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Tempest in Santa Fe: Confronting Israeli Myth-Making

by KATHLEEN and BILL CHRISTISON Thursday, Jun. 23, 2005 at 9:10 PM

Propagandists on behalf of Israel have held a corner on public discourse about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for the nearly six decades of Israel’s existence, but these purveyors of the Israeli line have become increasingly deceptive and malign -- and increasingly effective – with time.

http://www.counterpunch.org/christison06222005.html

June 22 , 2005

Tempest in Santa Fe

Confronting Israeli Myth-Making

By KATHLEEN and BILL CHRISTISON

The propaganda machine serving Israel disseminates a steady stream of

talking points and argumentation that today effectively controls all public

discourse, so that in media arenas large and small throughout the country

there are always grassroots propagandists available to put out a uniformly

favorable twist on Israel’s actions and always to paint the Palestinians in

black colors.

The propaganda machine has not missed even the small, out-of-the-way town

of Santa Fe, NM. Although not usually at the forefront of nationally

significant political debates, Santa Fe is currently in the midst of a

controversy about an issue of large national relevance. The controversy

involves media treatment of Israel and the Palestinians that is typical of

the distortion found throughout the country.

On June 9, 2005, John Greenspan, chairman of the board of directors of

KSFR-FM, a Santa Fe public radio station, substituted for Mary-Charlotte

Domandi, the vacationing host of a weekday morning program known as “The

Radio Café,” and had among his guests a spokesperson for a pro-Israel

propaganda organization, The Israel Project, based in Washington, D.C. Both

Greenspan and the guest, Megan Wachter, spent this 15-minute segment

broadcasting what we and many honest, objective observers regard as serious

pro-Israeli, anti-Palestinian distortions and, in at least one instance, an

outright lie about an American human rights activist. Greenspan and Wachter

made one false allegation after another, reaching ever increasing levels of

distortion as the broadcast went on. We are appalled at the level of

misrepresentation in this brief exchange and are particularly dismayed that

these two propagandists did not merely stop at attempting to put Israel in

a good light, but seemed to bend over backwards to cast the Palestinians

and anyone who supports them in a particularly negative light, as all but

universally hate-filled, uneducated, unenlightened terrorists.

The principal reason for having Wachter on the program was to publicize and

recruit attendees for a workshop to be held on June 26 and 27 in

Washington, D.C., sponsored by The Israel Project and intended to train

“pro-Israel advocates” in what the organization’s website

(http://www.theisraelproject.org) describes as “cutting-edge skills to

create positive media coverage, strengthen Israel’s public image, and win

support for Israel and the Jewish people.” The Israel Project, the newest

of a decades-long list of organizations advocating for Israel, was created

three years ago by two well known Republican pollsters, Frank Luntz and

Jennifer Lazlo Mizrahi. Mizrahi is the Israel Project president. Luntz

serves as a strategist for the organization. He also runs his own separate

public relations/propaganda outfit, which gives advice to Republican Party

activists, and he has frequently written advice for the Israeli government

and major American-Jewish organizations on how best to “frame” Israel’s

case for public consumption.

A transcript of the pertinent segment of the program is at Appendix 1. The

following is a rebuttal of the several distortions put forth by both

Greenspan and Wachter.

Israel’s Democracy

Throughout the program, Wachter found frequent occasion to hail “Israeli

democracy.” At the start, she described The Israel Project as a non-profit

organization designed to publicize information about Israel “so the people

have a real sense of what is going on over there, and have a real idea of

the fact that Israel is a democracy, where all people and not just Jews but

Christians and Muslims all share freedom of speech and freedom of religion,

and freedom of press, and the right to vote.” At other points, she

described Israel as “a democracy that shares the same values as America,”

an “incredible democracy that’s struggling with terrorism…a democracy in a

very volatile region,” and “this amazing democracy.”

In Wachter’s enthusiasm for Israel, she failed ever to mention that in the

occupied West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, which Israel has controlled

for 38 years, more than three million Palestinians enjoy no democracy at

all under Israel’s rule. Inside Israel, where over one million Palestinian

Muslims and Christians are citizens of Israel, they live in a distinctly

second-class status because they are not Jews. Because Israel was

established as a specifically Jewish state and explicitly defines itself as

a state not of its citizens but of Jews everywhere, it gives benefits to

Jews that Muslims and Christians do not enjoy. Although they can vote,

Muslim and Christian Palestinians in Israel are subject to various types of

institutional discrimination. Because 97 percent of Israel’s land is held

“in trust for the Jewish people,” non-Jews cannot even purchase land in

Israel. The bible on the status of Palestinians in Israel was written by a

Jewish-American scholar, Ian Lustick, in a 1980 book entitled Arabs in the

Jewish State: Israel’s Control of a National Minority. Just as Fox News’

self-description as “fair and balanced” does not make it either fair or

balanced, Wachter’s enthusiasm about Israel’s democracy does not make it a

democracy for non-Jews.

Palestinian Education

In the course of discussing The Israel Project’s great desire for peace and

independence for both Israelis and Palestinians, Wachter said the project

longs for the day when two states will live side-by-side in an atmosphere

where Israeli children aren’t afraid to go to pizza parlors with their

friends and “where Palestinian children are taught to grow up wanting to be

doctors and lawyers and not to glorify suicide bombers.”

This is a sly reference to a distortion that has gained wide acceptance

throughout Israel and throughout the Israel-supporting public in the U.S.

Frequent reports over the last several years of what is most often called

“incitement” in Palestinian school textbooks have virtually all originated

with an organization called the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace

(CMIP), originally founded by a leader of the Israeli settlement movement.

The organization has concentrated its efforts on translating and

publicizing sections of Palestinian textbooks that CMIP alleges demonstrate

that Palestinian children are being taught to hate Israel and seek its

destruction and that supposedly show that the Palestinian curriculum

encourages militarism and violence. Several serious scholars, including not

only Palestinian scholars, but Israeli and Jewish-American academics, have

studied Palestinian textbooks and thoroughly discredited CMIP’s claims.

They show that new Palestinian textbooks introduced into the curriculum by

the Palestinian Authority beginning in 2000 do recognize Israel, in the

text as well as in maps, do not call for its destruction, are not

anti-Semitic, and do not use language that would “incite” or inflame. CMIP

has frequently mistranslated the Arabic-language texts, taken statements

out of context, and occasionally fabricated. CMIP reports, as one scholar

has observed, draw conclusions that are “unsupported by the evidence it

presents and undermined by the evidence it overlooks.”

Unfortunately, CMIP’s allegations have been widely circulated and are the

source for virtually every claim of Palestinian “incitement” by U.S.

policymakers, congressmen, and media commentators. The false allegations

have become so much a part of the common political currency that one hears

them repeated ad nauseam by the likes of Hillary Clinton, who spoke at

length on so-called incitement during a speech at the annual convention of

the pro-Israel lobby organization AIPAC in May, as well as by every other

politician who wants to ingratiate him- or herself with Israel and by media

commentators on both the liberal and the conservative ends of the spectrum.

CMIP’s lies about Palestinian “incitement” have also influenced a decision

by European donors to cut off funds for Palestinian education. There are

numerous serious sources that analyze Palestinian texts honestly and

counter CMIP’s false claims; principal among these is the careful study by

Nathan J. Brown, an Arabic-speaking Jewish-American scholar at George

Washington University, contained in his 2003 book Palestinian Politics

After the Oslo Accords, particularly Chapter 7 and most particularly pages

235-243. A recent brief report by the Palestinian Ministry of Education,

which summarizes all the academic studies on this issue, as well as those

examining propaganda in Israeli school textbooks, can be found at

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article3923.shtml. Wachter and Greenspan,

and The Israel Project itself, would do well to educate themselves better

on this issue by reading books like Brown’s rather than relying on the

distortions put out by CMIP.

Israel’s “Security Fence”/Apartheid Wall

Wachter brought up the issue of what she persistently called Israel’s

“security fence,” the 500-mile-long security barrier Israel is constructing

inside the West Bank to separate Israel, its West Bank settlements, and all

of Jerusalem from areas of concentrated Palestinian population in the West

Bank. Referring to the June 2004 decision by the International Court of

Justice in the Hague condemning the wall, Wachter avoided describing the

ICJ decision (which declared that those portions of the wall that intrude

into the West Bank, which constitute almost the entire wall, are illegal

under international law and should be removed). She said only that Israeli

supporters knew beforehand what the verdict would be, that “there were

going to be some pretty nasty things said about the security fence.” On

this basis, she said, The Israel Project worked with the Israeli Foreign

Ministry to distribute press kits and disseminate information, including

testimony from the mothers of suicide bombing victims, so that “Americans

heard what the real story was, and that was that Israel built a

non-violent, temporary, defensive security fence.” Greenspan followed up

with the statement that “I think it’s the hope of everybody that when the

Palestinians show they can deal with terrorism and put an end to it that

the fence will come down” -- to which Wachter responded enthusiastically,

“Absolutely!”, repeating that the “fence” is non-violent and can save lives

on both sides.

There are several misrepresentations here. The barrier is not merely a

“fence.” Throughout the major portion of its length that goes through

populated areas, it is a 26-foot-high concrete wall broken only by

occasional gates manned irregularly by Israeli soldiers and at all other

times locked. The miles and miles of the barrier surrounding Jerusalem

consist entirely of concrete wall. In several places inside and just

outside the Jerusalem city limits, individual Palestinian neighborhoods are

completely surrounded by the wall, much like the Warsaw Ghetto, with only

one way in and out. In those rural sections where the barrier is a chain

link fence, it is augmented by electronic sensors, paved patrol roads on

each side, dirt roads on each side where footprints can be detected,

eight-foot deep trenches on each side, and coils of barbed wire on each

side. In some places, the width of this swath of barrier is as much as 100

yards.

The separation wall is most certainly not “non-violent,” as Wachter

disingenuously claims. Construction of this wall has meant the destruction

of thousands of Palestinian-owned olive trees, the bulldozing of other

prime agricultural land, the destruction of fresh water wells, the

destruction of commerce in areas where the wall has split towns in half,

and the demolition of hundreds of Palestinian homes that stood on the route

of the wall. Thousands of acres of agricultural land have ended up on the

western, Israeli side of the wall, most often confiscated for the use of

nearby Israeli settlements, sometimes simply allowed to lie fallow because

Palestinian farmers are prevented from crossing the wall to farm the land.

Towns and villages have been split in two; sometimes the village is on the

Israeli side of the wall with its land on the Palestinian side, sometimes

the reverse. Approximately 250,000 Palestinians are isolated on the Israeli

side of the wall. As many as 90 percent of the Palestinians’ fresh water

wells are on the Israeli side of the wall, inaccessible to Palestinian

towns.

The wall is also not some kind of makeshift temporary structure that can

cavalierly be put up and taken down and leave no mark, as Greenspan

indicates. First of all, it is a land grab, clearly intended by Israel as

an expanded border. It is obvious that Israel does not intend to return the

prime agricultural land and the water wells expropriated because of the

wall. It is equally obvious that the confiscation of these vital resources

has nothing to do with security or the fight against terrorism. Moreover,

even if Israel were to dismantle the wall and return the land to its

Palestinian owners, the bulldozed olive groves that are hundreds of years

old would never be restored; the family homes destroyed to make way for the

wall, and the way of life of those who once lived peaceably in those homes,

would never be restored; the livelihoods lost to farmers separated from

their land would never be restored; the livelihoods lost to workers now

unable to reach their workplaces would not be restored; the education of

students separated from their schools and universities would still have

been disrupted; those who die because the wall separates them from the

nearest hospital would still be dead; the commerce destroyed by the wall

would not be restored.

Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery wrote on July 10, 2004, in the aftermath

of the ICJ ruling against the wall that “Anyone who tours the length of the

planned path of the wall is struck by one aspect that leaps to the eye: it

has been determined without the slightest consideration for the life of the

Palestinian human beings living there. The wall crushes them as a man steps

on an ant.” Calling the wall non-violent and temporary is a shameful

whitewash.

Arab Women and the Vote

Greenspan gratuitously raised the subject of Arab women, unprompted even by

propagandist Wachter. “As I understand it,” he said, “for a while, at least

until things change in Afghanistan, or at least change in Iraq, Israel was

the only country in the Middle East where Arab women could vote. Is that

correct?”

This is so absurd it’s laughable. In actual fact, women in all but three

Arab countries can vote and run for office, as can women in several

non-Arab Muslim countries, such as Iran and, before the Taliban came to

power, Afghanistan. (Greenspan’s statement indicates than he thinks

Afghanistan is an Arab country, which it is not, although it is Muslim. Or

perhaps he believes that “Arab” and “Muslim” are synonymous.) Women cannot

vote in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, or Oman, but they can vote

in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Sudan, Yemen,

Bahrain, Jordan, Iraq (not thanks to the U.S. but since 1980 under Saddam

Hussein), Qatar, the Palestinian Authority, and Kuwait. These are listed in

the order in which the right to vote was granted.

This is not to say that women in the Arab world are totally liberated, but

it is worth noting that women in many Arab countries have been voting since

well before Americans stopped lynching Blacks. More women can vote in the

Arab world than there are people in Israel. Israel is most certainly not,

nor has it ever been, the “only country in the Middle East where Arab women

can vote”! This is not some obscure fact known only to specialists. With a

30-second Google search, it is possible to find, among other sources, a

“World Chronology of the Recognition of Women’s Rights to Vote and to Stand

for Election” (http://www.ipu.org/wmne/suffrage.htm.)

Although this is perhaps the least important of Greenspan’s several

distortions, it says a great deal about his thinking. The kind of ignorance

he shows here clearly comes from a mindset that simply assumes that Arabs

are inferior to Jews in all respects. His eagerness to denigrate Arabs in

this and other instances is evident in his easy assumption of the worst

about them, even when it is patently wrong. Wachter, by the way, did not

directly respond to this suggestion. She used the opportunity once again to

praise Israeli democracy in general terms, but she did not address the

question of Arab women’s suffrage.

Jenin

Near the end of the program, referring to the public relations/propaganda

efforts of The Israel Project, Greenspan asked Wachter about how the

organization handles news reporting that casts Israel in a negative light.

“What do you do in a situation, for example, where all kinds of reports

went out about the quote-unquote massacre at Jenin, which it turned out

never happened. Is there a way to deal with a situation where, you know,

the horse has gotten out of the barn?”

On April 3, 2002, Israel began a two-week siege of the West Bank city of

Jenin and its adjacent refugee camp, as part of a massive assault on all

West Bank cities launched in retaliation for a March 27 suicide bombing at

a restaurant in the Israeli town of Netanya where a Passover seder was

being held. This bombing killed 29 Israelis and was widely labeled in the

media the “Passover Massacre.” Palestinian fighters put up considerable

resistance throughout the siege of the Jenin refugee camp, killing 23

Israeli soldiers. By general agreement, 52 Palestinians were killed,

slightly fewer than half of whom were civilians.

The argument over how many dead Palestinians make a massacre is extremely

unseemly, and it is unfortunate that Greenspan chose to resort to this kind

of puerile “did not/did too” argumentation. By all objective standards,

Israel’s assault on the Jenin refugee camp was a humanitarian disaster. It

matters little that the Palestinian civilian dead in Jenin did not match

the number of Israeli civilians killed at the Passover seder. In Jenin,

Israeli forces used helicopter gunships, fighter jets, missile attacks, and

tank assaults to level entire residential apartment blocs, shooting

civilians in their homes, demolishing buildings with their residents still

inside, and ultimately leaving approximately 3,000 people homeless. The

Israelis laid siege to Jenin’s hospitals, refused to allow ambulances to

transport wounded, barred the entry of humanitarian aid workers, and

refused to allow the media in until the siege was over. Mosques were

desecrated, water and electricity were shut off for the duration of the

siege, food shipments into both the city and the refugee camp, where

fighting was concentrated, were blocked. The Israelis used civilians as

human shields, forcing them at gunpoint to knock on doors so that soldiers

would not risk being shot trying to enter the homes.

A New York Times article on April 16, 2002 described the situation this way

after the press had been allowed in: “The smell of decomposing bodies hung

over at least six heaps of rubble today, and weeks of excavation may be

needed before an accurate death toll can be made. But it was already clear

that scores, possibly hundreds, of houses were leveled by Israeli forces.

Israeli army bulldozers had plowed 100-foot wide paths that crisscross the

center of the camp, turning it into a pancaked field of concrete, dirt and

rubble about a half-mile long, every structure flattened. Israeli officials

have said the paths were created to move tanks and armored vehicles into

the warren of houses where Palestinians put up fierce resistance. But the

paths that were cleared were, in some areas, two to three times the breadth

of a tank.”

Arguing over whether or not this wanton destruction constituted a massacre

is a travesty of human decency, clearly designed to divert attention from

the human-rights violations and war crimes that most observers acknowledge

the Israelis did commit. The proper response to stories about Jenin is most

certainly not, as Wachter said in her response to Greenspan, to emphasize

that Israel is a democracy and describe “the painful sacrifices that [the

Israelis] are making for peace.” This is an inane non sequitur. Only those

so devoted to Israel that they refuse to acknowledge reality or recognize

any Israeli flaws could be persuaded that this is an appropriate response

to an atrocity of this magnitude. Greenspan may have appreciated Wachter’s

absurd response, but the people of Jenin -- who cannot vote in Israeli

elections, who have no democratic voice in whether Israel continues to

oppress them or not, who enjoy none of the benefits of Israeli democracy

and have seen no Israeli sacrifices for peace -- are not impressed.

See Appendix 2 for further sources on the Jenin situation.

Rachel Corrie

Greenspan, again wondering how The Israel Project handles it when a story

unfavorable to Israel gets out, asked Wachter, “…another one -- Rachel

Corrie, who was accidentally killed by a bulldozer, and we were told that

she was trying to stop the demolition of houses. Well, it turned out she

was actually trying to stop the demolition of tunnels that were used by

terrorists to smuggle explosives into Israel, that she herself was

apparently very much involved in some terrorist organizations -- but, when

something of that gets out very quickly -- could you do anything to counter

that?”

As if in a kind of crescendo of distortion, this final observation is

Greenspan’s most serious lie. His version of Corrie’s story is almost

identical to the version in the book An End to Evil: How to Win the War on

Terror by David Frum and Richard Perle, both leading neoconservatives and

former officials in the George W. Bush administration. The book’s account

(page 81) is a serious slander against Corrie, but it is not as personally

injurious as Greenspan’s lies. Three of Greenspan’s assertions must be

addressed: that Corrie’s killing was accidental, that she was attempting to

stop the demolition not of a home but of tunnels used to smuggle explosives

into Israel, and that she was herself involved with terrorist organizations.

1) “Accidental” killing: Greenspan is quoting the Israeli government, which

officially concluded that the killing -- which occurred in Rafah, Gaza, on

March 16, 2003 -- was accidental, but there is substantial credible

evidence that this is a cover-up. Greenspan has obviously chosen to take

Israel’s word on this over that of several American and British citizens

who were present, working as volunteers with the International Solidarity

Movement (ISM), and rather than trust the good moral standing of a young

American human rights worker. The Israeli claim that the killing was

accidental is seriously undermined by the fact that the Israelis

interviewed none of the eight American and British eyewitnesses who were

with Corrie attempting to stop a house demolition; nor did Israeli

officials interview the Palestinian eyewitnesses. There is considerable

evidence from the sworn testimony of the ISM volunteers that the bulldozer

driver who twice ran over Corrie knew she was there and knew he had run her

down.

Two Israeli bulldozers and a tank had been on the scene and Corrie and the

other ISM volunteers had been interacting with the drivers for at least two

hours before Corrie was killed. One of the bulldozers had been moving earth

around, repeatedly approaching the home in question, as well as other

structures and a walled olive grove, and several other volunteers had

alternately stood in front of the machine, attempting to stop its onward

progress. Before the Corrie killing, the bulldozer had come very near to

running over two other volunteers but each time had stopped just short of

harming them. The bulldozer driver was well aware that Corrie and the

others were in the vicinity.

When Corrie stood in front of the bulldozer as it approached a Palestinian

home, she wore a fluorescent orange jacket with reflective tape and used a

megaphone, according to photographs and the sworn testimony of other

volunteers. The day was sunny, and the incident took place in an open,

treeless area in front of the house. As the bulldozer approached her with

its blade down, according to eyewitnesses, it pushed a mound of earth

before it, and Corrie stood on top of this mound so that she was almost at

eye level with the driver. When the bulldozer continued to advance, she

lost her footing and fell, and the bulldozer rode over her, blade still

down. The other volunteers began screaming at the driver and gesticulating

frantically as the bulldozer touched Corrie.

The bulldozer stopped for a few seconds after it had run over her and then

backed up over her, still with its blade down. All eyewitnesses testified

that the driver saw her and, when she fell, had to know that she was under

his machine because she did not emerge on either side. In addition, the

driver of the other bulldozer and personnel in the tank had an unimpeded

view of the incident from the sidelines.

At least two of the eyewitnesses had experience in construction work and

testified that any heavy equipment operator knows that the equipment will

suck anything in front of it underneath as it pushes earth up and also that

it is standard procedure to lift the blade when backing up, which this

bulldozer did not do. Another eyewitness testified, based on the earlier

close encounters with other volunteers, that the driver was in total

control of his equipment, moving very slowly, and could have stopped for

Corrie had he wanted to.

No Israeli from either the bulldozers or the tank attempted to help Corrie

as she lay dying while a Palestinian ambulance was called.

The sworn testimony of six eyewitnesses can be found at

http://electronicintifada.net/ and http://electronicintifada.net/. The

report of a seventh eyewitness, along with several pictures of Corrie in

front of the bulldozer, can be found at http://electronicintifada.net/.

2) Demolition of tunnels: This charge is a lie. Although the charge appears

in the Frum-Perle book, even the Israeli government has never claimed that

at this time its bulldozers were attempting to destroy arms- or

explosives-smuggling tunnels or that Corrie and the other ISM volunteers

were doing other than working in front of a private Palestinian home

attempting to stop its demolition. The area where the home stood is

adjacent to the Gaza Strip’s southern border with Egypt, and the Israelis

had been engaged for some time in clearing the entire area of all

structures in order to create a clear “security zone.” Had the home Corrie

was trying to protect been the cover or superstructure for an

arms-smuggling tunnel, the Israelis would undoubtedly have loudly

publicized this fact in order to exonerate themselves further in Corrie’s

killing.

They made no such claim; nor has the owner of the home, or anyone else who

lived there, ever been charged with involvement in terrorism or arms

smuggling. The Israelis left the house standing for another seven months

before finally demolishing it -- a further indication that there was no

suspicion that it hid a tunnel.

Finally, the Israeli bulldozer that killed Corrie and its companion

bulldozer did not take any of the steps associated with tunnel detection.

One of the eyewitnesses, who said the ISM volunteers had previously watched

bulldozers search for tunnels elsewhere, testified that the procedure

involved “armored drills and bomb dogs and shooting at the ground, none of

which was present here.” The bulldozers at the site where Corrie was killed

were clearly not searching for anything underground. See

http://electronicintifada.net/.

3) Corrie’s “involvement with terrorist organizations”: This charge is the

most serious lie. Corrie was never associated with any organization but the

ISM and had only been in Palestine for two months before her death. The

charge that the ISM is a terrorist group probably arises from a suicide

bombing that occurred in Tel Aviv on April 30, 2003, six weeks after

Corrie’s killing. The suicide bomber and an accomplice who survived the

bombing, both carrying British passports, had reportedly attended a public

memorial service for Corrie in Gaza and perhaps other ISM meetings. This

gave rise to charges in the media that they were ISM volunteers. The ISM

has denied any knowledge of the two individuals and stated categorically

that they never posed as ISM volunteers. The ISM does not believe these

individuals ever joined an ISM demonstration but has pointed out that their

participation in a public demonstration or in a public memorial service

would not in any case implicate the ISM in terrorism.

The ISM has never been credibly charged with terrorist activity and has

never been associated with terrorism of any sort. Nor has Rachel Corrie

ever been credibly associated with terrorism or any terrorist organization.

See the ISM website at http://www.palsolidarity.org. For the ISM statement

on the suicide bombing erroneously associated with the organization, see

http://electronicIntifada.net/v2/article1464.shtml.

John Greenspan’s casual charge that a dedicated, courageous young American

human rights worker was a terrorist is an outrageous slander. His lies

about Corrie go beyond the ordinary biased political debate common on radio

talk shows, into the realm of outright lies. It is disturbing that, rather

than educate himself even superficially about the Palestinian-Israeli

situation, Greenspan uses his position as chairman of the board of KSFR to

spout the distortions and misrepresentations he picks up from Israeli

propaganda organs like The Israel Project and ignorant screeds like the

Frum-Perle book.

Jeff Halper is an Israeli from whom Greenspan could learn a great deal both

about the situation on the ground in Israel-Palestine and about what true

justice for Palestinians as well as Israelis means, something Rachel Corrie

worked for. Halper founded and heads the Israeli Committee Against House

Demolitions, which resists Israel’s policy of demolishing the homes of

innocent Palestinians. He lives there, he lives the conflict, he knows the

situation intimately, and he has actually risked his own life lying in

front of a bulldozer in order to protect a Palestinian home from demolition.

Halper had this to say about Corrie immediately after her death:

“Rachel was not an Israeli. She was, as a member of the International

Solidarity Movement, a member of the international civil society, as we all

are. In her actions she affirmed her responsibility for upholding the

inherent dignity and equal rights of all people, including their right to a

nationality. She opposed non-violently the violence that occupation does

the Palestinians. The threshold of what is outrageous has reached

unimaginable heights in the Occupied Territories. Little moves us anymore.

The demolition of 60 Palestinian homes in the Rafah section of Gaza where

Rachel worked made barely a ripple when it happened a year ago [2002]. 2400

Palestinians have died in the past two years, a quarter of them children

and youth, and 22,000 have been injured. Thirty percent of Palestinian

children under the age of 5 suffer from malnutrition. 500,000 olive and

fruit trees have been uprooted or cut down. Israel is today imprisoning the

Palestinians behind a 500-mile wall that is much longer, higher and more

fortified than was the Berlin Wall. It’s all mind-boggling, it’s all

happening before our eyes and -- who cares? Rachel cared.”

How dare Greenspan use the public airwaves to spew venom on a young

American who gave her life fighting for justice, on the authority of Perle

and Frum, two shills for American and Israeli militarism? One can probably

not hope that John Greenspan will ever become like Jeff Halper --

clear-eyed about Israel and motivated by a sense of justice and fair play

for both Israelis and Palestinians. But we can hope that he might stop

spreading lies and stop allowing his loyalty to Israel to cloud his own

sense of what is right.

APPENDIX 1

June 11, 2005

TRANSCRIPT OF KSFR’S “THE RADIO CAFÉ,” 8:00-9:00 A.M., JUNE 9, 2005

[The following is a transcript of the first third of a one-hour radio

program named “The Radio Café” and broadcast from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. on June

9 by KSFR-FM, a public, non-profit radio station in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The part of this program copied verbatim in the present transcript, which

deals with the Palestine-Israel issue, caused controversy in Santa Fe. The

rest of the program, mentioned in the first paragraph below, is not

included in the transcript because it is not part of the controversy.]

Begin transcript

John Greenspan (JG): This is The Radio Café but I am not Mary Charlotte

[regular hostess of the show]. Mary Charlotte is vacationing. She will be

back next Monday I believe, Mickey [an official of the station], if I’m

right, and this is John Greenspan, also known as the Jazz Man. I’m going to

be sitting in today. We have three guests for you. We’re going to have

Megan Wachter (sp?) from The Israel Project; and then Michael Maya (sp?)

from an American Bar Association project called the Center for Europe and

Eurasian Law Institute and they are helping emerging democracies draft new

constitutions; and we’ll hear from Jo Fischer (sp?) at the Lensic, and tell

us, oh, a little bit about what goes on behind the scenes. [Editor’s note:

“The Lensic” is an 800-seat theater and concert/lecture hall in Santa Fe.]

Well, we’ve got a lot to cover today, so Mickey, do we have our first guest

here?

Megan Wachter (MW): Right here.

JG: Okay, Megan Wachter. Good Morning.

MW: Good Morning. I didn’t know I was talking to the Jazz Man.

JG: Ah, that’s one of the many hats that I wear. All right, you are with

the Israel Project, and what I’d like you to do first is just tell us your

involvement with it, what it is, and, ah, the mission statement.

MW: Sure. Well, we’re based out of Washington, D.C., and we’re just about

three years old now, and we are a non-profit, educational resource to the

public, to the press, about Israel, about the Middle East, getting out

information to the public, so the people have a real sense of what is going

on over there, and have a real idea of the fact that Israel is a democracy,

where all people and not just Jews but Christians and Muslims all share

freedom of speech and freedom of religion, and freedom of press, and the

right to vote, and the kind of information that doesn’t always make it into

the press, and isn’t necessarily that widely known.

JG: Now also, although I know this may be a little bit out of the mission

statement, I know from talking with Jennifer Mizrahi, who I guess was the

founder --

MW: She is the founder and president --

JG: Um, you do also support very much Palestinian rights and the belief

that they should have their own state and have a --

MW: Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, it’s absolutely critical for peace in

the region, and we at the Israel Project, and, I think, generally speaking,

most people, hope for peace and a better future for both sides, and an

Israel and Palestinian state living side by side, where children in Israel

aren’t afraid to go to pizza parlors with their friends, and where

Palestinian children are taught to grow up wanting to be doctors and

lawyers and not to glorify suicide bombers.

JG: Well, I think that’s a very noble goal. Now, what I’d like to ask you

first, before we get into the main thing we want to talk about -- which is

a workshop you’re going to be running in a few weeks -- could you give us a

few examples of instances where the press really got the story wrong about

Israel and wherein just a lot of incorrect information got out?

MW: Well, I think -- well, one thing that we try to do at the Israel

Project is to give journalists credit for the fact that they have an

incredibly difficult job. They’re very busy, they are always working on

deadlines, short-staffed, and covering a lot of different topics, and so,

at the Israel Project, we really as a policy won’t complain about stories

after they hit the paper, because we just find it to be more effective and

it just makes more sense frankly for us to get information to reporters

before they write their stories. So, there certainly have been times when

there were stories that were incorrect or didn’t portray Israel in the best

light, but I’d rather really focus on a topic where I think really the

press got it right, and that would be when Israel was taken to the

International Court of Justice in The Hague, over the security fence. And

basically, going into the trial, we knew pretty much what the outcome was

going to be. We knew that there were going to be some pretty nasty things

said about the security fence, and we knew that -- we pretty much knew what

the verdict was going to be also going in to it. But by working -- and the

Ministry of Foreign Affairs from Israel did a great job -- and by working

together and going to the Hague and getting press kits to the press and

getting them the information, really Americans heard what the real story

was, and that was that Israel built a non-violent, temporary, defensive

security fence. And they heard from mothers of terrorist victims that they

wished the fence didn’t have to be built, but that they hoped that this was

going to save other mothers from feeling the type of pain and loss that

they were. And that was the situation in which really everybody came

together, and even knowing that the story might not be the best, it really

came out to the American public what -- what the security fence was all

about.

JG: It’s my understanding that where the fence has been completed it has

been 100 percent effective in stopping terrorist attacks. Is that correct?

MW: It has been incredibly, incredibly effective, and actually, we heard a

story from one of these mothers that I was talking about, Lea Zur, who lost

a son Asaf in a bus bombing when he was at least 16 years old, and they

heard just a few months later -- the fence was not complete when Asaf was

killed -- but a few months later, another suicide bomber tried to

infiltrate their same town and was actually headed toward the school where

their nephew -- the same family’s nephew -- was attending school, and this

suicide bomber was thankfully stopped because the security fence was

complete in the same spot where it hadn’t been before, and all of those

children thankfully were saved.

JG: And I think it’s the hope of everybody that when the Palestinians show

they can deal with terrorism and put an end to it that the fence will come

down.

MW: Absolutely! And I mean, the fence it’s -- like I said, a non-violent

measure and it’s important for both sides -- it saves lives on both sides,

because, unfortunately, when there are these suicide bombers, or when

Israel knows that there are these -- what they call -- ticking time bombs,

people that are actually on their way to carry out these attacks, they have

an obligation to defend their citizens, and to try to stop the person

before they get there, and unfortunately there are innocent Palestinians

who are killed in the crossfire, and Israel absolutely regrets the

decisions and the actions that it has to take, but it’s forced to defend

its citizens from that type of terrorism that’s targeting women and

children in pizza parlors and schools, and the fence has decreased the

bloodshed on both sides. So, absolutely.

JG: Now, let’s move on to the workshop that you’re going to be conducting

in a few weeks in Washington. Tell us about that -- what you hope to

accomplish, and who some of the participants are going to be.

MW: Okay. Well, it’s really a great workshop, and we’ve done -- this is our

second year now. It’s the second annual alternate seminar for pro-Israel

advocates, and it’s in Washington, D.C. from June 26th to 27th, and it’s

just a wonderful opportunity for people to come together and really learn

from such top experts and, and hear from the press how it is that people

should interact with the press and, and what you can do better to have your

voice heard, and how it is that you should explain things that you really

care about. What is really the factual information and how it is that you

can express yourself to Americans and to your friends and to your family

and to the press, in letters to the editor and on talk-radio shows and

things like that. How is it that you talk about something that you really

care about these days?

JG: All right. Who are some of the people who will be conducting the

workshops?

MW: Okay, well, Ambassador Ayalon will be -- Israel’s ambassador to the

United States will be one of our keynote speakers. We have Stan Greenburg,

who was Clinton’s strategist and pollster, who’s phenomenal. There’s Neil

Newhouse, actually did George W. Bush’s reelection polling, and Cliff May,

the president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies; Frank

Luntz, another fantastic strategist and pollster; and those are some of the

real top experts, and you can see it -- really, it runs the gamut. It’s

non-partisan. It’s -- you’re hearing from people that are the top experts

in their field, but definitely sit on both sides of the aisle and this is

something where they really come together and really feel passionate about.

And we also are going to hear from members of the press. Bill Kristol will

be there, the editor of the Weekly Standard, to really give insight into

what it is the press wants to hear from you, why it is that they pick up

the phone for one person, and how you really develop that relationship, and

get them useful information that hopefully they can use. I mean, the

American people are really -- they’re a smart group of people, you know,

and we feel very strongly that if you just give them the information,

they’ll make up their minds, and they’re going to be critical of some

things and supportive of others, but if they have the facts and the

information, then they’re going to come to a decision and be supportive of

Israel.

JG: Now, let me just tell our listeners that we are speaking with Megan

Wachter of the Israel Project. This is the Santa Fe Radio Café, and we have

two more guests coming up. In a few moments we’ll be hearing from Michael

Maya of the Center for European and Eurasian Law Institute, but your

workshop that’s going to be held, could you give us the dates and the

location of where it’s going to be held?

MW: Sure. It is in Washington, D.C., and that’s June 26th and 27th and

there’s lots of information about it up on our website -- it’s

www.TheIsraelProject.org. It really is going to be a great time for people

of all levels and interest to come together and learn how to speak about a

democracy that shares the same values as America and hope for the future

really for a better time and a more peaceful time for both Israelis and

Palestinians.

JG: Now, as I understand it, for a while, at least until things change in

Afghanistan, or at least change in Iraq, Israel was the only country in the

Middle East where Arab women could vote. Is that correct?

MW: Yes, yes, absolutely. Arab women -- I mean, a lot of people don’t know

that one-fifth of Israel’s population are Arab, and they share the exact

same rights as for women that can vote, and have freedom of speech, and

freedom of press, and it really is an incredible democracy that’s

struggling with terrorism, but still, a democracy in a very volatile region.

JG: Okay. Let me, ah, let me have you give that website again for the

Israel Project.

MW: Sure. It’s www.TheIsraelProject.org.

JG: Okay, now, we’re going to wrap it up, ah, but just a couple of things I

want to ask you. What do you do in a situation, for example, where all

kinds of reports went out about the quote-unquote massacre at Jenin, which

it turned out never happened. Is there a way to deal with a situation

where, you know, the horse has gotten out of the barn --

MW: [Interrupts] -- Right. --

JG: How do you handle -- or, another one -- Rachel Corrie, who was

accidentally killed by a bulldozer, and we were told that she was trying to

stop the demolition of houses. Well, it turned out she was actually trying

to stop the demolition of tunnels that were used by terrorists to smuggle

explosives into Israel, that she herself was apparently very much involved

in some terrorist organizations -- but -- when something of that gets out

very quickly -- could you do anything to counter that?

MW: I think you just have to keep reinforcing and getting out the right

information and the truthful information and, like I said, the fact that

Israel is a democracy and the painful sacrifices that they are making for

peace and that they’ve made in the past. I mean, they gave back the Sinai

for peace in Egypt. In August we’re going to see Israel totally disengaging

out of Gaza, moving 8,000 settlers and shutting down settlements in the

West Bank also. I mean, they’re digging up graves of victims of terrorism

and moving them because they won’t be safe in Gaza -- and moving them close

to where the families are being relocated. I mean, really, really painful

sacrifices that Israel’s making that I think -- really those are the things

that make an impression on the American public, that they understand and

can really see the struggle that they’re making, and the hope that they

have for the future, and that sometimes the story comes and it’s not right

or it’s not what you wanted to see but the real important things that get

out to the American public are the major things that they know and they

understand, and that’s why America continues to support this amazing

democracy.

JG: Well, Megan Wachter, I want to thank you very much for taking the time

to speak with us --

MW: [Interrupts] Thanks for having me --

JG: And again, we wish you good luck and of course we hope for peace in the

Middle East. I understand, by the way, the last hurdle -- legal hurdle --

was cleared today. The Israeli Supreme Court refused to block the

implementation of the withdrawal from Gaza, and I’m sure not everybody’s

going to go quietly, but hopefully this’ll be accomplished, and hopefully

it will eventually lead to some, ah -- you know, it’s a first step on the

road to some peace.

MW: Absolutely. Hope so.

JG: Okay, well, thank you very much for speaking with us.

MW: Thank you. We hope to see you and your listeners in June.

JG: Okay.

MW: Thanks.

JG: All right.

MW: Bye.

JG: And, ah, Mickey, I guess we have a musical selection…..

End of Transcript

APPENDIX 2

Additional sources on Jenin:

For extensive coverage of the Jenin story, see the New York Times and the

Washington Post virtually every day from April 9, when Israel finally began

to allow the media in to the refugee camp, through the end of that month.

For details on relief agencies’ inability to reach Jenin to bring relief

supplies and assist the wounded, see the Washington Post, April 11, 2002

and the New York Times, April 16. On the inability of journalists to get

in, see the same Post article, as well as several British television

reports quoted in the book Bad News from Israel by Greg Philo and Mike

Berry, pp. 192-194.

For a description of the IDF using a civilian as a human shield, see a

British television report quoted in Bad News from Israel, p. 194.

For descriptions of the massive destruction of apartment buildings, of

people killed inside their demolished homes, of the smell of decomposing

bodies coming from piles of rubble, of people shot inside their homes, see

coverage for the entire month in the Washington Post, the New York Times,

various British newspapers, and Ha’aretz, among others. Particularly

descriptive are the Washington Post, April 12, 2002; the New York Times,

April 16 and 18, 2002; and the London Observer, April 21, 2002. The

Observer article, emphasizing what it calls the “act of physical erasure”

in the Jenin refugee camp, is particularly noteworthy and is included in

full as Appendix 2a.

The Washington Post article of April 16, also noteworthy, says,

“The heart of this battered Palestinian shantytown of 13,000 inhabitants

has been erased from the face of the earth, its maze of apartment houses

and twisting streets bulldozed by the Israeli military into a vast crater

of broken concrete. The crater -- about the size of two square city blocks

-- lies at the end of a dusty river of destruction that looks as if it

swept through in a fierce flood, taking with it sad souvenirs from the

homes and lives it obliterated: a hand-knit blue sweater, a lace window

curtain, cooking pots, a car sliced in half….For four days, the military

pummeled the camp with rockets, missiles and artillery shells fired from

U.S.-provided AH-64 Apache helicopters and tanks. Houses throughout the

camp were sprayed with bullets and gouged with gaping holes. Not a single

glass window appeared to have survived the onslaught.”

Also of particular note is an article in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth

Ahronot on May 31, 2002 (translated from Hebrew by the Israeli peace group

Gush Shalom), which carries a long interview with an Israeli reservist,

nicknamed Kurdi Bear, who drove a Caterpillar D-9 bulldozer for 75 hours

with no break, demolishing houses and apartments in the refugee camp,

drinking whiskey to keep himself awake. He was considered, according to the

interviewer, “the most devoted, brave and probably the most destructive

operator. A man that the Jenin camp inquiry committee would want very much

to have a word with.” With considerable understatement, the interviewer

describes Kurdi Bear’s story as “far from being a regular war myth.”

Referring to an ambush set by Palestinian militants on April 9, in which 13

Israeli soldiers were killed, Kurdi Bear says, “The moment I drove the

tractor into the camp, something switched in my head. I went mad….All that

remained was the anger over what had happened to our guys.” He talks about

being told to “open a track” through the narrow alleys, meaning to “erase”

buildings on both sides because the bulldozer was wider than the alley. For

three days, he boasts, “I just destroyed and destroyed. The whole area. Any

house that they fired from came down. And to knock it down, I tore down

some more. They were warned by loudspeaker to get out of the house before I

came, but I gave no one a chance. I didn't wait….I would just ram the house

with full power, to bring it down as fast as possible….Others may have

restrained themselves, or so they say. Who are they kidding? Anyone who was

there, and saw our soldiers in the houses, would understand they were in a

death trap. I thought about saving them. I didn't give a damn about the

Palestinians….I didn't see, with my own eyes, people dying under the blade

of the D-9, and I didn't see houses falling down on live people. But if

there were any, I wouldn't care at all. I am sure people died inside these

houses, but it was difficult to see, there was lots of dust everywhere, and

we worked a lot at night. I found joy with every house that came down,

because I knew they didn't mind dying, but they cared for their homes. If

you knocked down a house, you buried 40 or 50 people for generations. If I

am sorry for anything, it is for not tearing the whole camp down….[A]fter

the fighting was over, we got orders to pull our D-9’s out of the area, and

stop working on our ‘football stadium’ [his term for the large area he was

clearing of all structures] because the army didn’t want the cameras and

press to see us working. I was really upset.”

APPENDIX 2a

The Observer (U.K.)

Peter Beaumont

April 21, 2002

Brutal, yes. Massacre, no.

Jenin will not give up its mysteries until more of the bodies have been

found. But Israel will struggle to defend itself against the mounting

evidence of the suffering its soldiers inflicted on the camp's civilian

population. It is easy to be distracted by the presence of the bodies. On

Friday, in their white plastic shrouds, they were stacked like stinking

chords of wood outside the main hospital in the northern West Bank city of

Jenin.

Some had been collected from where they had been hastily buried in the back

gardens of the refugee camp's least damaged sections, then sprayed with

perfume to make the job less awful for those who had to handle them. Others

had been collected from their temporary mass grave made by the doctors in a

yard outside the hospital. They were all waiting for reburial in a common

grave. By their very weight of numbers laid out on the ground - almost 30

on this afternoon - they suggested themselves as victims of a massacre.

But a massacre - in the sense it is usually understood - did not take place

in Jenin's refugee camp. Whatever crimes were committed here - and it

appears there were many - a deliberate and calculated massacre of civilians

by the Israeli army was not among them.

And if a massacre did not take place, what did happen in Jenin?

It is a question that will weigh heavily on the future of Israeli and

Palestinian relations. Yesterday Israel promised to co-operate with a

United Nations fact-finding mission to Jenin, saying it had nothing to

hide. Both sides have moved quickly to appropriate the story of Jenin as

part of their national narratives of victimhood - the same narratives that

have fed the increasingly bloody conflict.

For Israelis, Jenin camp is the 'Capital of the Suicide Bombers', a place

that has sent almost a quarter of the bombers who have plagued Israel's

towns and cities. It is a place where 13 Israeli soldiers died, in a single

bloody incident: the West Bank's own 'heart of darkness'. For Palestinians,

Jenin refugee camp is the place that fought to the bitter end, a symbol of

resistance, whose civilians were punished with the destruction of their

homes for standing up to, and bruising, Israel's military might.

One thing, however, is beyond question: that the soldiers of Israel carried

out an act of ferocious destruction, unparallelled in Israel's short

history, against an area of civilian concentration where Palestinian

fighters were based.

And what will settle whether what happened in Jenin camp was a war crime is

the relationship between those civilians and the Palestinian fighters. For

increasingly at issue is a simple distinction. If the refugee camp at Jenin

was a population centre that simply harboured fighters - that had fighters

in its midst - then, say human rights advocates, Israel had a duty of care

during its attack towards the civilians resident there under international

law.

But if Jenin camp could be proved to be something else, say lawyers for the

army, the Geneva Convention might not apply. Already Israel is working hard

to define why the destruction in Jenin was something 'other' - exempt from

the Convention.

It is that something 'other' that Israeli legal sources advising the army

are desperately now trying to establish in international opinion. The

refugee camp at Jenin, they say, had become an 'armed camp', booby-trapped

and organised for fighting. It is a place, they argue, where the civilian

population was effectively being held hostage under military orders. In

those circumstances, the Israeli lawyers argue, the laws of war should not,

and must not, apply.

It is an argument that holds little water with those who lost their homes.

I meet Khalil Talib amid the camp's ruins on Friday, digging with a mattock

to retrieve his bedding from the ruins of his house. Talib is 70. His

daughters drag cushions and blankets from the dirt. If Talib is a

terrorist, then he is an old and frail one. For at heart of the question of

whether Jenin was a war crime are not the bodies stacked at the main

hospital. It is what happened to the homes of those like Talib.

For even as the hunt for the bodies goes on, it is increasingly clear from

evidence collected by this paper and other journalists, that the majority

of those so far recovered have been Palestinian fighters from Islamic

Jihad, Hamas and the al-Aqsa Brigades. Certainly, civilians died. But so

far they are in the minority of those who perished.

At the excavation of the bodies at the hospital for reburial, I meet Yassin

Fayed whose two brothers, Amjad, aged 30, and Muhammad, 21, both fighters

with Hamas, are among the dead. He says they were executed after their

arrest by Israeli soldiers, but this is impossible to check. He makes no

bones that they were fighting before they died. Elsewhere we come across a

bulldozer searching through the rubble for three bodies. The men digging

tell me they are trying to recover bodies of dead fighters.

And the tales of civilian slaughter are simply less credible in their

accounts. Mr G, as he asks me to call him, tells me that a handicapped boy

was 'buried alive by the Israelis'. He translates this in Arabic to the men

surrounding him, and they 'correct' him. He tells me then that, in fact,

five handicapped residents of the camp were buried by Israel's bulldozers.

I hear many accounts like this. Numbers of the missing and the dead that

will not bear scrutiny, horror stories that are impossible to check, and in

some cases, in all likelihood, concocted. Colleagues tell me too of being

told of the death of so-and-so by neighbours, only to meet him or her alive

and well.

All of which brings the focus back to the sheer intensity of the

devastation of the camp.

You see it the moment you enter what once was the heart of Jenin camp. The

aerial photographs of the demolition of the centre of the camp, produced by

the Israeli army, do not convey the shock of what you see. Filmed from

above - a place the size of several football pitches where over 100 houses

once stood - is rendered a blank and texture-less expanse.

On the ground, however, it is the detail of ordinary life destroyed that

catches the eye. Tangled mounds of concrete and reinforcing rods climb up a

gentle slope. The eye alights on a shoe here, the leg of a doll, bedding,

pages from the Koran, pictures and shards of broken mirror. It is, somehow,

most shocking at the very the edges of the devastation where the

destruction is partial. Here whole walls of buildings have been peeled off

to reveal the still occupied homes inside - pictures, beds and bathrooms -

daily life stripped bare.

The true crime of Jenin camp is this act of physical erasure. It is covered

by Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention in its prohibition on 'the

extensive destruction or unlawful appropriation of property, not justified

by military necessity committed either unlawfully or wantonly.' Article 147

mentions other crimes that may be applicable to Jenin: the alleged taking

of hostages for human shields by the Israelis; the same army's refusal of

access for humanitarian and emergency medical assistance and the deliberate

targeting of civilians, particularly by Israeli snipers. But it is the

sheer scale of the destruction that Israel will most likely have to answer

for.

I am reminded of this prohibition on 'wanton destruction' of civilian homes

by Miranda Sissons, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, whom I meet

walking through the rubble and who has the Fourth Geneva Convention on her

Palm Pilot. She is with Manaf Abbas, a human rights worker with the

Palestinian human rights group al-Haq.

'Whether or not there appears to have been any mass killing here,' says

Sissons, who appears inclined to be cautious of this claim until better

evidence is provided, 'there have been very serious violations of the rules

of war that need to be investigated. Those key issues are the

disproportionate use of force; the excessive use of force and the extensive

destruction of property. There has been a total lack of respect for the

rights of civilians. And those breaches are still continuing. Israel is

still blocking the facilitation of humanitarian access and continuing to

shoot on civilians here.' Abbas is also cautious about using the word

'massacre'. 'We need to find out if those reported missing have been

arrested, fled, are living with relatives - or are buried under the

rubble.'

An hour later I run into into Eyad and Jawad Kassim, two brothers who lived

with their family in four houses at the edge of the destruction. Eyad's

house and his mother's have been reduced to rubble. Jawad's still stands

but one outside wall has been demolished and two missiles hit the building.

Eyad and Jawad deny that they are fighters. 'We had four homes,' says Eyad.

'Now they're destroyed.' He admits there were fighters and heavy fighting

in the camp, but believes his house and those of others were destroyed as

punishment for the deaths of 23 Israeli soldiers. 'They are lying when they

say there were gunmen in all of the buildings they destroyed.' He seems a

gentle man. After a while he lights a cigarette, excuses himself and walks

off to cry.

'Liar' is the word you hear most about what happened in the refugee camp. I

hear it used in almost every conversation. On Thursday on a ridge

overlooking the city, Colonel Miri Esin, a senior intelligence analyst with

the Israeli army, uses it with the same bitterness as Eyad Kassim. She says

the 'Palestinians are liars' in their descriptions of what happened. She

tells us the Israeli version 12 hours before the army withdraws from the

camp to the city limits. The point of Esin's presentation, I later realise,

is to make the same case as the lawyers advising the army: that the

destruction of the homes of men like Eyad and Fawad was not a war crime but

an act 'justified by military necessity' - an act, in other words, exempt

from the Geneva Convention.

She tells us the army is 'not proud of the destruction', that the 100 out

of 1,100 homes destroyed is not 'a lovely figure'. But Esin insists that

for all the Israeli regrets the destruction was justified by the 'harsh

fighting', the levels of resistance and infiltration by the Palestinian

fighters of the camp.

But other Israeli soldiers, speaking anonymously, have a different vi
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Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A13 12:39AM

lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

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