very
beginning," says Major Rafowicz. "To try more quickly to
achieve political objectives, mainly, we believe, to improve
the Palestinian position abroad by reinforcing the image of
the underdog of the big, bad Israeli.

"We have been dragged into this situation not by our own
policy. We look very bad on TV because we are a regular army
facing a so-called popular demonstration. But on the other
side it is a strategy."

Publicly, IDF officials keep to their explanations of
restraint in the face of violence. General Eiland, in his
letter to the Israeli human rights lawyer, wrote: "[W]ithin
a rioting crowd of unarmed residents, there are also those .
. . who are armed. You cannot demand of a soldier to shoot
only when he is convinced there is no danger for whoever
stands next to a Palestinian opening fire at him."

Privately, some IDF soldiers and generals have been telling
Israeli journalists something else. "I don't know if the IDF
takes revenge," an IDF sniper told the newspaper Ha'aretz.
"But every time, after there's a serious incident, it's
political, you can feel it. You as a soldier know that if in
the papers today they have written about a lot of things
that happened to the IDF, then they will allow you to shoot

The sniper told Ha'aretz that soldiers are allowed to shoot
at Palestinians who pose a potential threat, as long as they
appear to be over the age of 12. "Twelve and up is allowed,"
said the sniper. A senior IDF officer told another Ha'aretz
reporter: "Nobody can convince me we didn't needlessly kill
dozens of children."

The high casualties sustained by Palestinians during the
first two months of clashes, and the international
condemnation of Israel that followed, have prompted a shift
in tactics on both sides. Casualties began to decline in
December, says Ghassan Khatib, director of the Jerusalem
Media and Communications Center. He calls that decrease "a
sign of fewer massive demonstrations at Israeli army

This is not an indication of renewed faith in the prospects
for peace. Palestinians, says Khatib, have lost faith in an
Oslo process that they no longer believe can deliver on
basic issues of sovereignty, Jerusalem, and the right of
Palestinians to return to their homeland. Increasingly, says
Khatib, Palestinians are equating discussions of peace and
security with the continuation of the Israeli occupation. A
recent poll by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center
shows two-thirds of Palestinians support the most extreme
measures, including suicide bombings, "under the current
political conditions." The poll also indicates 70 percent of
Palestinians support continuing the Al Aqsa Intifada.

In the hospital interviews in Jordan and the West Bank,
young men appeared eager to again pick up the stone.

Mohammed Mahmoud Abu Fodeh, at 22, is already a veteran of
the Palestinian struggle. Now, he lies in a bed in Amman's
Specialty Physiotherapy Hospital, after being shot twice
while protesting at the checkpoint between Jericho and the
Allenby Bridge into Jordan. One high-velocity bullet lodged
in his left shoulder. Another pierced a lung. His friends
thought he was dead, until they saw him crawling toward the
ambulance. The bullet from his chest rests in a jar beside
his bed, "for memory and for evidence," he says.

"We're not afraid of their bullets, but they fear our
stones," he says. "God gave us the stone - it has God's will
in it. It's all we have.

"The stone has awakened the Arab world, from the leaders to
the laymen," he says. "This is only the beginning."

MiD-EasT RealitieS  -  http://www.MiddleEast.Org

Richard K Moore
Wexford, Ireland
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance 
email: •••@••.••• 

    A community will evolve only when
    the people control their means of communication.
    - Frantz Fanon

    "Find out just what people will quietly submit to , and you
    have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong
    which will be imposed on them,and these will continue till
    they are resisted with either words or blows. The limits of
    tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they
    -Frederick Douglass

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