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Aktiv gegen Nazi-Propaganda!
Jüdische Weisheit

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Translation of an article to be published
in Ma'ariv on May 22, 2000


by Uri Avnery

Ehud Barak declares that he will not transfer Abu-Dis to the Palestinian Authority, unless Arafat submits an investigation report on the events of last Sunday, when shooting erupted all over the West Bank.

I don't know if the Authority will indeed submit a report as requested. So, in order to save the peace process, I volunteer to submit the results of my own thorough investigation. Following are the answers to the relevant questions.

* 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 years.

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 hurt.

How come? 
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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Gush Shalom


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