By Irfan Khan
The Palestinian elections and the Sharm El-Sheikh summit of Prime ministers Sharon and Abbas was seen in the Western media as the starting of a new era, after the death of Yasser Arafat who was seen as the main obstacle for peace.
The Israeli and US leaderships as well as the western Media have led us to believe that Arafat's death would renew the peace process. The same groups have shown that a man of peace finally leads Israel, Sharon, who might have had some problems in the past such as being responsible for the Sabra Shatila massacres (1), but now has changed his skin, and is leading Israel to painful concessions.
This is the same story we hear day in day out from the western Media, that the Israelis want peace and are making concessions by withdrawing from settlements in the West Bank and releasing prisoners. All the Palestinians have to do is stop the attacks on the Jewish settlers. What we are not told is that the settlements are in violation of UN law and are illegal(2), they should have been demolished years ago. Nothing has happened as the US has vetoed UN sanctions with real power.
Who Let The Bullets Out?
There have been many cease-fires in the past and one recently ended with the bombing and killing of Israelis, however what is not put forward is that the Israeli army has repeatedly violated cease-fires long before Hamas or any other group has.
The following is a list of Israeli violations of the cease-fire, the Road Map and international humanitarian law since 8 February 2005:
The assassination of two members of the al-Aqsa Brigades, a branch of the Fatah party, on 15 February. Issam Mansour and Mahyoub Alqani were shot and killed at close range with several bullets to the head and chest in a Palestinian house. Witnesses say the attack was unprovoked.
The killing of 15-year-old Ala Hani Khalil near Beituniya on 15 February by Israeli personnel guarding the illegal Annexation Wall in that area (think massive Berlin wall) , which was said to be in retaliation for stones that he and other children had thrown at Israeli military vehicles in protest.
The shooting to death of 16-year-old Sabri al-Rjoub in Hebron on 14 February. Soldiers claimed he was carrying a knife, but eyewitnesses say the boy was unarmed.
The killing of a 20-year-old resident of Rafah on 9 February, the day after the ceasefire was declared. He was a civilian walking near his home in Rafah when he was fatally wounded by Israeli Forces’ gunfire from the Atzmona settlement.(3)
Is Peace Realistic?
Peace can only be achieved if both parties are willing to be reasonable and are prepared to talk. Currently fingers are only being pointed at the Palestinians. Peace will never be achieved unless the world community enforces itself against the Israelis and there is condemnation of their actions.
This action can only come with the US pushing Israel, however from past history any peace plan or road map that is proposed by the US has always been prepared with approval from the Israelis.
Every day further illegal settlements and new sections of a big wall are built. This wall is taking up more and more of the Palestinian land. The Israelis say it is for the safety of their people. The US refers that Israel has a right to defend itself.
What must the Palestinians do to protect themselves from helicopter gunships, missiles and the illegal demolition of their homes? Do the Palestinians not have a right to defend themselves? They are currently sitting ducks in a target range!
- The Sabra and Shatila massacre was carried out in September 1982 by Lebanese Christian militias in then-Israeli-occupied Beirut, Lebanon, when Palestinian refugees were killed. Ariel Sharon was personally responsible.
- Jews against the Occupation & UN Resolutions. For full list of Israeli violations of UN Resolutions see: http://www.jatonyc.org/UNresolutions.html