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Year 2001 No. 183, October 29, 2001 ARCHIVE HOME SEARCH SUBSCRIBE

The Oppression and Negation of the National Rights of the Palestinian People Must Be Ended

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

The Oppression and Negation of the National Rights of the Palestinian People Must Be Ended

Israel Cancels “Withdrawal”

An Immediate End to Genocidal Attacks by Israel on the Palestinian People! An Immediate Withdrawal of Israeli Troops from All Occupied Arab Territories!

British Admiral Warns that Afghan Campaign Could Last 50 Years

Anthrax Bacteria Likely to Be US military Strain

Letter to the Editor:
Tony Blair is Acting as a Dictator

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The Oppression and Negation of the National Rights of the Palestinian People Must Be Ended

Last week, Israel engaged in the most fascist display of state terrorism, massacring Palestinians, and claiming, as with the United States aggression, "its right to self-defence". The US State Department went so far as to call the massacres carried out by Israel "understandable".

The Palestinians are supposed to recognise Israel while the national rights of the Palestinian people are negated. The US continues to arm the state of Israel while telling the Arab people not to harm Israel in any way. This is designed to ensure that the monopoly of armed power remains in the hands of the US. This is taking place while the US has declared that it will attack any country which it deems is terrorist or harbouring terrorists.

The onus for the violence in the Middle East is always placed on the Palestinians. The US suggests that unless the Palestinian Authority "controls the violence on its territories", it has no "credibility". The US is giving Israel a green light to use state terror against the Palestinians, while it is once again threatening to attack Iraq.

So long as the US steps up the use of force to settle conflicts and to keep the monopoly of armed might in its own hands, grave dangers face the peoples of the Middle East and the entire world. The US seeks to impose its undisputed dictate over the entire world in the hope of overcoming the profound all-sided crisis of its system. But stepping up the use of force and the threat of the use of force as the method to sort out problems will only deepen this crisis.

So far, Israel has agreed to a "phased withdrawal" of the Palestinian territories it brutally occupied in the past week. Britain, the US, the big powers in the European Union, and other countries continue to conciliate with Israel while they put pressure on the Palestinians to give up their struggle in defence of their rights. But only a principled stand that clearly puts the blame where it belongs can provide a credible framework for the solution of the problems in the Middle East.

The working class and people must support the struggle of the Palestinian people for their rights and not permit their struggle to be blamed for the Israeli state terror.

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Israel Cancels “Withdrawal”

The Israeli government has cancelled the planned withdrawal of its tanks and soldiers from the West Bank towns of Bethlehem and Beit Jala. The Israeli Prime Minister's office said the pull-back had been cancelled indefinitely after violence again broke out in Bethlehem.

Israel has declared it will only complete its withdrawal from Palestinian-controlled areas if the Palestinian Authority cracks down on known militants.

Vowing that "everything had changed", Ariel Sharon had launched the biggest Israeli offensive against the Palestinian Authority since the PA's establishment in 1994. In the week that followed the assassination of Israeli cabinet minister, Rehavam Zeevi, Israeli forces killed some 40 Palestinians.

Saturday night's proposed withdrawal was supposed to be a test case for a wider pull-back by Israel from the other Palestinian areas it reoccupied following the assassination.

Fighting began in Bethlehem shortly after Israeli and Palestinian security officials held a meeting to discuss the logistics of the Israeli pullout. Witnesses said one of the Israeli tanks fired several shells, and that Palestinians replied with machine-gun fire. Hospital sources said four Palestinians were injured in the clashes.

A Palestinian minister has warned that if there is not a complete withdrawal within days, the Palestinian ceasefire will be called off. Palestinian information minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said on Sunday that Israel's failure to withdraw from the West Bank town of Bethlehem revealed a plot to topple the Palestinian Authority and re-occupy its land.

Denying that Palestinian gunmen had initiated fire on Israeli forces in Bethlehem, Abed Rabbo said it was "obvious that the Israelis would create pretexts to prevent the withdrawal from the heart of Bethlehem and other Palestinian cities now under their occupation." "The Israeli plan is obvious. They want to topple the Palestine National Authority and bring back the occupation of the entire Palestinian territories," Abed Rabbo said in a statement.

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An Immediate End to Genocidal Attacks by Israel on the Palestinian People! An Immediate Withdrawal of Israeli Troops from All Occupied Arab Territories!

WFTU Appeal to Trade Unions and Democratic Forces in All Countries

26 October 2001

The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) strongly condemns the intensified military attacks by Israel on the Palestinian people, which have caused huge loss of civilian lives and immense destruction of civilian property. These attacks amount to genocide and attempt at total extermination of the population. It is clear that Israel is deliberately intensifying its military actions as world attention is focused on the US and British air attacks on Afghanistan.

There have been large-scale Israeli military incursions into the Palestine territory and the ferocious assaults upon civilian populations in many Palestinian urban centres such as Ramallah, Bethlehem/Beit Jala, Nablus, Jenin, Qalqilya, Tulkarem, etc. – during the past week.

As the Palestine Trade Union Federation (PTUF) and other NGOs have pointed out, civilians have been killed trying to buy groceries for their families and in or near their homes, schools, churches and mosques. Tanks have blocked seriously injured people from being transported to hospital. Severe food shortages are resulting, especially in refugee camps (which are legally protected spaces, under international law). Israeli snipers are positioned in these areas and randomly shoot without warning at anything that moves.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, 26 Palestinians have been killed and 160 injured in the current Israeli assault between October 18 - 21. The WFTU condemns the deliberate targeting of civilians by Israeli military forces as "wilful killings" and "wilfully causing serious injury", which are defined by Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention as "grave breaches" of that Convention. These are, indeed, "war crimes" under the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court. In addition, Israel's indiscriminate, excessive and disproportionate use of force also violates international humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The WFTU therefore calls for urgent action by trade unions and all democratic forces in all continents to forcefully demand that the United Nations take immediate, effective measures to bring about:

An immediate end to the Israeli military attacks on the Palestinian people and complete Israeli withdrawal from all occupied territories in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions and immediate action to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their legitimate right to return and to self-determination and to establish their national and independent state with Jerusalem as capital.

The deployment of an international protection force to protect the lives of the Palestinian people living in the occupied territories and to provide international financial and technical assistance to the Palestine Authority to help resolve the humanitarian crisis caused by the Israeli aggression.

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British Admiral Warns that Afghan Campaign Could Last 50 Years

Admiral Sir Michael Boyce says the military campaign in Afghanistan is the most difficult operation since the Cold War.

He says the rule book is being rewritten.

The Chief of the Defence Staff said: "The war on communism took about 50 years to win. I wonder if we should be thinking along the same terms as that. During the Cold War we didn't fire a single shot, but we still won it.”

He said of the problems in getting intelligence on the ground in Afghanistan, "Simply, we are not getting enough of it."

Defence secretary Geoff Hoon said he does not want to put a timetable on the operation. He said to the BBC that the Taleban could collapse tomorrow or they could fight into the New Year.

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Anthrax Bacteria Likely to Be US military Strain

The bacteria used for the anthrax attacks in the US is either the strain the US itself used to make anthrax weapons in the 1960s, or close to it, an article in New Scientist of October 24 claims. It is not a strain that Iraq, or the former Soviet Union, mass-produced for weapons.

There have been charges that the sophistication of the anthrax suggests that it was produced with the backing of some government, such as Iraq. But neither the strain nor the physical form of the anthrax is particularly sophisticated, bioweapons specialists have said.

Tom Ridge, President Bush's Homeland Security adviser, stated that the anthrax sent to Florida, NBC and Senator Tom Daschle were all the same strain. An FBI spokesman in Florida confirmed that this was the Ames strain. The scientists analysing the anthrax are comparing its DNA with a library of strains collected from all over the world. In this collection, the standard Ames strain is the one the US used when it produced anthrax weapons, a programme which ended in 1969.

To be identified as Ames in the studies currently underway, the anthrax must either be the American military strain or one that is very similar.

The anthrax mass-produced for weapons in the US was claimed to be destroyed after 1969. However, samples were kept in the US and elsewhere, the article says.

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Letter to the Editor

Tony Blair is Acting as a Dictator

According to Tony Blair, Islam is a peaceful and tolerant religion and Britain is waging a war on terrorism and not on Islam. Tony Blair thinks he is an expert on Islam and keeps a copy of the Qoran. But he is deceptively attempting to line up people of Islamic religion behind Anglo-American imperialism via the media and the platform provided by the Muslim Council of Britain, while death and destruction is unleashed against the Islamic populations of Afghanistan in the name of the “war against terrorism”. This is not to mention what its plans are for Iraq and Palestine. The words “war on terrorism and not Islam” are repeated again and again. This is to convince the Arab and Islamic populations that this is the case. But what is perceived by the Arab and Islamic populations is exactly the opposite. There is a complete contradiction between the ruling class and the working class in Pakistan which has come into the open.

On October 19, Tony Blair gave the following answer to Arab journalists: “I think the one message that is so important to get across to people is that what Bin Laden and the Taleban regime represent is a form of Islam that is not shared by the vast majority of Muslims. Certainly any Muslims I have spoken to. And secondly, that what they want to see is Taleban-type regimes all over the Middle East and elsewhere. And those regimes are repressive, dictatorial, brutal in their treatment of women, and usually regimes that end up being economically disastrous as well. I think if you were to ask most people in Arab and Muslim countries, do you want that type of regime in our country, they would say no. So I think that is the message that we need to get across, and I think the support from the Arab and Muslim world is there.” About this is can firstly be said that whatever form of Islam is practised by the Taleban is an issue only for the Afghan people, and external forces have no right to interfere or impose their dictate. Secondly, Tony Blair is acting as a dictator.

Reader of Islamic background

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