Summer of Hate Ahead1
Source Mid-East Realities
Date 99/05/01/21:46

/* Written 11:08 AM Jun 5, 1998 by in igc:labr.all */
/* ---------- "Summer of Hate Ahead" ---------- */
> From: Mid-EasT RealitieS
> Subject: Summer of Hate Ahead
> Date: Wed, 03 Jun 1998 15:28:17 -0400
> _ __ ___ ____ ______
> / |/ / /___/ / /_ // M I D - E A S T R E A L I T I E S
> / /|_/ / /_/_ / /\\ Making Sense of the Middle East
> /_/ /_/ /___/ /_/ \\
> ___________________________________________________________________
> News, Information, & Analysis That Governments, Interest Groups,
> and the Corporate Media Don't Want You To Know.
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> S U M M E R O F H A T E
> MER - Washington - 3 June:
> No matter what happens "the Arabs will be blamed" writes
> Robert Fisk in The Independent. How true. Indeed, Arab
> diplomats have proven to be as outclassed in their forums as
> have the Arab generals on the battlefields. Be it politics,
> technology, or military affairs, the whole Arab world has
> not yet fully recovered from its subjugation and dismemberment
> by the Western powers earlier in this century; nor from its
> numerous defeats by little Israel for the past 50 years.
> Fisk's article is an insightful overview of today's
> Arab-Israeli-U.S. predicament. And tomorrow read MER's
> Editorial about all this titled "BIG DEAL!"
> IN JORDAN and Egypt, they are predicting an explosion by the autumn. In
> Lebanon, the betting is the detonation will occur in mid-summer. In
> Jerusalem, the Palestinians - and a large number of Israelis - fear the
> worst on an almost hourly basis. Palestinian-Israeli confrontations now
> occur several times daily - with almost the same frequency as they did
> during the intifada uprising that preceded the now-dead Oslo agreement.
> And still, incredibly, oil is being poured upon the fire.
> The latest provocation against the Arabs has been the work of United States
> House speaker Newt Gingrich, whose flirtation with Benjamin Netanyahu, the
> Israeli prime minister, has included a motorcade past the proposed site of
> an American embassy in Jerusalem - anathema to any peace-maker who
> believes that Jerusalem's future must be decided under the terms of the
> Oslo agreement - and an insistence that Israel, and only Israel, can decide
> how much occupied land should be returned to the Palestinians. Yasser Arafat,
> according to Mr Gingrich, is to blame for the virtual collapse of the
> "peace process".
> This, of course, is news to the Europeans who are warning with ever more
> desperation that the Middle East is approaching disaster. The European
> Union itself is considering whether Israel should be blocked from all
> future trade concessions with Europe because of its settlements policy - EU
> diplomats were outraged to find that produce arriving in Europe from the
> ever-growing Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza was being
> labelled "made in Israel" - while President Jacques Chirac has been
> infuriated by Mr Netanyahu's rejection of his offer of a "Saviours of Peace"
> conference, launched with Egyptian President Mubarak in Paris two weeks ago.
> The Israeli army has already staged a computer projection of the violence
> which could soon break out on the West Bank and Gaza. Another wicked
> suicide bomb by a Palestinian might provide the Netanyahu cabinet with a
> reason to re-take West Bank towns - in a search, no doubt, for
> "terrorists" - where they would be confronted by Mr Arafat's armed policemen.
> Already, Israeli "intelligence sources" (for which read the Israeli army's
> chief of staff) have been telling the Jerusalem Post that Mr Arafat may have
> been smuggling rocket-propelled grenades - "even missiles" - through a
> series of tunnels linking Gaza to Egypt.
> This fantasy - all the odder since Israel itself insisted on controlling
> the Palestine-Egyptian border beneath which this subterranean burrowing has
> supposedly taken place - helps to set the stage for the battle to come.
> Even history is being re-written with this apparent aim. When in 1996,
> Israeli artillerymen slaughtered 106 Lebanese refugees sheltering in a United
> Nations position at Qana in southern Lebanon, they claimed they were shooting
> at Hizbollah gunmen at least 600 feet from the UN barracks. Last month,
> however, Israel's representative at the UN, Zvi Cohen, claimed,
> untruthfully, that the Hizbollah had been using the UN position as "their
> headquarters".
> This astonishing and mendacious statement went unchallenged. If Mr Cohen
> actually meant what he said, however, the implications are appalling - that
> Israel deliberately fired at the UN compound, something it has hitherto
> always denied. What will happen to the UN soldiers north of the Israeli border
> if the expected conflict spreads to Lebanon?
> Israeli officers involved in the end-of-peace computer projection in the
> West Bank say that there would be massive bloodshed, with hundreds, perhaps
> thousands, dead. Yet Mr Arafat is still, according to Israel, not doing
> enough to "crack down on terrorism", even though the PLO leader has detained
> at least 70 Hamas members since 29 March (the day on which the Hamas
> leader Muhi al-Din al-Sharif was mysteriously killed) - most of whom,
> according to Amnesty International, were cruelly tortured by the PLO in
> prisons in Ramallah and Jericho.
> At least 12 men have been murdered in Palestinian custody - all held for
> questioning about "threats to Israel's security" - though not a word of
> criticism of this appalling abuse of human rights has come from the US. Nor
> about Israel's now overt decision to hold 22 Lebanese as hostages in return
> for information about the fate of missing Israeli servicemen. Of these 22,
> one has been held for 12 years; originally imprisoned in the notorious
> Khiam jail by Israel's proxy Lebanese militia allies, Ali Hussein Ali Ammar
> was then secretly - and illegally, under international law - transferred to
> Israel where he was sentenced to four-and-a-half years for "membership of
> an illegal organisation" and military training inside Lebanon.
> When he was due for release in 1991, he was put under "administrative
> detention" and Israel admits that he and the other 21 Lebanese are now held
> solely as "bargaining chips".
> American cowardice - in the face of the immensely powerful Jewish lobby in
> the US - has produced a situation in which Washington remains supinely
> silent while Mr Netanyahu, according to the Israeli paper Yediot Ahronot,
> threatens to "burn Washington", should President Bill Clinton attempt to
> force Israel to accept a 13 per cent withdrawal from occupied Arab land.
> All the while, the State Department and the US press talk about "putting
> the peace process back on track", the tiredest and most untruthful metaphor
> in recent Middle East history. And still American journalists refuse to
> explain how or why the "peace process" has collapsed. Indeed, only last week,
> Richard Cohen was telling Washington Post readers that "on any given day,
> it looks as if a deal can be reached".
> Could anything be further from the truth? Subconsciously, perhaps, the
> world is beginning to understand the nature of the nightmare scenario
> confronting the Middle East.
> Hitherto, it has been a habit to distance Arab populations from their
> dictators when attacking Arab countries - before bombing their cities,
> Presidents Reagan and Bush respectively assured Libyans and Iraqis that
> Washington had no argument with them personally. It was an acknowledgement
> of the lack of democracy in the Arab world. Now, oddly, this same practice
> is being applied to Israel; we are repeatedly told how many Israelis
> disagree with Mr Netanyahu, how many American Jews dissociate themselves
> from the Israeli government's policies - as if the Netanyahu cabinet is an
> Arab-style dictatorship rather than the much-trumpeted democracy Israel
> always claims to be.
> In this way, the West, too, may be preparing itself for another conflict in
> the Middle East, one from which the Israeli people are already absolved. In
> the Arab world, the fear is simpler: that Mr Netanyahu and his government
> are trying to provoke a war that will prove Oslo is dead, and that the Arabs
> will be blamed. They can be sure of the second.
> ___________________________________________________________________________
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