May 9, 2002

The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict: Looking at Both Sides of the Coin


Hello everyone

I found one article which, although it is inflamatory and controversial, speaks for the Israeli side in this conflict which may once again come to the forefront following yet another bombing near Tel Aviv. There would be much to say about the strange and perfectly timed coincidence of this very powerful blast which was claimed by an anonymous caller (very atypical!) to be the work of Hamas, just when Sharon was with President Bush, just when he needed another excuse to "finish the job" and destroy the Gaza Strip...

...!

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000


CONTENTS


1. Oriana Fallaci on Anti-Semitism
2. Gaza Braces for Sharon to Send in Tanks in Next Phase of War
3. Crash Course on the Arab Israeli Conflict
4. Settlements stand in the way of Mideast peace
5. The "real target" of Sharon's "counter-terror": the Palestinian middle class
6. The real aim: Testimony of Israeli Journalist in Ramallah
7. The Palestinian Side Must Be Told


See also:

Arab Nations Threaten Boycott (Sat May 4)
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=514&ncid=716&e=3&u=/ap/20020504/ap_on_re_mi_ea/mideast_conference_plan_6
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - The 22 nations in the Arab League will not participate in a U.S.-sponsored Mideast peace conference until Israel withdraws from lands it occupied during the latest violence with Palestinians, the league's secretary-general said Saturday. The potential holdouts include moderate Egypt and hard-line Syria, both of which said separately Saturday they would not attend unless Israel withdraws from lands seized since the conflict began in September 2000. Secretary of State Colin Powell recently announced plans for a conference, perhaps to be held next month in Europe, that would attempt to clear "the political way forward" for a Palestinian state.




1.

Sent by Jane Grossman <jlg4hearts@aol.com> on Sat, 27 Apr 2002

FROM: David Harris
DATE: April 16, 2002
Subject: Oriana Fallaci on Anti-Semitism

Oriana Fallaci, one of Italy's most prominent journalists, has written a powerful polemic on anti-Semitism. It was the cover story in the current issue of Panorama, one of Italy's leading weekly news magazines. The issue came out this past Friday and by Saturday it was virtually sold out. There is much discussion about her article throughout Italy and a great deal of controversy surrounding it. As you will see, she minces no words and takes no prisoners.

The translation is mine and I make no claim to capturing her unique style, but I think you will get the flavor of it.

Some will undoubtedly ask if she is a Jew. She is not.

Regards.

===

Oriana Fallaci on Anti-Semitism
Panorama, April 18, 2002

(Unofficial) Translation from Italian by David A. Harris, American Jewish Committee

I find it shameful that in Italy there was a procession of individuals who, dressed as kamikazes, uttered vile insults at Israel, held up photos of Israeli leaders on whose foreheads they had drawn a swastika, inciting the populace to hate the Jews. And in order to see the Jews again in the extermination camps, in the gas chambers, in the crematoria of Dachau, Mauthausen, Buchenwald, Bergen-Belsen, etc., they would sell their own mothers to a harem.

I find it shameful that the Catholic Church permits a bishop, moreover one housed in the Vatican, a "saintly" bishop, who, in Jerusalem was found with an arsenal of weapons and explosives hidden in special compartments of his sacred Mercedes, to participate in that procession and to place himself in front of a microphone to thank, in the name of God, the kamikazes who massacre the Jews in the pizzerias and supermarkets. He called them "martyrs who go to death as to a party."

I find it shameful that in France -- the France of "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity" -- synagogues are torched, Jews are terrorized, and their cemeteries profaned. I find it shameful that in Holland and Germany and Denmark youngsters show off the kaffiyeh like the vanguard of Mussolini displayed the stick and the Fascist emblem. I find it shameful that in almost every European university Palestinian students take over and nurture anti-Semitism; that in Sweden they asked that the Nobel Peace Prize given to Shimon Peres in 1994 be withdrawn, and left solely in the hands of the dove with the olive branch in his mouth -- that is, Arafat. I find it shameful that the esteemed members of the (Nobel) Committee, a committee that it seems makes choice based on politics and not merit, are taking the request into consideration and thinking of fulfilling it. To hell with the Nobel Prize and hooray to those who don't receive it.

I find it shameful (we are back in Italy) that the government-controlled television stations contribute to the revival of anti-Semitism by crying over Palestinian deaths only, minimizing the importance of Israeli deaths, speaking in a brisk and dismissive tone about them. I find it shameful that in television discussions the scoundrels with the turban or kaffiyeh, who yesterday extolled the slaughter in New York and today praise the massacres in Jerusalem, Haifa, Netanya, and Tel Aviv, are received with such deference. I find it shameful that the press does the same -- gets indignant because in Bethlehem Israeli tanks surround the Church of the Nativity, but doesn't get upset that in the same church 200 Palestinian terrorists (among them various leaders of Hamas and Al-Aksa), well-armed with machine guns and explosives, are not unwelcome guests of the monks (and then accept from the tank soldiers bottles of mineral water and baskets of apples.) I find it shameful that, given the number of Israeli casualties since the onset of the second intifada (412), one well-known daily felt it appropriate to emphasize in bold headlines that more Israelis die in road accidents (600 per year).

I find it shameful that l'Oservatore Romano, that is, the newspaper of the pope -- a pope who not too long ago left a note in the Wailing Wall apologizing to the Jews -- accused a people exterminated by the millions by Christians, by Europeans, of extermination. I find it shameful that the survivors of this (Jewish) people -- people who still carry a number on their arm -- are denied the right to react, defend themselves, avoid being exterminated again, by that same newspaper. I find it shameful that, in the name of Jesus Christ (a Jew without whom they would all be unemployed), priests from our parishes or social centers or wherever flirt with the murderers of those who in Jerusalem cannot go to eat a pizza or buy an egg without being blown up. I find it shameful that they choose the side of the very people who launched terrorism by killing us on planes, in airports, at the Olympics; and today these same people make sport of killing Western journalists -- shooting them, kidnapping them, slitting their throats, beheading them. (After the publication of my piece "The Anger and the Pride," someone in Italy wanted to do the same to me. Citing Koranic verses, he exhorted his "brothers" in the name of Allah to kill me. Actually, to die with me. Since he is someone who speaks English well, I respond to him in English: "F--k you.")

CLIP

I find it shameful that so many Italians and so many Europeans have chosen as a role model Mister -- and I use the word advisedly -- Arafat, this nonentity who, thanks to the money of the Saudi royal family, acts like Mussolini in perpetuity and in his megalomania believes he will go down in history as the George Washington of Palestine. This uneducated man who, when I interviewed him, could not even put together a complete sentence, an articulate thought. Therefore, to put a piece together, to write it, to publish it, is such a hard ordeal that one concludes that, compared to Arafat, even (Libyan leader) Gadhafi becomes Leonardo da Vinci. This fake warrior who always goes around in uniform like Pinochet, who never wears civilian clothes, and yet who has never participated in a single battle. He leaves war, and has always left war, to others, in other words, to those unfortunate ones who believe in him. This pompous incompetent who, playing the role of head of state, caused the failure of the Camp David negotiations and the mediation efforts of Clinton. "No, no, I want all of Jerusalem to myself." This eternal liar who has a flash of sincerity only when (in private) he denies Israel's right to exist, and who, as I wrote in my book, lies every five seconds. He always plays a game of duplicity; he lies even if you ask him what time it is, and, therefore, you can never trust him. Never! One is systematically betrayed by him. This eternal terrorist who only knows how to be a terrorist (from a safe distance), and who in the 1970s -- that is, when I interviewed him -- also trained the Baader-Meinhof terrorists. And now with them, he trains (Palestinian) children who were ten years old. Poor kids. (Now they are trained to become kamikazes. One hundred baby kamikazes are ready for action: 100!) This opportunist who keeps his wife in Paris, cared for and revered as a queen, while he keeps his people in the shit. From the shit he removes them only to send them to die, to kill and to die, like the 18-year-old girls who, to achieve equality with men, have to fill themselves with explosives and blow themselves up together with their victims. And yet so many Italians love him -- yes, just as they loved Mussolini. And so many other Europeans do as well.

CLIP




2.

From: http://www.CommonDreams.org/views02/0427-05.htm

Published on Saturday, April 27, 2002 in the lndependent/UK

Gaza Braces for Sharon to Send in Tanks in Next Phase of War

by Robert Fisk in Gaza

They are coming. That's what most Gazans tell you. The Israelis are coming. But the sand barricades are pathetic. Even a mile from the Erez "safe crossing'' point constructed during the early days of the mad dream of Oslo, the best that Yasser Arafat's legions can do is erect a 15ft rampart of earth and sandbags, with a 12ft gap for local cars – and for Israeli Merkava tanks when Ariel Sharon decides to drive in.

But the cops go on waving the donkey carts past the traffic lights, and the Palestinian Authority guards slumber with their Kalashnikov rifles in their tin shack, ready for part two of the Sharon War on Terror.

The odd thing is that if the Israeli Prime Minister really wants to dismantle the "network of terror'' of which he speaks so frequently, Gaza – the one place the Israeli army has not yet dared to reoccupy – should perhaps have been his first target. For here are militias aplenty, Palestinians who know how to destroy Merkava-3 tanks, who can manufacture short-range rockets and mortars and know the principles of booby traps better than the refugee gunmen of Jenin. As one local put it yesterday: "This place is wired.''

Its people are certainly preparing for the worst. The banks report massive withdrawals. Human rights groups are duplicating their files. Everyone knows what happened to the computerized archives of the Palestinian ministries in Ramallah and Nablus and Jenin; they were stolen by the Israeli soldiers because, in the imperishable words of one Israeli officer: "Documents have a very important value.''

CLIP

"I think everything depends on three things,'' Mr Sourani said. "It's about what's going on back in Washington. It's about how far the Europeans will involve themselves. And it's about how soon some dramatic event will take place on the ground against the Israelis that will give them an excuse to move. I know all about what is called "looting and wanton destruction'' in the West Bank. This is not new to us. We dealt with hundreds of such cases in the past and won cases of looting against the Israeli army in the Israeli courts.'' CLIP




3.

Sent by "Judith Iam" <judeiam@cwnet.com

Friday, April 26, 2002 (SF Chronicle)

Views on the Middle East

Settlements stand in the way of Mideast peace

George E. Bisharat

HOPE FOR PEACE in the Middle East hangs by a thread. The apparent unwillingness of the United States to halt the Israeli mauling of the West Bank has devastated our credibility worldwide. Dramatic steps are needed to address the core reasons for the violence afflicting the region.

Confronting Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip should head the list. The Palestinians' resort to violent resistance is inexplicable without reference to a century of experience, in which Jewish settlement brought Palestinians financial ruin and frustrated aspirations for freedom.

The conflict between Zionist Jews and Palestinians has always pivoted around land. In the late 1880s, Jews in Palestine (the land now divided into Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) numbered under 15,000 and owned negligible land. There was little strife between them and Palestinian Arabs.

This changed with the 19th century rise of Political Zionism, a movement among European Jews to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. In 1882, Zionist Jews set up their first settlement near today's Tel Aviv. Their displacement of Arab farmers, and unfolding design to control the country, stimulated the first hostilities with Palestinians.

Still, by 1948, Jews, a third of the population of the country, owned only 5.6 percent of the land. Thus when the United Nations' partition plan of that year offered 56 percent of Palestine to the proposed Jewish state, the majority Palestinian population objected. In the ensuing fighting, 780,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled and their homes were seized by the new Israeli government. Some 350 of 370 new Jewish settlements between 1948 and 1953 were on property belonging to Palestinian refugees.

Land acquisition for Jewish settlement expanded to areas occupied by Israel during the 1967 War: the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), the Gaza Strip, and Golan Heights. Approximately 60 percent of the West Bank and 20 percent of the Gaza Strip were expropriated through legal machinations affording Palestinian landowners no meaningful recourse.

Most importantly, from 1993 to the present -- years in which the Israeli government was committed to negotiating peace -- the number of Israeli settlers doubled to 380,000.

Settlements continued unabated under Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, author of a supposedly "generous" offer to the Palestinians. The Israeli Peace Now group revealed that 34 new settlements were established after Ariel Sharon's election as Israeli prime minister last year. The settlements are linked by Jewish-only bypass roads that bisect the region into noncontiguous Palestinian "Bantustans."

These Israeli settlements violate the international law against territorial acquisition through war. U.N. Security Council Resolution 452 states that the settlements have "no legal validity." The settlements contravene Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions barring transfer of an occupier's civilians into the territories of the occupied. Israel's Supreme Court itself held that the laws of belligerent occupation apply to the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and that land there could only be temporarily requisitioned for strictly military purposes.

Our 2001 Mitchell report, in which the United States called for a cease-fire on both sides, cited continuing Israeli settlement as a principal obstacle to peace.

Palestinians conceded the existence of Israel in 78 percent of historic Palestine by signing the Oslo peace accords in 1993. The remaining 22 percent -- the West Bank and Gaza Strip -- were viewed as the site for future Palestinian self-government. Yet the Palestinians watched as continuing settlement robbed them of their land and slowly crushed their hopes for freedom.

Between land and sustainable peace, Israel chose land, and now faces the consequences. The United States can avert much bloodshed by halting its $3 billion annual aid to Israel pending a freeze on settlements.

Palestinians will not re-embrace a sham peace process that conceals the theft of their land, and cements their ceaseless servitude. Ending illegal Israeli settlements will restore to Palestinians the most important fundament for peace: hope.




4.

Sent by Herb Baldwin <hjbaldwin@shaw.ca> on Sat, 27 Apr 2002

The "real target" of Sharon's "counter-terror": the Palestinian middle class

April 26, 2002

By Keith Watenpaugh

In a recent address to the Israeli Knesset, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon explained that Israel's invasion of the Palestinian-controlled West Bank and Gaza Strip is about destroying the "terrorist infrastructure."

The little news from the reoccupied territories that gets past the Israeli military censors tells a much different story: Israel's army has been conducting a systematic assault on those institutions of civil society the infrastructure of everyday life key to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

Destroying a functioning police force, schools, hospitals, banks and utilities will do little to prevent terrorism. Rather, it will have the opposite effect by further inflaming Palestinian anger and resentment, and add more names to the list of young men and women willing to blow themselves up.

Sharon, who isn't a stupid man, knows this. Then why this war that has caused such outrage throughout the world and has even now raised the hackles of George W. Bush? Sharon's "anti-terror" strategy hasn't worked in the past, and there is no reason to expect it will work now. In part, what the war is really about is making life so intolerable and miserable for the Palestinian middle class of lawyers, doctors, teachers and business people that they will leave.

This isn't just Sharon's hope. According to a poll conducted by Tel Aviv University's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, 46 percent of Israelis advocate the transfer of the Palestinians - a euphemism for exile from the West Bank and Gaza through voluntary emigration or expulsion.

Bereft of its middle class, the Palestinians will be without a leadership that could successfully oppose transfer. Without the cooperation and moderating influence of this class, the increasing radicalization of the Palestinians will further justify a heavy-handed approach by Israel.

And Palestine's middle class has been leaving. This has been the population uniformly committed to peace and opposed to terrorism - and most critical of the human rights abuses of Yasser Arafat's government and the cult of death which justifies suicide bombing. When, or if, a viable Palestinian state comes into existence, these would be its natural leaders.

Faced with the continual closure of their children's schools and colleges, with daily humiliation by gun-toting Israeli soldiers at checkpoints, with little or no access to financial services or reliable communication, and with the generalized terror and an uncertain future, Palestinians are forced to choose between the virtual imprisonment of foreign occupation and a future for themselves and their families in Europe or the United States.

For the children of middle-class families who can't or won't leave, a third path has become an increasingly common choice. The suicide bomber Ayat Akhras was exceptional, not just because she was one of two young women who have taken their own lives to kill Israelis. Unlike many suicide bombers drawn from the poor, she was a middle-class high school student, intent on majoring in journalism at Bethlehem University and planning on a career as a reporter.

These haven't always been the choices facing Palestinians. When the Oslo Accords were reached in 1993 and Israel returned a portion of the land seized in the 1967 war, many Palestinians came home from around the world and brought with them their education, money and expertise in business and commerce. Ramallah became not just the site of Arafat's compound, but also the financial and administrative hub of a nascent country. From here, Palestinians began to take hesitant steps toward statehood.

The real work of nation-building including the formation of a comprehensive educational system, collection of taxes, introduction of a stock exchange, establishment of small-scale industrial parks, even the opening of a Seattle- style micro-brewery occurred without much hoopla.

As the 1990s progressed, the enthusiasm that greeted the Oslo accords faded in the face of inept Palestinian leadership and Israeli intransigence. Palestinians who had been led to believe Israel was committed to their political and social development saw instead a massive increase in settlements, the humiliation of their leadership and debasement of their national and religious symbols by Israel's leaders the most egregious example being the provocative visit of Sharon to the Temple Mount/Haram al- Sharif 18 months ago. The visit sparked the current fighting, which has continued unabated and led to the deaths of over 1,700 Palestinians and 400 Israelis.

No wonder, then, that among the structures attacked by Israel last week was the Palestinian Ministry of Education. In reports confirmed by U.N. observers (though not by independent journalists barred from that part of the West Bank), as Arafat's compound was shelled, Israeli tanks rolled up in front of the ministry's offices in Ramallah. Although the acting minister offered to unlock the building for the Israelis, explosive were used to enter. CDs, disks, hard drives and computers were seized, and soldiers destroyed files containing the academic transcripts of Palestinian students.

While this destruction seems mundane in the broader context of the crisis, it underscores Israel's strategy to deny Palestinians the very things that constitute modern society in the name of combating terror. More than one million Palestinian students are not in school and since October 2000, 160 Palestinian school children have been killed.

Ultimately the winners of this war will be the extremists of both sides. As the Israeli army destroys Palestinian civil society, the credibility of radical Islamist groups like Hamas or Islamic Jihad grows. Israel's current path leads nowhere.

Keith Watenpaugh is assistant professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern history at Le Moyne College in Syracuse; he has written extensively on Arab nationalism and is completing a book on the formation of the middle class in the modern Middle East.

© 2002 The Post-Standard




5.

Sent by LESLEY WHITING <lesleywhiting@yahoo.com> on Sat, 27 Apr 2002

Testimony of Israeli Journalist in Ramallah

The Real Aim

By Uri Avnery

The real aim of "Operation Defensive Shield" was not to "destroy the infrastructure of terrorism".

This was merely a good slogan for uniting the people of Israel, who are angry and afraid after the suicide bombings. It is also a good political device, allowing Sharon to ride on the bandwagon of President Busch's "war against international terrorism". Under the umbrella of "destroying the infrastructure of terrorism" one can do practically anything.

If Sharon had really intended to "destroy the infrastructure of terrorism", he would have acted very differently. He would have given the Palestinian masses hope of achieving their national freedom in the near future. He would have fortified the position of Yasser Arafat, the only effective partner for peace. He would have strengthened the Palestinian security forces and radically improved economic conditions in the Palestinian territories. But destroying the infrastructure of terrorism is not Ariel Sharon's aim. His program is far more radical: to break the backbone of the Palestinian people, crush their governmental institutions, turn the people into human wreckage that can be dealt with as he wishes. This may entail shutting them up in several enclaves or even driving them out of the country altogether.

As Sharon sees it, this would be finishing off the job started in 1948: to establish the real Israel, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan river; a state inhabited solely by Jews. It was no accident that he openly supported Slobodan Milosevic, the inventor of "ethnic cleansing".

When I wrote this a year ago, it sounded like malicious slander. Sharon was still pictured as a man determined to fight terrorism, not as a person using the fight against terrorism as a means to achieve quite different aims. No more.

Four days ago I was in Ramallah. I sneaked into the town (Israelis are forbidden by the military commander from entering the Palestinian territories) in order to see it for myself. I visited the Palestinian ministries. A shocking sight, indeed. Take, for example, the Palestinian Ministry of Education. It is housed in an imposing building, probably going back to British times, a mixture of neo-Classic European and oriental styles. In front of it there was a rose garden - "was", because a tank has crisscrossed it, for no apparent reason, leaving only one purple rosebush in all its glory. Just so. To teach them a lesson.

On the upper floor, where the archives and computers were housed, the destruction was total. The computers were taken apart and thrown on the floor, the safe blown open, the papers strewn around, the drawers empty, the telephones crushed . Some of it was just plain vandalism. The money in the safe was stolen, the furniture upturned, the papers dispersed. But when one looked closer, the real aim of the operation became clear. All the hard disks were taken from the computers, all the important files taken away. Only empty shells remained. All the important contents of the ministry were taken: the lists of pupils, examination results, lists of teachers, the whole logistics of the Palestinian school system. The Ministry if Health suffered the same fate. The hard disks that contained all the information, state of diseases, medical tests, lists of doctors and nurses, the logistics of the hospitals had been taken.

Even the people most critical of the Palestinian Authority admitted that these two ministries - Education and Health - had been functioning well. They have been utterly destroyed.

This happened to virtually all the Palestinian government offices. Gone is the information pertaining to land registration and housing, taxes and government expenditure, car tests and drivers' licenses, everything necessary for administrating a modern society. The lists of terrorists were not hidden in the land registration books, the inventory of bombs was not tucked away among the list of kindergarten teachers. The real aim is obvious: to destroy not only the Palestinian Authority, but Palestinian society itself: to push it back with one stroke from the stage of a modern state-in-the-making to the primitive society of Turkish times.

This is true for the civil society, and even more so for the security system. The headquarters of the security services were destroyed, files burned, computers crushed, the information concerning armed underground organizations and all other details pertaining to the war against terrorism were obliterated. There is no better evidence of the aims of this operation: not war on terrorism, but destruction of organized Palestinian society. By the way, on that day I passed, with a group of Israeli peace activists, through the center of Ramallah - from the mass-grave in the hospital parking lot to the besieged headquarters of Yasser Arafat. We carried Hebrew posters and encountered much sympathy and not a single sign of hostility. Even at this time, the Palestinians know the difference between the Israeli peace camp and those who are responsible for this brutal attack. Here, perhaps, lies the only glimmer of hope.

----

Full transcript of the war crimes panel available on the Gush site http://www.gush-shalom.org/archives/forum_eng.html

For more about Gush Shalom see at http://www.gush-shalom.org




6.

Sent by "Joanne Stephenson" <teachandtravel@hotmail.com>

From: http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-000028852apr23.story

Los Angeles Times Tuesday, April 23, 2002 by Robert Scheer

The Palestinian Side Must Be Told

Is there media bias against Israel?

The claim, hotly expressed in thousands of angry e-mails and subscription cancellations, that the U.S. media are anti-Israel is so absurd as to suggest hysteria. Are American Jews in such deep denial about the brutality of Israel's recent actions that they would damn those who report the truth?

Certainly the American media are far more sympathetic to Israel than publishers and journalists in the rest of the world. This is particularly true in Western Europe, perhaps reflecting the widespread public sympathy there for the Palestinians, as measured in recent polls. Not that sympathy for Israelis, bloodied repeatedly by a merciless bombing campaign targeting civilians, is not equally warranted. It is my view that the prime historical responsibility for the failure to make peace in the Mideast lies with the refusal of the Arab nations to accept the justifiable existence of the Jewish state. However, the traditional absence of acknowledgement in U.S. news reporting of the ongoing victimization of the Palestinians, powerless from the beginning of their displacement half a century ago, is callously immoral.

Moreover, no group is so safely denigrated in the mass media of this country, particularly in film, as "the Arabs," who became the enemy of choice in post-Cold War movie-making in such films as "True Lies." And no group is as underrepresented in the media work force; there are more than 3 million Arab Americans, yet it is exceedingly rare to find one working as a newspaper reporter or TV news personality.

The American Society of Newspaper Editors doesn't even include Arabs or Muslims in its annual monitoring of groups underrepresented in the nation's newsrooms. Surely, if there were even a sprinkling of people in the news biz who were hearing from relatives in Ramallah or Jenin, it would influence the way events are interpreted.

Jews are not underrepresented in the U.S. media ranks, and it is a testament to their professionalism that their coverage is balanced. Odd, though, that other Jews deem their work prejudiced against Israel and at times even anti-Semitic; the convenient denigration is that a Jewish journalist who dares disagree with the more hawkish actions of Israel must be consumed with self-hate.

Full disclosure: I am Jewish and I daily converse with Jewish friends and acquaintances whose relatives, including their children, are living through the hell that suicide bombers have brought to the heart of Israel's civic life. Meanwhile, I have not a single acquaintance who is personally connected with anyone on the Palestinian side of events.

I would hazard to guess that most Jewish editors and reporters living in the United States are in a similar situation. Shouldn't that make us less likely to be deeply affected by the traumas visited upon Palestinian civilians by Israeli tanks and helicopters because they have not been recounted by our own friends and family?

It is to the immense credit of U.S. journalists of whatever background that they stand broadly accused of being sympathetic to the Palestinians--not because the charge rings true, but because it indicates they have somewhat succeeded in humanizing the face of an otherwise alien people. To humanize a people does not mean to apologize for the behavior of murderous individuals, movements or institutions representing the dark revenge fantasies of a people's consciousness, of course. But to blindly endorse the outrage of one side while ignoring the pain of the other does both a disservice.

It would have been irresponsible for the media, Jewish or not, to fail to report the depressing accounts of United Nations and other observers that the Israeli onslaught was aimed at destroying all signs of civic life as well as the stated purpose of rooting out terror. Or to treat Palestinian civilian deaths as a necessary evil made legitimate because they are caused by U.S.-supplied tanks and choppers rather than by suicide bombers.

There was a time when the Zionist pioneers did not have tanks and helicopters and also placed bombs to get rid of the British occupiers.

The truths on both sides of this war are unfathomably ugly; the media have performed a great service in alerting the world to them. Now, it is up to all of us to demand that the powers of the world intervene to halt the tragic carnage and push both sides toward negotiations for a lasting peace.







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