Israel to expel 'disloyal' Arabs
- Israel lays claim to Palestine's water
Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition. - May 27, 2004
Israel has drawn up a secret plan for a giant desalination plant to
supply drinking water to the Palestinian territory on the West Bank.
It hopes the project will diminish pressure for it to grant any
future Palestinian state greater access to the region's scarce
supplies of fresh water.
Under an agreement signed a decade ago as part of the Oslo accord,
four-fifths of the West Bank's water is allocated to Israel, though
the aquifers that supply it are largely replenished by water falling
onto Palestinian territory.
The new plans call for seawater to be desalinated at Caesaria on the
Mediterranean coast, and then pumped into the West Bank, where a
network of pipes will deliver it to large towns and many of the 250
villages that currently rely on local springs and small wells for
Israel, which wants the US to fund the project, would guarantee safe
passage of the water across its territory in return for an agreement
that Israel can continue to take the lion's share of the waters of
the West Bank. These mainly comprise underground reserves such as the
western aquifer, the region's largest, cleanest and most reliable
For Israelis, agreement on the future joint management of this
aquifer is a prerequisite for granting Palestine statehood.
The first public hint of the plan emerged earlier in May in
Washington DC. Uri Shamir, director of water research at the
Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, told the House
of Representatives Committee on International Relations that the
desalination project was "the only viable long-term solution" for
supplying drinking water to the West Bank.
Shamir told New Scientist this week that the project could be
complete in five to seven years. "The plant will be funded by the
world for the Palestinians. Israel will not be willing to carry this
burden, and the Palestinians are not able to."
But other leading hydrologists contacted by New Scientist point out
that desalinating seawater and pumping it to the West Bank, parts of
which lie 1000 metres above sea level, would cost around $1 per cubic
"The question is whether an average Palestinian family can afford
it," says Arie Issar, a water expert at Ben-Gurion University of the
Negev in Sede Boker, Israel, who helped green the Israeli desert a
generation ago by finding new water sources in the region. "It would
be foolish to desalinate water on the coast and push it up the
mountains when there are underground water resources up there, which
cost only a third as much."
Tony Allan of King's College London, a leading authority on Middle
East water, agrees: "Pumping desalinated water to the West Bank is
not the best technical or economic option."
But the project is being supported by Alvin Newman, head of water
resources at the Tel Aviv office of USAID, the US international
development agency, which would fund the desalination
project. "Ultimately it's the only solution," he said in an interview
with New Scientist.
Water supply is one of the few areas where cooperation between Israel
and Palestine has survived the current intifada. Every day on the
West Bank, Palestinian engineers help repair and maintain Israeli
water pipes, and vice versa.
But Palestinian water negotiators are deeply uneasy about the plans
being drawn up on their behalf, especially if they involve abandoning
claims to the water beneath their feet. "We cannot do that. We don't
have the money or the expertise for desalination," Ihab Barghothi,
head of water projects for the Palestinian Water Authority, told New
Palestinians badly need more water. Under the Oslo agreement they
have access to 57 cubic metres of water per person per year from all
sources. Israel gets 246 cubic metres per head per year. And in the
nearly 40 years that Israel has controlled the West Bank,
Palestinians have been largely forbidden from drilling new wells or
rehabilitating old ones.
The region's sources of water are the West Bank aquifers; the river
Jordan, which rises in the Golan Heights and flows into the Sea of
Galilee, where it is largely tapped by Israel; and the coastal
aquifer, an increasingly polluted reserve of underground water that
extends south to the Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip.
Over the years, Israel has developed a good reputation for using water
efficiently, and in the 1980s it began recycling sewage effluent for
irrigation. In 2004, Israel signed a deal to buy water shipped by
tanker from Turkey.
Meanwhile, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip depend almost exclusively
on small wells tapping the coastal aquifer. As the water table falls,
the aquifer is becoming increasingly polluted by salt water from the
sea. UN scientists say Gaza will have no drinkable water within 15
Despite earlier efforts to develop desalination, the Israel
government only decided to invest heavily in the technology in the
past four years. Some, including Israeli liberals and Palestinian
optimists such as Barghothi, believed that once Israel began
desalinating seawater for its own use it would be prepared to relax
its grip on the West Bank aquifers.
But now it appears that Israeli water planners see desalination as a
means of retaining control of those aquifers.
The desalination plant to supply the West Bank would parallel a
similar US-funded reverse osmosis plant to fill taps on the hard-
pressed Gaza Strip. The scheme has already been approved and funded,
but is currently on hold because of continuing conflict in Gaza.
Taken together, the two schemes would leave an independent Palestine
more dependent on desalination [and on Israel's 'guarantees'] than
almost any other nation in the world.
Fred Pearce, Jerusalem
Note "Israeli Arabs" are in fact Palestinians who live in 1948
Palestine but are now citizens of Israel - IAP
Mossawa report: Racism against Israeli Arabs increasing
By Haaretz Service - June 1, 2004
Racist violence against Israeli Arab citizens has increased in the
last year, according to an annual report released on Tuesday by the
Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel. The report also
said authorities are not doing enough to prevent the phenomenon.
The report outlines violence by police and security forces, racism in
legislation and racism in public places against Arab citizens.
The report surveys 29 incidents in which Arab citizens were shot and
killed by security forces since the October 2000 riots, when 13 Arabs
were killed by police. Indictments were filed against two security
personnel in only two incidents in which Arab citizens were shot and
The report reviews 17 acts of violence and incidents of physical
attack of Arab citizens by Jewish citizens.
The report also covers hundreds of incidents of inflammatory hate
speech such as "kill Arabs," and deals with 15 racist acts of
incitement and verbal violence against Arabs by prominent public
The government has not yet acted on the recommendations of the Or
Commission following the events of October 2000, according to
Mossawa. The Or Commission found systematic discrimination on the
part of security forces and governmental institutions.
Lieberman presents to Russia plan to expel 'disloyal' Arabs:
By Lily Galili, Haaretz Correspondent
May 30, 2004
Transportation Minister Avigdor Lieberman has presented Russian
officials with his plan to separate Jews from Arabs, which involves
exiling Israeli Arabs deemed disloyal to the state.
Lieberman described the Plan for the Separation of Nations as an
alternative to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan,
which calls for Israel to evacuate from the Gaza Strip and parts of
the West Bank.
"It would be right if the Quartet, including Russia, were to support
my plan out of a deep understanding that only this way - and not via
baseless plans - can it actually be possible to reach an end to the
conflict and the cancellation of the reasons leading up to it,"
Lieberman said after the weekend meeting.
Lieberman, chairman of the rightist National Union party and an
immigrant from the former Soviet Union, met with Russian President
Vladimir Putin's personal representative in the Quartet for Mideast
peace, Alexander Galkin, and Russian ambassador to Israel Gennady
Tarasov in Israel at Russia's request.
The plan is based on the idea of separating the populations and
territories of Jews and Arabs, including Israeli Arabs. According to
the plan, only those Israeli Arabs who feel a connection with the
State of Israel and are completely loyal to it will be allowed to
Sharon condemned Sunday statements Lieberman made on transferring
Israelis Arabs to the territories.
"We regard [the Israeli Arabs] as part of the State of Israel,"
Several ministers considered Sharon's statement as preparing the
ground for the dismissal of Lieberman and Benny Elon, a fellow
National Union minister, after the prime minister warned the cabinet
Sunday that he was willing to change the makeup of the coalition so
as to pass the revised disengagement plan.
PNA courts sue Palestinian collaborators with Israel
GAZA, May 30, 2004 (Xinhuanet) -- The Palestinian criminal court
in the Gaza city started a few days ago trials of a number of
Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israeli Intelligence
services, Palestinian sources reported Sunday.
They said the court had held the first session of the trials on
May 24 against four Palestinians and the indictment included the
charges of collaborating with foreign sides and undermining
Palestinian spirits and morals.
They added that the trial will be resumed on June 14 when the
attorneys will have to present evidences and cross-examine witnesses
before issuing the verdict.
The trial of another five Palestinians accused of the same
charges will be held on June 21, the sources said.
25 Homes Demolished in Rafah: 350 Palestinians Homeless
PCHR - May 30, 2004
Last night, Israeli occupying forces (IOF) demolished 25 houses in
Rafah refugee camp, leaving more than 350 homeless and injuring two
According to PCHR's preliminary investigations, at approximately
23:00 on Saturday, 29 May 2004, IOF heavy military vehicles,
reinforced by helicopters, moved approximately 300 meters into Block
J in Rafah refugee camp, adjacent to the Egyptian border. Under
cover of intense shelling, IOF began to demolish a number of
Palestinian houses, without allowing residents to retrieve their
possessions. By 05:00 on Sunday, 30 May 2004, Israeli troops had
demolished 23 houses completely and 2 others partially. As a result,
352 people (60 families) have been rendered homeless. During the IOF
action, a 60-year-old woman and a doctor were injured. The doctor
was injured when he tried to offer medical help to residents in the
In the past two weeks, Israeli troops destroyed 360 houses in Rafah
town and refugee camp, killed 57 Palestinians and injured at least
200 others, during a series of military incursions. As a result of
increased IOF actions in Rafah, at least 5000 Palestinians have
become homeless in the short or long term. Temporary shelters set up
in the area have become overcrowded.
The extensive destruction of civilian property, carried out wantonly
and unlawfully, and without military necessity constitutes a grave
breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention (article 147) and a war crime
as defined in article 85.5 of the First Additional Protocol to the
PCHR is extremely concerned at the recent escalation in violations of
international human rights and humanitarian law, including grave
breaches, perpetrated by IOF in the OPTs. Rafah has been
particularly targeted by the IOF in the last month. PCHR reiterates
its calls to the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva
Convention to fulfill their legal obligations to ensure respect for
the Convention in the OPTs, and the protection of the civilian
pchr@..., Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org
Three Palestinians Killed in Extra-Judicial Execution by IOF
PCHR - May 30, 2004
In a continuation of the Israeli government policy of extra-judicial
execution, last night Israeli occupying forces (IOF) launched an
aerial attack on a moving vehicle in Gaza city, leaving 3
Palestinians dead. Two of the victims were allegedly members of the
Hamas resistance movement. The third victim was a civilian bystander
killed whilst trying to offer help to the other two victims. In
addition, 9 civilians, including 2 children and a woman, were
According to preliminary investigations conducted by PCHR, at
approximately 00:20 on Sunday, 30 May 2004, an IOF helicopter gunship
launched a missile at a motorcycle that was traveling along Salah al-
Din Street in the densely populated al-Zaytoun neighborhood in the
southeast of Gaza City. Two persons were traveling on the
motorcycle. The missile struck the motorcycle, immediately
killing the two persons. Less than 2 minutes later, the Israeli
helicopter gunship launched a second missile at a small group of
Palestinian civilians who had gathered to retrieve the bodies of the
those killed by the first missile. One of these civilians, Madi
Ahmed Madi, 18, from al-Zaytoun neighborhood, was killed, and 9 other
civilians, including 2 children and a woman, were injured. The two
targeted victims were later identified as:
1. Wa'el Talab Nassar, 38, from al-Zaytoun neighborhood, who
had been subject to a number of previous assassination attempts by
Israeli troops; and
2. Mohammed Mustafa Munib Sarsour, 33, from al-Sabra
pchr@..., Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org
Amman university wants Israel branch
By Yulie Khromchenco - Ha'aretz (June 1, 2004)
Representatives of Jordan's Al-Ahliyya Amman University met with
Education Minister Limor Livnat yesterday for talks on opening an
extension of the institute of higher learning in Israel. The
university's director and owner, Maher Hurani, told Livnat he was
determined to establish ties with Israel despite threats and
opposition voiced against the move by elements in the Arab world and
"I am happy about the request and see it as a boost to the spirit of
peace and a national interest," Livnat said after the meeting, which
was also attended by Shosh Berlinsky, the director-general of the
Council for Higher Education.
Berlinsky said the council would review the issue of the university's
registration and licensing in keeping with the accepted standards.
Hurani told Livnat that in the wake of his proposal to establish the
branch in Israel, he received a letter from 500 Syrian students at Al-
Ahliyya Amman University who informed him they would leave the
institute should the move go ahead.
The connection between Livnat, who also chairs the Council for Higher
Education, and Hurani was forged by former director-general of the
Education Ministry Eitan Ben-Tsur, who is slated for the post of the
president of the Al-Ahliyya extension in Israel.
A number of possible initial sites for the extension have already
been examined, including a hotel in Nahariya and a building in Emek
Hefer. Under the plans in the works, the buildings will be leased for
three years, during which time the new university's campus will be
The university is expected to primarily serve the Arab sector; but at
yesterday's meeting, Hurani said he would also like to see Jewish
students and Arab students from other countries in the region at the
Al-Ahliyya Amman University is Jordan's first private university and
was established in 1990. The institute is owned by the Hurani family,
which has business interests in Jordan, Lebanon and Dubai in the
fields of industry and tourism.
The university caters to some 7,000 students, including from Syria,
Iraq, the United States, Japan and Israel, and offers bachelors
degrees in six faculties - engineering, medicine and pharmacology,
computer sciences, the humanities and the arts, law, and economics
and business administration.
During yesterday's meeting, Hurani invited Livnat to visit Jordan to
address students on education in Israel. Livnat said she was
considering the invitation.
How Palestine is dying in Iraq
By Sadi Baig - Asian Times May 27, 2004
"The more aggressive the [Iraq] attack is, the more it will help
Israel against the Palestinians. The understanding would be that what
is good to do in Iraq, is also good for here."
- Gideon Ezra, Israeli cabinet minister (Christian Science Monitor,
With the Iraq war, a fusion of US and Israeli interests, intended or
not, has come about. The most important from an Israeli viewpoint is
the issue of a Palestinian state comprising some or all of the
occupied Palestinian territories. With US policy reversal on the
occupied territories, its open and sometimes tacit support for moves
such as building of the "Wall", assassinations of Hamas' political
leadership, and destruction of Palestinian homes and economic life,
Washington has now tied itself too closely to dissociate itself
from Israeli actions. The ambiguity cultivated so painstakingly over
the years in the Arab mind toward the US role in the region has all
The US public perception has never been more unfavorable toward the
Arab and Muslim world as it is now. There is no dearth of incendiary
speeches in the media, which are manifesting themselves in
predictable ways. Domestically, the Council on American Islamic
Relations reports the number of hate crimes against Muslims in the
United States to have doubled since last year. The Iraq war widens
this chasm with commentators such as Michael Savage, who runs the
third-most-popular radio show in the US, Savage Nation, openly
calling for killing the "non-human" Arabs and "nuking" Arab capitals,
without fear of the authorities bearing down on him. In the din of
incessant reporting of the incident, Bill O'Reilly of Fox News called
for the US military to "rip the place apart" when four of its
contractors were killed by a mob in Fallujah. Unsurprisingly, there
was hardly any sympathetic sentiment in the media or political
leadership over the siege and bombardment of Fallujah in clear
violation of the Geneva Conventions, which resulted in 600-700
fatalities, according to the Associated Press.
There is no political leader in the US who can even dare to rap the
Israeli leadership on its knuckles - not that such superficial
measures are going to improve the United States' image in the Middle
East anyway. Recent US abstention from the United Nations Security
Council resolution condemning the Israeli demolition of Palestinian
homes in Gaza looks more a good cop-bad cop routine than a genuine
policy change. In fact there is a precedent, with the US abstaining
many times in the past on council resolutions critical of Israel. The
last such abstention was regarding Resolution 1435 adopted in
September 2002 condemning Israeli attacks on Ramallah. This was
around the same time that war preparations against Iraq were in full
swing, as has been reported widely in the press. Anti-Israeli
resolutions in the Security Council have never had any moderating
influence on Israeli actions, as they are viewed by Tel Aviv as
publicity moves designed to relieve pressure in the Arab and wider
Muslim world, rather than enduring policy shifts. Moreover, such
condemnations are crucial for permanent Security Council members
France and Britain, the twin architects of the present-day Middle
East, to protect their political and economic interests by appearing
to support the Arab cause against Israel.
The way and the speed with which events have unfolded in the occupied
Palestinian territories signal a realization on the part of the
Israeli leadership that it may be time to begin an incremental purge
of the Palestinians from their homeland. The demographics in the
occupied territories clearly threaten the future of the Jewish state,
and therefore must be changed in Israel's favor. Israel is therefore
not a status quo power, and must continually strive to alter the
status quo to ensure the protection of its interests. Taking a
twisted view of the prophetic theology of "dispensationalism",
Christian Zionists hold such extreme measures in line with
preparation for the second coming of Christ. Resolutions in the US
House of Representatives and public statements by Republican leaders
such as the now-retired Dick Armey, the current majority leader Tom
Delay, and Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, openly quoting the Bible
to support his views, speak volumes on the extent of their support for
With the might of the US military encircling them and daily threats of
sanctions, it is unlikely that governments in the Middle East can and
will do anything to stop the escalating dislocation of Palestinians.
US military presence in the region has a restraining effect on the
regional governments, as the actors would find it difficult to keep
the US out in a possible conflict with Israel. The US presence is
more effective in its restraining power than its active involvement.
It is in the backdrop of such support that Israel can undertake
drastic actions without inviting armed conflict with its neighbors. In
fact, any subsequent US departure from the region may even be timed
to ensure achievement of Israeli objectives vis-a-vis the occupied
territories. There is little danger of Israel's neighbors aggregating
into anything formidable, as militarily they are too weak and are
But even if hostilities were to be feared, Israeli strategists can be
counted on to deliver a pretext that portrays the conflict as a
legitimate defensive action by the US, with acceleration in driving
out the Palestinians as the desired side-effect. One easy rationale
would be covert Syrian assistance to the Iraqi insurgency, as is
being alleged in the recent bombing of a wedding party in
Mukaradeeb, near the town of al-Qaim in western Iraq close to the
Syrian border. The same can be used against Iran, along with nuclear
allegations, though the likelihood of Iran getting involved seems low
as there are signs that it is closer to a strategic detente with the
US than ever.
Sure, there is going to be a lot of fallout in the worsening of
public mood toward the US and Israel in the region over the
displacement of Palestinians. Moreover, governments in the area will
come under great strain to respond to the outcry of their populace.
But in the end the turmoil that will ensue will have little negative
impact, and such instability may even be beneficial from a strategic
standpoint. Barring drastic reversals in current policies, this may
indeed be the beginning of the end not just for the hopes of a
Palestinian state, but for the Palestinians as a people in their own
As for winning the hearts and minds of Arabs and Muslims, image-
marketing measures offer little help if the intention is to take what
you hold most dear. Such talk seems to be directed more toward the
international community than Arab and Muslims societies themselves.
Anarchy is not freedom, and democracy sans sovereignty is a conflict
in terms. Positive perception of the US was central to the grand plan
of democratizing the Middle East. Yet it is utterly confounding
that with Israeli-style search and seizure operations, lack of
transparency regarding oil revenues, bombing of civilian populations,
and widespread prison torture, the US seems to be undermining the
central plank of its own strategy. Would it be unreasonable to
conclude that the stated policy blocks from view motives too
unacceptable to be publicly revealed?
Israel has never tried to win any publicity contests in the Arab
world, and has always gotten what it wanted while ignoring
international opprobrium reflected in countless UN General Assembly
and Security Council resolutions. Why can the US not do the same by
doing away with policy decisions of the Cold War era laden with
multilateral niceties, in a clearly unipolar world?
Sadi Baig is a freelance political analyst.
(Copyright 2004 Sadi Baig)
WORLD VIEW NEWS SERVICE
To subscribe to this group, send an email to:
NEWS ARCHIVE IS OPEN TO PUBLIC VIEW