Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Palestinian Activist Discusses Israel's Cynical Use of an American Tragedy

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Palestinian Activist Discusses Israel's Cynical Use of an American Tragedy

Article excerpt

PALESTINIAN ACTIVIST DISCUSSES ISRAEL'S CYNICAL USE OF AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY

On Sept. 24, the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine hosted a briefing by Khader Shkirat, director general of the Palestinian Society for Human Rights and the Environment (LAW). Shkirat focused on Israel's escalating campaign against the Palestinian areas during the Sept. 11 attack on America when the world media's attention was diverted from the occupied territories.

Shkirat first stated that the general Palestinian public condemned the attacks against the United States. Over one million Palestinian students held a moment of silence to remember victims of the attack, he told the audience, thousands of others held candlelight vigils, and various political parties, including Hamas, condemned the attack. None of these observances was reported by the media, he noted. On the other hand, Shkirat pointed out, former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, when asked his impressions of the terrorist attack, replied, "it is very good"--because, he clarified, it will generate a lot sympathy for Israel.

While the world's attention was centered on the unfolding tragedy in the United States, Shkirat said, Israeli occupation forces attacked Palestinian territories with missiles, Apache helicopters and bulldozers. In the first 28 hours following the Sept. 11 attack, Israel killed 20 Palestinians and wounded hundreds. On Sept. 11 alone, 60 Israeli tanks surrounded Jenin in the West Bank, randomly shelling and causing the death of 14 Palestinians. Had such attacks taken place any other time, he pointed out, they would have brought world condemnation. Only increased American pressure eventually caused Israel to cease its military campaign in the West Bank, he said. Israel's actions, he added, if left unchecked, would have further threatened stability in the region at a time when the U. …

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