Sunday, November 21, 2004

Deodorizing A Terrorist - A continuing saga
On Friday, the NY Times featured a fawning profile of convicted murderer Marwan Bargouti, "Jailed in Israel, Palestinian Symbol Eyes Top Post". (A "symbol," right. And according to the Washington Post, Yasser Arafat was a "dreamer." As the murderers are romanticized, their victims are forgotten.)
Running through the political chatter among both Palestinians and Israelis since Mr. Arafat died a week ago has been speculation electrifying to both - that Israel would pardon Mr. Barghouti or release him in some sort of prisoner exchange.

That possibility is extremely remote, Israeli politicians and analysts say. An Israeli court has found Mr. Barghouti to have blood on his hands. But some Israelis also remember him for his support of a two-state solution and his formerly close relationships with Israeli politicians, including some right-leaning ones.

Right, he supported a "two state solution." So did Faisal Husseini:
In 1989, when he left Israeli prison, he stated his philosophy, "We are fighting to build our state, not to destroy another state."

Whoops make that:
"We are [acting] exactly like them. In 1947, in accordance with [the UN] Partition Plan, they decided to declare statehood on 55% of the land of Palestine, which they later increased to 78% during the War of 1948, and then again [increased it] to 100% during the War of 1967. Despite all that, they never attempted to make secret of their long-term goal, which is "Greater Israel" from the Nile to the Euphrates. Similarly, if we agree to declare our state over what is now only 22% of Palestine, meaning the West Bank and Gaza – our ultimate goal is [still] the liberation of all historical Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, even if this means that the conflict will last for another thousand years or for many generations."

I guess I can't really expect more from the Times but at the end, Barghouti makes a false claim and Bennett (the reporter) fails to take him to task:
During this uprising, which began in September 2000, Marwan Barghouti called for violence but insisted that he remained "a politician, not a military man." He said he supported attacks only against Israeli soldiers and settlers in the occupied territories, violence that he argued was condoned by international law.
Well, actually it doesn't. Amnesty International, not an organization that is known to be particularly sympathetic to Israel, claims persuasively that even settlers - whom Amnesty says are living in their land illegally - are civilians:
However, no violations by the Israeli government, no matter their scale or gravity, justify the killing of Sinai Keinan, Danielle Shefi, Chanah Rogan or any other civilians. The obligation to protect civilians is absolute and cannot be set aside because Israel has failed to respect its obligations. The attacks against civilians by Palestinian armed groups are widespread, systematic and in pursuit of an explicit policy to attack civilians. They therefore constitute crimes against humanity under international law. They may also constitute war crimes, depending on the legal characterisation of the hostilities and interpretation of the status of Palestinian armed groups and fighters under international humanitarian law. (see section 5)

The end of the article is positively Orwellian:
Israeli officials say he aimed at civilians on both sides of the 1967 boundary between Israel and the West Bank. "In practice it has been proven beyond all doubt," the Israeli court's verdict read, "that the accused took part in, and headed, murderous activity which aimed at striking innocents."

In an interview with The New York Times in March 2002, while he was in hiding, Mr. Barghouti said that all his efforts were in pursuit of a lasting peace. Israel had shown that only violence would prompt it to agree to a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, he said. He said that by conducting sensational attacks, Fatah had restored its popularity with average Palestinians, who he said were otherwise turning to militant groups like Hamas that were dedicated to Israel's destruction.

"We were very brave to fight for peace, and I received a lot of criticism from our side," he said, referring to his support of Oslo. "Now we are brave enough to fight for peace again - but with different tools.'"

Different tools for achieving peace? Killing Yoela Chen and Father Georgios Tsibouktzakis achieved peace how?
Here's an excerpt of the verdict via Arutz-7:
"The accused generally did not have direct contact with the people on the ground who perpetrated the attacks," last month's verdict stated. "The contact was made with people close to him, among them [his nephew] Ahmed Barghouti... who, with the support of the accused, planned and carried out the murderous attacks, using the money and arms that the accused made sure to supply to them for that purpose."

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