Israel Resource Review 12th May, 2002


How the Americans for Peace Now Provided Finance for Barak's Election Campaign in 1999
Amnon Lorde
Senior Investigative Journalist, Makor Rishon

[The "Americans for Peace Now" in the US and "Peace Now" in Israel are registered as non-profit organizations, a legal ststus in both countries which would forbid either organization from providing funds for a political party. That ststus did not prevent both organizations from doing just that in 1999]

Yossi Sarid himself and Peace Now naturally joined forces with Ehud Barak, and became an integral part of his election campaign in 1999.

Only after he was elected did the close connection between Peace Now and Barak's election headquarters become known, in the context of the nonprofit organizations affair.

Three central Peace Now figures worked very closely with Barak - Janet Aviad and Amiram Goldblum, as the heads of two of the nonprofit groups, and Yuli Tamir, who would later become Minister Yuli Tamir. Peace Now took an active role and was directly involved in Barak's second round headquarters in the final month before the elections. The headquarters, which was compartmentalized from everyone else, was managed by Haim Mandel Shaked.

Someone there came up with the idea of running a secret advertising campaign for Barak, using the figure of the late Yitzhak Rabin.

But there was a problem how to fund such a campaign, which could not be directly associated with Barak's election campaign. Its memorable slogan was "Following in his footsteps." It was planned as a national poster campaign, which was set in motion with the help of Noar Meretz (Meretz's youth division) and volunteers from the kibbutzim, but also using Moshe Nur's sign system.

Musi Raz, then the head of Peace Now and now a Knesset member for Meretz, suggested that Haim Mandel Shaked solve the funding problem by raising funds from "American Friends of Peace Now".

Everything remained confidential because Peace Now was prohibited from any involvement in party politics. Immediatel afterwards, Haim Mandel Shaked told the poster campaign operations people, "We have the funding. Ask Musi Raz." "The amount was about $100,000," Musi Raz confirmed to me. A source in Barak's 1999 election headquarters says, "The campaign funded by Peace Now was Ehud Barak's campaign."

Contact was made with Moshe Nur's staff on a purely commercial basis. One of them told me this week, "In my opinion, what you have is dynamite. The source of the money is known. The money came from a contribution from the United States. It was a completely circular deal. The people we were in contact with were Musi Raz and his assistant."

The posters themselves were done by the Gal advertising firm and the checks were made out to "DealTov." Photographer Gadi Dagon was paid about $5,000 for the rights to his photograph of Yitzhak Rabin.

At the offices of Meretz on Homa Umigdal Street in Tel Aviv, they were very proud of the project, a large part of which was handed over to Meretz's youth division to carry out. They spoke quietly and proudly of "Peace Now's trick." Two of their main activists, artist Avital Geva and Hemi Sal, both from Kibbutz Ein-Shemer, were responsible for hanging the huge poster with Rabin's picture on the gigantic buildings of the Granot factory at the Gan-Shmuel junction.

There was nothing on the posters to identify who was behind them, neither One Israel (remember them?) nor Peace Now. The reason was that Peace Now is registered in Israel as a nonprofit organization which does not participate in party politics, making it possible for it to raise funds in the United States, for tax purposes. The question is whether the use of Peace Now funds raised in the United States to participate in the funding of an election campaign in Israel is not in violation of American law.

"I see nothing illegal in the campaign," says Musi Raz. "What is wrong with Peace Now running a campaign with a picture of Yitzhak Rabin?"

This piece ran in Makor Rishon on May 10, 2002

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

The US State Department Fails to Interpret Arafat's Endorsement of Murder
Dr. Aaron Lerner

Last week IMRA [Independent Media Review and Analyis] noted that a proper understanding of call by Chairman Yasser Arafat that earned US President Bush's praise is that the Palestinians should continue killing soldiers and Israelis residing beyond the Green Line.

IMRA brought this to the attention of Paul Patin Press Attache - U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv.

In the response below, Mr. Patin provides a response from Washington that Arafat did not call for continued attacks beyond the Green Line.

This morning, Ahmad Abdul Rahman, Cabinet Secretary of the Palestinian Authority clarified the position of the PA regarding attacks, explaining that "activities are to be limited to the areas of 1967" without any limitation or qualification attached to this activity. His words, first broadcast in Arabic and then translated into Hebrew, were broadcast this morning on Israel Radio by Arab Affair Correspondent Avi Yissakharov.

Within hours an Israeli was murdered by his Palestinain employee in the Gaza Strip.

One can only hope that one day the State Department will abandon its "say it ain't so" approach to the Palestinian Authority - a stance they have taken from the very start of Oslo when they regularly issued compliance reports to the U.S. Senate that can be best described as barefaced lies that the Palestinians were completely complying with Oslo.

The material below appears in reverse chronological order:

Response from Paul Patin Press Attache - U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv

From: "Patin, Paul"
Sent: Friday, May 10, 2002 8:46 a.m.
Subject: FW: Arafat calls to stop attacks on civilians but keep fighting army and Israelis beyond the Green Line

Good morning Dr. Lerner, I have checked with Washington about this matter. Our position is that we note the recent steps taken by Chairman Arafat following the heinous terrorist bombing on Tuesday that left 15 Israelis dead, including the arrest of 14 Hamas operatives in Gaza, his condemnation of the attack, and his instructions to confront and prevent terrorist actions against Israelis. These are steps in the right direction - steps which the President clearly welcomed the day before yesterday - and Chairman Arafat must show leadership by continuing to signal clearly to his people that terror and violence cannot help the Palestinians achieve their national aspirations, and move decisively to confront terror and violence.

We do not subscribe to the interpretation that Chairman Arafat was, in the translation that you forwarded to me yesterday, actually calling on Palestinians to attack Israeli settlers and soldiers in the occupied territories or the West Bank or Judea and Samaria or whatever term you prefer. If we did believe that Chairman Arafat were calling on Palestinians to attack Israelis, then we would condemn it. Our position is that Chairman Arafat has not done enough to confront terror and violence, and that he must exercise leadership and do so - oppose and confront all violence, that is.

I hope this helps.

Paul Patin

Dr. Lerner, Having read this, and before having sent it to Washington, one thought does occur to me, which I suspect will occur to people in Washington as well - The IMRA commentary says "according to the Palestinians . . . " which Palestinians? All Palestinians? Is this official PA policy? How and where is this enshrined? We know that some Palestinians feel this way, but that's not the same as saying that Arafat is calling on Palestinian security forces to attack any Israelis east of the green line. That is one interpretation. In any case, I will point this out to Washington and solicit a response. Sincerely,

Paul Patin Press Attache
U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv

Message to Paul Patin Press Attache U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv from IMRA

Original Message----- From:[]
Sent: Thursday, May 09, 2002 1:39 p.m.
To: Patin, Paul
Subject: Arafat calls to stop attacks on civilians but keep fighting army and Israelis beyond the Green Line

Dear Mr. Paten -

Further to our telephone conversation.

Look forward to your comments to this item.

Best regards, Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA

Text: Arafat calls to stop attacks on civilians but keep fighting army and Israelis beyond the Green Line

[IMRA: The following is the text of the declaration by Yasser Arafat that US President George Bush said he read and praised. It should be noted that under Oslo Yasser Arafat solemnly committed the Palestinian People not to use violence. There is no "loophole" for killing soldiers or Israelis beyond the Green Line.

Unfortunately, it would appear that President Bush, by his praise, gives a green light to the Palestinians to continue murdering Israeli security forces as well as Israeli civilians beyond the 1967 line. According to the Palestinians, the very presence of Israelis beyond the Green Line (including inside the Old City of Jerusalem) constitutes "aggression", so this statement, that Mr. Bush finds so promising, is actually a call to arms against even the Jews praying at the Western Wall.]

President Arafat: Palestinian Commitment to Fighting Terrorism Unwavering I call on and request the important deployment of an international force to help us put an end to the aggression, help us, and impose peace May 8, 2002 Palestine Media Center-PMC

President Yasser Arafat issued the following statement today, condemning the terrorist attack against Israeli civilians, which took place last night.

Below is a transcript of the statement's translated version:

As President of the Palestine Liberation and the Palestine National Authority, I reiterate my commitment to and sharing with the United States of American and the international community in their fight against terrorism. I have issued my orders to the Palestinian security forces to confront and obstruct any terrorist act against Israeli civilians from any Palestinian party while concurrently and in parallel, [I have instructed them] to confront any aggression against Palestinian civilians by the Israeli army and settlers, which we completely condemn [as well].

I call on the United States and President Bush as well as the international community to provide for the needed protection and support to the Palestinian security forces, whose infrastructure was destroyed by the Israeli occupation, so that they can carry out their duties and execute the orders issued to them to definitely eliminate any attempt to carry out a terrorist attack against Israeli and Palestinian civilians as a political means to reach the goals defined for it. With our commitment to the war against terrorism, I call on and request the important deployment of an international force to help us put an end to the aggression, help us, and impose peace.

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Recapping: How the Media Made a Massacre in Jenin
Sharon Sadeh
U.K. Correspondent, Ha'aretz

[Thanks to IMRA for Noting and Distributing this Article.]

Despite flimsy evidence British papers jumped the gun to apportion blame when a West Bank refugee camp was attacked, says Sharon Sadeh. As a result, the reputation of the press has been damaged

The Guardian
Monday May 6, 2002

Reporting from a battlefield has always been a risky, uncertain and frustrating business, all the more so when the dominant military forces are hostile and often non-cooperative. And yet, skimming through the pages of the British and US mainstream papers over the past month might leave even the least inquisitive reader baffled: how couldreputable correspondents produce such different accounts of the Israeli assault on the refugee camp in the West Bank town of Jenin?

The battle of Jenin was indisputably fierce and bloody. But while the British papers, almost unanimously, presented it from the outset as a "massacre" or at least as an intentional "war crime" of the worst kind, the US and Israeli papers - Ha'aretz included - were far more reserved and cautious, saying that there was no evidence to back such claims. The left-liberal press in Britain thought differently. The Independent, the Guardian and the Times, in particular, were quick to denounce Israel and made sensational accusations based on thin evidence, fitting a widely held stereotype of a defiant, brutal and don't-give-a-damn Israel.

Consider, for instance, the following reports, which appeared on April 16. Under the headline "Amid the ruins, the grisly evidence of a war crime", the Independent's Phil Reeves wrote: "A monstrous war crime that Israel has tried to cover up for a fortnight has finally been exposed." Reeves, like his Times and Telegraph colleagues, all quote the same lone individual, Kamal Anis, who said that he "saw the Israeli soldiers pile 30 bodies beneath a half-wrecked house. When the pile was complete, they bulldozed the building, bringing its ruins down on the corpses. Then they flattened the area with a tank." The verdict of Times correspondent, Janine di Giovanni, was no less harsh: "Rarely in more than a decade of war reporting . . . have I seen such deliberate destruction, such disrespect for human life." This was followed by an emotive leader in the Guardian, on April 17, which compared the effects of the Israeli operation in Jenin to September 11.

Cotrast that to the descriptions in US and Israeli papers of the same events. The New York Times said: "Since the Israeli assault on Jenin began . . . aid groups have complained that Israeli soldiers have blocked ambulances and prevented aid from reaching the camp . . . Saed Dabayeh, who said he stayed in the camp through the fighting, led a group of reporters to a pile of rubble where he said he watched from his bedroom window as Israeli soldiers buried 10 bodies . . . The Palestinian accounts could not be verified."

The Washington Post was even less equivocal: "Interviews with residents inside the camp and international aid workers who were allowed here for the first time today indicated that no evidence has surfaced to support allegations by Palestinian groups and aid organisations of large-scale massacres or executions by Israeli troops."

A week later, the picture became clearer. In the absence of credible evidence to substantiate insinuations of cold-blooded "massacre" or "summary executions", the British press changed its tone slightly. Many of the papers carried highly detailed accounts of events in Jenin, which discounted Palestinian claims that a massacre had taken place. Nonetheless, these same accounts were at pains to argue that lesser Israeli "war crimes" had indeed occurred, ranging from denial of medical care to Palestinian wounded to indiscriminate and wanton destruction of houses and property. This charge was often repeated in leading articles, especially in the Independent and the Guardian.

In fairness, Israel's own blunders have contributed to the initial damning i mpression of events in Jenin. Statements by the foreign minister, Shimon Peres, that the Palestinians might present the Jenin battle as a massacre, and that of the IDF spokesmen, to the effect that "hundreds" of Palestinians were killed - both statements were later hastily retracted - fuelled confusion and suspicion. These errors were compounded by blocking journalists and aid agencies from entering the camp, which led to another charge, also widely reported, of an alleged cover-up by the Israeli forces.

But does all this justify the overall line and tone of coverage? Pictures of the devastation in Jenin commanded substantial space and were accompanied by emotional descriptions taken from survivors, without a serious attempt to cross-examine their claims, and often without even recording the Israeli version of events (which was meticulously documented throughout the operation).

In line with the prevalent tradition, the liberal British press has made an extensive and creative use of figurative language in its reports, which betrayed both bias and an attempt to elicit emotional response from the readers which could be translated into increased sales circulation.

In British broadsheets, the style of reporting is such that the distinction between commentary and news reporting is blurred. More often than not, this comes at the expense of accuracy, depth and perspective. Israel - which perceives the liberal European press as manifestly hostile and systematically biased - is entitled to be concerned about the effects of this approach, but it should also worry the UK audience. British reporters are entitled to form their own opinion on Israeli policies, but it cannot be based on anything but facts.

Selective use of details or information and occasional reliance on unsubstantiated accounts inflict considerable damage on the reputation of the entire British press, and more importantly, do a disservice to its readers. The US media, especially the press, were wilfully oblivious, prior to the September 11 attacks, to the issues which might have captured more accurately and profoundly the realities regarding the Middle East and the Muslim world, and the appropriate way of approaching and handling them. Are the British media in a similar state of self-denial?

This ran in Ha'aretz on May 11, 2002

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Saudi Crown Prince Clarifies That His Plan Means Unilateral Withdrawal and The "Right of Return"
Daniel Sobelman
Correspondent, Ha'aretz

[At a time when the media continues to publicize the "peace" initiative of the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, the Crown Prince continues to make it clear that the unlateral withdrawal of Israel to the 1949-1967 armistice lines and the "right of return" for all Arab refugees to be allowed to return to their non-existant homes from 1948 remain the preconditions for the Saudi Arabian plan to suceed. How many people know this?? d.b.]

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah said in an interview published Saturday that Israel must withdraw from all Arab territories captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, including East Jerusalem, as the price for real peace with the Arab world. Abdullah, speaking to Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, added that Israel would have to be open to discussion on the rights of return for Palestinian refugees.

The prince, who held talks with Bush on the Middle East crisis last month, said that Arabs would not accept a partial Israeli pullout and Israel had to return all Arab land.

"A withdrawal is not enough, there must be a return to the pre-1967 aggression lines and an end to the occupation of Jerusalem so that it becomes the capital of Palestine," said Prince Abdullah, the architect of a Middle East peace initiative that won Arab and international backing.

"The return of refugees is also a must," he told the London-based paper.

The de facto ruler of the oil superpower praised Bush for supporting the long-standing Arab demand for the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

"I must say that President Bush has played an active role . . . by insisting on the necessity of the creation of a Palestinian state at a time the Israeli forces tried to annul the Palestinian Authority," the paper quoted him as saying.

Prince Abdullah said it was "too early" for the kingdom to say whether it would take part in possible peace negotiations with Israel. "Our priority is to lift the suffering of our brothers in Palestine, and we will do our utmost to restore Arab rights."

This piece ran in Ha'aretz on May 12, 2002

Printer friendly version of this article

Return to Contents

Sharm al-Shaykh Summit Statement: from Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia: Implement the "Right of Return"

[IMRA: While the Israeli media presents the Sharm al-Shaykh summit statement as "moderate" statement, an examination of the text finds that it uses terminology that means only one thing: right of return of refugees.

"Just and comprehensive peace within the framework of international legitimacy" and "the Arab rights endorsed by all international legislations" both include UN Resolution 194 - right of return of refugees.]

[FBIS Transcribed Text]
Sharm el Sheikh, May 11 (MENA) - President Hosni Mubarak, Syrian President Bashar el-Assad and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah Ben Abdel Aziz underlined the necessity of implementing resolutions of the UN Security Council and General Assembly on the dispatch of a fact-finding panel on war crimes perpetrated by Israeli occupation forces in Jenin.

In a joint statement at the conclusion of their summit late Saturday, the three leaders stressed the need to continue to work on enhancing Arab solidarity in all fields to preserve Arab security on the basis of safeguarding the supreme interests of the Arab and Islamic nation.

The leaders saluted the Palestinian people's stamina, hailed the heroic intifada in face of the Israeli occupation forces and war machine and condemned the massacres perpetrated by the Israeli occupation against children, women and elders.

The three Arab leaders specifically condemned what Israel did in Jenin.

They also reiterated commitment to the peace initiative endorsed by the Beirut Arab summit, reaffirmed a genuine Arab interest in peace and voiced rejection of all forms of violence.

The leaders tackled the regional and international situation, especially the grave situation in the occupied Palestinian lands and its repercussion on world and regional security, said the statement.

They also discussed the U.S. position as regards the latest developments in the region and the current events in the occupied Palestinian lands in light of Prince Abdullah's briefing about the outcome of his key visit to the U.S. and his talks with U.S. President George Bush and his administration officials, it added.

The three leaders underlined that the Arab peace initiative is the basis for any Arab action to realise the aspired-for just and comprehensive peace within the framework of international legitimacy, said the statement.

They lambasted the massacres committed by the Israeli occupation forces against Palestinians without a humanitarian or legal deterrents, it added.

The Arab leaders called on the world community to back the Arab rights endorsed by all international legislations and to put pressure on Israel to withdraw from all occupied Arab lands to bring in a fair and durable peace in the region, said the joint statement.

President Mubarak, President Bashar and Crown Prince Abdullah agreed on continuing contacts and consultations.

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