Israel Resource Review 10th December, 2001


Will Israel Sever its umbilical cord to Arafat?
David Bedein

Israel only has itself to blame for bringing Arafat on to the scene. The question remains as to when and whether Israel will sever its umbilical cord to the PLO leader.

The Israeli government in 1993 imported the Egyptian born Yassir Arafat, the head of the PLO, then in Tunis, to rule the Palestinian Arab population.

The late Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, proud of his decision to impose Arafat on the Palestinian Arab people, declared at the time that "Arafat will crush terror without civil liberties organizations and without any supreme court getting in his way".

And when Arafat was elected under internationally supervised elections in 1996, the contest was conducted under Arafat's rules: nobody was allowed to run in those elections without the express written consent of Yassir Arafat.

And when a serious candidate did indeed emerge to run against Arafat, the challenger's house was blown up. Arafat's campaign managers had devised persuasive ways of convincing Arafat's rivals to reconsider a race against him.

When Jimmy Carter, the head of the US observer team to the elections, was asked to comment on Arafat's "election rules", Carter quipped that "we have problems like that in Chicago too".

The Civil Liberties Issue

By November, 2001, Human Rights Watch declared that Arafat had set up an autocratic regime that had engaged in a policy of systematic torture, arbitrary executions and wholesale denial of human rights and civil liberties,

After years of riots and an Arab nationalist revolution that posed a threat to all of Israel, the Israeli government decided to hand Arafat an opportunity to rule over the Palestinian Arab population, in the hope that Arafat would forge a nation state that would live in peace and coexist as a neighbor to the state of Israel, and meet the greatest challenge of all : to absorb millions of Palestinian Arab refugees into humanitarian conditions. There are now 3.6 million Palestinian Arabs who live in or continuous to the squalor of "temporary" UN-run Palestinian Arab refugee camps that were set up for the half a million Arab refugees who left in 1948.

Insured of declaring a program to help refugees, Arafat made it a policy that all Arab refugees must continue to suffer in their "temporary" refugee camps, under premise and promise of "the right of return" to the 531 Arab villages that were destroyed during the 1948 war, despite that fact that they no longer exist and that they have been replaced by Israeli cities, collective farms and roads.

Instead of inculcating recognition and reconciliation of and with the state of Israel, Arafat's PA conveyed the consistent message in the Arabic language that the new Palestinian Arab state must replace the state of Israel, and not coexist with it

Instead of appointing religious leaders to preach a messages of peace in the local mosques, Arafat instead appointed Hamas preachers who rant every Friday with sermons that endorse war on the Jews.

Instead of creating new media outlets to promote peace, Arafat has used the official Arabic language media of the PA to convey a consistent message of war and not of peace.

Instead of using the PA School System to promote a two state solution and recognition of the state of Israel, Arafat has used his school system to introduce a curriculum that calls for a Palestinian Arab state that will replace the state of Israel. George Washington University professor, Nathan Brown, a Fulbright scholar working under a grant from US Foundation for Peace evaluated Arafat's school books and curriculum and concluded that the concept of peace and recognition are totally lacking in Arafat's new curriculum

Arafat and Israeli Government Expectations

In 1993, the late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and the former (and current) Israeli foreign minister, Shimon Peres, stated time and again that the reason why they handed over the Palestinian Arab population to Arafat, was because Arafat would reign in the violence of the nascent Islamic Palestinian Arab movement. And when Peres and Rabin conducted a briefing for the media in Oslo when they received the Nobel Peace Prize together with Arafat in December 1994, I asked them if Arafat had fulfilled his commitment to crush the Hamas. They indicated that he had done so. A few hours later, when I asked Arafat the same question, as to whether the PLO leader would crush the Hamas, Arafat's response was clear: "Hamas are my brothers. I will handle them in my way".

And Arafat did handle the Hamas - by bringing them into his new regime, as full coalition partners. In May, 1995, Arafat' security forces announced that they would provide Hamas with arms. In December, 1995, Arafat invited Hamas to join his provisional regime. In 1996, Arafat appointed Hamas officials to run the religious departments and schools under his authority. By Fall 2001, the IDF confirmed that all Islamic terror groups train and operate in the full view of the Palestinian Authority security services, and that the Islamic terrorists get a clear message that their activity operates with the full blessing of Arafat's regime.

Israel now acknowledges that Arafat's Palestinian Authority, which Israel helped to create to control the Islamic terror, had instead become the sponsor of Islamic terror.

Arafat's war with Israel is most like the 1948 War of Independence.

It is waged everywhere, on the home front, at road junctions, on the way to schools, in buses, in cafes, and in pizzerias, while even some Israeli Arabs and their leaders are not ashamed to join in.

Almost half of the murders of Israelis that have taken place have been carried out by members of Arafat's own military units: the Fatah and the Tanzim

In a briefing given by the Israeli army to the media on Monday morning, December 3, 2001, IDF experts declared that Arafat had not arrested a single wanted terrorist from among the list of 108 wanted men that Israel Foreign Minister Shimon Peres had handed over to Arafat following a spate of murders. The 100 men that Arafat did arrest were 100 people on his own payroll, none of whom were wanted by Israel, all of whom were arrested for embarrassing the Palestinian Authority.

In the words of the IDF spokesman, "Arafat did not pay attention to Secretary Powell when the American Sec'y of state declared that Arafat would have to reign in the terrorists who are fighting Israel. Arafat has not learned his lesson"

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Sharon's Target is Arafat, not Hamas
Ghassan Khatib
Publisher, Palestine Report
and Director, JMCC - Jerusalem Media and Communications Center

The developments over the past two weeks have made it very clear that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is not fighting a war against Hamas, but one against Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

On the face of it, Sharon and his government's responded to Hamas' suicide operations, which were a painful blow to Israel.

But the response they chose was to strike Arafat and the Palestinian Authority in three ways. First, Israel rallied a military response fully directed at Palestinian Authority military and police targets, as well as the Palestinian presidency. These included buildings belonging to the police, preventive security, intelligence services and Arafat's helicopters.

Second, Israel's political, diplomatic and media attack attempted to politically weaken Arafat and the Palestinian Authority internationally by comparing them with terrorists and holding them responsible for terrorism. The third attack was to internally weaken the Authority and its president by undermining his credibility and forcing him to arrest Intifada activists that are heroes in the eyes of the majority of Palestinians.

These steps are completely in harmony with what has appeared to be Sharon's strategy since assuming power. This strategy is to cancel everything rooted in the Oslo accords and Israeli- Palestinian agreements that he opposed and tried to prevent from happening - in particular, the existence of a Palestinian Authority and areas falling under its jurisdiction. These areas were to inevitably develop into a Palestinian entity on the land of Palestine, which would be a basic contradiction of Sharon's ideology and plans for Eretz Israel.

Since assuming office, Sharon has taken advantage of a weakened Palestinian side to either eliminate the Authority altogether or to push it one more step towards annihilation. There is no doubt that Sharon has enjoyed huge success at achieving this goal. Arafat and the Palestinian Authority have suffered great setbacks both internally and externally and their positions have become weak and nearly snuffed out altogether.

But this is the short-term view of things. In the long run or even midway, Arafat may yet come out the winner. The past few bloody days have revealed Sharon's strategic crisis. He has convinced himself and his people that Arafat and the Palestinian Authority support terrorism - but he cannot go to battle with this "terrorist" Authority because he has yet to get the international green light to proceed (nor can he guarantee a Palestinian alternative that is better for Israel).

Finally, Sharon cannot ensure that the elimination of the Authority will stop the Palestinian resistance. Who will prevent a series of suicide operations following the elimination of the Authority? That scenario would make Sharon's internal support very precarious indeed, thereby benefiting his political competitor Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel and the opposition Hamas in Palestine.

Perhaps, too, Sharon and his advisors are remembering that Israel directly ruled the Palestinians for 33 years, at times imprisoning 15,000 Palestinians at once, while still not managing to snuff out Palestinian resistance. If Sharon eliminates Arafat's Authority, the Israeli army will have to return to the despised task of directly running Palestinian daily affairs - a duty Israel has always wanted to be rid of.

Right now, international discussion is focusing on the Palestinian contribution to the crisis in the Middle East, likely due to Arafat's weakening control, Hamas' activities and the Israeli propaganda machine. The truth of the matter is, however, that the real crisis in the peace process exists on the Israel side.

Imagine that United States envoy Anthony Zinni succeeds in his ceasefire efforts to get the two sides back to the negotiating table. Could Sharon then fulfill the requirements and demands of the Mitchell commission report, including a halt to settlement activity, an end to the siege, the return of Palestinian workers to their jobs, a resumption of the articles of the Oslo accords and a return to talks where they left off? That scenario would, in fact, guarantee the collapse of Sharon's government. That is why he is doing everything to avoid arriving at that point, maintaining the level of conflict on the one hand, while demanding that the confrontations stop, on the other.

If international or American efforts to save the peace process are to succeed, they must realize that Sharon has symbolized opposition to the peace process throughout all its years of cultivation by regional leaders. In essence, his assumption of power in Israel is the essential obstacle to peace.

Therefore, the focus must be maintained on the situation in Israel and preparing for a removal of the Israeli obstacles to calming the situation and reviving the chances for peace. First and foremost, this requires engaging the Israeli public and making it realize that its legitimate rights to security and peace do not contradict the Palestinian people's legitimate goal of independence - in other words, that security for one side cannot come at the expense of the other.

Published on December 5, 2001 at

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

PA Ministry of Education Fights Campaign Against Palestinian Curricula
Saed Abu Farha,
The Jerusalem Times, a Palestinian Arab publication
7th December 2001

The Ministry of Education has reiterated its rejection of accusations made by an American non-governmental organization that Palestinian scholastic curricula "do not teach the notions of peace and coexistence with Israel" and at the same time work to "plant the seeds of hate" in upcoming Palestinian generations.

The American organization recently published a study about Palestinian curricula for the scholastic years 2000-2001 and 2001-2002, concentrating on 60 schoolbooks and two teacher manuals and criticizing them harshly.

Salah Yasin, general director of the Curriculum Center at the ministry, spoke on behalf of the ministry, rejecting the accusations. He said he considered the study part of "a campaign directed against Palestinian curricula that began with another study conducted by the same organization, which is affiliated with an extremist Zionist party wishing only to serve the interests of the Hebrew state."

Yasin indicated that the objective of the new study and similar ones is no more than serving the Israeli desire to elude its obligations spelled out in signed agreements, especially political ones. He explained that Palestinian curricula were examined by international parties and local analysts and were declared fit and in no way designed to lead to any political gains. Yasin rejected the accusation that the curricula lack the notion of rapprochement, which is counterfactual, as attested to by UNESCO, which reviewed the curricula.

As for the accusation that the curricula lack indications of peaceful coexistence Yasin said, "We cannot discuss peace with the Israelis when they continue to occupy our land and our students go to school in the shadow of Israeli tanks. Discussing peace in light of the Israeli attacks is a form of cheating. We are entitled to teach our children their history and heritage. Palestine has historical borders known to the world, and all cities with Israeli names are in fact Palestinian. Palestinian books, according to the testimony of several local and international organizations, are legitimate."

Another ministry official agreed with Yasin, explaining that the teaching contained within Palestinian curricula is acceptable and designed to prepare Palestinian students for the future, especially the process of establishing the Palestinian state. He added that "the curricula try to posit the Palestinian individual on the threshold of the coming period within a look that includes relations with the rest of the world."

The official assured that the curricula do not violate international doctrine connected with the Palestinian struggle, adding that several researchers that examined the curricula have approved them. He concluded by saying that the Belgian Government's commitment to supporting the development of Palestinian curricula is another indicator of the strength of the Palestinian education system and the high level of trust in it.

(With Thanks to "Imra" for distributing this article.)

Article located at

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Jerusalem Bomb had rat poisoning
Dr. Aaron Lerner
Director, IMRA

Yediot Ahronot correspondent Limor Shmuel reported in today's edition that one of the bombs that exploded last week in Jerusalem also contained chemical poison - apparently rat poisoning. The area around the bomb on Luntz Street was checked after police noted an odd smell.

Investigators found traces of a common poison - apparently rat poison - that can be readily purchased. It is believed that the bomb contained large quantities of the poison but that most of it burned in the explosion.

Police say that this was not a sophisticated attempt at introducing chemicals to an attack and that no one could have been hurt by it.

This morning two teams from the Ministry of the Environment were sent immediately to the site of the Checkpost Junction bombing in Haifa to determine if the bombs contained poisons.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director
IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
Mail: P.O. Box 982, Kfar Sava
Tel: (+972-9) 760-4719
Fax: (+972-3) 548-0092
Pager: (03) 675-0750 subscriber 4811

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Go to the Israel Resource Review homepage

The Israel Resource Review is brought to you by the Israel Resource, a media firm based at the Bet Agron Press Center in Jerusalem, and the Gaza Media Center under the juristdiction of the Palestine Authority.
You can contact us on