Meditation Focus # 57

A Global Opening of the Hearts



Hello,

What follows is the 57th Meditation Focus suggested for the two consecutive weeks beginning Sunday, February 3, 2002.

A GLOBAL OPENING OF THE HEARTS

1. Summary
2. Meditation times
3. More information on this Focus
4. Peace Watch for the Middle East




1. SUMMARY

As the world's attention is focussed on both the World Economic Forum in New York where 2,700 business and political leaders and celebrities, including representatives of the 1,000 most powerful corporations on the planet, are discussing about ways to "reverse the global economic downturn, eradicate poverty, promote security and enhance cultural understanding", and on the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, where 50,000 people from over 140 countries, including delegates from more than 5,000 NGOs, are meeting under the banner "Another World is Possible" to try to build an alternative to the kind of globalization implemented mostly for the benefit of giant transnational corporations in a world where 2.8 billion souls live on less than $2 a day and where far too many ecosystems and species are tottering on the edge of oblivion, we are being given an opportunity to reassess our current course and re-envision what kind of future we may choose, instead of simply allowing the present situation to unfold and more global injustice, environmental devastation and state-sponsored violence to occur.

Soon billions of people will also watch the Olympic Games (February 8-24) and be reminded of the famed ideal of a global truce between warring nations allowing the spirit of cooperation, solidarity and friendship to flourish. There is now a distinct possibility to enable the emergence of seemingly miraculous changes of heart and unexpected breakthroughs where previously none could even be thinkable. For countless centuries, humanity has been following a path where the logic of the mightier always prevailed over all other considerations, whether ethical, humanitarian or environmental. This world we have today is highly polarized between opposing factions and ideologies whose various proponents still see the other opposing views through the filter of their own prejudiced bias, whether cultural, religious or economical, thus making the emergence of Life-affirming and humanely sensible decisions an ever grindingly difficult process. Yet just as for the small but growing number of Israeli soldiers who now refuse on moral grounds to execute legally-indefensible orders to kill Palestinian children and just as more and more wealthy people donate a portion of their wealth in support of various important causes, or also like the growing number of whistleblowers in all walks of life whose spiritual callings prompt them to denounce, sometime at their own peril, unacceptable situations they have witnessed, more and more such miraculous changes of heart are bound to happen as more and more of us become attuned to the New Golden Era of universal Peace and Brotherhood that is transpiring, almost unnoticed, all over our beloved planet.

Please dedicate your prayers and meditations, as guided by Spirit, in the coming two weeks to contribute in catalyzing in humanity a global opening of the hearts that will fast accelerate the current trend towards a saner, healthier, peaceful and love-filled world for all human beings and all living, sentients beings on Earth. May the spirit of compassion open our eyes to the need for profound changes, individually and collectively, towards a recognition of our indissociable unity with each other and with all other life forms on this crippled but still astoundingly beautiful and vibrant Terra Gaia. As we will join together, opening in ourselves the floodgates of our hearts, thus triggering a tidal wave of unconditional love that will suffuse all humanity in a life-changing awakening to our Oneness with All That is, we will enable the manifestation of yet another vital step in our aeons-long quest towards finding our way back to the Source, for the Highest Good of All.

This whole Meditation Focus is also available at http://www.aei.ca/~cep/MeditationFocus57.htm

Please note that this global focus onto the liberating Power of Love through the Global Opening of the Hearts thought-form will be the overarching context of all the coming Meditation Focus until a new common underlying theme is proposed.

Also highly recommended:

A Beacon of Hope: The World Social Forum & the Protests at the World Economic Forum - posted 01/29/2002 and available at http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000/Archives2002/BeaconHope.htm




2. MEDITATION TIMES

i) Global Meditation Day: Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes.

ii) Golden Moment of At-Onement: Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.

Beginning Sunday October 28, these times below will correspond to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT:

Honolulu 6:00 AM -- Anchorage 7:00 AM -- Los Angeles 8:00 AM -- Denver 9:00 AM -- San Salvador, Mexico City, Houston & Chicago 10:00 AM -- New York, Toronto & Montreal 11:00 AM -- Halifax, Santo Domingo, La Paz & Caracas 12:00 PM -- Montevideo, Asuncion * & Santiago * 1:00 PM -- Rio de Janeiro * 2:00 PM -- London, Dublin, Lisbon, Reykjavik & Casablanca 4:00 PM -- Lagos, Algiers, Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Paris & Madrid 5:00 PM -- Ankara, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Athens, Helsinki & Istanbul 6:00 PM -- Baghdad, Moscow & Nairobi 7:00 PM -- Tehran 7:30 PM -- Islamabad 9:00 PM -- Calcutta & New Delhi 9:30 PM -- Dhaka 10:00 PM -- Rangoon 10:30 PM -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 11:00 PM -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur +12:00 AM -- Seoul & Tokyo +1:00 AM -- Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne +2:00 AM -- Wellington * +5:00 AM

+ means the place is one day ahead of Universal Time/Greenwich Mean Time.
* means the place is observing daylight saving time(DST) at the moment.

You may also check at http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/full.html to find your current corresponding local time if a closeby city is not listed above.




3. MORE INFORMATION ON THIS FOCUS

This section is for those who wish to understand in more details the situation of this week's Meditation Focus. For those who wish to read on, we would encourage you to view the following information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision you wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mindset, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of healing. We provide the details below because we recognise that the knowledge of what needs healing can assist us to structure our awareness to maximise our healing effect.


From: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=514&u=/ap/20020203/ap_on_bi_ge/world_forum_57

Activists Protest Trade in NYC (Feb 2)

NEW YORK - Inside the World Economic Forum, foreign economic leaders criticized the United States on Saturday for protectionist policies they say hurt developing countries. Outside, thousands of protesters demonstrated loudly but peacefully against global capitalism.

Dozens of mounted police guarded the art deco entrance of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, and hundreds more officers wearing riot gear stood guard as thousands of protesters chanted, banged drums and waved signs within blocks of the hotel.

By Saturday evening, many of the protesters had dispersed, but several hundred remained inside police barricades set up for demonstrations near the Waldorf. Some 4,000 police officers were on duty to maintain calm.

Attendees at the five-day forum are discussing U.S. foreign policy, its possible role in breeding terrorism and the down side of globalization - all key issues for the protest groups. Many forum participants were expected to attend a dinner and dance Saturday night at the New York Stock Exchange.

At a morning session on the world's economy, Horst Kohler, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, bluntly criticized the United States for protecting its agricultural and textile industries from cheap foreign competition through tariffs and government subsidies.

CLIP

The meeting of 2,700 business and political leaders and celebrities from around the world is being held in New York partly to show solidarity with the city following the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Although there has been no shortage of expensive parties and gourmet meals, sessions have been dominated by serious talk of terrorism, poverty and anti-Western anger.

Protesters say the forum's discussions are just lip service. They contend that wealthy countries exploit poorer ones by pressuring them to remove protective trade barriers and by allowing multinational corporations to dominate their fragile economies.

CLIP

Protest leaders had insisted that they would demonstrate peacefully, and Kelly agreed that they generally complied: "So far, so good." (...) At the conference Saturday morning, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and Bono, the lead singer of the rock group U2, called on governments and corporations to substantially increase their contributions for global health programs, especially for AIDS victims.

"We can't afford to let them die," Bono said of AIDS victims in poor countries. "We actually may not be able to afford to look after all the orphans. Even in cold, clinical terms it may be more expensive to the developed world to let them die."

Gates said the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would donate $50 million to help prevent the spread of HIV. But he warned that private philanthropy would not solve the problem in developing countries, and that governments - especially the United States - would have to increase funding.

"If the U.S. doesn't do it, it's not going to happen,because the U.S. is the laggard," he said.

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From: http://www.indymedia.org

Alternatives to Corporate Globalization

Is another world possible? Those who are in New York this weekend to criticize the World Economic Forum, in Munich to challenge NATO and in Porto Alegre at the World Social Forum believe so. Critics of the so-called "anti-globalization" movement often say to activists, "We know what you are against, BUT WHAT ARE YOU FOR?" To help answer this question Indymedia debuts a permanent and developing feature, "Alternatives to Corporate Globalization" at http://www.phillyimc.org/alternatives
(THIS WEBPAGE IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - EXTREMELY WELL DONE RESEARCH. VERY COMPREHENSIVE!! 5 STARS)

CLIP

Amidst massive police security, the World Economic Forum opened Thursday in midtown Manhattan. (...) On Saturday at least 10,000 protesters (the actual tally is closer to 25,000 according to the latest reports) plan to rally against the WEF in what is expected to be the largest American anti-corporate globalization demonstration post-9/11. Protest organizers include Students For Global Justice, Another World Is Possible, and the New York Anti-Capitalist Convergence.

Thousands Gather in NYC, Brasil for Global Summits and in Munich to Challenge NATO (Jan 30 2002)

Over one thousand of the world's corporate leaders, along with top political and media representatives, will meet behind closed doors (http://www.nyc.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=15004&group=webcast) in New York City from January 31 to February 4 at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting. At the same time, the second annual Fórum Social Mundial will take place in Porto Alegre, Brasil. In Munich, Germany, thousands are expected to challenge the NATO security meeting happening there between February 1 and 3. Various solidarity protests are happening around the world, including Lausanne and Bern, Switzerland, London, UK, and one planned for Livorno, Italy for Saturday.

Visit the NYC (http://nyc.indymedia.org - Check the Breaking News at http://nyc-cache.phillyimc.org/breaknews.php), Brasil (http://brasil.indymedia.org) and Germany (http://de.indymedia.org) IMC sites throughout the events for ongoing coverage.

Thousands of protesters are converging on Munich on the weekend 1st-3rd February, as another "Conference on Security Policy" is held in the German city. Find all the latest updates at http://uk.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=21469&group=webcast, background information on the conference, action plans and repression at http://www.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=125261&group=webcast and lots of relevant links at http://de.indymedia.org/2002/01/14386.html

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From: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/laweekly/20020201/lo/31988_1.html

Davos, American Style - The state of global protest (February 01)

WHEN THE HIJACKED JETS STRUCK MANHATTAN AND Washington, D.C., one of the indirect victims was the struggle against runaway globalization. The war cry had been sounded in Seattle in 1999, grown louder in Quebec City and Genoa, and was building toward a massive demonstration against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in our nation's capital last autumn. All that changed when the most famous voice of anti-globalization was suddenly a bearded Islamic sociopath with a fondness for helter-skelter. The U.S. entered the days of "America Rising" -- anthrax scares, war in Afghanistan and the Trumanizing of George W. Bush. We were all urged to be good team players.

Lately, that's begun to change -- politics is back with a vengeance. The Bush team struts around Washington as if it just won World War II, posing for Vanity Fair (which hasn't lost its knack for backing front-runners), demanding a $48 billion increase in the military budget, and still dreaming of a "stimulus package" that would stimulate the rich to write the Republican Party checks for the fall elections. Meanwhile, the Democrats appear to be discovering a vestigial spine. Milking the PR possibilities of Enron's disgraceful bankruptcy, Tom Daschle and others have begun fighting (well, sorta) Bush's right-wing domestic agenda.

Politics is also back in the streets. This week, thousands of protesters have poured into New York City to greet, deride and challenge this week's World Economic Forum at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Despite its pretense of welcoming the protesters, the Forum's not exactly what you'd call a populist event: It normally meets in the tiny resort town of Davos, Switzerland, and costs about 25 grand a head to attend.

CLIP

***

"We have removed the stain of Seattle!"

- Robert Zoellick, U.S. Trade Representative, November 14, 2001, after WTO meeting in Doha, Qatar

ALTHOUGH I'VE BEEN DOING IT MYSELF, THERE'S SOMEthing misleading about dubbing today's protesters "anti-globalization." Not only does this accentuate the negative, but it might make one think that they actually oppose the idea of a globally unified, multicultural world. The hardcore enemies of globalism tend to be reactionaries (al Qaeda, the Aryan Nation) obsessed with some notion of racial or religious purity. In contrast, the movement is itself already global. There have been big demonstrations everywhere from Sydney and Taipei to London and La Paz; thousands of activists are currently off at a huge conference in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Like all modern progressive movements, it promotes positive values that it holds to be universal -- democracy, women's equality, freedom of expression, environmental protection.

In truth, the fundamental issue is not whether we'll have globalization -- the world's been moving toward that for centuries. The question is how we'll have it. Who will make the decisions? Will the world be permanently divided into haves and have-nots? Will the market alone control whether workers in Denver or Delhi lose their jobs? Will closed-door agreements determine whether environmental laws can be enforced in Alaska or Laos, whether the French and Koreans can protect their film industries against the financial behemoth of Hollywood, whether the Chinese can continue to get away with banning labor unions and profiting from slave labor?

The "anti-globalization" movement may be known to millions for hating swooshes and frappuccinos, but what finally matters are the ideals that it's for. The demonstrators in New York seek a world where human-rights advocates and labor organizers can go freely about their work without the fear of being murdered or arrested. Where poor nations can afford the life-saving drugs derived from the plants that grow on their own land. Where the 2.8 billion souls who live on less than $2 a day are freed from tariff agreements that punish them far more than the subsidized farmers in the West's "free-market" economies. Where ideas of human freedom extend beyond the ever-expanding choices between consumer products ("Culture is not a store," goes one of the best slogans). Where rich countries pay poor ones to stop deforestation, rather than just expecting the locals to starve. Where the U.S. gives billions to aid poor countries -- even if we haven't just bombed them. Where the decisions that affect everyone's life are made openly and democratically, not in private conference rooms in Seattle, Genoa or Qatar.

Naturally, all those highfliers inside the Waldorf-Astoria will tell you that they're profoundly concerned about these things, too -- why else have the World Economic Forum? Of course, they didn't manage to show their concern until the Battle of Seattle, when the elite suddenly discovered that the world was paying attention. If history teaches anything, it's that big shots who attend chic confabs like this one, not to mention the WTO or G8 summits, always insist on their benevolent intentions. Trouble is, they do nothing to implement these noble ideals until they hear a crowd starting to surround the building. That's why protesters have been taking to the streets for centuries. And that's why they're now marching up Park Avenue.

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From: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=117183

The real opposition to globalisation will not be on Manhattan's streets

30 January 2002

To judge from the names of the groups who will be protesting on the streets of Manhattan over the next few days, the opposition to global capitalism is impressively wide-ranging.

Among those setting out to trouble the New York police department will be bodies as disparate as Love and Resistance, Political Action for Animals, Rally for the Planet, the Save the Redwoods Campaign and the all-encompassing Anti-Capitalist Convergence.

The real opposition, however, will be elsewhere. As representatives of the 1,000 most powerful corporations on the planet meet in New York under the Davos umbrella for the World Economic Forum, some 50,000 of the not-so-rich and influential will gather in the city of Porto Alegre in southern Brazil.

Under the parallel name of the World Social Forum they are meeting to try to build an alternative to the untrammelled "turbo-capitalism" with which, they insist, multinational corporations are undermining democracy and despoiling the environment.

The "anti-globalisation" movement has always been a ragbag alliance. A motley collection of crusties, anarchists, revolutionary socialists and lovers of recreational violence has routinely made the headlines with its hatred for the culture of modern capitalism.

But the vast majority of protesters were environmentalists, human rights activists, trade unionists and aid agency campaigners who were not so much against globalisation as demanding globalisation of a different kind.

It is this much bigger group who are meeting in Porto Alegre under the banner "Another World is Possible". They intend to hold their parallel gathering every time their Davos counterparts meet.

Globalisation may be an inevitability, the people in Porto Alegre accept, but it needs to be regulated and managed. And it must respect universal human rights, protect the environment, support democracy and work for social justice.

The luminaries of Davos – shaken by the scale of the opposition in recent years – have begun to talk in similar language. The rich and powerful, who this year have abandoned their Alpine fastness in Davos for the "unique club atmosphere" of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, say they will be talking about ways to "reverse the global economic downturn, eradicate poverty, promote security and enhance cultural understanding". The Porto Alegre activists read this as "looking to rescue failing corporate giants, exploit working people, clamp down on dissent, and puree the diverse communities of our world into a single, American-style consumer culture".

Globalisation, Davos-style, they say – with a dogmatic neo-liberalism that promotes privatisation, market and capital deregulation, and cuts taxes for the rich and social services for the poor – has increased inequalities, social exclusion and poverty.

In Brazil they will be talking about a different agenda – cancelling Third World debt, taxing international flows of capital, democratising the decision-making processes of multilateral trade agencies and including labour and social conditions in trade pacts.

The two sides are worlds apart. But at least they have begun to talk to one another. Which is probably more than will happen on the streets of New York.

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See also:

Bono Is Everywhere At Economic Forum (February 2)
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20020202/en/world_forum_bono_1.html
(...) He said he began meeting publicly with world leaders and attending conferences of policy-makers after discovering the mass media didn't want to hear him talk about those subjects. ``I went to politicians because I couldn't get on TV,'' Bono said. The strategy seems to be working. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation pledged another $50 million for anti-AIDS efforts on Saturday, and major nations have so far forgiven $40 billion in debt. Bono will even be accompanying O'Neill on a trip to Africa later this year.

Pop Star Bono Wows Bigwigs at Elite Economic Forum http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20020202/re/forum_bono_dc_1.html

Powell: U.S. Against Terror, Poverty (Fri Feb 1)
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20020201/ap_on_re_us/world_forum_41

FORUM-Botswana warns of AIDS epidemic in Asia, Europe (February 1)
http://biz.yahoo.com/rf/020201/n01239764_1.html

Scientists at Economic Forum See Grim Future (Feb 1)
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=585&u=/nm/20020201/sc_nm/forum_science_dc_1
Scientists at the World Economic Forum predicted on Friday a grim future replete with unprecedented biological threats, global warming and the possible takeover of humans by robots.

In-depth coverage about World Economic Forum
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/fc/Business/World_Economic_Forum/




4. PEACE WATCH FOR THE MIDDLE EAST

Here are some of the latest developments in the Middle East. Please also keep this situation in mind during your meditations in the coming two weeks to help ensure that peace prevail there as well.

From: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=586&u=/nm/20020202/wl_nm/mideast_dc_10

Signs Emerge of New Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue (Feb 1)

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has held his first face-to-face talks with the Palestinian leadership since taking office, but Israel launched a new attack on Saturday on a Palestinian naval police headquarters. Sharon's talks, which took place on Wednesday but were first reported by Israel radio on Friday, opened a channel of dialogue while Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is kept under siege by the Israeli military.

In other talks, Israeli and Palestinian security officials met in Jerusalem on Friday, renewing contacts interrupted last month by a wave of suicide attacks by Palestinian militants, U.S. and Israeli officials said in New York. Hours after the security meeting, Israeli helicopters fired missiles at the headquarters of the Palestinian naval police in the central Gaza Strip, Palestinian and Israeli security officials said. There were no reports of casualties in the assault early on Saturday which followed what the army said were Palestinian attacks late on Friday in Gaza that wounded a soldier.

CLIP

Commenting on Sharon's talks, Israeli political sources said he asked two Palestinian architects of the landmark 1993 Oslo peace deal and an economic adviser to Arafat to urge the Palestinian president to fight terrorism.

Israeli commentators speculated Sharon's Jerusalem talks with parliamentary speaker Ahmed Korei, Arafat's unofficial deputy Mahmoud Abbas and the adviser, Mohammed Rashid, were aimed at wooing moderates to help end 16 months of killing.

"I'm very pleased that they've met. Dialogue is an important thing," Secretary of State Colin Powell, asked about Sharon's contacts with the three men, told Reuters in New York on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.

"Between that and, hopefully, the security meeting we held today, we might be having some progress once again," he said.

Powell offered no further details about Friday's security session, but an Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity said it took place in Jerusalem "at the highest levels between Israeli and Palestinian security officials."

KOREI, ABBAS TOUTED AS ARAFAT SUCCESSORS

Korei, who has held a series of meetings with dovish Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, and Abbas are also known respectively as Abu Ala and Abu Mazen. Abu Ala was one of the three Palestine Liberation Organization representatives who met secretly with Israelis in Norway to hammer out the Oslo accords which paved the way for the first interim peace deal between the two sides in 1993. Abu Mazen signed the peace deal on behalf of the PLO. Both have been touted as possible successors to Arafat, who has been under siege by Israeli tanks in the West Bank city of Ramallah since a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings and attacks in December.

CLIP

At least 827 Palestinians and 249 Israelis have been killed since a Palestinian uprising against occupation began in September 2000 after peace talks stalled.

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From: http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,643715,00.html

Crisis looms for Sharon

More army reservists refuse to serve (February 2, 2002)

The Guardian

The public consensus that the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, has marshalled behind his policies cracked yesterday. Polls showed him receiving his lowest public approval rating in months, and 50 more combat reservist officers added their names to a petition calling on soldiers to refuse to serve in the occupied territories.

There are now 104 signatories to the petition, which is the most serious domestic challenge to his policies on the Palestinians since he came to power one year ago.

"We will not take part in the war for the peace of the settlements," said the petition, originally published in the press on January 25. "We will not fight beyond the Green Line [Israel's 1967 border with the West Bank] in order to rule, expel, destroy, blockade, assassinate, starve and humiliate an entire people."

The protest has rattled Mr Sharon and the army, which was swift to attribute "political" rather than moral motives to its conscientious objectors.

"This is incitement to rebellion," the army's chief of staff, Shaul Mofaz, said yesterday.

Four petitioners have been suspended from officer duties; the others are to face disciplinary measures, the army said. The punishments follow prison terms imposed on 49 reservists for refusing to serve in the occupied territories since the intifada erupted 16 months ago.

The difference with the latest protest is its public character, and the sympathetic hearing it has received.

Even the former head of the Shin Bet intelligence service, Ami Ayalon, told Israeli television that he felt "a lot of empathy for the reserve officers" when they were asked to execute "blatantly illegal" orders.

"As far as I'm concerned, too few soldiers are refusing such orders. To shoot an unarmed youth is a blatantly illegal order. I am very worried by the number of Palestinian children shot in the last year."

The protest also resonates with the predominant public mood of despair in Israel at the continuing violent confrontation with the Palestinians.

This has seen Mr Sharon's popularity ratings drop from 57% in December to 48%, the daily newspaper Maariv said.

CLIP


See also:

Split widens over Israeli reservists
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1795000/1795362.stm

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From: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/01_02_02_c.htm

Opinion

Is a full-fledged Middle East catastrophe in the making?

Has US Middle East policy reverted to pre-Sept. 11 mode? Arabs are split on this issue. Some believe Washington has resumed its former regional role, but others say the US has not only gone back to “business as usual,” but become even more pro-Israeli than before. In the words of a pro-American Lebanese politician, Washington has now become “Sharonite” in its policy, instead of “Peresite” or “Barakite.” Both Arab camps, however, agree that Sept. 11 failed to change the United States in any expected way. Sometimes it seems the US hasn’t changed at all: It is still obsessed with ensuring Israel’s superiority and insists on seeing 300 million Arabs through Israeli eyes. Washington still regards the Middle East as a fuel depot, a testing ground for power politics and a market for unusable weapons. According to all indications, the US will pursue what it sees as its national interests in the Middle East mostly through military means.

CLIP

The way the US resumed its diplomatic initiative in Palestine is depressingly familiar: They agreed to Israel’s keeping President Yasser Arafat under house arrest unless and until he agrees to become another Musharraf. This policy effectively puts the Americans in the same boat as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon – at a time when the latter is facing indictment in Brussels for his role in the 1982 massacre at Beirut’s Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. This dangerous convergence between the US and Sharon was not born of mutual interests, but rather, the result of American confusion over the definition of terrorism – confusion Sharon has been trying to exploit in order to portray Israel’s occupation and colonization of the West Bank and Gaza as part of his own little “war on terror.”

CLIP

Pressure Mounts on Arafat as Radical Group Quits (Sat Feb 2)
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=586&u=/nm/20020202/wl_nm/mideast_dc_5
JERUSALEM (Reuters) The second biggest group in Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization suspended its membership on Saturday in protest against his arrest of its leader, piling more pressure on the Palestinian President.

EU challenges US over Israel (February 1, 2002)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/elsewhere/journalist/story/0,7792,643332,00.html
Frustrated EU governments are starting to speak out more bluntly about the violence in the Middle East - and America's failure to intervene, Ian Black reports from Madrid.

Sharon's OK Corral (January 28)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/comment/0,10551,640567,00.html
With the Americans behind him, the Israeli leader thinks he can force Yasser Arafat into permanent exile. Within the next few weeks, if Ariel Sharon has his way, the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat will leave his besieged compound in the West Bank town of Ramallah on a one-way ticket to nowhere.

The strange affair of Karine A (January 21, 2002)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/elsewhere/journalist/story/0,7792,636887,00.html
Israel's official account of the Palestinian Authority's connections with a ship found loaded with weapons makes little sense.

Special Report on Israel and the Middle East
http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/0,2759,377264,00.html
LOTS of articles!

Special report: War in Afghanistan
http://www.guardian.co.uk/afghanistan/0,1284,548335,00.html
LOTS of articles too!

BBC Coverage on the Middle East Conflict http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/in_depth/middle_east/2001/israel_and_the_palestinians/default.stm

FULL COVERAGE http://dailynews.yahoo.com/fc/World/Middle_East_Peace_Process/




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