> As I and others have poined out, the US response to the the > Israel-Palestinian conflict is an unresolved crisis from the 60s that > impacts our ability to build a cohesive movement today. To attempt to > resolve what may, in fact, be unresolveable. the following is forwarded. > There is a reference in this report to Israel's claim and its people's > belief that its military maintains a "purity of arms" in its dealings > with its enemies, which has never been anywhere near the truth at any > time in Israel's brief history. If the US did not give Israel the > equivalent of $15 million A DAY, it would not be able to kill > Palestinians with impunity. It is a sad commentary on what passes for a > progressive movement in the US that it has never raised a peep about aid > to Israel and the use, in violation of US export laws, of its military > equipment against a civilian population ,but mounted huge campaigns > against giving $15 million A YEAR to the Nicaraguan contras. The > reason: As a leader of the American Indian Movement once told me, "The > problem with the left is that there are too many liberal Zionists." I have not used his name because those who have the temerity to "tell it like it is" have a history of being labeled anti-semitic and find themselves politically marginalized. > Jeff Blankfort: > > > Hi folks, Jaime Yassin, a former paper tiger member, has > > been in Palestine for the last several weeks and just sent > > me this account of what is going on and how it's at odds > > with mainstream press coverage. It's long, but well worth > > reading. > > > > Jamie > > > > 10/3/00 Ramallah > > > > Hey, thought i'd let you know what i've seen, heard and > > experienced in the last few days since the violence > > started. > > > > First of all its incredibly eroneous to refer to Sharon's > > visit as the spark that lit the fire, as the official press > > narative is being constructed. People were pissed on that > > day but it wasn't till they started to fire on the ground > > of haram al sharif and killed 7 people that things went > > really nuts, as you'd expect them to anywhere in the world. > > Strangely, this fact has been repeatedly neglected in us > > based on-line news reports that i've been reading, but it > > seems to be the most pertinent. I can tell you that there > > was a very different feeling on the day Sharon visited the > > Haram and the next day when people died. > > > > I went out to the Israeli checkpoint to the settlement of > > Bet El here in Ramallah on the first day of conflict here > > in the territories (this settlement, by the way > > expropriated a portion of my family's land in 67). I first > > went to observe but me salio el Arabe when I saw Israeli's > > firing into crowds of teenagers throwing rocks and joined > > in. I just couldn't watch my people (hokey as it may sound) > > getting shot and just stand around like it didn't concern > > me. While I was there I saw snipers in the windows of a > > partially constructed addition to the city inn hotel which > > is right at the checkpoint--they were killing people,no > > joke, singling someone out every hour or so and just firing > > live rounds. Some 2 people were killed in this way on that > > day (Saturday)and ambulances were coming in about every 10 > > minutes to take someone away. Firing never abated for the > > Red Crescent medical staff. They were fired on the same as > > anyone else. > > > > The next day I snuck over to the Israeli side of the > > conflict and saw the Israeli soldiers relaxed, joking and > > eating sandwiches in between shooting at these children > > across the way. It is obvious that they have no feeling that > > there lives are in danger. One soldier, dropped a grenade > > on the way out of his jeep and just left it there on the > > ground in front of a crowd that included not only press but > > a large gathering of Palestinians on-lookers. An objective > > view of what is going on illuminates the lack of concern on > > their part. The stones being thrown by these children were > > landing some twenty feet away from the nearest jeep. There > > was no reason to kill or even injure a Palestinian soul > > there. > > > > I am reminded of the shock displayed by the left-leaning > > community in the US when protesters were pepper sprayed at > > the WTO and hope that they are able to muster a similar > > revulsion at the use of plastic-coated bullets against an > > unarmed civilian population. These pellets littered the area > > and I picked one up and examined it. If I picked up one of > > these things and threw it at your face you might have to go > > to the hospital!! These bullets fuck people up, no joke and > > are too often lethal (too often by American standards which > > would not accept even one death from such a "crowd-control > > device"). > > > > I went back to the area the next day but Palestinian > > soldiers were blocking the street entrance to the area. > > THere were only a few Palestinians throwing stones but > > Israeli positions were too far away. I walked around to > > the other side to the Israeli position (in front of the City > > Inn hotel)and journalists were conspicously absent. A > > soldier told me that the hotel was closed. I walked away > > thinking that the conflict was dying down. > > > > As much as I feel that the occupation needs to be forcefully > > pushed out of the territories its breaking my heart to see > > these children dying for no other reason than to make > > television audiences vaguely aware that something > > incredibly psychotic is being perpetrated on the part of the > > Israeli government--as if, the CNN reports are completely > > decontextualized, failing to characterize the obvious > > reality in any terms but allegations from the Palestinian > > side. > > > > For example, I saw the snipers in those windows that first > > day but when I tuned into CNN international that evening the > > fact emerged as an allegation by Palestinian authorities to > > back up their contention that the Israeli's were using > > disproportionate force. Later, however, Palestinian > > soldiers and Israeli soldiers were trading live ammunition > > fire in the area and helicopters were called in and > > patrolled the area all night. We could hear automatic > > weapon fire coming from that part of town late into the > > evening. Earlier on the main street in Ramallah they were > > broadcasting news programming on loud speakers (probably PA > > and suspect as such, I guess) a friend of mine told me they > > were saying that they had started bombing parts of Gaza > > with rockets--houses, cars and anything that moved. > > > > I caught up with a couple of other half-breed Palestinians > > i know from the university later on and they convinced me > > to attend a Peace Now rally in West Jerusalem. They had a > > sign that said Israel Murder Army out of Palestine (i agree > > with the sentiment wholeheartedly, though i wasn't > > impressed with the grammatic construction). Warning: to all > > who think there is a viable peace movement in Israel please > > avoid reading the following or risk having your illusions > > shattered. People almost immediately complained that the > > sentiment was too strong for their rally. An elder women > > screamed at us that her 19 year old student had been killed > > in the army and how dare we insinuate they were murderers. > > The logic being that since someone she had cared for had > > been killed in such an army they could never be considered > > anything but noble despite the overwhelming ferocity of > > their response in the territories. Later an American Jewish > > student at the Hebrew University who I had met through an > > acquaintance reacted as if we had spit on his mother's > > grave. He accused us of polemicizing (can you believe this) > > the situation and called our statement ahistorical, > > releasing the government issued arsenal of Israeli > > propaganda-crap about purity of arms, the "where else were > > the jews supposed to go" apologia, and the "peace process > > is working" hat-trick. I'd had beers with this guy and he > > considered himself a leftist and to prove it compared the > > Palestine situation to that of East Timor and Chiapas-- "if > > you really want to see murdereous armies", he said. > > > > The minute we showed up with our sign an army jeep full of > > soldiers was called in and a police photographer showed up > > and took our pictures (there were also photographers when I > > was throwing stones and I ended up being on regional tv for > > a few seconds, so I'm afraid that I may end up on some kind > > of list now). People here have a pathological inability to > > accept the reality of their occupation as their entire > > national self-esteem is predicated on the illusion of a > > snow-white military machine whose every missile makes the > > desert bloom. Or as a woman screamed at us, "don't you > > understand that all of us are the army". This seems the > > most insidious brainwashing tactic the Israeli army > > could've ever used against their own people-- to make them > > all physically and personally complicit in the dirty work. > > They have no choice but to ignore the atrocities of their > > government in order to continue to function as sane human > > beings. > > > > An american friend of ours went to Nablus yesterday and said > > that automatic weapon fights had permeated the entire area > > around an Israeli army base and that it had been impossible > > to avoid getting shot in the conflict area. Things have > > gotten worse today, Tuesday. A two year old girl was > > seriously wounded in Gaza by Israeli gunfire this morning > > and 17 Palestinians were reported dead there so far and its > > only noon. Thankfully fighting seems to have ceased in > > Kalandia, the refugee camp on the road to Jerusalem, but > > seems to have escalated to running fire fights at the City > > Inn Hotel. Ramallah is apparently completely closed off by > > Israeli checkpoints on all sides, but the checkpoint to > > Jerusalem is usally porous (things are so upside down here > > that taxis use an alternate route only about 400 feet from > > the main road, to avoid checkpoints. These big yellow mini > > vans bounce around on this dirt road like hemorhoids and > > are plainly visible by the soldiers manning the checkpoint) > > so I don't know what this means in real terms. Adding to > > the horrible feeling of hearing about the daily dozen dead > > from our and other areas, all businesses are striking for > > the foreseeable future (at least until Saturday, someone > > told me) and I haven't worked for four days already and am > > already broke, I imagine my situation is not much different > > than that of other Palestinian workers around here. You > > can't even get a beer with which to drown your sorrows. For > > now, the future seems hopeless. > > > > Jaime > > > > This is the Paper Tiger TV members discussion list. > > An archive of past messages is located at: > > http://www.tao.ca/~jamie/pttv. The archive is password > > protected. For access, contact Jamie (email@example.com).
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