* Why did they shoot?
They shot because they believe that "the Israelis understand only
the language of force". Fact: The Hizbullah shoot, Israeli soldiers
are killed and wounded, and hop - the Israelis are leaving Lebanon.
No Israeli opposition, no non-confidence votes in the Knesset, no
referendum, all Israel becomes the "Four mothers" (anti-war)
movement. Not only do they leave, but leave in growing haste. If
nobody had shot at them, they would not have left in a hundred
On the West Bank, on the other hand, no urgency is felt. Israelis
believe that the present situation can go on forever. What's the
rush? Everything is quite. Nothing is happening, except the ongoing
"permanent status negotiations" exhibition. There is an opposition
in the Knesset, there are non-confidence motions, there is a
referendum. The media are not interested, they don't even report on
events on the West Bank. All this why? Because there is no shooting.
But let the shooting start - and hop, the media come, the cameras
come. There are photos.
* Did Arafat give the order?
As Clark Gable said in "Gone with the Wind": "Frankly, my dear, I
don't give a damn."
Perhaps he gave an order, perhaps only a hint, perhaps he agreed to
quite demonstration with stones and Molotov cocktails, and they span
out of control. Does that really matter?
For years now Israel has treated Arafat as if he were a
sub-contractor for the security of the settlers, only, as Rabin
said, "without High Court injunctions and B'Tselem reports". The
officers of Central Area Command, famous for their unthinking
arrogance, declare every other day that Arafat has "fulfilled" or
"not fulfilled" this job. Syrian agents in the Palestinian
territories spread the propaganda line that Arafat is a
collaborator, who safeguards the security of Israel in return for
personal gain. Prof. Edward Sa'id and other Arafat-haters compare
the Palestinian territories to the Bantustans created by the racist
apartheid regime for the blacks.
Well, the shooting proved them wrong. Bantustan policemen don't
shoot at apartheid troops. Arafat's soldiers, called policemen, are
Palestinian fighters, former Liberation Army and underground men.
Even during "normal" times, it is not easy for Arafat to control
them, when they see Israeli soldiers firing "rubber bullets" at
stone-throwing children. While they believed that the peace process
is going somewhere, they could control themselves. When this hope
evaporates, so does self-restraint.
The policemen and Fatah activists come from the very villages whose
land is being taken away before their eyes for "by-pass roads" and
the "natural requirements" of settlements. Their finger burns on the
trigger. When they were given their guns, everybody believed that
peace was just around the corner. Now this hope is going away, but
the guns remain.
* For what purpose did they shoot?
Here we have a mystery. According to the Israeli version, the
Palestinians opened fire and the Palestinians are also those who got
shot. Many of them. Luckily, no Israeli was killed and only a few
There are several explanations: (1) The Palestinians can't shoot.
(2) They are blind. (3) Palestinian guns shoot backwards. (4) The
Palestinians did not shoot to kill. Perhaps the Israeli army should
investigate and report to us.
* What is the conclusion?
We are moving towards a mutual bloodbath. This is not a prophesy
anymore. If we do not move rapidly towards a fair and honorable
solution that the other side can accept too, we are approaching a
series of events compared to which the intifada was, quite
literally, children's play.
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