Middle East: June 2002 Archives

Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said he would uproot 10 rogue Jewish outposts in the West Bank Sunday, setting the stage for possible confrontations with militant settlers.

Ha'aretz has a good column by Ze'ev Sternhell on the original basis for Zionism -- "an answer to an existential danger that threatened the Jewish people during the first half of the 20th century" -- and the danger of having it become mere colonialism regarding the lands siezed in 1967.

For everyone who talks about how the Arabs teach their children to hate Jews, we should also remember what's happening in the settlements:

Indeed, this fanatical nationalism, which is brutal not out of necessity but out of deliberate choice and rational decision, is already beginning to sprout noxious weeds that arouse disgust. I am referring to the settler mentality in its latest manifestation in the form of letters that students at schools in the territories wrote to fighters in Operation Defensive Shield. These children did not ask the soldiers to wipe out terror and strike at the terrorists, but "to kill as many Arabs as possible." One asked: "For me, kill at least 10"; another made an even simpler suggestion: "Ignore the laws and spray them."

B'Tselem, the Israeli rights group, has issued an informative report on the settlements in the Occupied Territories -- titled "Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank".

The research reveals that while the built-up areas of the settlements constitute only 1.7% of the land in the West Bank, the municipal boundaries are over three times as large: 6.8%. Regional councils constitute an additional 35.1%. Thus, a total of 41.9% of the area in the West Bank is controlled by the settlements.

As this map shows, Palestinian communities have become settlements in an Israeli West Bank.

The Guardian has good article by Charles Glass, who was ABC's chief Middle East correspondent in the 1980s and was kidnapped in Beirut in 1987. Many of the tactics currently being used in the Occupied Territories are the same used by Sharon in Lebanon in the 1980s.

Juan Gonzalez has a column in today's Daily News about what happened to the only independent Palestinian public television station in the West Bank during Israel's recent invasion of Ramallah. The head of it, Daoud Kuttab is a respected figure and the first Palestinian journalist allowed exclusive interviews with top Israeli leaders, among them former Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. He has also been imprisoned in the past by Arafat for covering corruption investigations involving the Palestinian Authority.

Al Quds specializes in children's programming. Its most acclaimed effort, created with Israeli educational television, is a Middle East version of "Sesame Street."

In the series, Israeli and Palestinian children learn to respect and appreciate each other's culture while playing on two sides of a divided street.


When the soldiers left, station employees immediately returned. What they found, according to Kuttab, was heartbreaking. Six digital broadcast cameras, VCRs and computers had been stolen. Bullet holes were found in computer monitors. Hard drives, fax machines, video equipment and laser printers had been destroyed. Doors were smashed, furniture overturned.

Then there was the graffiti. "Instructions: 1. Eat, 2. Drink, 3. Destroy" wason one wall. Other graffiti included, "Palestine, Never" and "Death to Arabs."

This page is an archive of entries in the Middle East category from June 2002.

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