Israel Resource Review 10th June, 2005


Israel's Military Introduces C4I For Pullout
Special Middle East News Line Report

Israel's military has installed a C4I system to facilitate the withdrawal of the Gaza Strip and the eviction of nearly its 9,000 Israeli residents.

Military sources said Southern Command, responsible for the Gaza Strip, has been linked by a command, control communications and computer system that would provide commanders with a common situational awareness picture and real-time communications. The sources said the digital system would allow communications between helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles of the Israel Air Force with ground forces commanders and forward observation posts in an effort to reduce sensor-to-shooter cycles and ensure efficient utilization of personnel and other resources.

"In another two weeks, the Gaza division will be on the network," Brig. Gen. Arnon Zu-Aretz, chief officer of the C4I Directorate, said on Thursday. "The decision to establish the network was not linked to the disengagement."

Zu-Aretz told a seminar attended by hundreds of soldiers and officers from the C4I directorate that combat units in the Gaza Strip would be linked by data and phone. He said the units have already been connected by secure cellular phones in a project termed "Mountain Rose."

The military has been ordered to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank in August 2005. Officials said the mission would take up to a month and focus on the eviction of the 10,000 Israelis in both areas.

IDF Military sources said the withdrawal would mark the leading mission for all services in 2005. They said every unit would contribute soldiers for the evacuation.

"The disengagement is painful, historic, traumatic and sad from a national point of view," Maj. Gen. Udi Shani, commander of the C4I Directorate, said. "This is not only for those who would be taken from their homes, but all citizens and soldiers."

The C4I directorate has established the Mountain Rose cellular network, which provides commanders and officers with secure cellular phone capabilities. Motorola has been the supplier of the phones while the directorate has overseen development of the network.

Mountain Rose has been part of the Digital Army Program, which contains several networks to relay data, voice and battle management information. The Defense Ministry plans to spend 1 billion shekels, or $232 million, for DAP, led by Elbit Systems.

Shani said the military would establish three rings in the evacuation of Jews from the Gaza Strip. The first ring would remove Israelis from their homes. The second ring would provide perimeter security and the third ring would protect against Palestinian attack. He said the General Staff based in Tel Aviv would monitor the withdrawal through network centric systems that would facilitate rapid response and decisions.

"In the disengagement, the key is sensitivity and determination," Shani said. "And, that the mission is above everything."

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Official Palestinian Authority
Media: Abbas sends Tough Messages to Sharon
Dr. Michael Widlanski

June 10, 2005

The official Palestinian Authority (PA) media stressed last night's interview with Mahmoud Abbas that sent a series of tough but mixed messages to the Palestinian audience today regarding continuing violence against Israeli targets.

The underlying theme of Abbas's remarks was that he, too, distrusted Israel's intentions and that attacking Israel might be justified, but it was strategically wrong for individuals to carry out such attacks and make the Palestinians look bad.

"We cannot make mistakes. We have to make sure that only the other side makes mistakes until we have the power to appear before the world."

[SEE ABBAS INTERVIEW below ---see also PBC Television item below]

The Palestinian distrust of Israel was shown in a cartoon in Al-Quds were the withdrawal map from Gaza was sketched out in disappearing ink.

Abbas's approach for continuing the lull was rejected by spokesmen of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations, although the Palestinian newspapers said the opposite. [see items below]

At the same time, an official mosque sermon, broadcast by the PA's Voice of Palestine radio, attacked Israel and the US for a policy of desecrating Muslim prisoners' copies of the Quran, Islam's scripture.

PBC television intervew: Palestinian Leader Mahmoud Abbas

Israel is continuing its provocations in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, and this must cease, declared Dr. Mahmoud Abbas, in a special interview with Palestinian Television (PBC) Thursday night (June 9).

He excoriated Israel for its fence-building program and for what he called the "Judaization of Jerusalem," and he insisted that the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza was only the first step in "withdrawing from all Palestinian lands."

Abbas insisted on Israel turning over airport, port and an overland safe passage route, saying, "we are afraid that Gaza will be turned into a big prison

"It is to be expected that Israel will attempt provocations here and there," but, said Abbas, it was important for the Palestinian community to react as a unit and not through individual responses.

"We cannot make mistakes. We have to make sure that only the other side makes mistakes until we have the power to appear before the world."

"They make ten mistakes, and we make one mistake, and everybody hears about our mistake."

"Every individual takes the response into his own hands, and this is impossible and unacceptable," continued Dr. Abbas, who said responding to Israel was a national communal right.

But his remarks were rejected by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

"Any attack on our people will be met with a response by the resistance force," asserted Sami Abu-Ramzi, a senior Hamas official, shown on PBC television shortly after a televised meeting with Dr. Abbas. [Note: "Resistance" is the term usually applied to attacks on Israeli targets.-MW]

"We cannot stand by with Zionist attacks on the tahdiyya [lull]," asserted Khalid Batsch of Islamic Jihad, also after meeting Abbas.

Also on PBC television

A Fatah spokesman, Samir Al-Mushharawi, said that keeping the tahdiyya-the "cooling-off period" or "lull"-was a Palestinian national interest. "The tahdiyya is a national interest, and we have to observe it. The power of the Palestinian position is in observing this position. …This means that individual responses to Israeli actions are wrong, and they must be decided by the national leadership."

Israel's withdrawal from Gaza is doomed to failure, unless it coordinates better with the Palestinians, asserted Muhammad Dahlan, PA Civilian Affairs Minister in remarks to civic leaders that were broadcast on television.

Like Abbas, he insisted that Israel, when it withdraws from Gaza, must turn over airport, sea port and an overland "safe passage" route to the Palestinians.

Voice of Palestine Radio

Abbas's comments opened the Friday morning broadcasts of Voice of Palestine (V.O.P.) state radio.

In a V.O.P. interview, General Jibril Rajoub, Abbas's National Security Advisor, said that the tahdiyya [lull in fighting] was a strategic decision by the Palestinians and part of the Palestinian struggle.

Rajoub said that one of Abbas's objectives during his recent Washington trip was to turn American sympathy into increased pressure on Israel to stop settlements and to make total withdrawal. [Abbas in his interview said that if America pressed Israel, Israel would have no choice but to accede to the Palestinian perspective.]

From Palestinian newspapers:

Al-Quds (lead item)-FACTIONS ASSERT COMMITMENT TO TAHDIYYA (LULL) IN A MEETING IN GAZA WITH PRESIDENT (SECOND ITEM)Dahlan: Israel's fence-building will create third Intifada TOP OF PAGE PICTURE: Israeli border police struggling with demonstrators at Salfit concerning fence building.

Al-Ayyam: ABBAS DECLARES WITH FACTIONS CONTINUATION OF LULL, ASSERTS ELECTION DATE AFTER CONSULTATION WITH FACTIONS TOP-OF-PAGE PICTURE: Palestinian youth standing in his underwear in front of Israeli army road block, with caption saying that settlers made the youth strip in front of Nevei Dekalim settlement in Gaza.

Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda: Similar lead headlines and stories, with sub-leads on Abbas calling the Tahdiyya (lull in fighting) a national interest of the Palestinians; also coverage of Dahlan comments that Israel setting the foundation for next Intifada.

Report compiled by Michael Widlanski Associates.
Commissioned by the Center for Near East Policy Research.
[Permission to quote or reprint from article conditional on citing Michael Widlanski or Michael Widlanski Associates.] Dr. Michael Widlanski is a specialist in Arab politics and communication whose doctorate dealt with the Palestinian broadcast media. He is a former reporter, correspondent and editor, respectively, at The New York Times ,The Cox Newspapers-Atlanta Constitution, and The Jerusalem Post.

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Abbas Orders Release of Islamic Insurgents Wanted for Murder
Middle East News Line Investigative Report

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has ordered the release of Islamic insurgents accused of helping plan a February 2005 suicide bombing in Israel.

PA officials said Abbas ordered the release of the insurgents held in the West Bank in an effort to reconcile with the Islamic opposition. They said at least four insurgents were expected to be freed over the weekend.

The PA imprisoned the insurgents days after the suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, in which five people were killed. The detainees were members of the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad, which claimed responsibility for the strike.

Officials said Abbas has refused appeals from some of his aides to force Hamas and Jihad to honor the PA ceasefire with Israel. They said Abbas has been alarmed by a spate of attacks against PA officials and installations.

Jihad spokesman Khaled Batash said the PA agreed to release all nine operatives held in connection with the Tel Aviv suicide bombing. Batash said the Jihad detainees must remain in Jericho, which is under PA control.

Officials said the PA has come under pressure from the Islamic opposition and the ruling Fatah movement. They said the result could be an outbreak of a new round of Palestinian suicide strikes and massive Israeli retaliation.

"Israel's current actions are paving the way for a third uprising," Civil Affairs Minister Mohammed Dahlan, a former Gaza security chief, said.

In Gaza City, Palestinian insurgents fired toward the home of security commander Brig. Gen. Rashid Abu Shback over the weekend. Abu Shback heads the Preventive Security Apparatus, regarded as the most powerful security agency in the Gaza Strip and loyal to Dahlan

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Palestinian Authority Responds to Charges of Incitement in Their Text Books
Palestine Media Center - PMC [Official PA website]

[This is in response to the session initiated by the Israel Resource News agency on May 18th, 2005 for congressional staffers of the US Congress. After that session, Rep. Brad Sherman met with Abbas and challenged Abbas to change the nature of the Palestinian Authority textbooks as one of the conditions for receiving further funds from US AID. See: previous article - db]

In a report titled "The Myth of Incitement in Palestinian Textbooks," the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education has refuted as "unfounded" the Israeli and US allegations that Palestinian textbooks incite hatred and violence, ahead of attempts by some US Congressmen to attach conditions to direct US aid to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), including changes to the Palestinian syllabus.

US Congress is taking the unprecedented step of establishing an in-house oversight apparatus to monitor daily how American aid money to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is being spent.

Following is the text of the ministry's report that was distributed to the foreign diplomatic corps in PNA as well as to the US institutions, Senators, congressmen and women:

The Myth of Incitement in Palestinian Textbooks

Allegations Unfounded

There has been a flood of accusations for several years over the content of Palestinian textbooks; that the textbooks incite children to hatred and violence towards Israeli Jews, and fail to promote the values of peace, tolerance and coexistence. This claim has been widely accepted as a fact mostly in the United States and Israeli official circles. Such claims are largely based on reports by the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace (CMIP), a Jewish organization with links to extremist and racist Israeli groups that advocate settlement activities in the Palestinian territories, expulsion (transfer) of Palestinians from their homeland, and claims that Palestinians are all "terrorists" that peace with them is not possible. Israel's supporters now are intensifying their orchestrated crusade against Palestinian education, in preparation for the House International Relations Committee's planned consideration of the Foreign Relations Authorization bill, FY 2006-2007.

The issue of Palestinian incitement "is going to be a very big issue for Congress as we move ahead to the next few years," said Ester Kurz, legislative strategy and policy director of the influential pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), according to Jewish American paper The Forward, 27 May 2005.

Senator Hillary Clinton has continued to criticize Palestinian textbooks since her first Senate campaign. "All future aid to the Palestinian Authority must be contingent on strict compliance with their obligation to change all the textbooks in all grades-not just two at a time," she insisted five years ago. Unfortunately, she fails to realize that leading the campaign against what she calls "new generation of terrorists" is in itself an act of incitement to hate and racism. ("Hillary Clinton: Link PA Aid to End to Antisemitism," Jerusalem Post 26 September 2000)

A member of the United States Congress wrote to The New York Times: "According to the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, today's sixth-grade Palestinian students are required to read the textbook 'Our Country Palestine,' which has a banner on the title page of Volume I that reads, 'There is no alternative to destroying Israel.'" (Steve Israel, letter to The New York Times, 10 June 2001, Section 4, p. 14). Had Congressman Steve Israel checked his sources before making his declaration, he would have found that there is no such banner in the textbook.

However, in their rush to judgment, some American politicians repeated the allegations without bothering to verify such claims. Thus, and consequently, victimizing the Palestinian people and children further. In the words of Alice Rothchild, co-chair of Visions of Peace with Justice, in a speech given at World Fellowship Center August, 2001: "The campaign of the CMIP has created a self-fulfilling prophecy that is devastating to the peace movement." And she asked: "What does this tell us about our own stereotypes, racism, power relationships and knee jerk responses?"

Criticism of Palestinian textbooks has been largely based on claims by Israeli government sources and CMIP, who's work has been criticized as "tendentious and highly misleading" by Nathan Brown, Professor of Political Science at George Washington University, and Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who has also published his own studies on this subject. According to Prof. Brown, CMIP's "method was to follow harsh criticisms with quotation after quotation purporting to prove a point.In short, the CMIP reports read as if they were written by a ruthless prosecuting attorney anxious for a conviction at any cost. Exaggerated rhetoric, charges of anti-Semitism and racism, and denial of the significance of existing changes in the curriculum will hardly convince anyone further improvements are worth the effort." (Nathan J. Brown, Getting Beyond the Rhetoric about the Palestinian Curriculum, 1 January 2002)

CMIP's claim that the European Union was funding Palestinian textbooks with anti-Semitic content infuriated Chris Patten, on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, and External Relations Commissioner. He declared: "It is a total fabrication that the European Union has funded textbooks with anti-Semitic arguments within them in Palestinian schools. It is a complete lie."

The European Union, responding to the false allegations, issued a statement on 15 May 2002 which asserted that: "Quotations attributed by earlier CMIP reports to the Palestinian textbooks are not found in the new Palestinian Authority schoolbooks funded by some EU Member States; some were traced to the old Egyptian and Jordanian text books that they are replacing, some to other books outside the school curriculum, and others not traced at all. While many of the quotations attributed to the new textbooks by the most recent CMIP report of November 2001 could be confirmed, these have been found to be often badly translated or quoted out of context, thus suggesting an anti-Jewish incitement that the books do not contain. Therefore, allegations against the new textbooks funded by EU members have proven unfounded."

In "A Study of the Impact of the Palestinian Curriculum", commissioned by the Belgian Technical Co-operation at the end of 2004, and conducted by education experts, Dr. Roger Avenstrup and Dr Patti Swarts, they found that: "In the light of the debate stirred by accusations of incitement to hatred and other criticisms of the Palestinian textbooks, there is no evidence at all of that happening as a result of the curriculum. What is of great concern to students, teachers and parents alike is that although they wish it, students find it difficult to accept peace and conflict resolution as a solution to the conflict, and teachers find it difficult to teach, while soldiers and settlers are shooting in the streets and in schools and checkpoints have to be braved every day. It would seem that the occupation is the biggest constraint to the realisation of these values in the Palestinian curriculum."

In his evaluation of Palestinian Civic Education, Dr. Wolfram Reiss, University of Rostock, Germany, at the Conference on "Teaching for Tolerance, Respect and Recognition in Relation with Religion or Belief," Oslo, 2-5 September 2004, Wrote: "[I]t must be said first that, in general, the Palestinian textbooks cannot be considered a "war curriculum". At least these textbooks of Civics Education convey visions of society, in which tolerance to other religions, human rights, peace, pluralism, democracy and other values are encouraged and fostered much. There is no hatred or incitement against Israel, the Israeli people or Judaism. The textbooks do not contain anti-Semitic language."

Dr. Reiss added that "civics education textbooks do not only avoid hatred and incitement against the West, but foster very much Western values: democracy, human rights, the individual rights, the education for peace and tolerance of all religions, the rights of women and children, the civil society and the protection of nature. From a Western perspective the civics education textbooks therefore have to be highly praised indeed."

Finally, the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI), in their June 2004 report, "Analysis and Evaluation of the New Palestinian Curriculum" (30 books for Grades 4 and 9), commissioned by the US Congress and submitted to the Public Affairs Office of the US Consulate General in Jerusalem, concluded that: "There is, moreover, no indication of hatred of the Western Judeo-Christian tradition or the values associated with it," and that "the textbooks promote an environment of open-mindedness, rational thinking, modernization, critical reflection and dialogue."

The report also confirmed that the textbooks "promote civil activity, commitment, responsibility, solidarity, respecting others' feelings, respecting and helping people with disabilities, and . . . reinforce students' understanding of the values of civil society such as respecting human dignity; religious, social, cultural, racial, ethnic, and political pluralism; personal, social and moral responsibility; transparency and accountability."

Palestinians welcome having their own textbooks examined and scrutinized from an academic, not prosecutorial stand point, but it is also fair and legitimate to ask those rushing to prosecute to look at Israeli curricula and compare how each side views the "other". Incidentally, the United States Congress has an ongoing program to fund research on Palestinian school books, but is on record as refusing to pay a dime for research on Israeli school books. Concern about Palestinian education and curricula, however, can gain credibility if it is not seen as blatantly one-sided and totally political.

Israeli Incitement

Those who are critical of what Palestinian children are learning should try to find out how Israeli children are taught to hate Arabs, and trained to kill them?

Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronot, May 7th 2002, published a letter titled "Dear Soldiers, Please Kill a Lot of Arabs," that came from Israeli children who sent such letters to Israeli soldiers serving in the Tulkarm area during the so-called "Operation Defensive Shield". The letters sent by Israeli school students encouraged soldiers to disregard rules and regulations and to kill as many Arabs as possible. According to "Yedioth Ahronoth", dozens of the letters were sent to soldiers, mostly from children in the 7th through 10th grades, attending religious schools.

Egyptian researcher Safa Abdel-Aal studied the Israeli curriculum and media, and published her findings in a new book entitled Racist Education in the Israeli Curricula in which she found that Israel's educational curricula incite the new generation for war, and racism against the Arabs. Abdel-Aal's book analyses eleven history and five geography books for elementary school from grades three to six.

She thought that these books deliberately paint distorted pictures of the Arabs, giving them such derogatory descriptions as "Arab thieves" or "embezzlers", and saying they are "bastards, thirsty for Jewish blood" or that they are "underdeveloped Bedouins" and "vagrant highway robbers," and "house of Arab reptiles".

Abdel-Aal said that Arabs are maliciously described as murderers and thieves. In one example she quoted the following from one Israeli textbook, "despite a harsh climate and strange environment full of attacks by Arab embezzlers, thieves and terrorists". And in another citation that refers to the city of Tiberias where "a feeling of insecurity and fear of the Arab murderers spread among the residents of the city."

Ruth Firer and Sami Adwan, an Israeli and a Palestinian scholar, who conducted research comparing Palestinian and Israeli textbooks, March 2002, wrote that the Israeli books "strongly emphasizing the collective values connected to the history of the Jewish nation in 'their land' and God's promises to the Jews that give them an absolute right on the land. The land of Eretz Israel described in the books includes the territories of the PNA from 1967."

A study by Daniel Bar-Tal of Tel-Aviv University reviewed 124 Hebrew language books approved for use in 1994 by the Ministry of Education. The study concludes that "the majority of [Israeli school] books stereotype Arabs negatively." In one children's book, Bar-Tal offers this sampling, "We were lonely. pioneers surrounded by a sea of enemies and murderers." In elementary school books, according to Bar-Tal, Arabs are often stereotyped negatively and portrayed as "uneducated people and enemies."

In a report titled "Israeli Textbooks and Children's Literature Promote Racism and Hatred toward Palestinians and Arabs," journalist Maureen Meehan concluded that "Israeli school textbooks as well as children's storybooks, portray Palestinians and Arabs as 'murderers,' 'rioters,' 'suspicious', and generally backward and unproductive. Direct delegitimization and negative stereotyping of Palestinians and Arabs are the rule rather than the exception in Israeli schoolbooks." (Washington Report for Middle East Affairs September 1999)

In a study presented at the hearing of the political committee of the European Parliament, 24 October 2003, titled "The attitude towards Palestinians in Israeli textbooks," Dr. Nurit Elhanan, of the Hebrew University, revealed that "the Palestinians are absent from all textbooks, The Occupation is never mentioned, and the area where Palestinians live is presented in the maps either as an empty space referred to as 'an area without data' (Man and Space maps) or it is incorporated into the state of Israel (The Geography of the land of Israel maps). In both cases use of the term 'occupation' is out of the question, since you cannot occupy illegally what is yours anyway and you cannot occupy illegally an empty space."

Dr. Elhanan added: "When reference is made to date in the West Bank it is only to Jewish colonies or to main cities like Nablus, Hebron or Beth Lehem as Israeli tourist sites.In Israel today there is already a second generation of children who don't know there are occupation, illegal domination and illegal settlements."

A report by an Israeli research institution, The New Profile, entitled Child Recruitment in Israel, 29 July 2004, by: Amir Givol, Neta Rotem, Sergeiy Sandler, reveals the extent of the militarization of the Israeli education system. It states:

"To begin with, militarised education naturally feeds on the militarism prevalent in society at large. In a country where various kinds of weaponry are permanently displayed in public places and the status of the military is used to promote anything from cheese to political candidates, militarised education comes natural. One absorbs militarism at home and on the street. The military is physically present in schools and school activities. Soldiers in uniform are stationed in schools, many of them are actually teaching classes. Other teachers, and especially principals, are recently retired career officers, without proper teacher training. High schools normally have a display on one of the walls in the school building with the names and photographs of "the fallen" among their graduates. School field trips, at all ages, are often made to military memorials set up on former battlegrounds. "Official curricula and textbooks also reflect the militaristic attitudes inherent in the Israeli educational system, all the way from kindergarten to the last years of high school, where there is a mandatory programme for all Jewish state-run schools called "preparation for the IDF," that in most cases includes actual military training. Whole curricular subjects are often described to the pupils, and in official documents, as having the aim of preparing pupils, or some of them, to military service. Glorifications of the military and military conquest, and negative or skewed representation of Palestinians, are to be found in many Israeli textbooks."

Education Under Occupation

Roger Avenstrup, who is an international education consultant and has worked in various countries in conflict and post-conflict situations, wrote in the International Herald Tribune, December 18, 2004, that the "biggest constraint, in the words of a Palestinian parent, is that Israeli tanks and soldiers are shooting in the streets outside while teachers are trying to promote peace in the classroom."

Since September 2000, according to the Palestinian State Information Service (SIS), Israel has killed over 4,032 Palestinians, including 750 children; and wounded over 45,000 as of April 30, 2005. Denial of access to medical facilities at checkpoints caused the death of 131 civilians. Of a population of 3.5 million, the Israeli occupation still imprisons 8,500 Palestinians, including 350 minors; 69,843 homes were damaged, 7,438 of those were completely destroyed.

Haim Yavin, Israeli Popular TV Anchor since 1968, commenting in the first segment of a five-part documentary he produced, after listening to settlers insisting that God gave them the lands, admitted: "Since 1967, we have been brutal conquerors, occupiers, suppressing another people.We simply don't view the Palestinians as human beings." And "At one point, according to AP report "Yavin shifted the camera toward the Israeli soldiers to ask why they weren't letting people through. 'I look for danger in these people and I can't find it,' Yavin said in the film." (Associated Press, May 31, 2005) Fouad Moughrabi, director of the Qattan Center for Educational Research and Development, Ramallah, Palestine, wrote, "I find no evidence of brain washing or anti-Jewish incitement in the new texts produced by the PA." He noted that "Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands breeds more hatred and mistrust than any schoolbooks can."

The Convention on the Rights of Child of November 1991, Article 2, obliges State Parties to "respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction." Israel has repeatedly violated these rights and ignored it obligations. In its 20 November 2004 press release, Defense for Children International (DCI), appealed "to the international community and world leaders to abide by their declared commitment to protect the rights of all children, including the children of Palestine. We urge them to bring pressure on the Israeli government, to abide by international law and end the occupation which is incompatible with any declared commitment to promoting and protecting the basic human rights of all."

In the same press release (20 November 2004) DCI reported that: "Since the start of the second Intifada on 29 September 2000, Palestinian children have borne the brunt of the upsurge in Israeli violence. Over the course of the past four years, more than 660 Palestinian children have been killed and almost 9,000 injured - hundreds of whom have been left with permanent physical disabilities. Many thousands more are suffering psychological trauma from the daily horrors they witness. An estimated 3,000 children have been arrested during this Intifada, while currently there are still 335 children being held in Israeli prisons and detention centers."


The First Palestinian Curriculum Plan of 1998 stated that the principles of the Palestinian curriculum are that Palestine is a democratic state, ruled by a democratic parliamentary system; Palestine is a peace-loving state, working towards international understanding and cooperation based on equality, liberty, dignity, peace and human rights; Palestinian national and cultural identity must be fostered and developed; social justice, equality and the provision of equal learning opportunities for all Palestinians, to the limits of their individual capacity must be ensured without discrimination on grounds of race, religion, color, or gender; opportunities must be provided to develop all Palestinians intellectually, socially, physically, spiritually and emotionally, to become responsible citizens, able to participate in solving problems of their community, their country and the world.

Palestinian opposition to Israel must be understood in the context of their opposition to Israeli occupation and oppression, their quest for freedom and self-determination, self preservation, and national liberation. Ruth Firer, of the Hebrew University, who carried out research on Palestinian textbooks was quoted in Americans for Peace Now published interview as saying "we were surprised to find how moderate the anger directed toward Israelis in the Palestinian textbooks is, compared to the Palestinian predicament and suffering."

Experience has shown that changes in school textbooks and syllabi are not at all the necessary ingredients for the fulfillment of a meaningful peace agreement between states in conflict, but rather the sincere will and commitment of both parties for achieving such an agreement. For over fifty years Palestinians have tried reconciliation and compromise. They declared a state on 22 percent of their original country for the sake of peace and security, through the Palestine National Council Conference of 1988 in Algiers, and accepted all U.N. resolutions regarding the Palestinian issue.

In 1993 the PLO signed the Oslo Agreement which called for ending the Israeli occupation and implementing the two-state solution. The Israelis responded by expanding settlement activities, in violation of international law and the Oslo Agreements at a frantic rate, with more violence, more land expropriation and house demolitions, incitement, demonization, and eventually the cantonisztion of the Palestinian population in apartheid-like ghettos. More recently, the (apartheid) Wall, which was condemned by the International Court of Justice at The Hague and by the international community, has added to the inciting nature of measure taken by the Israeli government against the Palestinian population under occupation.

As long as Israel continues to look for excuses attacking Palestinian institutions to smoke screen it brutal military occupation, and to deny the Palestinians' self-determination, freedom, and human rights, in violation of international law, and all U.N. resolutions, the conflict will continue. Palestinians need peace more than any other nation on earth, but peace must be based on mutual respect and justice for all.

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The Disengagement Plan's Ten Questionable Premises
David Bedein

1. "The successful withdrawal from Southern Lebanon is a precedent for everything that will take place in Gaza and Northern Samaria after the withdrawal from these areas".

Deputy prime minister, Minister Ehud Olmert, said in an address he made to the Conference of Presidents to Major Jewish Organizations from North America, on February 18th, 2005, that "No missiles have been fired from on the Northern border against Israel since Israel's retreat from Lebanon in May 2000." Olmert also repeated this statement at a press conference one week later and refused to even glance at the official I.D.F. report which was shown to him which documented over 100 missile attacks took place on the Northern border since Israel's withdrawal attacks that resulted in the deaths of at least 28 Israeli citizens.

2. "There is less incitement from the Palestine Authority since Abu Mazen's entry into his position as president".

The reality is that the governmental committee that was supposed to report on Palestinian incitement against Israel is not operating at all. General (Res.) Yaakov Amidror, who was assigned to coordinate the incitement committee, says that he is not receiving much information from intelligence sources in the Defense Ministry, and therefore he cannot operate. There is not incitement because no one is reporting the incitement. This is a repeat scenario from the past when Gen. Yoash Tzidon was appointed to coordinate the follow up committee on incitement, in October 1998. In an interview with Tzidon, he told me at the time that he received a position without an office, without any budget and without a mandate from the then Foreign Minister, Ariel Sharon. Ultimately, Tzidon resigned from his position for lack of any mandate to function.

3. "Abu Mazen is a peace seeking leader".

Despite the PLO chairman's statements in the PA media, in which he states strongly that he does not intend to dismantle the terror organizations from their arms, not one Israeli governmental office or military source has come forth to present this "incriminating" evidence against Abu Mazen to the Israeli public or to the International Community.

Abu Mazen's statements to the PA media since entering his position as PA chairman: These statements do not represent any willingness for peace or co-existence with the people of Israel and Abu Mazen feels confident to go on making such pronouncements, so long as he has the collaboration of the Israeli government who willingly turns a blind eye to such blatant anti-peace behavior.

4. "Aid given to the PA education is a positive development".

The Israeli government is assisting in this aid despite reports from the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace,, which show that the PA's educational system is based on continuing the war against the "Zionist State". In March, Belgium's foreign minister visited Israel. Belgium funds the PA inciting school books. Israel's foreign minister spokesman and the spokesman for the prime minister's office refused to answer the question whether the government of Israel will request Belgium to reconsider transferring funds to the PA educational system due to the incitement nature of the school books or at least to stipulate the transfer of funds with removing the blatant anti Israeli texts. Official Belgian representatives told me that the State of Israel has never made such a request and couldn't really figure out why I would raise such a question when the government of Israel clearly has no interest in it.

5. "The United States promised to recognize settlement blocs".

Israel's prime minister claims repeatedly that this promise has been made to him as part of the agreements reached in his meeting with Bush on April 13th, 2004. The only problem is that the American Embassy informed me that the American Foreign Ministry completely denies any such promise of recognition of settlements.

6. According to the office of Israel's prime minister, "As part of the United States' gestures of good will to Israel for the Gaza and Northern Samaria withdrawal, the US will aid in the buying of the property belonging to the residents of the settlements".

The Ma'ariv newspaper even published a detailed article, telling of a budget of $56 million dollars to be given by US Aid. After checking with the directors of the US Aid, I was informed that the Fund was never even approached and would never consider funding such an endeavor.

7. According to reports in the Israeli papers this past month, "Israel is expecting the United stated to automatically provide additional funding for the high cost of dismantling and pulling out of the settlements".

There is no indication of such on Capitol Hill. What the government of Israel apparently does not know is that there are some strict laws in connection to the Foreign Assistance Act of the U.S., which forbid the use of US equipment for anything that could be construed as suppressing human rights and civil liberties, which would include the bulldozing entire communities and the killing of civilians. Since almost all law enforcement equipment in the hands of the IDF and the Israeli police are supplied by the US, the US Congress will have a say in the matter.

8. "Jerusalem is not up for negotiations".

Sharon fervently denied former prime minister Ehud Barak's claim that Jerusalem is on the political table and that Israel's hold on East Jerusalem is negotiable. However, one must pay close attention to US Secretary of State, Condeleeza Rice, who clearly states that the US opposes any settlement activity beyond the '67 borders. When I asked the US Embassy spokesman whether reconstruction of the famous "Hurva" synagogue, located in the Jewish Quarter of Old City of Jerusalem and destroyed by the Jordanians in 1948, was considered to be "illegal settlement activity", the answer was, "yes".

9. "Improvement of Security".

One of the most frequent claims given by Sharon for Israel's retreat from Gaza and Northern Samaria is that the pull out will improve the feeling of security amongst Israel's residents. Anyone visiting the Elei Sinai community in the most northern most part of Katif in Gaza will quickly see that the distance between the front porches of that community and the major power station in Ashkelon is within shooting range. Is it not quite evident that after Israel's pullout from such an important strategic region that Ashkelon's power station will not be threatened by PA security forces and all the terror organizations who populate the Gaza Strip?

10. "The Western Negev will be strengthened".

Sharon repeatedly claims that the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip will lead to the blossoming of the Negev. Most recently, guides from the Jewish Agency reported that they had received guidelines not to encourage organized groups to sleep over in the facilities of the Western Negev region, because of security concerns from Gaza. A sign of things to come?

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