Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Israel Takes Advantage of U.S. Anti-Terrorism Campaign to Wreak Havoc on Palestinian Statebuilding Efforts

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Israel Takes Advantage of U.S. Anti-Terrorism Campaign to Wreak Havoc on Palestinian Statebuilding Efforts

Article excerpt

Israel Takes Advantage of U.S. Anti-Terrorism Campaign to Wreak Havoc on Palestinian Statebuilding Efforts

Richard H. Curtiss is the executive editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

It is notable that, along with Israel's Blitzkrieg against Bethlehem and other West Bank towns, no one in the American media thought to mention the destruction of Gaza's new port even as it still was under construction. In fact only one major U.S. newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor, noted in passing that the European-funded project to build a new seaport in the Gaza Strip to accommodate ocean-going vessels was destroyed by Israeli forces early on the morning of Sept. 18. Even that would have passed unnoticed in the American press had not Yasser Arafat held up at a news conference a photo depicting the destruction of the port.

GRATUITOUS DESTRUCTION

Under normal circumstances the media surely would have mentioned the fate of the port in addition to the dreadful daily death toll of West Bank civilians and Palestinian law enforcement personnel. Instead, with the spotlight on the previous week's terrorist attack on America, the U.S. press neglected to report Israel's attack on the port. Or did America's newspapers ignore the story because no journalist could find words to excuse Israel's totally gratuitous destruction of a civilian facility? For, in addition to the financial cost of the Israeli attack, estimated at $10 million, Israel damaged Palestinian hopes of building an infrastructure and providing jobs for its workers.

European nations had supported these dreams, and the EU provided much of the financial aid Palestinians needed to build the port. The American press was silent not only about Israel's destruction of Palestinian, but also of European, offices and buildings in the port area.

That was just one example of how the mainstream U.S. media help the Israeli government ignore unpleasant facts. Clearly the Israelis have no intentions at all of helping to get a Palestinian state under way. It is clear, in fact, that the Israelis plan only to await additional opportunities to undermine if not destroy any serious Palestinian statebuilding. Their intention is to keep the Palestinians dependent on the Jewish state in hopes that, one day, virtually all Palestinians will depart their country in despair.

Meanwhile, in a new paroxysm of violence between Oct. 18 and 29, Israelis murdered scores of Palestinians who got in the way. The violent events ostensibly began as a response to the Oct. 17 assassination of Israeli Minister of Tourism Rehavam Ze'evi (see p. 13). Initially it appeared that the murderers had been found. Later, however, the trail vanished, and for the moment the death of Ze'evi remains unsolved. The right-wing minister was carefully targeted for assassination by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine as perhaps one of the most formidable opponents of a Palestinian state. In fact, the former Israeli general never had pretended to be anything but an ardent supporter of "transfer," meaning the forcible expulsion of all Palestinians from their homeland. Such a transfer, long desired by a sizable number of Israelis, would only be made possible by a new war against the Palestinians.

This doctrine of forcible expulsion of Palestinians has never varied. Only the details have changed over the years. Since, obviously, the only way such a "transfer" could be effected would be through force of arms, there have been many attempts to create such a bloody result. …

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