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GREEN LIGHT TO SLAUGHTER


Tanya Reinhart 

In

the Sharm-al-Sheikh summit last week, Barak got from the US his green light to

slaughter. To judge by the Israeli media, what we have seen so far is just the

prelude. "The most important will come in the middle of next week,

when…Israel will have to consider taking the initiative, rather than merely

responding to events". (‘Haaretz’, Amos Harel, Oct 19.00)

Bits

and pieces of the "initiative" have been revealed: It includes

entering PA areas "to confiscate weapons", and ‘inevitable’ air

raidings. There is talk about the Palestinian Kosovo, with 2000-3000

Palestinians dead. As usual, the blame for this slaughter is put in advance on

Arafat, who, the story goes, wants his people to be slaughtered, to gain

international sympathy.

Another

aspect of what is being planned has started already, with very little coverage,

under the calm title of ‘evacuation’. Palestinian residents of ‘areas of

conflict’ near Jewish settlements have been called to evacuate their homes

"for their own protection". So far this happened in el-Bireh (7.10),

Beit-Jallah (18.10) and the Askar refugee camp near Nablus (19.10). And this is

just the beginning. In more direct words – transfer under the pretext of war.

The

military preparations and training for the Israeli attack have started already

in June, when Barak first informed Israeli media that "there is a danger of

a Palestinian unrest, following the model of Southern Lebanon". But to get

there, it was first necessary to manifest Barak’s unprecedented eagerness for

peace. The model was rehearsed on Syria earlier this year: Intensive "peace

talks" at the end of which Barak declared that there is no partner for

peace. The camp David "peace round" was sufficient to convince the

obedient Israeli media that the same is true of the Palestinians. All that was

still needed was US approval.

 

US

APPROVAL

For

three weeks now, Barak has been dragging full execution, waiting for US green

light. As reported in early October, "Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak is

appealing to the United States for approval of a massive offensive against

Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority. So far, the United States has appealed to

Barak for more time" (World Tribune, Oct 9).

We

may have been fooled to believe he won’t get US approval this time. There is so

much opposition to Israel’s acts throughout the world. The Arab world is

storming with demonstrations. US embassies had to close temporarily, and the

Yemen explosion was some indication of the burning soil.

The

US was first cautious – not even the customary vetoing of the security council

resolution. CNN – the most direct seismograph of the White House – betrayed the

hesitations. There was a week when sharp criticism of Israel was allowed in

their news, along with the standard pro-Israeli propaganda, and even Edward Said

got a full-length interview, probably for the first time in CNN’s history. But

no more! – The three weeks of deliberations did end with a green light.

Intensive diplomacy of threats and promises convinced the US that the Arab

regimes can still be relied upon to stand their people’s pressure. They expect

the Arab-league summit to end up as a harmless ceremony. They believe that when

it ends, the tanks can start talking, undisturbed.

For

the US, this is a dangerous game. But what’s at stake here is not just its

automatic backing of Israel. The explosive Arab anger has been directed at the

US no less than Israel. The rational move for the US would have been to cool

things off for now, to stop Barak. But that has never been the US strategy. They

can’t tolerate even the slight disobedience of loyal servants. They have to show

who is the master.

 

ARAFAT’S

ROLE

In

the Sharm-al-Sheikh summit, Arafat complied again. We may have been fooled to

believe that this time, under the pressure of his people, he is going to change.

But it is too late for him to change. The tragedy of the Palestinian people is

that the person who in the past symbolized their struggle in the world’s eyes

has turned into an executer of the Israeli occupation.

The

substantial issue which was worked out in the summit, behind the public show of

"cease fire", was the security agreement, which guarantees Arafat’s

continued commitment to do the security job for Israel, namely, prevent

Palestinian retaliations inside Israel. As reported in ‘haaretz’, "its

implementation will be overseen by CIA chief George Tenet and the CIA

representative in Tel Aviv. This agreement will, for the first time, involve CIA

observers in the field in addition to CIA participation in Israeli-Palestinian

meetings." (‘haaretz’, Aluf Ben, oct 18.00)

Indeed,

just a day after the summit, Israeli undercover unit seized eight Palestinians

who were in the crowd that lynched two Israeli soldiers a week before.

"The

operation was carried out with the connivance of some members of the Palestinian

security forces, who apparently tipped off the Israelis where to find the

men." ‘The Telegraph’ (U.K.), Alan Phillips in Jerusalem, 19 October 2000,

  

The

official propaganda in Israel is that Arafat is responsible for the uprising,

and "he is not a real partner for peace". Not only does this provide

the continuous justification for the planned slaughter, but it is also the

biggest service Israel can offer in return for Arafat’s compliance. Israel’s

constant ‘dissatisfaction’ with Arafat is his only claim for credibility.

When

Israel intensified its murder of unarmed demonstrators, on Friday the 20th (with

10 dead in one day) Arafat’s spokesman, Arikaat, was interviewed pleading no

other then the US to investigate and to protect the Palestinians. This follows

another concession of Arafat at Sharm- al-Sheikh. -No more pleas to the

international community. From now on, little red ridinghood can only call the

woolf to protect her.

If

there is anything that could still prevent the blood-shed, it is international

intervention. International inspectors, UN forces, or even just NGO volunteers

present in the area could potentially slow down Israeli forces. It is therefore

extremely important now to understand Arafat’s collaborating role, and to

remember that it is Israel, rather than the Palestinian people, who view the US

as the ‘neutral moderator’.

 

Tanya

Reinhart Tel Aviv University and the university of Utrecht.

 

 

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