The Guardian March 20, 2002


World urges end to Israeli occupation

by Tim Wheeler

With the toll of dead and wounded Palestinians and Israelis rising, United 
Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan told Israel on March 12,that it must 
end its illegal occupation of Palestine. It was the first time Annan had 
spoken so bluntly, spurred by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's brutal 
two-week military assault on the Palestinian people.

The UN Security Council for the first time approved a resolution referring 
to a Palestinian state. In the resolution, the council affirmed "a vision 
of a region where two states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side 
within secure and recognised borders".

The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) sent 20,000 troops equipped with an armada 
of tanks, armoured personnel carriers, artillery, missiles and helicopter 
gunships, most of it supplied by the US, against the lightly defended towns 
and villages of the West Bank and Gaza.

In the past two weeks, the IDF has killed well over 100 Palestinians in the 
most ferocious attack since Israel occupied Arab lands in the 1967 war.

The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) announced 
demonstrations in Washington and Los Angeles on March 30 to protest against 
the bloodbath.

Marvin Winfield, an ADC organiser who is helping mobilise for the 
demonstrations, told the People's Weekly World: "There is a sense of 
emergency. Many people feel the strong need to do something to protest 
against the bloodshed. I don't believe the Bush administration is really 
serious about the 'war on terrorism' as long as it refuses to support the 
rights of the Palestinian people."

Bush had sent retired Marine General Anthony Zinni to Israel on the pretext 
of resuming the peace process. But peace forces charge that the 
administration postponed Zinni's arrival to give Sharon time to "finish 
off" the Palestinians.

Others charged that Bush shifted from his position of giving Sharon a free 
hand only in order to ease growing Arab opposition during Vice President 
Richard Cheney's 12-day trip to the region.

A plan by the Saudis to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine and 
establish two states, Israel and Palestine, has won widespread support 
throughout the Arab world.

"The escalating violence between Palestinians and Israelis is disastrous 
for both people", the ADC's call for the March 30 demonstrations said.

"We invite all people of good will to join with the ADC and the Arab-
American community in a day of support for the Palestinian people in their 
determination to end the Israeli occupation."

The way to peace, the statement added, "has long been recognised by an 
international consensus as embraced in international law and UN Security 
Council resolutions". It includes "land for peace", "two peoples and two 
states" a "shared Jerusalem" and the right of the Palestinians to return to 
Palestine and reclaim their homes and land.

The ADC statement continued, "The United States is not a neutral party to 
this conflict. Israel uses billions in annual US financial aid to maintain 
the occupation, build settlements, demolish homes and dispossess and 
oppress the Palestinians."

* * *
People's Weekly World paper of Communist Party, USA

Back to index page