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Babbler # 1885

posted 14 November 2003 09:15 AM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
But Sharon supports them, so they probably should just be called 'plucky' or 'feisty'

Armed Israelis are systematically wrecking trees that have stood for hundreds of years and frequently provide the only livelihood for Palestinian families.

Rights groups estimate that more than 1,000 trees have been damaged or destroyed in recent weeks, some planted in the Roman era. Among the victims are Mr Yusuf and his neighbours in Sawiya village, south of Nablus. "We used to think they just wanted our olives, but it's about land," he said. "They want to expand their settlement: by cutting the trees, they can say the land is neglected and no one is taking care of it. And it's their excuse for getting their hands on it."

They sought protection in numbers, and returned next day with a larger group of pickers from surrounding villages. The settlers stayed away, but came down that night. Over two hillsides, they sawed and hacked trees, tearing off branches and slicing through trunks with power saws. Some larger branches were tossed to the ground still bristling with fruits. The higher the hill rose toward the settlement, the greater the destruction - mostly of the fertile branches which will take a decade to grow back and start producing again.

"Next morning we stopped an Israeli police patrol," Mr Yusuf said. "The jeep went up to the settlement and told them not to do it again. Next night they were back, and the police didn't do anything."

The people of Sawiya estimate that 250 trees, the livelihood for 10 extended families, were badly damaged or destroyed. But, as it is too dangerous to climb near the settlement, they cannot count precisely.

Other Israeli critics warn that lawless attacks on Palestinians and their property will backfire. "The conclusion is that the fight against terror should not only be aimed at the Hamas and Islamic Jihad," said a respected military analyst, Ze'ev Schiff. "Just as the Tanzim [armed wing of Yasser Arafat's Fatah] gangs must be fought, so should the gangs of olive-tree cutters. They are dangerous because they and their kind will never allow any calm with the Palestinians - and that makes them another terrorist infrastructure."

Oooh! You're gonna be censured for that one, buddy!

From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 2878

posted 14 November 2003 09:31 AM      Profile for majorvictory     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Former Israeli Security Chiefs Blast Government

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Four former heads of Israel's Shin Bet security service launched an unprecedented joint attack on government policy toward the Palestinians in an interview on Friday in which they called for withdrawal from occupied land.

``(Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon has spoken often about the need for painful compromises, and there are no painful compromises except evacuation of settlements,'' Yaakov Peri, Shin Bet chief from 1995 to 1998, told the Yedioth Ahronoth daily.

``We are heading downhill toward near-catastrophe. If nothing happens and we go on living by the sword, we will continue to wallow in the mud and destroy ourselves,'' he said, reflecting a consensus among his three colleagues.

The Shin Bet, which has been led by chiefs of various political persuasions, has been at the forefront of Israel's battle against militants in a three-year-old uprising and runs networks of Palestinian informers in the West Bank and Gaza.

The interview in Israel's biggest newspaper by the four ex-directors followed recent criticism by army chief Moshe Yaalon of government-ordered travel restrictions on Palestinians, which he said only encouraged militancy.

``For once and for all we have to admit there is another side, and it has feelings and is suffering -- and we are behaving disgracefully,'' said Avraham Shalom.

Shalom headed the domestic security service from 1980 until 1986, when he resigned and was pardoned in a scandal over the beating to death by Shin Bet agents of two Palestinians captured after they hijacked a bus in 1984, and a cover-up he ordered.

Asked to comment on the interview, a senior government source described the former security chiefs' approach as naive.

``The situation is not as weak as they describe. We have made major achievements in our fight against terrorism...every place where it is relieve pressure on the Palestinians, we will do it,'' the source told Reuters.

From: Toronto | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 2938

posted 14 November 2003 03:13 PM      Profile for josh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
"A secret Israeli memorandum says the country has failed to honour commitments under a U.S. peace plan to evacuate illegal settler outposts and has sought "in every way to whitewash their existence and build more".

Government sources on Wednesday quoted the memorandum as saying: "We promised the United States that we would dismantle the outposts and have not done so. That is our Achilles' heel."

"International criticism is growing because of our lack of creative ideas for getting out of the conflict," it said.

Israel lacked credibility when it claimed to be fulfilling its obligations under a U.S.-backed plan for ending three years of fighting with the Palestinians, the memorandum said.

"Our claim that Israel has fulfilled its side of the (peace) road map is seen as lacking credibility because not only have we not evacuated the illegal outposts, we are working in every way to whitewash their existence and build more," it said."

From: the twilight zone between the U.S. and Canada | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged

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