Bulletin #13

From: Francis Feeley <Francis.Feeley@u-grenoble3.fr>
Subject: Israel's Real Target

13 April 2002
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues,

Our Research Center in Grenoble presents two more articles, passed on to us from our international associates: The first is an effort  by Tracy Wilkinson to unveil the "Grand Strategy" of the U.S. in the Middle East; the second is a current update from the "Killing Fields" in Palestine.

As American inaction to Israeli violence continues, efforts are being made to shed light on the real American policy objectives in the Middle East.

Those of us familiar with the Reagan-Bush administrations' tactics to reverse the Carter administration's policy in Pananma, in the 1980s, might see a grim but familiar pattern in this analysis by Wilkinson of post-Clinton policy in the Middle East.

F. Feeley

A. Philadelphia Inquirer,  April 11, 2002
 "For Israel, the Real Target is Palestinian Leadership,"
By Tracy  Wilkinson (Los Angeles Times)

RAMALLAH, West Bank. The designs of Israel's vast military offensive are
etched in the battered landscape here. The greatest destruction, by far,
has been visited on symbols of Palestinian self-rule.

The headquarters of Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian Authority president, is
in ruins. The Palestinians' most important West Bank security compound was
ravaged by aerial assault. Army raids repeatedly target police who Israel
previously has said were not involved in terrorism.

Israel's offensive has been portrayed as a fight against terrorism, and,
to be sure, Israel would very much like to stop the ambushing gunmen and
suicide bombers.

But at its core, the offensive is a systematic attempt, fathered by Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon and midwifed by his commanders, to finish off the
Palestinian Authority, any remnant of the Oslo peace process, and, most
important, Arafat.

The Bush administration says it still wants to work with the Palestinian
Authority, established by the 1993 Oslo accords and until recently a key
element of the framework for Israeli-Palestinian relations. To that end,
the administration is calling on the Palestinian leadership to rein in
militants, quell violence, and implement U.S. cease-fire proposals. Yet by
so doing, it is relying on the very structure that no longer exists: a
viable Palestinian Authority that Israel has meticulously worked to dismantle.

What President Bush and Sharon may agree on is Arafat.
Judging from the President's public statements, it seems that Bush, like
Sharon, may be willing to jettison Arafat. He missed no opportunity to
criticize the Palestinian leader as a failure who has "let his people
down." Palestinians and Israelis alike interpret this as encouragement of
an alternative leadership.

Sharon makes it clear that he has no use for Arafat or the Palestinian
Authority. He repeatedly has equated Arafat and his leadership with
terrorism that must be wiped out, and appears eager to erase the years
since the Oslo agreement was drafted and signed, and Arafat and the
authority were given some control over the territories.

"Israel is at the point of no return because Yasir Arafat and the
Palestinian Authority have no intention of respecting any accord," Sharon
said, adding that Israel will not return to "the way things were before"
its incursion began March 29.

In addition to destroying Arafat's headquarters, Israeli tanks, bulldozers
and helicopters have torn up roads and smashed electricity and water
infrastructure. Troops have ransacked the Education Ministry, the
statistics bureau, and local TV and radio stations.

Of nearly 1,000 Palestinians arrested in Ramallah, about 30 percent are
egarded as dangerous by Israel. Many were arrested only because they were
active in the first intifadah, which began 15 years ago; many are
businessmen, doctors and police. Police, especially, were singled out for
humiliation, forced to strip and turn in their weapons.

By hitting steadily at the police forces, Sharon is undermining the very
pillars of the Palestinian Authority. Nothing more symbolizes the autonomy
of the aspiring Palestinian state than its own security services.
The war on the police forces culminated last week with an eight-hour
bombardment of the U.S.-built offices of the Preventive Security Service
of Col. Jibril Rajoub, one of the West Bank's most powerful men.

He and his compound were thought untouchable. The Israeli assault began
even as U.S. officials negotiated for a surrender of those inside, and to
spare the building. They were stunned when it was destroyed.

U.S. officials had held Rajoub up as a potential Arafat successor, and the
attack is interpreted by many as Sharon's disqualification of him and any
other strong leader on the Palestinian side.

In addition, Rajoub embodied the kind of Israeli-Palestinian security
cooperation enshrined in the Oslo accords. Sharon's post-Arafat vision may
not have room for such cooperation.

The Israeli army justified the attacks on the security apparatus by saying
it and the entire Palestinian Authority were implicated in terrorism. In
addition, Israeli officials are mounting a political campaign, releasing
documents that purport to tie Arafat to the financing of suicide bombings
and other acts of terrorism.

Sharon has not described what kind of Palestinian regime he would like to
see emerge in a post-Arafat world. In several interviews, he has spoken
longingly of a pliant Palestine. Others warn that the alternative is
likely to be radical Islam.

Destroying Palestinian security services also gives Sharon a rationale for
a more long-term reoccupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. If there is
no functioning police force, only Israel can enforce security.

Sharon aides insist that Israel does not plan a permanent presence. But he
has said repeatedly that he does not intend to yield very much of the West
Bank to an eventual Palestinian state.

B. The Palestine Monitor, April 12, 2002

Très tôt ce matin, Atallah Al-Ha¹iq, âgé de 47 ans, père de cinq enfants, a
été assassiné par des soldats israéliens.
Un parent, le Dr. Hanna explique qu¹Atallah qui habitait à Beit Sahour ³a
été sorti de sa maison par les soldats israéliens, ils lui ont demandé
d¹ouvrir sa boutique pour pouvoir la fouiller. Alors qu¹il était en train
d¹ouvrir, il a été assassiné².
Exécuté de quatre balles dans la tête, l¹épaule et le cou, il mourut
instantanément ;
L¹ambulance a dû attendre deux heures avant de récupérer son corps.

Le nombre total de Palestiniens tués par l¹armée israélienne au cours des 19
derniers mois est estimé à au moins 1.700.

Le nombre de blessés s¹élève à 34.000.

Selon le Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, ³ces chiffres doivent être relativisés ­ il
n¹y que 3,2 millions de Palestiniens en Cisjordanie et dans la Bande de

Si nous rapportons ces chiffres à la population de la France par exemple,
ils signifieraient que près de 32.000 Français auraient été tués et que
640.000 d¹entre-eux auraient été blessés ces 9 derniers mois.²

Pour plus d¹information, contacter The Palestine Monitor
+972 (0)2 5834021
or +972 (0)2 5833510