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The Bulldozer State: Commentaries

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    Celebrating Life in Rafah By Ramzy Baroud - June 1, 2004 Rafah, Jenin, Khan Yunis, Zeitun: Foreign sounding names of so distanced and disturbing a reality. All
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2004
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      Celebrating Life in Rafah

      By Ramzy Baroud - June 1, 2004

      Rafah, Jenin, Khan Yunis, Zeitun: Foreign sounding names of so
      distanced and disturbing a reality. All that we know of them is what
      media has selectively determined to impart, if we are interested to
      hear the story.

      The Rafah refugee camp, a small strip of land at the southern edge of
      Gaza was the target of Israel's most ruthless attack in years.
      Between May 17-20, forty three Palestinians were killed, mostly
      civilians. Among them, nine children, most of them struck by missiles
      while protesting peacefully with flags and banners. "End the Siege on
      Rafah", declared a white banner, torn and saturated with blood.

      Media reports said Israel was responding to the killing of 13 of its
      troops by Palestinian militants.

      Homemade land mines killed the Israeli soldiers. However, the blasts
      were exasperated by the large amounts of explosives hauled by Israeli
      armored vehicles, apparently on their way to blow up Palestinian
      homes somewhere in Gaza.

      Even before the Rafah atrocities subsided, US President George W.
      Bush told AIPAC lobbyists that Israel had the right to defend itself.

      Can logic be any more fallacious?

      Israel's murder of civilians is sanctioned as self-defense;
      Palestinians, once again, are labeled "terrorists".

      Israel can assassinate any Palestinian at the time of its choosing
      with a ready-to-serve verdict. It killed and wounded hundreds of
      civilians in those "targeted killing" sprees. Yet, Palestinians are
      condemned if they show the mere desire to respond. Even the targeting
      of occupation soldiers is taboo.

      So what is it that Palestinians are permitted to do in self-defense,
      in accordance with the so twisted pro-Israeli Bush doctrine?

      How about marching in a peaceful demonstration?

      In Rafah, that too was an anathema and could not be tolerated. It was
      handled with resoluteness and vigor, the same way any "terrorist"
      threat deserves to be handled. A missile fired from a US-supplied
      Apache helicopter was all that took to eliminate that option of
      resistance.

      "Photos below are too graphic", read a warning posted on a
      Palestinian website of images of dead civilians in the tragedy-
      stricken refugee camp. They were of the dozen bodies piled up in a
      local farmer's cooler since the hospital's morgue was overfilled with
      victims.

      One picture refuses to escape my mind. An olive-skinned child with
      slightly opened eyes. Dead. An unknown hand, holds the child's wholly
      disjoined arm closer to the dead body, as if he is telling the
      camera: "This arm belonged here." The boy was nameless. I quivered.
      The feeling of being that boy's father is horrifying.

      In the case of Israeli victims of suicide bombings, reality can be
      equally gruesome. But Bush dares not use the same logic when
      Palestinians fall victim: "Palestinians too entail the right to
      defend themselves." Never once has he uttered these words. So what
      else should Palestinians attempt, now that even peaceful protests are
      crossing the line?

      Peter Hansen, the chief of the United Nations agency for refugees in
      the region confirmed that in Rafah refugee camp, homes were toppled
      on their dwellers.

      Even as Hansen himself walked through the camp assessing the damages,
      Israeli soldiers were still shooting. "We have now confirmation from
      the hospital that a girl was shot and killed in one of the two gun
      bursts we heard," he said.

      She was Rawan Abu Zeid, a 3-year-old girl from Rafah. Her peers said
      that she was skipping in her way to the candy store. Two bullets
      struck her, one in the head and the other in the neck. Was she taken
      to the same makeshift morgue, or did her tiny body find room for
      itself in the local hospital?

      This time I implore an answer: What must Palestinians do to stand up
      to the Israeli occupation without being blamed for their own misery,
      now that suicide bombings, fighting occupation soldiers, protesting
      peacefully, huddling in fear with one's family in one's own home, or
      coveting a piece of candy from a nearby shop warrant so violent an
      Israeli response? Of course we are expected to pay little attention
      to the Palestinian victims, to ask who are they and who will pay for
      their death. In fact, few of us bother to find out what can be done to
      help those fortunate enough to evade the bullets and the bulldozers.

      But enthusiastically we indulge in analyzing Ariel Sharon's motives,
      as if such senseless murder might possibly adhere to some kind of
      logic.

      Is it blatant revenge that compelled the killings? Is it another
      campaign of ethnic cleansing of areas adjacent to the border with
      Egypt to establish yet another Israeli "security zone"? Is it a round
      of muscle flexing, such as South Lebanon's defeat complex, prior to a
      partial pullout from Gaza?

      Whatever the reasons, the fact is, Sharon will not cease his
      murdering of Palestinians with impunity. His logic, however twisted,
      will prevail as long as the United States government continues to
      supply him with all the weapons, money and political clout needed to
      defy international law. His victims will maintain their status among
      the "unimportant people", and shall be reprimanded if they even dare
      to vent violently, because by doing so they veer off from the
      teachings of Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

      In a few days, the name Rafah shall concede to make room for more
      important headlines. It might be a few more days before another
      foreign sounding Palestinian name, associated with tragedy and death
      was introduced, and with it a long list of Israeli pretences, coupled
      by a quote or two made by president Bush somewhere on his fundraising
      trail: "Israel has the right to defend itself." The chances are, the
      Rafah morgues shall be emptied and dusty yellow bulldozers shall
      remove the debris of over 230 destroyed homes. Whose morgue shall be
      filled next is hard to predict.

      As for the refugees of the devastated camp, left alone atop the
      debris of their homes, scores of death certificates and hundreds of
      wounded to care for, they, astonishingly have a way to cope. For one,
      they insist that there are millions of people around the world who
      care about them. Someone chanting for their rights and freedom
      anywhere in the world feeds them with urgently needed hope for one
      more day.

      Speaking to Gaza's Voice of Freedom Radio, Moawiya Hassanein, a
      physician in Gaza City told the station that by the time 40
      Palestinians were killed in Rafah, 39 others were born. I am "so
      happy because the births were some compensation for the human loss,"
      he said.

      A Palestinian friend of mine, who is living far away from home, told
      me that as she witnessed the images of the victims of Rafah, she felt
      a strange and overpowering sense of pride. She said, "If I had not
      been born Palestinian, I would've wished to be." I understood, and I
      too felt the same.

      -Ramzy Baroud is a Palestinian-American journalist.

      =================
      Short-term gains detrimental to long-term interests

      By Hasan Abu Nimah

      The Jordan Times
      26 May 2004

      http://jordantimes.com/wed/opinion/opinion4.htm

      "Israel is a democracy and a friend, and it has every right to
      defend itself." That was President George W. Bush's response to the
      Israeli onslaught on the Palestinian civilians in Rafah. Thousands
      of people were made homeless and scores were killed.

      It is against the refugees who have been straining under the
      occupation for over 37 years that the Israeli right to self-defence
      is recognised. And why are they refugees? Simply because they were,
      in 1947-48, driven from their homes in Palestine by the Israelis
      intent on cleansing the land of its original owners and creating
      Jewish Israel.

      A couple of years ago, and when Israeli tanks were destroying a
      refugee camp near Jenin in the West Bank, causing unspeakable
      devastation, Bush stunned the world then when he referred to Israeli
      Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a "man of peace".

      But there is nothing unusual here. The United States is totally and
      openly committed to Israel. Recently, the president, in blatant
      violation of international law, committed himself in writing to full
      endorsement of Sharon's plan to consolidate Israeli expansionist
      plans in the West Bank, in return for Sharon's promise to leave
      Gaza; a promise which was later voted down by Sharon's Likud Party.
      In addition, the president decided that the internationally
      recognised right of return of the Palestinian refugees since 1948
      would be virtually abolished.

      With the situation of the occupation forces in Iraq steadily
      worsening, and with it the approval ratings of the president and his
      Republican Party, the significance of the Jewish vote becomes all
      the more obvious. It seems that any one single vote in the current
      critical race takes precedence over any other consideration for the
      region.

      The president and the team advising him seem to be focusing on
      securing the short-term policy needs -- winning the elections at any
      cost -- while leaving everything else for later. The danger is that
      this may not lead to balancing the stumbling nature of the US policy
      in this region, and indeed worldwide, an obvious result of only
      focusing on the short-term. That is why the war on terror has
      failed, the Afghanistan campaign has failed, the Iraqi adventure is
      falling apart, the US attempts to improve its image and make more
      friends have been totally counterproductive, and the risk of the
      president loosing his second term is growing more real.

      The problem with the US is that its continued reliance on its power
      has been blinding it from seeing what is just, what is right, what
      is legal, what is compatible with international law, and what is
      also good for the others, especially in a world growing increasingly
      interdependent.

      No doubt, the president was pleased with the astounding cheers of
      the AIPAC crowd when spelling out his unreserved support for Israel
      and the Jewish state's "right to defend itself from terror" a week
      ago. What might have been overlooked, though, is that claps aside,
      millions of Arabs and Muslims around the world were deeply hurt by
      the president's injustice. These people know that the president is
      distorting history and turning facts upside down. They know that
      Israel is not defending itself but that it is engaged in ethnic
      cleansing and war crimes against helpless innocent civilian
      Palestinian refugees. They know that the Israeli occupation of Gaza
      and the West Bank is illegal and unjust, and that it is an Israeli
      aggression that has been going on since 1967. If anyone has the
      right to defend himself, it is the Palestinian victim and not the
      Israeli occupier and attacker. These people ask why the Palestinian
      should not dig tunnels and smuggle weapons from anywhere to defend
      themselves against one of the strongest and most equipped occupation
      forces in the world.

      There is no way that this injustice can last. Neither will the
      American distortion of the striking realities in the region lead to
      anything but more violence and more disasters.

      If the Sharon plan to leave Gaza, described by Bush as "historic and
      courageous" is true, why the daily incursions in Gaza and the
      routine demolition of houses? Why were fourteen innocent
      demonstrators, mostly children gunned down by helicopter missiles
      last Wednesday, and twenty more killed the day before?

      A recent Amnesty International report accused Israel of committing
      war crimes by demolishing over 3,000 Palestinian houses since the
      Intifada began three and a half years ago.

      It is time that the US government and president realise that while
      they can say whatever they like about Israel and Iraq without
      fearing any adverse consequences, because they are the strongest,
      America's image and credibility are sinking deeper and fast.

      If that might rescue short-term gains, it will certainly destroy
      America's long-term interests in the world.

      The writer is former ambassador and permanent representative of
      Jordan at the UN. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times.

      ===================
      The bulldozer state

      By Roger H. Lieberman

      The Jordan Times
      21 May 2004

      http://jordantimes.com/fri/opinion/opinion5.htm

      The most recent days of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have
      been among the most horrific in years -- perhaps the ugliest since
      Ariel Sharon's phalanx stormed into West Beirut in September
      1982.

      In the impoverished city of Rafah, in southern Gaza, thousands of
      Palestinian houses have been destroyed in the past week and dozens of
      innocent Palestinian civilians have been murdered. According to UN
      estimates, at least 1,600 people lost their homes. The Gaza Strip,
      whose population — minus the 7,500 Jewish settlers who monopolise one-
      third of the territory — has teetered on the precipice of
      humanitarian disaster for months, is being raped once more by the
      most powerful military force in the Near East.

      But where is the outcry from the Western democracies? When Serb
      soldiers and paramilitaries massacred Bosnians and Kosovars in the
      1990s, the United States and its NATO allies responded with air
      strikes. When Saddam Hussein's regime slaughtered Iraq's Kurdish and
      Shiite citizens, he quite justly became reviled by Western liberals.
      Yet, when Ariel Sharon's thugs brutalise the Arab population of
      Palestine, what does he get from Washington? A big, juicy check
      for $3 billion or more to help him keep on killing and maiming
      innocents! And on those rare instances when he does get a slap on the
      wrist from the White House, the sting is promptly soothed with a
      sanctimonious Bush sermon about Israel's "right to defend itself"
      (occasionally feminised to "defend herself"!)

      The Bush administration's deliberate, pathological denial of Israel's
      atrocities has permitted the Zionist state to descend to new levels
      of depravity in the occupied territories. In a nauseating action
      reminiscent of George Orwell's 1984, the Israeli army christened its
      new state terror offensive in Gaza "Operation Rainbow"! I do not
      believe so grotesquely incongruous a name has been bestowed upon an
      act of organised barbarism since Maoist China's "Great Leap
      Forward" — the campaign of forced collectivisation that resulted in
      the deaths of millions in the 1950s.

      It is vital that the American people reject the sick propaganda
      churned out by the Bush administration and the pro-Israel lobby for
      the horse manure that it is. What is happening in Gaza is nothing but
      a "scorched earth policy" designed to appease the most violent
      members of Sharon's constituency, who rejected his two-
      faced "disengagement plan" in the recent referendum.

      Throughout history, vicious occupying powers have always sought to
      make any territory they relinquish unliveable for its inhabitants
      after their armies withdraw. The world witnessed this ugly phenomenon
      quite recently, in 1999, when East Timor was set aflame by
      Indonesia's fascist militias, following a UN referendum on Timorese
      independence. Israel itself carried out a scorched earth policy in
      the Syrian Golan Heights in 1974, when it systematically levelled the
      city of Quneitra after agreeing to withdraw under the auspices of the
      UN-mediated ceasefire.

      What has made all such actions possible throughout history has been
      the refusal on the part of the aggressors to recognise the humanity
      of their victims. That is the essence of the "bulldozer mentality" —
      a moral blindness that permits those possessed by it to plough
      tempestuously through a country, without one iota of consideration
      and respect for those who already call that country home. It was the
      bulldozer mentality that allowed the Zionists of the early 20th
      century to proclaim Palestine "a land without people, for a people
      without land", and allowed Golda Meir, in 1969, to proclaim
      that "there are no Palestinians". It is a kindred form of denial that
      allows so many Americans, from Senator John Kerry to pop diva Whitney
      Houston, to go gaga over Israeli "democracy" — a term that grows more
      Kafkaesque with each passing week. Their woeful ignorance of post-
      Biblical Palestinian history permits them to treat the land as a
      blank canvas on which they may paint their misguided fantasies.

      At this juncture, it is admittedly very difficult for an honest
      person to know where the best path to lasting peace in Israel-
      Palestine lies. On the one hand, Sharon's campaigns of destruction
      and George W. Bush's unforgivable endorsements of "Greater Israel"
      have negated any remaining husk of a possibility for a viable two-
      state settlement. On the other hand, however, it is undeniably very
      hard to envision two peoples as estranged and alienated from each
      other as Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs are now forming a
      successful single, secular state in the near future. But, perhaps, we
      should sidestep this political briar patch for now, and instead focus
      on what is essential for a peaceful future, irrespective of lines on
      the map: creating a climate of mutual understanding and recognition
      of the humanity of one's neighbours.

      One of the most inspiring initiatives undertaken to achieve this end
      was conceived several years ago through the creative partnership of
      Israeli musician Daniel Barrenboim, and the Palestinian-American
      scholar, Dr Edward Said. Their foundation has brought together dozens
      of talented young Israeli, Palestinian, and Arab musicians and
      created a shining example of how shared love of learning can conquer
      prejudice and ignorance of the "other". Recently, Barrenboim
      conducted a concert in Ramallah on the West Bank, as a moving tribute
      to his friend, Professor Said. He announced plans to create a
      Palestinian National Orchestra within five years, and has pledged to
      donate the monies of the prize recently awarded him by the Wolf
      Foundation to support this cause.

      What an inspiration to all of us, especially to the peoples of the
      Middle East! The spirit of neighbourliness embodied in the work of
      Daniel Barrenboim and Edward Said could do much more to further the
      cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace than a thousand Camp David summits
      and photogenic handshakes between diplomats. If it could be emulated
      throughout the region, it would bring about a transformation of
      hearts and minds more wondrous and beautiful than any vision
      of the prophets.

      The writer is graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New
      Jersey, with a bachelor's degree in geology. He contributed this
      article to The Jordan Times.

      =============
      They must pay the price

      By Gideon Levy

      Haaretz
      23 May 2004

      http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/430575.html

      On a day when bodies of children were being stuffed into a big
      refrigerator used to store potatoes, and when thousands of
      homeless people were fleeing for their lives (some of them
      refugees rendered homeless for the second or third time), life in
      Israel went on as usual, as though what was happening in Rafah
      was not being done in the name of the country's citizens. Such
      apathy renders all of us responsible - and yet there are some who
      bear a heavier burden of responsibility. In a climate less lax
      than the one which has gripped Israel in recent years, they would
      be ostracized.

      When Ariel Sharon was found guilty of indirect responsibility for
      the massacre in Sabra and Chatila, he was denounced by wide
      sectors of Israel's public. Demonstrators denounced him as a
      "murderer," and some of his personal friends turned their backs
      on him and cut off relations with him. Like his predecessor Moshe
      Dayan after the Yom Kippur War, during the Lebanon War, Sharon
      was ostracized. Nobody thought to fete and honor him. For his
      part in the killing of Israelis and Palestinians in Lebanon, he
      paid a heavy personal price, beyond his removal from the post of
      defense minister.

      Some 22 years later, Sharon again bears direct responsibility for
      bloodshed, but this time nobody considers ostracizing him. He
      continues to be perceived as a sympathetic figure, one who enjoys
      an image as a friendly farmer and grandfather. Whatever he does,
      he does not encounter a hostile public. Benjamin Netanyahu, who
      caused far less serious damage to Israel and the cause of peace,
      is the scourge who is loathed by the left.

      Nor have the two other architects of the bloody IDF operation in
      Rafah and of the brutal policies in the territories in general -
      Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon
      - paid a personal price for their acts. On the contrary: last
      week, Mofaz received an honorary doctorate from Bar-Ilan
      University; a few days before that, he was the guest of honor at
      the annual Israel Bar Association conference in Eilat. Why,
      exactly, was an honorary doctorate conferred on Mofaz? Why did
      lawyers pay tribute to a figure whose actions are deeply
      problematic in moral and legal terms?

      As the heads of Bar-Ilan University and of the bar association
      (two bodies whose acts exert a normative influence in Israel's
      society) see it, the fact that Mofaz serves as defense minister
      is enough to warrant the conferral of honors on him, no matter
      what he actually does. Sharon has also received two honorary
      doctorates - from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (a few
      lecturers raised their voices in protest) and from Bar-Ilan.

      In past years, these three generals - Sharon, Mofaz and Ya'alon -
      have been responsible for a long list of despicable acts. At the
      end of last week, Haidar Hasuna told an investigator from
      B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the
      Occupied Territories, about bulldozers that began to demolish his
      home in the besieged Tel Sultan neighborhood in Rafah, when he
      was sitting with his wife and children in their living room. When
      he tried to leave the house, he was floored by tank fire.
      Miraculously, the family survived.

      Members of the Mantsur family from the Brazil neighborhood told
      Haaretz's Amira Hass how they fled barefoot from their home as
      the IDF began to demolish it. A few months before this incident,
      a pregnant woman was killed during similar house demolition
      circumstances in the El Bureij refugee camp, in plain view of her
      children. Somebody is responsible.

      The mass demolition of innocent civilians' houses in Rafah is
      considered a war crime under criteria accepted around the world -
      despite the fact that the High Court has given the demolitions
      its typical stamp of approval. And this crime is no orphan; it
      has parents. And these parents must no longer be indulged. It's
      wrong to continue to blame the errant tank shell, and the tunnels
      and the terrorists themselves, for every lethal blunder committed
      by the IDF.

      The virtual imprisonment of the Palestinian people, the
      prevention of medical care, the mass arrests, the assassinations,
      the needless killing, the bombing of residential neighborhoods -
      the prime minister, the defense minister, the IDF chief of staff
      and other top officers all bear responsibility for such acts.

      They should pay a price for their acts, at least in the
      public-social spheres. The time has come, at last, for Mofaz to
      feel the heat of public pressure, for Ya'alon to experience what
      it's like to be denounced and for him to display some sense of
      shame, and for senior IDF officers to worry about their public
      futures. Anyone who thinks Israel is committing crimes against
      the Palestinian people must demand that those responsible for the
      crimes pay a price.

      ===============
      Who really smuggled weapons to Rafah?

      Arjan El Fassed, The Electronic Intifada, 20 May 2004

      http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article2721.shtml

      Israel's ongoing assault on human lives and property, killing
      civilians and demolishing homes is, according to Israeli
      spokespersons, "aimed at preventing a huge shipment of arms from
      being smuggled". According to Israeli spokespersons, Israel
      launched "Operation Rainbow", its largest military raid on Palestinian
      civilians since "Operation Defensive Shield", in a bid "to rid the
      border zone of its tunnels and capture the militants using them."

      The past four days, Israeli forces have killed 39 Palestinians. Its
      military assault on Palestinians in Rafah includes extensive house
      demolitions along the so-called "Philadelphi route" that runs along
      the border.

      What no one asks, however, is the question who supplies Israel's
      military occupation of Gaza, a strip of land, slightly more than
      twice the size of Washington DC, housing at least 1.2 million
      Palestinians and 6,000 Israeli settlers. It is not hard to guess that
      the U.S. administration is the largest supplier of arms and aid to
      Israel. The common figure given for U.S. aid to Israel is $3 billion
      per year—$1.2 billion in economic aid and $1.8 billion in military
      aid, representing about one-sixth of total U.S. foreign aid. Israel is
      one of the U.S.' largest arms importers.

      In the last decade, the U.S. has sold Israel $ 7.2 billion in
      weaponry and military equipment, $762 million through Direct
      Commercial Sales (DCS), more than $6.5 billion through the Foreign
      Military Financing (FMF) program. In fact, Israel is so devoted to
      U.S. military hardware that it has the world's largest fleet of F-16s
      outside the U.S., currently possessing more than 200 jets. The
      U.S. also gives Israel weapons and ammunition as part of the Excess
      Defense Articles (EDA) program, providing these articles completely
      free of charge. Examples of U.S. weaponry being used by the Israeli
      army against Palestinian civilians and their property are AH-64
      Apache and Cobra attack helicopters, missiles and other heavy arms.
      White House spokesman Scott McClellan called the Israel's assault on
      Rafah "troubling" and said: "The Israelis have told us they will make
      every effort to minimize the impact on Palestinians not involved in
      acts of terrorism or arms smuggling." While he had learned that U.S.
      delivered Apache helicopters fired missiles in a peaceful
      demonstration, he said: "We understand their explanation but we still
      find the violence troubling."

      Israel not only uses arms transferred from the U.S., despite
      restrictive policies on arms exports to states that violate human
      rights, Israel also uses arms being transferred and exported from the
      EU.

      A week ago, on May 14, Amnesty International reported that EU arms,
      security equipment and services are contributing to grave human
      rights abuses and that the scale of potential abuse is now enormous.
      The major EU arms exporting countries - France, Germany, Italy,
      Sweden and the United Kingdom - account for one third of the world's
      arms deals. In its report, Undermining Global Security: the European
      Union's arms exports, Amnesty International highlights serious flaws
      in the European Union's key arms control agreements, especially the
      1998 EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports.

      France

      Today France is one of Israel's main suppliers after the US and
      Germany. According to SIPRI, France exported major conventional
      weapons worth $50m to Israel between 1996 and 2000. This included a
      delivery of seven AS-565SA Panther helicopters between 1996 and 1998
      which were ordered through and partly funded by the US.

      Germany

      According to figures from SIPRI, Germany supplied Israel with major
      conventional weaponry worth $765m between 1996 and 2000. In 2000
      alone, the last year for which figures are available, Germany sold
      about $170m in military equipment, including parts for tanks and
      armoured cars. This included key parts for the Israeli Merkava tank,
      which are currently being used in Rafah. Israel is Germany's seventh
      largest military client.

      Ireland

      The US Data Device Corporation (DDC), which has production facilities
      in Cork, Ireland (DDC Ireland Ltd) states on its website that its MIL-
      STD-1553 Data Bus products are used in the AH-64 Apache Attack
      Helicopters. Its MIL-STD-1553 data bus, the life line of the
      aircraft, include a lethal array of armaments, including a mix of up
      to 16 Hellfire missiles or 76 70mm aerial rockets and 1,200 rounds of
      30mm ammunition for its M230 Chain Gun automatic canon.

      The Netherlands

      A large part of Dutch exports are components for incorporation into
      larger weapon systems, mainly to be assembled in the U.S. which, in
      turn, is the major supplier of arms to Israel. In compensation orders
      Dutch companies are involved producing components for Apache attack
      helicopters and F-16 fighter planes to the U.S.. In general is not
      announced who the end-user of these aircrafts will be. In 2001
      transfers of components were worth EURO 87 million. The Dutch
      company Stork Special Products produces components for Hellfire
      rockets, which are frequently used by the Israeli airforce in extra-
      judicial executions and to shell Palestinian residential areas. The
      missile is produced by Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman
      and a number of subcontractors and exported to thirteen countries,
      including Israel.

      At least one Dutch company is open about the end-user of its
      products, on its ethical policy page: "In principle, Philips
      companies do not produce products or render services specially
      designed or developed for the military, except for the following
      products: F16 parts and Apache parts supplied to NATO countries and
      Israel (under compensation agreements US/Netherlands)." Eventhough
      information on end-users remains largely secret, Philips announced
      that its components are incorporated into Apaches that are in action
      in Israel. Additionally, in 2002 the Netherlands granted Israel
      export licences worth 1.46 million euros, approximately half of the
      licensed Dutch transit trade. The licences were granted for goods
      under the category A2, which are those connected with armoured
      vehicles. This is despite the consistent reporting by human rights
      organisations of the misuse of such equipment by the Israeli security
      forces. Since 22 August 2002, the Dutch Central Service Import and
      Export received 24 "notifications" to transit small arms and light
      weapons from Israeli Airways for shipments originating in the United
      States with destination Israel.

      The United Kingdom

      The UK has sold Israel equipment and components for tanks, combat
      aircraft, combat helicopters, missiles, ammunition, mines, machine
      guns, tear gas, and electronic equipment for military use. UK
      companies with known connections with Israel include: the
      Airtechnology Group, which supplies parts to IMI for the Merkava
      tank, BAE Systems, which has provided head-up displays for US-built
      F16s214 and whose subsidiary Rokar International is the current sole-
      source supplier of counter-measure dispensing systems for the Israeli
      airforce, and Smiths Group which has supplied missile triggering
      systems for Apache helicopters.

      Israeli Merkava tanks had been equipped with a cooling system made by
      the Surrey-based Airtechnology Group, and UK components, including
      missile trigger systems made by Smiths Group, are used in US-made
      Apache helicopters supplied to Israel, both in action killing and
      injuring Palestinian civilians in Rafah.

      In March 2002, Junior UK Foreign Office Minister, Ben Bradshaw,
      disclosed that the Israeli armed forces had modified UK Centurion
      tanks, exported between 1958 and 1970, and were using them as
      armoured personnel carriers. He stated that this contradicted a
      written assurance from the Israeli government on 29 November 2000
      that "no UK-originated equipment nor any UK-originated systems/ sub
      systems /components are used as part of the defence force's
      activities in the territories". The UK government has continued to
      supply arms and equipment to the Israeli security forces. Such
      transfers continue despite reports that generic types of such
      equipment have been used by the Israeli security forces in Rafah to
      commit human rights violations and breaches of international
      humanitarian law.

      The European Union: What Code of Conduct?

      The situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories
      should be foremost on the minds of European officials when they carry
      out their reviews of the EU Code of Conduct for Arms Exports. The
      code was adopted in 1998 with the aim of "setting high common
      standards" over arms exports. Criteria include respect of human
      rights in the country of final destination; in particular, member
      states will "not issue an export license if there is a clear risk that
      the proposed export might be used for internal repression",
      including, inter alia, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading
      treatment or punishment, summary or arbitrary executions, arbitrary
      detentions and other major violations of human rights and fundamental
      freedoms as set out in relevant international human rights
      instruments.

      Human rights organisations and various bodies of the United Nations
      have documented such major violations of human rights and fundamental
      freedoms in the case of Israel. Other criteria include the existence
      of tensions or armed conflicts, and whether there is a clear risk
      that the intended recipient would use the proposed export
      aggressively against another country or to assert by force a
      territorial claim. Political and military experts can provide the
      necessary assessment that, indeed, Israel would fail the test on this
      item. Moreover, an assessment includes "the behavior of the buyer
      country with regard to the international community", in particular
      with regard to respect for international law, "its compliance with
      its international commitments, in particular the non-use of force,
      including under international humanitarian law applicable to
      international and non-international conflicts".

      The world has seen and condemned Israel's human rights record. The
      transfer of arms to Israel is inconsistent with the criteria provided
      in the EU Code of Conduct. Export licenses should therefore be
      refused. Taking into account the volume and gravity of human rights
      violations and breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, including
      acts of war crimes, that have been documented by various human rights
      organisations and United Nations bodies, and the volume of Israeli
      forces and military equipment stationed in the occupied Palestinian
      territories, and since there is no common system of monitoring the
      end-use of European arms by the Israeli forces in the Palestinian
      territories, only a full arms embargo will prevent European arms from
      being used to commit war crimes and other human rights abuses. The
      European Union, therefore, should renew its arms embargo against
      Israel, which it lifted in 1994.

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