Israel Resource Review 25th September, 2002


Gush shalom: Who Murdered Rabin? Obviously, The IDF, Sharon and Peres . . . According to "Gush Shalom"
Avraham Tirosh
Columnist, Maariv

Now we finally know who killed Yitzhak Rabin. Not Yigal Amir, as you thought. It was Fuad and Sharon and Peres and Bugi Yaalon. This was revealed to us by Gush Shalom, in a giant ad published in Monday's Ha'aretz, in large type. The ad read: "The same finger on the same trigger: Those who assassinated Yitzhak Rabin are now assassinating Yasser Arafat."

Gush Shalom is Uri Avneri and a few others. In his article on Monday in this section, Avneri said the same thing, but in a less provocative and extreme fashion [see INT September 23 part 2]. "Morally," he wrote, "the murder of Arafat, the historical leader and elected president of the Palestinian people, is a heinous act. Like Rabin's assassination."

The premise that murder is a heinous act can certainly be agreed to. But does this definition of atrocity also apply to the elimination of terrorist-murderers, their leaders and their dispatchers? This point is disputable. And Arafat, the "elected leader" of the Palestinian people, is a dispute in and of himself. But in any case, the comparison between him and Rabin is an infuriating one. And this ad should be protested, even by leftists.

It is clear that an ad is not an article, and if it wishes to draw people's eye and convey a message in 15 words it must be sharp, focused and even provocative. The question is the limits. It is clear that the "same finger on the same trigger" does not refer to Yigal Amir, nor, conversely, to the Labor Party ministers or the chief of staff. The ad refers to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and is in fact accusing him of the murder of Yitzhak Rabin. Not incitement, not inflammation, not causing the murder-but actually pulling the trigger.

I know, this is supposed to be a sharp metaphor for what Avneri wrote in his article. Words that will shock and cry out and prevent murder, in the eyes of Gush Shalom. But it is precisely metaphors and words such as these that have already killed, as the ad itself in fact says. Sharon "assassinated Yitzhak Rabin," as the ad clearly implies, is no less severe than "Rabin is a traitor" and "he deserves the punishment of a rodef [person endangering others]" and presenting him in a photomontage with a Nazi uniform. If the people who said those things about Rabin are considered those who assassinated him, in the eyes of Avneri and his friends, than the people who say about Sharon the things that were written in the Gush Shalom ad should be considered people who might bring about his assassination. If incitement is murder, than this is true for both sides.

Only few people in Israel still think like Avneri, that Arafat is still relevant and a partner with whom some sort of arrangement can be reached. Even many in the Left have despaired already of the deceptive Arafat (a typical expression of Yossi Sarid). Among the Palestinians as well, who understand his part in the suffering they are being caused, there are quite a few who wish that he would disappear from the leadership. Around the world, especially in the US, the perception is beginning to take root that there is more of a chance without him. This is one of Sharon's few successes, with the extremely active assistance of the PA chairman. It can only be said that Arafat has come by his present status honestly.

Many Israelis would like Arafat to be removed to the next world, but it is politically incorrect to say so. So people speak of the chairman evaporating, being neutralized, disappearing, and other ambiguous expressions.

I am willing to agree with Avneri that Sharon would also desire the physical elimination of Arafat, but reality proves Avneri's opinion notwithstanding that even the prime minister understands that this is impossible and will cause irreparable damage to Israel's interests. He has even refrained from removing Arafat from the region. Had Sharon wanted to carry out these two actions at any price, he would have had sufficient opportunities to do so in his various positions over the past 20 years. Therefore, Avneri's cries of "Murder! Murder!" are excessive, and the ad is a self-inflicted wound for the "peace camp".

This piece ran on September 25th in Maariv

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Palestinian and European Journalists Discuss Palestinian Arab media image
Hiyam Hassan
The Jerusalem Times (independent Palestinian Arab weekly)

[With thanks to IMRA for distributing this important article]

Palestinian and European journalists agreed that the September 11 events constituted an important chapter in the media war between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Several European journalists expressed the belief that Israel won the media battle after connecting the Intifada with terrorism and tagging the Palestinians as terrorists.

This came at a seminar about Palestinian and European media organized by the External Relations Council recently at Commodore Hotel in Gaza. Several journalists from the European Union participated, in addition to Palestinian media personalities.

Palestinian journalists presented a picture of the Palestinian media, while their European counterparts spoke about their ways of handling the Palestinian struggle, vehemently denying claims of bias and maintaining that they try to remain objective. Several of them said that they find it difficult to access information connected with the Palestinian side in the struggle with Israel, while Israeli embassies in their countries are active in distributing information about Israeli victims, tipping the media scale.

A Greek journalist said after expressing solidarity with the Palestinians, "suicide missions make things difficult and present a negative image of the Palestinians before the European public opinion. Western media cannot find justification for the missions and cannot exonerate the Palestinian side from charges of killing Israeli civilians."

Said a Belgian journalist, "Suicide missions shake the balance that a journalist seeks at all times, just as Israeli air raids do. This posits western journalists in the middle, but they are still faced with accusations of bias from both sides."

A Finnish journalist expressed the opinion that every party is trying to see the other party in all its brutality and savagery taken out of context, which is what journalists refuse to do, and are therefore accused of bias."

A Spanish journalist offered, "Accusations of anti-Semitism are still being voiced against journalists that try to be fair to the Palestinians and try to practice their professions with democracy and objectivity."

At the beginning of the meeting, several journalists presented complete pictures of the Palestinian media. Tawfeeq Abu Khousa, president of the Journalists Union in Gaza, spoke about violations committed by occupation soldiers against Palestinian journalists. "Palestinian martyrs total six so far, while 473 where harassed while performing their duties. Also, 170 journalists have been injured by live ammunition or rubber-coated steel bullets."

Abu Khousa indicated violations of work rights committed by foreign media outfits against Palestinian journalists, who are denied work contracts and forced to use terms that accord with the interests of the Israeli side.

Sameer Al-Sharif, director of the Voice of Palestine radio service, said, "Occupation inflicted technical harm on Palestinian television and radio carriers and continually hinders the entry of equipment, delaying renovation and rehabilitation of local networks that make up the connection between the Palestinian people and leadership.

Journalist Talal Okal indicated the feebleness of investment in the Palestinian media due to military and security factors. He attributed most of the challenges facing Palestinian media to its weakness and the vast development of international media technology and techniques, in addition to financial, military and security factors, poor performance on the part of cadres in the field, and the already fragile Palestinian media infrastructure.

Okal stressed the difficulties facing the Palestinian media resulting from western media bias in favor of Israel, which also bespeaks the inability of the Palestinians to access the western public opinion.

Fayed Abu Shamaleh, BBC correspondent, called for providing Palestinian journalists with international press IDs that would help them overcome such obstacles as Israeli refusal to "recognize them." He indicated the worries borne by journalists working for foreign outfits, subjected to discrimination and denied the chance to assume leadership roles.

At the end of the meeting, former Finance Minister Salam Fayyadh demonstrated in detail the financial reform begun by the PNA. He answered questions from Palestinian and European journalists, emphasizing that the corruption scandal received undue attention in the media.

Fayyadh indicated that the Finance Ministry opened its doors before the General Monitoring Council to facilitate transparency and accountability specified in the reform plan.

Ziyad Abu Amr, president of the External Relations Council, interrupted Fayyadh, asking, "Is the General Monitoring Council itself trustworthy to receive such a role? The council prepared reports about women in the PNA but banned publishing of the report in the media and refused the Legislative Council access to it."

Fayyadh stressed that reform is an internal, not imported, desire and that the Finance Ministry began reform as soon as the plan was announced.

Abu Amr participated in the two-day meeting on the hope that it could lead to defining the role of the media in bringing to an end the struggle between the Palestinians and the Israelis. He explained that the meeting strives to uncover and treat the reasons that lead to bias in the media.

The representative of the European Union in Jerusalem said that the participation of European journalists reveals solidarity with their Palestinian counterparts. She added that the meeting also proves anew the care that the EU Delegation lends to stability in the region, stressing the role of journalists in achieving it.

This article appreared on the September 26th 2000 issue of the Jerusalem Times

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PA Turns Suspect Over To Hamas For Execution
Julie Stahl
CNS Bureau Chief, Jersualem, Israel

[Please refer to the article from our September 15th, 2002 isssue in which we reported on the efforts to save this young man from execution.]

Jerusalem ( - A Palestinian student accused of collaborating for Israel was found dead in a garbage dump in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. He had been in the custody of the Palestinian Authority police.

Akram Mohammed al-Zatma, 22, was arrested on August 8 for allegedly helping Israel assassinate Hamas founder and leader Salah Shehade and Fatah Tanzim leader Jihad al-Omarayan.

The case gained some international notoriety when Israeli lawyer Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and others spearheaded a campaign on al-Zatma's behalf, appealing to the Vatican to intervene.

Monsignor Pietro Sambi, head of the Apostolic Delegation, the equivalent of the Vatican's Embassy in Jerusalem said he had intervened on behalf of al-Zatma.

"I intervened," Sambi told in a brief telephone interview. "I won't go into details [about the intervention]. I am very sad that the result has not been positive."

Asked by al-Zatma's family to represent him, Darshan-Leitner appealed to Palestinian Justice Minister Ibrahim Abu Daghmeh for the right to represent her client in the PA court. She never received a reply from Abu Daghmeh, she said.

Darshan-Leitner, who has been involved previously in cases of Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel, feared he would not receive a fair trial in the PA.

International and Palestinian human rights groups have criticized the PA in the past for trying alleged collaborators in the security court, with little or no defense and a swift sentencing and execution.

In al-Zatma's case, Hamas had demanded that he be killed even without legal proceedings or a basic trial, Darshan-Leitner said in a statement on Tuesday. She charged that Gaza Security Chief Rashid Abu Shabak gave in to their demand and turned over his prisoner.

"The gangland style murder of al-Zatma was carried out jointly by the Gaza security police and Hamas," Darshan-Leitner said.

"Gaza security boss Rashid Abu Shabak proudly displayed the young student at a press conference and then permitted Hamas to murder him in cold blood without even a sham trial," she said.

Darshan-Leitner also accused human rights groups such as Amnesty International of turning a blind eye to the plight of collaborators until after they are killed, saying they have a political agenda "which does not include assisting those accused of aiding Israel."

Amnesty International had no immediate response to al-Zatma's murder and referred to an earlier press release expressing concern over "the abduction and killing by Palestinian armed groups of Palestinians who have allegedly collaborated with the Israeli intelligence services."

AI said on Tuesday that if it received enough information before an event it could send out an urgent appeal.

But Darshan-Leitner said requests for help in an earlier case had been ignored.

This piece ran on the CNS wire on September 24th, 2002

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