Israel Resource Review 19th December, 2001


Importing Protest Professionals for the PLO Cause
David Bedein

At a time when few tourists are coming to Jerusalem and fewer people than ever are demonstrating support for the Palestinian cause, a group known as the International Solidarity Movement has organized 62 tourists to come to Jerusalem at this time to organize political demonstrations for the PLO cause

The Israeli host of this new kind of "solidarity Mission", the the Alternative Information Center, located at its new office at 4 Shlom Tzion Hamalka Street opposite the Israel Ministry of Interior, acts a clearing house for more than a dozen Israeli left wing organizations.

The IRS tax deductible Firedoll Foundation in California, an organization that helps Arab human rights organizations, provided subsidies for participants on this mission.

The AIC director, Sergei Yani, says that he supports the solidarity movement's activities because of what he defines as the "right of oppressed peoples"

The person spearheading the effort is a 24 year old woman, Huwaida Arref, born in Michigan to a Palestinian American family and trained in the art of grass roots community organization.

This is not the first project International Solidarity Campaign Last summer, the campaign brought over one hundred volunteers to work in summer camps that demonstrated support for the PLO cause,.

The first agenda item of the Inaternational Solidarity Movement this week was the organization of a civil disobedience orientation seminar which took place at the three kings hotel in Jerusalem. According to Huwaida, this is where the guest protesters learned the art of non-violent resistance to potential confrontations with Israeli troops.

After two days of training sessions, Huwaida led the group on a bus trip to Ramalla where their solidarity mission's first activity was to get out of the bus and to lie down in front of IDF tanks that sit on the southern outskirts of the city. Young IDF officers, looking at the group incredulously, simply escorted the group to the nearest checkpoint.

Liad Kantorowiscz, the head of the "1948 solidarity group based in Tel Aviv, who is also hosting the visiting delegation, explained that the reason why their delegation lied down in front of the tanks was that the IDF will not harm or even arrest foreign nationals. An IDF spokesman explained that indeed, the IDF cannot arrest foreign nationals, and that they can only detain them and perhaps hand them over to the police.

Kantorowiscz , 23. in welcoming the delegation, told them that that the 1949 lines of Israel were internationally recognized borders, which was not the case,. that Gilo was part of Beit Jalla, and that. half of the Arab refugees today were Arabs who fled the west bank. When confronted with the fact that UNRWA camps comprise the descendents of the Arabs who fled Israel in 1948, she said that she did not know that

Well, the IDF did not arrest the delegation when they sat down in front of the tanks. Instead, the surprised young IDF officers simply escorted the delegation back to their bus, where they went off to greet Yassir Arafat.

In their meeting with Arafat, the delegation issued a statement following their meeting in which they lauded Arafat for his support of a "just, comprehensive and lasting peace" based on UN resolutions.

Two of the delegation leaders, Charles Lenchner and Joshua Ruebner, who work with new US-based groups known as "Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel:" and the "Jewish Unity for a Just Peace", said that they were not aware of Arafat's speech the day before their visit with Arafat in which the PLO leader endorsed suicide attacks to kill Jews in Jerusalem even though they said that they had read the Jerusalem Post that morning which had headlined that speech

Instead, the delegation informed the PLO leader that they were coming as the first American Jewish delegation to the PA after the September 2000 intifada to call for an end of to the Israeli military occupation of west bank, Gaza, AND East Jerusalem.

Lenchner said that he explicitly called for Israel to withdraw its troops from the Jewish neighborhoods in East Jersualem.

Since the delegation endorsed all UN resolutions pertaining to the conflict, Lenchner was asked about whether he supported the UN resolutions that back the "right of return" to Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem that were overrun by Israel, Lenchner affirmed that that was implicit in his recognition of the "right of return" as a fundamental human right.

When asked about whether the Jews in Bakka should therefore leave their homes and hand them over to Arabs . Lenchner and other members of the delegation said that the people living in Bakka should recognize the in principle right of return for Pal refugees.

AIC director, Sergei Yani, went a step further and explained that a justified solution for Arab properties in West Jerusalem would be for the people in Bakka to pay rent to the rightful Arab owners of their homes. Yeni does not fear the possibility of massive Arab return to Israel proper, however. The way he sees it, "if Israel absorbed a million Jews in the past year, it could also absorb a million Arabs."

The next planned events of the solidarity delegation call for a few days of tree planting near Arab villages in the Shomron where allegations exist that Jewish communities had uprooted the trees. The delegation mentioned that it gets its information from the Rabbis for Human Rights. Although RHR had been mentioned on invitations to the solidarity delegation as a sponsoring host, RHR director Rabbi Arik Ascherman denied that, saying while some of their Rabbis may accompany their trip, that the RHR was may go along. Another key Israeli contact for the group is Neta Golan, a woman who has made it a full time avocation of gathering information from the PLO and handing it over to visiting journalists and diplomats throughout the past year. Neta works full time thanks to a $10,000 grant that she received from the Bat Shalom feminist peace group, which is a beneficiary of the New Israel Fund.

Neta, often the solitary source for human rights reports, has spent the better part of the past decade as an in-patient in mental health institutions in Israel and in Canada.

Neta was once suffering from delusions in a hospital ward.

Now Neta projects her imagination on to the media.

This weekend, the delegation plans to dismantle IDF checkpoints near the Arab village of Salfit. At the training seminar, the delegation practiced the art of confronting soldiers as "human shields" for the Palestinians, and then lying down to challenge the IDF do anything about that. . Liad Kantorowiscz explains that their purpose is to act against settlement outpost, and to remove roadlocks between villages, and to use the "internationals" as the way to do it.

When Kantorowiscz was asked how she would feel if a suicide killer got through because there was no checkpoint, She said that the killer would have gotten through any way.

The person expressing the greatest appreciation upon the arrival of this delegation was Ghassan Andoni of Beit Sahour, a PA offical who conducted various "non violent" activities over the past year, such as the placement of Palestinian flags near IDF bases.

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What did Arafat Convey in his Speeches of December 16 and December 17?

[IMRA comment: Below is the complete text of the English translation of Yasser Arafat's December 16, 2001 address to the Palestinian people as it appeared on the WAFA website, followed by a news report that appeared concerning Arafat's speech on December 17,2001. The Palestine Media Center faxed IMRA a copy of a text on the stationary of the PNA Office of the President that is considerably longer.]

#1 Only groups that carry out "terror" will be outlawed

"Dear Brothers, we have declared a state of emergency and conducted series of actions and measure, that we intend to proceed with, as announcing the illegal formations and their activities of terror, as outlaw and rebellious" [The text distributed by the PNA "Office of the President" reads: "Dear brothers, we have declared a state of emergency and have undertaken a series of steps and measures that we intend to pursue, including declaring as outside the law all illegal organizations and bodies that carry out terrorist activities."

#2 The action being carried out by Palestinians is not terror

The PNA text reads: "We must fully grasp the latest international developments, particularly in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington . . . we fce deliberate distortion and incitement against us, and in which we face unjust attempts to tarnish with the label of terrorism our legitimate stand for liberation and for ending the occupation, as endorsed by international legitimacy."

#3 Only actions of the type that have been denounced by the PA in the past are barred now + mortar attacks

"I reiterate the declared ceasefire, and to totally stop all actions including the suicidal attacks, that we have condemned and will peruse their sponsors and organizers, also the mortar launchers that aim to provide the Israelis with excuses to massacre our children and women." The PNA text reads: "Again, I call for the total halt of all operations, particularly suicide attacks, that we have always denounced . . . The same applies to the firing of mortars . . . " Please note the meaning of the sentence: the call is a halt to operations that the PA has always denounced - not ALL operations. And to prove this, since up until now the PA has not denounced mortar attacks, Arafat goes on and notes that "the same applies" - that is to say that if the mortar attacks were not mentioned that they would not be subject to the call.

#4 Return of refugees

"I am certain of the solid national solidarity for freedom, independence and establishment of our State with Jerusalem as its Capital with compliance with the International legitimacy and the UN resolutions, 242, 338, 425, and 194 including the Land for Peace Principle."

The PNA text reads:"I am confident that our national consensus will remain firmly focused on the objectives of freeedom, independence, the building of an independent Palestinia state with its capital Jerusalem Al-Sharif, within the framework of the resolutions of international legitimacy 242, 338, 425 and 194 (pertaining to the Palestinian refugees) and the principle of land-for-peace." +++

President Arafat addresses the nation For the Holy "Eid Alfittir" occasion Ramallah December 17th Wafa (Official Palestine News Agency),

Addressing yesterday, the Palestinian people and the rest of the world, for the Holy "Eid Alfittir" occasion, President Yasser Arafat stressed that the vicious war waged by the Israeli Government will not break or kneel our brave nation down, and will not shake our pride, evidences that prove this fact are filling the history.

H.E. emphasized that this complicated struggle should not, and we will not allow it to question the reliability of the Palestinian Leadership nor its decisions, and we should not provide Sharon and his Government any excuses to escalate their aggression against us, and help them describing our struggle as a terror that targets civilians.

H.E. made clear that our unity is the solid ground that we stand on and that protects us and protects our national projects, and this unity has always provided us with all the needed strength to proceed with our struggle in achieving our national consensus. Hereby is the full text of the delivered word:

"By the name of Almighty God"

Brothers and sisters, my fellow citizens and striving brave Palestinians;

Mothers, fathers and brothers of the Martyrs;

You who have sacrificed the dearest of our children for the sake of victory and freedom, and the sake of the Holy City of Jerusalem; The prisoners, and the wounded who have sacrificed dearly, through your firm stand, pain and wounds, you have created a unique idol of struggle and anxious strive which has brought us very close to Jerusalem.Jerusalem.Jerusalem.our independent state's Capital.

My beloved citizens, from the refugee camps, the villages, the towns, and the cities of Palestine, and in the exile, you have created the survival miracle and kept our national cause and kept our legitimate and just goals through protecting our rights, and created the means to achieve them.

I greet you from my heart and wish a happy "Eid Alfittirr"

In these blessed days I would like to share with you, openly and frankly, >from heart to heart and mind to mind, the current bold facts, in order to think over every matter that concerns us, to rectify our decisions and position, I am certain and confident that my people have the required intelligence, vision and the power of persistence to reach the right conclusions and the right decisions that will enable us to overcome the coming challenges and difficulties, protect our Christian and Islamic Holy places, and prepare for our victory on our Holy Land, where our Profit Muhammad ascended to the skies and our Lord Jesus Christ was born.

Our unity is the solid ground, on which we stand, that has protected our parade for freedom, through the past many decades, it has also provided us with the just, comprehensive and long lasting longed peace, with the required protection, and with the elements of our persistent progress towards the national consensus, without compromising our sacred priorities, nor in decision neither in practice.

Thus I hereby and in the name of the Leadership, do emphasize our clear and deep conception of our unity, as a unity of all the factions and streams of our nation, and the unity in accepting the decisions of the Palestinian consensus materialized by the National, Legislative and Central Councils.

The PLO started as the essential choice of our people in Palestine and in the exile, the choice that has united us, led us and materialized our legitimacy, this choice reflects our demands and needs, and alongside with the PLO, we also have our elected National Authority that expresses the Palestinian people's goals and ambitions, it has been shaped according to the Palestinians' vision and need, it forms the solid foundation for the Palestinian State, including Jerusalem as its Capital, and through our elected municipal, legislative and parliament institutions and councils and through the International recognition of our National Authority, I would like to use this occasion to reaffirm that we are ready to conduct another democratic elections for our Leadership and our institutions, as soon as the situation is safe and the conditions are suitable.

Sharon and his Government are waging this vicious criminal war against our well recognized and highly internationally evaluated Leadership and elected institutions, by targeting our establishments, members of our government and parliament, police officers, security systems, infrastructures that we have exerted all we have with the help of our brothers and friends to rebuild, a war that also targets our citizens, property, schools, hospitals, fields, Mosques and Churches, including the farms they have destroyed, not sparing the Holy Olive tree that stands bare witness to the nobility of our people and our deep roots in this Holy Land.

Yes it is a war waged against the whole Palestinians and their Leadership, against our resources, and our personal, social, and economical security, against our legitimate dream of establishing our future without further humiliation, occupation and oppression, in our independent State.

I hereby, and from within our tragedy and the essence of our fierce strive for freedom, I do declare that this vicious war waged against us by the Israelis, will not kneel us down or break our strong will, and will not get our national pride, we do reject humiliating us, we reject humiliating us, we reject humiliating us.

My dear brothers and sisters, under these circumstances I would also like to emphasize that we will not allow any to shake our national great project, or put any obstacle in its path or distract its image or distort its Palestinian pure content. We do not allow but only one Authority that its decisions must be obeyed, and its agreements must be respected, and if this Authority takes a stand in the foreign issues, these stands must be met with the people's support and protect its reliability.

Dear Brothers, we have declared a state of emergency and conducted series of actions and measure, that we intend to proceed with, as announcing the illegal formations and their activities of terror, as outlaw and rebellious, we also initiated a ceasefire, so we have to respect all what we have decided upon and abide with it, the Israelis do not respect the ceasefire and do not desire to do so but we on our behalf must abide with, we are fully aware of the conspiracy raged by the Sharon Government, by its escalating aggression and besieging our towns and villages and occupying portions of our land using the alleged allegation of protecting their citizens from acts, which we have condemned and rejected.

This complicated struggle must not allow shaking the credibility of our Leadership and its decisions nor must we allow or grant Sharon and his military institution or provide them with the platform from which they wage their attacks and assaults against us, nor furnish them with excuses to escalate their aggression or to name our legitimate struggle as terror.

I reiterate the declared ceasefire, and to totally stop all actions including the suicidal attacks, that we have condemned and will peruse their sponsors and organizers, also the mortar launchers that aim to provide the Israelis with excuses to massacre our children and women. Any breaking of these decisions will be considered as a high treason because it jeopardizes our national interest, and the outlaws will be vigorously perused and judged.

The main goal of the above is to emphasize the credibility of our attitude and choice to enable the full and immediate implementation of the Tenet Understandings and the Mitchell Report Recommendations, and to return to the negotiating table which is the one and only way to end this cycle of bloodshed and to achieve our national goals.

I am certain of the solid national solidarity for freedom, independence and establishment of our State with Jerusalem as its Capital with compliance with the International legitimacy and the UN resolutions, 242, 338, 425, and 194 including the Land for Peace Principle.

Dear sisters, dear brothers;

I hereby thank all brothers and friends that helped us by supporting us morally, financially and politically, on the official or personal levels, like other Palestinians I feel confident when the Arab, Islamic or International councils, committees or organizations assemble according to our call or just assemble for our cause, it is a renovated message to the whole world that we are not alone, and the International community is committed to our resistance and national goals of protecting the Moslem and Christian Holy places in the Holy Land the Terra Santa.

Dear brothers and sisters;

We must be aware of the International developments, especially after the September 11th 2001 events of the heinous attacks on the WTC in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, and their impact on our cause and rights, we will vigorously maintain contacts with all effective forces in the world, and comprehend the rapid changes and deal with them in the most proper manner in order to sustain our cause and rights present on the International arena, in a time when abetting increases against us from those who do not want us on our land, and who always name us as terro, only because we want to remove the occupation from our homeland which is internationally recognized as a legitimate homeland for the Palestinians, but through our continuous struggle we have achieved unprecedented achievements on the international and local levels.

The perception that was declared by the US Secretary of State Mr. Colin Powell that was stated by President George W. Bush in the UN assembly, when he committed himself to establishing the Palestinian state, also the E.U. and Russian, the UN, and the international clear and decisive position, is a very effective factor in reinforcing the justice of our struggle that will eventually lead to achieving our national legitimate rights, and sustaining strong relations with the International communities is a solid evidence to our healthy and righteous strive.

Now my fellow citizens, in your behalf I would like to address the Israeli people in a very clear and honest message, telling them that we have had negotiated with each other for decades, where some of them do remember, that we joined hands with the peace activists, and struggled together in very difficult conditions and facing legal banning from the Israeli various Governments, in order to make the negotiations a solid base for mutual understanding, turning the negotiations a sole mean to achieve acceptable results for both sides, and due to our joint persistence we went to Madrid and Oslo and else peace stations for our children's sake and theirs.

Now I hereby reiterate our policy of resuming the mutual discussion, and call on the Israeli government to cease believing that by tanks and fighter jets they can achieve what could be achieved by negotiations, we are not seeking the impossible and do not form any threat to the Israeli existence, all we ask for is to free our lands occupied in 1967 including Jerusalem, and the International legitimacy is on our side, we want the Israeli occupying forces to withdraw from our lands and to evacuate the settlements, the International legitimacy is also on our side in this matter.

We want fair implementation of all agreed upon issues, we want to resume negotiation on all pending issues without canceling the previous achievements from the Whye River, Camp David, Sharm Alsheikh, Paris, Taba, Cairo and elsewhere.

And we frankly demand a real independent State with Jerusalem as its Capital, alongside with Israel, but what we do not want are the tanks filling our streets in our villages and towns, and the fighter airplanes shelling our populated places from the skies, these acts that are not legal and contradict all International legitimacy, will not get to our persistence and determination.

I renew my invitation to the people, political powers, institutions and government of Israel to return without delay to the table of negotiations and to proceed immediately to terminate these grave inhuman measures being exercised against our people and which serve no purpose except the aggravation of conditions and rendering security, peace, and stability in the region all that more distant.

In conclusion, To my beloved people, the great and proud nation within the homeland and in exile, I greet you and reach out to you so that together we will plant an olive tree on the grave of every martyr, for all that was destroyed shall be rebuilt, God willing and with the determination of the people. All beautiful hopes shall be realized with God's will. Victory is an hour's patience away.

And to enter your temple, As they have entered it before, And to visit with destruction All that fell into their power God will not fail in His promise, Sadaqa Allahu Al Athim. Peace is upon you.

Ma'ariv: Arafat: "All Palestinians are martyrs"

18 December 2001[Hebrew item translated by IMRA]

+ [Palestinian] Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat spoke today in Ramallah "every Palestinian is a martyr, we are all Muhammad al-Dura"

+ The public responded: "millions of martyrs are on their way to Jerusalem"

Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat said today in a speech he delivered in Ramallah that all the Palestinians are martyrs ("shahids") and are all Muhammad al-Dura, the boy who was killed by IDF fire as his father tried to protect him, ion the first days of the Al Aqsa Intifada [IMRA: it is not clear that IDF fire actually did].

"I tell everyone who should hear me, for good or for bad, this brave People will continue to protect and defend our holy land with its blood and soul, and all its property.

This is consecrated land, our land of ours, now and forever, from the cradle to the grave . . . we with the help of God will meet next time in Jerusalem, because we are fighting in order to bring the victory to our prophets, every baby, every child, every man, every women, and every older person, and all the youngsters, we will sacrifice ourselves for our holy places, and we will establish the guard on them, and are prepared to give 70 of our martyrs for every martyr of theirs in this campaign, because this is our holy land. We will continue to fight on this blessed land, and I call to you, remain steadfast, no one will succeed in dividing us, to remove us from this holy land."

The crowd responded to Arafat that millions of martyrs are already making their way to Jerusalem.

Arafat said this only two days after he called in a televised speech in Arabic for a halt to attacks against Israelis [IMRA: not correct - it was a call to stop activities similar to those the PA has condemned in the past as well as not to carry out mortar attacks]

Along with this Arafat said at reception for Arabs from East Jerusalem who came to support him that no one can remove the Palestinians from their holy land and that soon "we will raise the flag of Palestine on the mosques and churches". Arafat called for the residents of East Jerusalem to continue and remain steadfast against Israeli measures being carried out in the eastern part of the city. "The Palestinian People will continue to defend the land of Palestine with its blood, its soul, and all the resources they possess, in order to foil all plans Israel makes in the neighborhoods in East Jerusalem."

Arafat speech appears at:

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