Date: Fri, 8 Aug 97 12:33:09 CDT
Workers World <email@example.com>
Organization: WW Publishers
Subject: Israeli gov't uses blasts to dismantle Oslo accord
On July 29, a pair of bomb blasts ripped through a marketplace in western Jerusalem. Fifteen people were killed and 150 wounded. The explosions were reported to have been caused by two suicide bombers, who were among the 15 dead.
It is not known who carried out the bombing. Early reports said that Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic organization, had taken responsibility. But high-level representatives of Hamas have denied any connection.
The bombings followed months of stepped-up Israeli attacks on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza and new seizures of Palestinian lands. Hundreds of Palestinians had been killed or wounded by Israeli troops and settlers in the past few months, a fact not considered newsworthy by the corporate media here.
In contrast, for days the west Jeru salem bombing was the top story on all U.S. national networks. Lengthy coverage was devoted to the pain suffered by victims' families.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the bombings
with new racist attacks on the Palestinians and their leaders. He used
savage animals prowling.
President Bill Clinton chimed in, condemning those involved as
barbarous-- a term never applied to Israelis no matter how
Netanyahu feigned shock and surprise at the Jerusalem bombings. But the latest bombings were a predictable response to the increased repression and humiliations heaped upon the Palestinians by the Israeli army and its para- military settler auxiliary.
The Israeli strategy in the wake of the bombing has been to seal off the occupied territories, while at the same time seeking to foment a civil war among Palestinians.
The aim appears to be to destroy the
peace process embodied in
the Oslo Accord. Under the Oslo agreement signed in 1995, the
Palestinians were to gain limited sovereignty over parts of the West
Bank and Gaza in return for major concessions to the Israelis. The
U.S. government brokered the agreement, representing itself as a
neutral third party.
Since its victory in the May 1996 election, the Netanyahu government has aggressively sought to overturn even the limited concessions won by the Palestinians under the Oslo agreement. Among the most glaring Israeli violations have been widespread seizures of Palestinian lands to build huge new Israeli fortified settlements in Palestinian East Jerusalem and elsewhere.
Immediately after the bombing, the Israeli government announced it holds Palestinian Authority leader Yasir Arafat responsible and demanded that the Palestinian security forces carry out a crackdown.
When Arafat called Netanyahu to offer condolences for the Israeli civilians killed, the Israeli prime minister responded with supreme arrogance.
I am not prepared to be satisfied with expressions
of regret. You have to completely change what you are saying and
doing. You must change your policy 180 degrees, according to the
Israeli Shomron News Service.
The Clinton administration has repeatedly backed Netanyahu's position,
demanding as a first condition of
restoring the peace process
that the Palestinian security forces must join with the Israelis in
crushing Palestinian militants.
Due to the constant Israeli violations of the Oslo agreement, Palestinian militancy, especially among the youth, has been rising in recent months. So the Arafat leadership has been put in a box.
Israeli actions have undermined the limited gains that were to have accompanied the staged implementation of the accord. At the same time, the PA is called upon to protect the Israelis from the growing anger of the Palestinian people.
To further heighten the pressure on the PA leadership, on Aug. 3 Israel stopped delivering its share of taxes collected in the occupied territories to the PA. This is another violation of the Oslo agreement. It will make it impossible for PA employees to receive salaries.
At the same time, by sealing the West Bank and Gaza, Israel prevents most Palestinian workers from going to their jobs, deepening an already-acute economic crisis.
And on Aug. 12 the law under which Washington gives a very modest $75 million in aid to the impoverished Palestinian entity--as compared to $3 billion for Israel--is scheduled to expire. Prospects for its renewal appear slight.
The intense economic and political pressure from Israel and the United States is meant to force the Palestinian Authority to crack down hard on all Palestinians who want to continue the struggle against the Israeli occupation and for an independent Palestinian state.
To meet this demand would result in either the complete discrediting of the PA leadership or a civil war. Either alternative appears acceptable to Israel and the United States.