The Reality of the “Geneva Accord”

Al-Awda, 5 December 2003

The Geneva Accord was signed Monday, December 1, 2003, amid great media and political fanfare. The 50-page document lays out a plan for a presumed “peace agreement” between Israel and the Palestinian people. We, the undersigned, consider this initiative as inconsistent with the prerequisites of a just and durable peace for the following reasons:

1. It attempts to nullify the Palestinian right of return, both as a collective national right and as an individual right. By doing so, it strengthens existing attempts to relocate and scatter Palestinian refugees throughout the world and gives credence to plans to abrogate international law pertaining to the inalienable nature of the Right of Return. The net result would be to extract the very anchor of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination: the indivisible oneness of the Palestinian people and their right to their homes, properties and homeland.

2. It provides a Palestinian-Arab cover for the exclusive nature of the Israeli polity as a “Jewish State”, thus abrogating the national character of the Palestinian people within 1948 borders. It therefore fails to recognize the right of the 1.2 million Palestinian citizens of Israel to live in a democratic state for all its citizens: Jews and Palestinians, and it sets stage for mass transfer and ethnic cleansing in the future to maintain demographic Jewish dominance.

3. It accepts the reconfiguration of Jerusalem based on Israeli annexation plans, and grants Palestinian-Arab legitimacy to the colonial process that altered the Arab character of Jerusalem, making it impossible for the Palestinians to exercise control over “East Jerusalem,” not to say anything about “West Jerusalem,” which was conquered and ethnically cleansed in 1948.

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The killing fields of Rafah

Gideon Levy, Haaretz, Nov 30, 2003
  
Quietly, far from the public eye, Israeli soldiers continue killing Palestinians. Hardly a day goes by without casualties, some innocent civilians, and the stories of their violent deaths never reach the Israeli consciousness or awareness. If there is one consistent piece of data in the current intifada, it is the number of Palestinian casualties: dozens a month, unceasingly.

There were 30 in November, 57 in October, 33 in September. In May and June, the number of casualties reached 60 a month (all data supplied by B’Tselem). While Palestinian terror shocks us with its brutality, the daily killing of innocent Palestinians in far greater numbers is ignored – unless it is a case of an army operation as in Nusseirat refugee camp in October.

Here’s a list of victims from the last month, taken from the margins of the daily newspaper chronicles: A 32-year-old motorcyclist shot to death in the chest after soldiers said he tried to escape a checkpoint near Iskar refugee camp; a 10-year-old boy from Sejaya in Gaza who was bird hunting with a slingshot near the separation fence around Gaza, killed by a tank shell fired at him; an eighth-grader from Barukin, near Jenin, who threw stones at soldiers, shot dead; a youth shot to death during “disturbances” after the funeral of his friend in Jenin; a taxi driver and father of six shot to death in Tul Karm by soldiers who thought he was trying to get away; a 15-year-old killed in Yata during some arrests; a nine-year-old killed by IDF fire in Rafah; and three Palestinians who were on their way to the holiday dinner last Wednesday in Gaza, killed by soldiers who claimed they thought the three were an armed cell.

The IDF admitted the next day that they were “accidentally” killed. But a day later, Brigadier General Gad Shamni, commander of the Gaza forces in the Strip hurried to say the soldiers actually behaved correctly. Even though three innocent people were killed, he didn’t even think it was a mistake.

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Wisconsin Bookstore’s Fight for Free Speech Victorious

David Grogan, American Booksellers Association, Nov 12, 2003

On Thursday, November 6, Madison, Wisconsin’s Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative and a local newsweekly were able to convince Madison Area Technical College (MATC) to reverse its decision to impose restrictions on a speaking event about the Middle East, featuring noted writer and University of Chicago researcher Ali Abunimah. MATC had attempted to limit the scope of the talk and to deny Rainbow’s request to sell books in conjunction with the event after some residents protested the talk due to Abunimah’s pro-Palestinian point-of-view. However, faced with an unexpected backlash from the public, MATC decided at the last moment to proceed with the event as scheduled the evening of November 6.

The speaking engagement featuring Abunimah was scheduled as part of MATC’s “Reporting From the Middle East,” which is sponsored in part by Rainbow Bookstore, and also is part of MATC’s Global Horizon lecture series. However, some in the community who vehemently opposed Abunimah’s point-of-view on the Middle East exerted pressure on MATC to cancel, or at the very least, limit what Abunimah could talk about at the event. Subsequently, the college “sent an e-mail to Abunimah telling him what he could and could not speak about,” Allen Ruff, Rainbow’s events coordinator, told BTW.

When Abunimah was informed of the restriction, he told The Isthmus, a Madison alternative weekly newspaper, that it was “an outrageous violation of my First Amendment rights and the rights of the community to engage in dialogue and debate about matters of public interest.”

While Ruff said he did not know who in Madison had exerted pressure on the school, The Isthmus quoted Steve Morrison, executive director of the Madison Jewish Community Council, as saying he perceived a lack of balance in the Global Horizon series. Morrison said he told MATC’s events coordinator, Geoff Bradshaw, and MATC acting president Roseann Findlen, that his concerns regarding Abunimah would be mitigated if his talk were limited to media issues, the newsweekly reported.

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Israeli chainsaw massacre

Palestinian farmers seek protection against settlers

The Globe and Mail, 12 November 2003

Einabus, West Bank – Men with chainsaws turned Fawzi Hussein’s olive into a wasteland overnight – 255 trees cut down at the trunks, fruit-laden branches wilting on a West Bank slope, at the height of the harvest season.

The suspected culprits: militant settlers who have been harassing Palestinian farmers for years, especially in the past three years of fighting. Human rights groups say it is part of an attempt to drive Palestinians off their land.

The destruction of about 1,000 trees in three villages, including Mr. Hussein’s, was on an unusually large scale. It prompted an outcry in Israel, with settler rabbis calling it a sin and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon promising to
track down the vigilantes.

It also heightens fears that this kind of extremism – albeit of a tiny minority among the 220,000 Jews in the West Bank – is a harbinger of the resistance the Israeli government could face if it tries to uproot settlements in a land-for-peace deal.

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Israeli Roulette

Uri Avnery, CounterPunch, November 7, 2003

In the Six-Day War, hundreds of Israeli soldiers were murdered while storming the Sinai desert, the West Bank and the Golan heights.

In the Yom-Kippur War, more than 2000 Israeli soldiers were murdered in the defense of the conquered territories.

In the 18 year long Lebanon War, more than a thousand Israeli soldiers were murdered while conquering and occupying South Lebanon.

They would have been surprised to learn that they were “murdered”. Perhaps they would have been insulted. After all, they were not helpless Jews in the ghetto who were killed during a pogrom by drunken Cossacks. They fell as soldiers in war.

Now we are back in the ghetto. Again we are poor, fearful Jews. Even when we are in uniform. Even when we are armed to the teeth. Even when we have tanks, airplanes, missiles and the nuclear option. Alas, we are murdered.

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EU poll labels Israel world’s biggest threat to world peace

AFP, 04 Nov 2003

BRUSSELS (AFP) – The European Union scrambled to contain the fallout from a public opinion poll that — to Israel’s fury — labelled the Jewish state the biggest threat to world peace.

The United States was just behind Israel in the global danger league, in joint second place with North Korea and Iran, according to the “Eurobarometer” poll requested by the European Commission.

The results were part of a survey last month on Europeans’ attitudes in the aftermath of the Iraq war, which also found that more than two-thirds of EU citizens think that the US-led war was wrong.

The Israeli embassy in Brussels voiced outrage at the findings, which said that 59 percent of Europeans see Israel as a threat to world peace.

“Europeans seem blind to Israeli victims and suffering. Instead, they have put the Jewish state below the level of the worst pariah state and terror organizations,” it said in a statement.

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World Food Programme on the Occupied Palestinian Territories

World Food Programme Report, 28 October 2003

. . .

Christiane Berthiaume of the World Food Programme said that she had been in the occupied Palestinian territories last week. The situation in that region continued to deteriorate. A WFP study showed that more than 50 per cent of the inhabitants of the occupied territories lived below the poverty line.

WFP was preparing a study on the “mechanisms of survival” and its results would be out at the end of November. Preliminary results showed that the people in the occupied Palestinian territories had run out of survival mechanisms. They had sold their jewelry, their land, their possessions like machinery, and now everything was gone. Children went to school, and then helped their families by working – right now they gathered green beans and olives.

There were some 800,000 people who were not refugees who needed food aid in the occupied territories. The construction of the security wall was contributing to the food insecurity situation.

. . .

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Settlers Attack Rabbis

Rabbis for Human Rights delegation physically attacked by settlers while documenting cut trees

Rabbis for Human Rights, 27 Oct 2003

This morning a RHR delegation was attacked by settlers while documenting cut trees. Well known journalist John Ross, age 66, is on his way to Beilinson Hospital. RHR executive director Rabbi Arik Ascherman was also bitten, along with activist David Nir. Dalya Bones was threatened.

The delegation arrived at Ein Abus after receiving words that hundreds of trees have been cut down there and in the village of Isawiya. Five young settlers, some of them with there face covered, descended with clubs. Rabbi Ascherman and David Nir were kicked with clubs and stones. They took Rabbi Ascherman’s Kipa (head cover) and said that this was their land.

After leaving Ascherman and Nir, they saw a Palestinian family. The family ran away but they saw John Ross and started biting him. They turned back to Ascherman when he came to save Ross. Ascherman held them at a stand off until they retreated because the police was arriving.

Ross is on his way to Beilinson while Ascherman and Nir are on their way to make a complaint at the Ariel Police office.

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