The Guardian June 6, 2001


Israeli teenagers victims of Israel's occupation and war policy

by Hans Lebrecht: Kibbutz Beit-Oren

Friday evening (June 1), on the Sabbath evening, a suicide bomber of a 
Palestinian fundamentalist radical group killed himself and 16 Israeli 
teenagers and one grown-up at the entrance of a disco pub at the former 
dolphinarium at the Tel-Aviv sea shore. Over 80 others, mostly youths, were 
wounded and hospitalised in three Tel-Aviv hospitals. Three of them are 
still in a critical condition while I write these lines, dozens of others 
are seriously, and some lightly wounded.

How Sharon's war, excuse me, "defense" cabinet, will respond has to be seen 
yet.

Most probably, we soon shall witness another heavy retaliation of its US-
supported superior military power. A horror to see the hysterical behaviour 
of a substantial part of the Israeli public calling for "Death to the 
Arabs" and "Death to Arafat and his Clique", we used to see in Jerusalem 
and among the colonialist settlers' rampages.

The whipped-up "people's wrath" is again, like during the last weeks, 
concentrated directly against the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) 
leader Yasser Arafat and his close leadership. This, in spite of the fact 
that Arafat had, only a few hours after the Tel-Aviv bomb assault, sharply 
condemned it.

In the early morning hours of Saturday, the PNA issued a statement, saying 
that President Arafat condemns such attacks against civilians and calls for 
self-restraint.

Later in the day, at a press conference, held in the framework of the visit 
of the German Foreign Minister Yossi Fisher in Ramallah, Arafat repeated 
this statement, and added, among others, that "we exerted, and will exert 
our utmost efforts to stop the bloodshed of our people and the Israeli 
people, and to do all that is needed to achieve an immediate and 
unconditional real and effective cease-fire through joint effort, in order 
to go back to the negotiation table, and to the implementation of the 
Mitchell Report and the Egyptian-Jordanian initiative".

Shortly after this press conference was broadcast on TV, Sharon's spokesman 
stated that the inner cabinet has rejected the Arafat statement as not 
sufficient.

The Palestinians, and with them Arafat, explain all over again that the so-
called "unilateral cease-fire", Sharon has declared 11 days ago, was not 
enough.

It is in fact a miserable ploy. During these days of so-called cease-fire, 
nine Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli occupation forces and radical 
Jewish settlers.

Three Israeli settlers were killed by Palestinians too.

There can be no real cease-fire, and going back to the negotiation table, 
as long as the Israeli brutal violence, the blockade and territorial 
segregation and shutting off the Palestinian towns and villages by tanks 
and fortified road blocks, the threatening over-flying of the Palestinian 
territories by Israeli airforce helicopters and jet fighter planes 
continues.

In order to sit down to negotiations, Israel has to declare its commitment 
to withdraw, together with the settlers, to the pre-1967 demarcation lines 
(the "Green Line"). (Abridged)

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