Uri Avnery - The statement by Dov ("Dubby") Weisglass, Ariel Sharon’s most intimate confidant, is crystal clear: the “redeployment plan” was designed to “freeze” the peace process for decades, to put all peace plans “in formaldehyde”, to put an end to the possibility of a Palestinian state, once and for all. Why did “Dubby” disclose this plan? The answer is simple: Sharon wants to explain to the extreme right wing of his own party that “disengagement” is a war plan rather than a peace plan, a plan to annex territories rather than a plan to “give up” territories, a plan for the rapid expansion of the West Bank settlements rather than a plan to dismantle the settlements in the Gaza Strip.
Fawaz Turki - Irrespective of our national, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, there always remain common denominators that define our humanity — our media of interaction, our moral compass, our grammar of perception of what constitutes inherent decency in our social values. And when a community of people crosses a line, we know it. By its actions as an occupier, most notably since it chose a murderous bully like Ariel Sharon as prime minister, Israel clearly has enacted a decisive change in the tenor of that human behavior. Its action in Gaza most certainly attests to that. And many have recognized that behavior for what it is. Today Israel stands as the most reviled and isolated entity in the world, threatened with international boycotts, condemnation and divestiture.
Hasan Abu Nimah - In the current anti-terrorism hysteria, why are we supposed to feel that the murder of civilians by a suicide bomber in an exploding truck is more terrible than the murder of civilians by a man in a tank, or a helicopter or a bulldozer wearing a uniform? Israel’s assault on Gaza killed more children in a few days than the entire number of victims in the recent attacks in Egypt. It is simply immoral to continue to pretend that there is any difference whatsoever between the two types of terrorism. The point here is not to say that the attack in Taba is in any way excusable or justifiable, but rather to underline that the attacks in Gaza should be treated just like the attacks in Taba, as terrorist outrages, viciously targeted and calculated to kill innocent people.
Mustafa Al-Barghouti - Sharon himself never used the word “withdrawal”, yet the word has spread like wildfire. The international media invented it, the Arab media picked it up, and Palestinian officials seem to have believed that he plans to “withdraw” from the Gaza Strip. Arab officialdom now acts as if “withdrawal” is just around the corner, but all Sharon ever wanted to do was to turn Gaza into one enormous big prison. Sharon seeks to surround the strip with Israeli forces on all sides and prevent its inhabitants from communicating with the outside world by air, sea or land. Sharon dreams of a Gaza he can invade and attack at will. This is his scheme. This is the alternative he offers to the roadmap and the assortment of other “peace plans”.
Ramzy Baroud - Imagine the outrage if a series of Palestinian bombings rocked an Israeli town, spontaneously, and in less than four days killed 60 people and wounded hundreds, mostly innocent civilians. Not even the most open-minded of media pundits could dare justify the crime; not even the most lucid of government officials could rationalize the orgy of flesh and blood. How repulsive, albeit insensitive if Fox News decided to inundate its hapless viewers with self-congratulating ‘terrorism experts’ describing the ‘surgical procedure’ followed by the Palestinian bombers whose intent was merely to target a few unidentified Israeli army officers accused of threatening the life of Palestinian civilians. None of this, of course, has occurred. However, its exact antithesis has.
Kim Bullimore - For settlements like Ariel to exist, Israel must repress, terrorise and displace the indigenous people of Palestine. It must steal their natural resources, it must use force and it must use collective punishment to terrorise the local Arab population into submission. While settlers in Ariel enjoy well-paved roads and lush parks, almost unlimited access to water, modern schools, cultural centers and health clinics, the Palestinian people in the villages surrounding Ariel must endure constant surveillance and harassment and restrictions on their movement. They must also endure contaminated water, ruined roads and having their land stolen and their homes and olive trees destroyed.
The letters are kept in a pillow on the living room sofa. With trembling hands, as if it were a religious rite, Najiba Jelamne opens the zipper of the pillow and pulls out the envelope with the handful of letters and photos. Two folded letters, as brief as memos, written by hand on an official Red Cross form - the only sign of life that has arrived from their prisoner son, who is said to be very ill, but whose parents have been unable to find out what happened to him. One letter was sent in February and arrived in June, four months en route from the prison to the Jenin refugee camp, and the second was sent in June and arrived about two weeks ago; thatâ€™s how long it takes to get from the sender to the addressees.
Being a Palestinian must be a mind warping experience. Consider a very short version of their tragic story: Their ancestors - the ancient wise men of the Holy Land - inspired by the most credible creation mythology, took the risk of exporting their illuminating spiritual experience to the rest of the world. For going to the trouble of sharing their creed, their descendants now pay the stiff price of losing their ancestral lands. Out of the blue, thousands of years later, a deranged messianic fool like Tom Delay emerges from some back alley in Texas with an eviction notice and George Bush shows up with a posse to help Sharon enforce it. The Palestinians ask the messianic nuts why they do what they do and they respond that they were inspired by something one of your ancestors might have said a few thousand years ago.
"I will never understand how Mohammed was killed. Maybe one day I will know. Khaled raised his hands, so he was a convenient target for them. Him they killed in cold blood. They let him finish speaking and then they killed him. But how Mohammed was killed I don’t understand. I shouted like a madwoman: `Help, my son is alive, we have to save him.’ They laughed and told me to shut up. The soldier who was laughing was standing below, on the street. I sat on the floor and kept on shouting like a crazy person. I pounded on the door until my hands were injured. I don’t know how those curses came out of me. I called for help, Diana and Ali were crying hysterically, and the soldiers threatened to blow up the building with us inside.”
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