Reprinted from www.libertylobby.org, home of The SPOTLIGHT archive
Ariel Sharon's Final Solution: 'Cleanse' Palestine
By Christopher Bollyn
The Palestinian uprising, sparked by Ariel Sharon's provocative visit to the Al Aqsa mosque in September, has evolved into war following the Israeli leader's recent visit to Washington.
The Palestinian leadership has accused Sharon's government of committing "barbaric crimes" against the Palestinian people by using helicopter gunships, tanks, heavy machine guns and gunboats to at tack defenseless Palestinian towns and civilians.
Israel was recently condemned by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who said the world had every right to criticize its occupation of Palestinian land and its "excessively harsh response."
The Israeli army uses American-supplied combat weapons with impunity to assassinate Palestinian leaders and terrorize the general population in the occupied territories with the connivance of the Bush administration, which has taken a "hands-off" approach to the conflict.
Sharon began an illegal war in Leba non in 1982 after an Israeli official was shot in London and uses any pretext, some of suspicious origin, to launch massive military assaults against defenseless Palestinian towns. For example, Israeli missiles destroyed a hotel in Bethlehem after an Israeli soldier was shot a quarter-mile away.
The Israeli military assaults intensified dramatically after a UN resolution calling for an international force to protect the Palestinians was vetoed by the Bush administration on March 27.
The Palestinian president's office said the veto will "encourage the Israeli government to continue with its military plan against our people."
Washington is protecting the Israeli occupation according to Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.
"The U.S. behaves in a manner to provide international protection to Israel instead of protecting the Palestinian people who are living under occupation," Ere kat said. "We will continue our efforts to achieve and activate the Fourth Ge neva Convention because it is unreasonable to keep the Israeli aggression and violence against the Palestinian people going on forever."
Richard Falk, a professor of Inter na tional Relations at Princeton Univer sity and member of a UN team investigating alleged Israeli human rights violations in the Palestinian territories, said Washington had failed in its legal and moral duty. Falk added that former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and his successor Ariel Sharon bear "criminal re sponsibility" for the targeted killings of Palestinian activists.
LAND DAY MASSACRE
On March 30, thousands of Pales tinians in Israel and the occupied territories marched peacefully to mark "Land Day." Land Day is the annual commemoration of 1976 protests against land ex propriation in which six Israeli Arabs were killed by police.
This year, six Palestinians were killed and 80 wounded when Israeli forces fired on Land Day protesters. Another 55 were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets, according to hospital officials.
After Palestinian protesters were gunned down with 50-caliber machine guns in Nablus, Defense Minister Binya min Ben-Eliezer said Israel had adopted a "gloves-off policy" toward the uprising. "We have started to respond. There had been a policy of restraint...which in my view is over," Ben-Eliezer said.
In the deadliest clash, five Pales tinians were killed in Nablus, including three hit by assault-rifle fire and two killed by large-caliber bullets that mutilated their faces, said Dr. Hassan al-Jouhary at Raffidiah Hospital.
The confrontation in Nablus began when about 1,000 Palestinians threw stones at troops south of the city. An un known but "highly-effective gas" was reported to have been used on the protest ers causing at least 45 people to suffocate and fall unconscious.
During the afternoon the crowd dwindled until only a few stone-throwers were left, according to Issam Najar, 18. At about 5:30, 15 demonstrators threw stones at four Israeli jeeps, Najar said. "At this moment, an Israeli tank opened fire," he said. Three Palestinians fell, including one of his friends who had part of his head shot off. Najar said he was shot in the arm as he tried to evacuate some of the wounded.
The incident went largely unreported in the American media. The New York Times, whose motto is "All the news that's fit to print," said merely that "five Palestinians were killed in clashes" in an article titled "Israeli Arabs, Dissatisfied, Rally Peacefully."
The Israeli defense minister, "Fouad" Ben-Eliezer, is responsible for war crimes committed in 1967. According to Aryeh Yitzhaki, an Israeli military historian, "in the Six Day War the Israeli army killed approximately 1,000 Egyptian soldiers who had ceased functioning as a fighting force." Eliezer's unit was responsible for many of those murders, which occurred when the Israelis massacred soldiers as they retreated.
Yitzhaki said that many Palestinian volunteers in the Egyptian army were executed in El-Arish, in the Sinai.
Gabby Biron, an Israeli journalist who witnessed the murder of about 10 POWs before being forced to leave, confirmed Yitzhaki's report.
"The POW was escorted to a distance of about 100 meters from the building and given a spade. I watched the POW digging a big pit, which took about 15 minutes," Biron said. "When he did so, one of them pointed his Uzi gun at the POW inside the pit and shot two short bullet bursts, consisting maybe of 3 or 4 bullets each. The POW fell dead. After a few minutes another POW was escorted to the same pit, forced to go into it and was also shot dead. A third POW was brought to the same place and was also shot dead. Since the process was repeated a number of times, the grave filled up. I witnessed about 10 such executions."
Copyright 2000. All right reserved.