DEATH OF A PEACE SALESMAN: Bush's Palestinian Putsch : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread

DEATH OF A PEACE SALESMAN: Bush's Palestinian Putsch

Thu Jun 27, 7:01 PM ET

By Ted Rall

SAN FRANCISCO-Now it's official. Bush is Ariel Sharon ( news - web sites)'s bitch.

When the Israeli prime minister began demanding that the Palestinian Authority ( news - web sites) jettison Yasser Arafat ( news - web sites) as its leader a few months back, even his fans knew he'd crossed the line. Israel was in no position to give the Palestinians this much advice. Sure, Bush had refused to even shake Arafat's hand, but the administration hadn't yet endorsed Sharon's ridiculous bid to beat the Palestinians by turning their leader into an Israeli puppet.

"(Washington) is not an honest broker or a neutral intermediary; it stands completely behind Israel," Hamas politburo member Mousa Abu Marzouk told Reuters in Damascus on June 10. Then, in a speech seemingly tailor-made to confirm that intifadist statement, George W. Bush dangled the possibility of American support for the creation of a Palestinian state on the West Bank in exchange for Arafat's ouster: "Peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership so that a Palestinian state can be born," he said on June 24. Presumably that "new leadership" would be friendly to both American and Israeli interests.

After decades of abstention, the United States is back in the coup d'état business. And with the exception of an embarrassingly inept attempt to unseat Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez a few months back, Bush's back-to-the-'50s retro imperialism is working out fairly well...for now.

The administration rigged Afghanistan ( news - web sites)'s loya jirga to install ex-Unocal executive Hamid Karzai as the head of a nation where few people had ever heard of him. It converted former Taliban cabana boy Gen. Pervez Musharraf into our wholly-owned Pakistani subsidiary. And it owes its own existence to the first successful domestic coup d'état in American history. Why not, regime tinkerers Rumsfeld and Cheney obviously asked themselves, pull off a Palestinian putsch too?

The Palestinians could obviously do better than Mohammed Abdel-Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini. A once-brilliant, charismatic tactician whose leadership of the PLO forced the West to consider Palestinian independence, 73 years of hard living and Israeli shelling have reduced Arafat to a quivering wreck tottering on the brink of senility. Though Israel has exaggerated the generosity of the deal he turned down over the Jerusalem issue, Arafat clearly failed to understand that the favorable tide of Western opinion had crested. He should have signed up then and later asked for more-East Jerusalem, a corridor connecting Gaza to the West Bank.

Arafat's undemocratic moderation has become both too strident for the West and too soft for his increasingly radicalized people. But he's all they've got. He's the Palestinians' George Washington, a military leader striving to carve out a state which will someday stamp his googly-eyed image on its coins and stamps. At this point his possible successors-Mahmoud Abbas, Ahmed Korei, Jibril Rajoub, Mohammed Dahlan-just aren't popular enough to run this landlocked hellhole. Marwan Barghouthi, a popular Fatah ( news - web sites) leader currently in jail, wouldn't be acceptable to Israel. An independent Palestine can do without Arafat, but only after he's served one term leading to a free election.

But none of that matters. If another nation attempted to topple George W. Bush, I would be the first to fight to defend my country from foreign interference. Illegitimate and harmful though Bush obviously is, it's up to Americans to decide whether he should stay in office. The same goes for the Palestinians. Getting rid of Arafat may be a good decision, but it has to be a Palestinian decision; neither the U.S. or Israel has the right to impose new leadership. Certainly neither country has the moral authority to do so.

George W. Bush has made it official: He'll go along with whatever Ariel Sharon wants him to do, no matter how immoral, impractical or insane. Wait a minute. Who's paying who $3 billion a year, anyway? Bad enough we toady up to a country we ought to own, but now the U.S. no longer bothers to give even lip service to the principles of national sovereignty and self-determination-especially in regard to Muslim countries next to or on top of major oil reserves. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We're the biggest, baddest bully on the block right now, but look out-the people we're stomping on in Pakistan, Afghanistan and now, Palestine, will be waiting to get even with us down the road.

-- Ariel (bend over @ my little. bushbaby!), June 29, 2002


WARNING: The ideas of Ted Rall are contaminated with a phlegm-like substance that can lead to insanity and hairy palms.

-- (Surgeon General @ anti-Rall.rally), June 29, 2002.

Yes, the truth will drive you insane if you can't handle it. You'd best stay in your state of denial and wait for the fascists to take over. They will tell you exactly what they want, so you won't have to think about it.

-- Jack Nicholson (you can't @ handle. the truth), June 29, 2002.

I thought the fascists had already taken over? Oh, I get it, you mean the democraps.

-- (fascist is@fascist.does), June 29, 2002.

True, the fascists did, in a sense "take over" when the Supreme Coup violated our Constitution and installed King Idiot. But Dumbya and Ashcroft aren't finished destroying our Constitution yet, and they've only just started on the construction of the 4th Reich. Give it time, it will happen.

-- you betya (sure@as.shit), June 29, 2002.

Israel Blows Up Hebron Compound

Fri Jun 28, 9:53 PM ET

By NASSER SHIYOUKHI, Associated Press Writer

HEBRON, West Bank (AP) - Israeli forces on Saturday blew up the fortress-like Palestinian headquarters, leaving only rubble and apparently ending their 4-day-old standoff with wanted Palestinians who the army says were holed up inside, nearby residents said.

The Israel army would only say its operations were continuing in Hebron, but Palestinians living in four homes around the hilltop compound all said the building was no longer standing.

"I saw hills of rubble," said Mohammed Maswadeh, whose windows were blown out by the blast about 120 yards away. "There's nothing called the headquarters anymore."

Military officials have said about 15 wanted men were believed to be holed up in the building. The army spokesman's office refused to say whether soldiers had confirmed any deaths or if soldiers had learned anything more about the precise number of people inside.

Before the second blast, the Israeli army commented on the first, which residents said blew out about a quarter of the building. The army said its forces had rigged a part of the building where it believed the wanted men had been hiding, ignoring four days of calls to surrender.

The compound was surrounded early Tuesday as part of a West Bank military offensive that has confined 700,000 Palestinians to their homes while soldiers search for Palestinians suspected of links to deadly attacks on Israelis. The open-ended campaign, prompted by twin suicide bombings that killed 26 Israelis, began 10 days ago.

The compound, used in the past as a base for British, Jordanian and Israeli forces, today houses offices of the Palestinian Authority ( news - web sites)'s local governor and security forces. Scores of police officers had walked out of the building over the past four days, and the army said that 20 wanted men gave themselves up and were arrested.

Apache attack helicopters circled in the sky after the first explosion, which sent sparks high into the night sky. Smoke and fire could be seen then from a ground-floor corner, with flames flaring up the side of the four-story building before quickly dying down and out. Even before the explosions, the building had been badly damaged by missile fire and military bulldozers.

"The (army) operated in the Palestinians' security compound and detonated in a controlled manner a part of the building where wanted Palestinians were taking refuge and refused to turn themselves in," said the army statement released before the second blast.

Heavy fog settled in over the area before the second blast, and electricity failures in the area made it difficult to see the extent of damage. Curfews and an Israeli military order barring journalists made it impossible to approach.

But neighbors got a better view. Maswadeh compared the second blast to an earthquake ( news - web sites), saying everything in his house shook: "I'd never seen an explosion like that. The cars nearby blew into the air and dropped down."

Ibrahim Shehadeh's view used to be the headquarters. "Now, I can see everything from my house — the whole of Hebron," he said. The building "is demolished."

A former Palestinian Cabinet minister had been allowed in by the army Friday to negotiate a surrender. Talal Sidr said he couldn't find the men, but that he was unable to search all of the heavily damaged building. The army said afterward that its soldiers were certain the men were still inside.

While operating in the Hebron area, soldiers have found an explosives lab containing belts ready for use in suicide bombing missions, the army said. It said more than 50 suspects from Palestinian security forces had been arrested throughout Hebron.

Also on Friday, Israelis expressed anger over a photograph showing a Palestinian baby dressed up like a suicide bomber with apparently fake ammunition belts and explosives strapped to its body. The picture was released by the Israeli army.

A man who identified himself as the uncle of the baby in the picture but did not give his name told the British television network Sky News that the picture was authentic and the baby was dressed up at a party about six months ago at a university. Col. Miri Eisin, senior Israeli intelligence analyst, said the ammunition probably was not real.

Israel has raided seven of the eight major Palestinian cities in the West Bank. The army decided Friday to allow journalists, who have been banned from the besieged cities for 10 days, to work in six of them. Journalists remain barred from Hebron because of ongoing military operations, the army said.

-- (more@sharon.agression), June 29, 2002.

"Israel has raided seven of the eight major Palestinian cities in the West Bank"

One to go

-- (martyr this @ KA.BOOM), June 29, 2002.

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