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Palestine in Perspective

Palestine monitor | 04.12.2001 07:54

Up until the 28th of November 862 Palestinians had been killed by the
Israeli army and settlers, with the injury of 25,000 other Palestinians
which represents almost 1% of the total Palestinian population in the
occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Up until the 28th of November 862 Palestinians had been killed by the
Israeli army and settlers, with the injury of 25,000 other Palestinians
which represents almost 1% of the total Palestinian population in the
occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

These numbers are horrendous and shocking. Even more terrifying is that
these people are all victims of the lack of any real effort for peace on the
part of the Israeli government, and a negligence on the part of an
international community dragging its heels, reluctant to send in a much
requested international protection force to the occupied Palestinian

These deaths only illustrate the truth of the much-used expression 'violence
breeds violence'. They also illustrate the fact that the root of the problem
here is Israeli occupation.

This violence stems from the longest military occupation in modern history,
the existence and continuous growth of hundreds of illegal settlements in
the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem, and the draconian closure that
Palestinian civilians are daily being subjected - an act of collective
punishment upon 3.1 million people.

The combination of Israeli military aggression in a war against Palestinian
civilians, the occupation and the endless racial discrimination against the
Palestinian people are contributing to the radicalization of sectors of our
population, and are in turn feeding extremism and violence.

Sharon and his government claim that the security of the Israeli population
are their paramount concern, but we now have an ugly demonstration that
their security has not been insured by their militaristic tendencies and
violent solutions. Furthermore it has become obvious that Sharon
purposefully tried to provoke reaction. Since the September ceasefire he has
killed 200 Palestinians, including 20 who were assassinated, in extra
judicial killings.

Instead of accepting a Palestinian independent state in the West Bank and
Gaza Strip with 200 kilometers of borders to be secured, Sharon has opted
for the establishment of the 3,000 kilometers of borders around Palestinian
towns and villages, and this hasn't provided security.

Despite the illegal Israeli policy of assassination, destroying the
Palestinian infrastructure and economy, bringing the health and education
systems to their knees and attacks on civilians, Sharon has not managed to
destroy Palestinians determination to achieve freedom from the Israeli
occupation, nor has he provided security for Israelis. Nor can any security
be tenable if Sharon's agenda is to eliminate the Palestinian leadership and
destroy Palestinian lives, livelihoods and property. All that the events of
the past few days prove is the harder Sharon hits, the harsher the backlash
on the Israeli people.

The diagnosis that Colin Powell made was correct; the settlements and the
continuing occupation are the primary problem impeding the development of a
Palestinian State, and peaceful coexistence. However, Powell limited the
solution to a ceasefire hoping that would be enough to bring both sides to
peace. Just because Powell did not go far enough in his vision for an end to
the current conflict does not mean that there is no solution to take both
peoples back from the abyss of imminent disaster. There are.

Firstly there must be an immediate deployment of an international
observer/protection force to the Palestinian Territories in order to ensure
the safety and security for not only Palestinians who have, as figures show,
borne the brunt of Israeli military aggression, but for both sides.

Secondly there must be a real and just peace initiative, not the completely
unrealistic type offered by Barak, but a balanced settlement that ensures
the future security and sustainability of the two states. The negotiations
must be a real proposal for peace, concentrating on the implementation of
the United Nations resolutions 242 and 338 and other UN Resolutions which
will ensure the rights of Palestinians, end the occupation of the West Bank
and Gaza Strip and will establish a real, sovereign and independent
Palestinian State. This would ensure that both peoples could begin to work
towards peaceful coexistence.

All that we have seen thus far is that it is Sharon and the Israeli
government which is the primary obstacle to peace negotiations and in fact
still refuse to engage in any negotiations, as they continue to insult and
humiliate the Palestinian population, creating a strong sense of frustration
among the Palestinian people.

The Israeli propaganda campaign to dehumanize Palestinians must not mark the
real cause of all problems - that the Israeli occupation is a cancer that
hurts the life and the future of both people, and which threatens the
stability of the whole region.

Now we sit here as the Israeli government prevaricates about what the next
move can be in response to an act that was in response to a previous. At
this moment Israeli tanks are surrounding all towns and cities.
Re-occupation seems imminent, as does more bloodshed. All movement is
blocked; doctors, nurses, students, patients are unable to move. A whole
population is subjected to the worst type of vicious collective punishment.

No one knows what we are heading towards, and a lack of immediate action
could result in Israeli retaliation with a massive military campaign, a
horrible prospect, that brings with it the risk of a massacre - a massacre
that the world can, by acting now prevent. Acting now would also contribute
to guaranteeing the security and peace of both peoples in the long term.

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  1. couple of points — goodwood