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Monday, January 13, 2003

Always more violence in Palestine.

The events came a day after the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat, asked Palestinians to refrain from attacking Israeli civilians. In a speech today, Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, denounced Mr. Arafat's appeal, accusing him of trying to swing the election to his more dovish opponent, Amram Mitzna, the Labor Party candidate. On Israel radio, the country's defense minister, Shaul Mofaz, promised "vast operations" against Palestinian militants in the occupied territories. Last spring, Arafat was denounced for not condemning suicide bombings strongly enough. Now he is denounced for condemning suicide attacks. There is certainly plenty of blame to go around on all sides, but the Israelis hold almost all the power in this situation, and they use it not to calm the situation but to further provoke it. The upcoming Israeli election and the possible war in Iraq seem to be escalating an already catastophic situation. My feeling is that Americans should be aware of the situation and of US involvement in it, but that right now the best help that we can provide for the Palestinian and Israeli civilians who are dying is to prevent the war in Iraq. It has been suggested that Sharon would use an Iraq war as a cover for the complete expulsion, ethnic cleansing if you will, of the Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza. Furthermore, if Israel becomes involved in the war on Iraq, either on its own initiative or in response to an attack from Iraq, Bush will claim that Israel is an important ally in our war and use that as justification for sending even more arms and money to Israel. Either way, the Palestinians lose. So go to DC or San Francisco this weekend and let the Bushies know that we don't want war.