Saturday, January 30, 2016

"Washington joins Tehran, Moscow to seek Syria truce"

.....Mass popular mobilizations against the Assad regime in 2011 were met with brutal retaliation, crushing them. This led to the civil war, killing more than 250,000 people and displacing millions.

Decades of betrayal by the Stalinist Syrian Communist Party left no revolutionary working-class leadership in the country capable of charting a course to defeat the regime and take power. In the vacuum this created, exacerbated by the brutal slaughter unleashed by Assad, Islamic State was able to seize territory and set up a reactionary caliphate.

More than 400,000 people live in areas besieged by Assad, cut off from access to food and supplies. An estimated 2.5 million Syrians have fled to Turkey; a million to Lebanon and about 630,000 to Jordan, according to the U.N.

Hundreds of thousands have fled to Europe. Their arrival coincides with a sharp capitalist economic downturn. Governments there have moved to increase border patrols, erecting barbed wire fences and other obstacles.

The Kurdish people have long been denied a homeland. In the 1916 Sykes-Picot pact, London and Paris, victors over Berlin and the Ottoman Empire, carved up the oil-rich region and imposed national borders. Kurds were divided into parts of Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran. The secret deal was exposed after the 1917 Russian Revolution, when the Bolsheviks released the pact made by the imperialist powers to divide the spoils they found in the files of the overthrown czarist regime.

Independent Kurdistan 'now closer'

World leaders "have come to this conclusion that the era of Sykes-Picot is over," said Masoud Barzani, president of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. Barzani said Iraq and Syria would never be reconstructed with their former borders. He urged a new accord, saying an independent Kurdistan is "now closer than at any other time."

The ongoing assault against the Kurdish population in southeastern Turkey by the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan has received little coverage in the U.S. press. Dozens of civilians have been killed, villages destroyed and more than 100,000 people driven from their homes. "Turkish authorities are bombing infrastructures and residential neighborhoods across Sirnak and Diyarbakir," two major cities in the area, Kurdish human rights lawyer Hoshin Ebdullah told ARA News Jan. 24.

Since the Islamic State-inspired terror attack in Paris, 31 U.S. governors have said they will try to keep Syrian refugees out of their states.

Severe restrictions and bureaucratic obstacles have made it extremely difficult for Syrian refugees to get into the U.S. Since 2012, authorities have admitted just 2,174 Syrian refugees — a grand total of 0.0007 percent of the U.S. population.

In New Jersey, with an estimated 200,000 Muslims, Gov. Chris Christie, who sought out relations with Muslim communities and groups when he ran for governor in 2010, has changed his tune. Now seeking the Republican presidential nomination, he calls for stopping Syrian refugees, including "orphans under age 5," from entering the United States.

In France, Hollande is calling for amending the constitution to allow the government to deny those with dual citizenship entry into the country and to revoke their French citizenship if they are deemed a "terrorist risk."

A demonstration called by the General Confederation of Workers (CGT) and many human rights and labor organizations is being organized in Paris for Jan. 30 to protest the state of emergency and the constitutional "reform."

The state of emergency causes "fear that this and future governments will use it against workers and militants," said a CGT statement Dec. 29. 




http://themilitant.com/2016/8005/index.shtml

Background to slogan "No to another Waco!"



http://themilitant.com/backissu1993.html

"Washington will use these laws to target others who fight attacks by the bosses and the government, from union picket lines to protests against cop abuse"


(editorial)

Oppose FBI raid, killing in Oregon!

 
The Socialist Workers Party urges working people to join in demanding the U.S. government free Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond! We should also join in condemning the FBI and cop killing of Robert Finicum and the arrest of Ammon Bundy and other participants in the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge on conspiracy charges.

The Hammonds have been imprisonedtwice on the same frame-up arson charges for seeking to defend their ranch and livelihood from government interference and abuse. Their sentence was vindictively lengthened by the federal "justice" system through use of anti-working-class terrorism laws.

The 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and other measures adopted after the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are for use against workers' rights. That's what happened to the Hammonds. And Washington will use these laws to target others who fight attacks by the bosses and the government, from union picket lines to protests against cop abuse.

Whatever one may think of the schemas that Bundy puts forward, they pose no threat to the lives of working people. From the start government officials, the FBI, many left-wing groups and the liberal news media smeared them as right-wing terrorists, laying the basis for a murderous assault like the 1993 attack on the Branch Davidian religious sect in Waco, Texas.

That's why many in Burns, Oregon, wanted the Bundys and their cohorts to leave. Most support the Hammonds and many sympathize with the occupiers' protest against Washington's discriminatory use of vast government land holdings. But they feared that the occupation would lead to another Waco.

Free Dwight and Steven Hammond! No to another Waco! Drop the charges against Ammon Bundy and others who occupied the Malheur reserve! 


http://themilitant.com/2016/8005/800520.html

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

BDS war against gay Israel supporters


Liberal Jews trapped in 'terrifying' new world of uncompromising anti-Israel views

Violent protests at a Jewish LGBTQ event in Chicago spotlight how growing emphasis on intersectionality is drowning out the nuances of debate in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

NEW YORK – The violent shut down of a Jerusalem-based LGBTQ forum by pro-Palestinian protesters in Chicagoon Friday highlighted the growing influence of intersectionality in movements representing minorities and the increasing militancy of their anti-Israel views.

"Gay Jews wanting to hear about the work of Jerusalem Open House were unwittingly caught in the middle of the protest at the Creating Changeconference Friday night, which is the country's largest LGBTQ gathering. They were sandwiched between anti-Israel activists and a reception intended to highlight the Israeli organization's efforts. The protest at moments turned violent and threatened to become more so before being dispersed by police and staff at the Chicago Hilton, where the conference took place last week.

"About 200 protesters crammed into a hotel hallway chanting, 'From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.'

"The conference is organized by the National LGBTQ Task Force. The reception, designed to introduce JOH's work in one of the most fraught cities anywhere for queer people, was hosted by A Wider Bridge, an American group that works to create relationships between LGBTQ people in America and Israel.

"Steven Rosenberg, a psychiatric social worker in Chicago, went to Shabbat services at the conference and tried to go to the reception. He and a friend got caught in the crowd.

"'It was a mob scene,' he said Sunday, still very shaken up. 'I have no problem with there being a protest. I have a problem with people calling us murderers and racists. It was loud and they were chanting and hostile, and it felt like a very unsafe situation.'

"Intersectionality — the belief that oppressed people of one community must advocate for other oppressed groups — leaves little room for the complexities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and for those who increasingly feel caught in the middle of a narrowing space. Though not new, the concept is being increasingly evoked whenever the subject of the occupation and Israel's treatment of Palestinians comes up.

"Its power and perils were clear when protesters borrowed a slogan from the Black Lives Matter movement and chanted 'No justice, no peace!' and techniques from the Occupy movement, as people echoed what the main speaker said.

"One bearded man trying make his way through the crowd to reach the reception had a Palestinian flag put over his face from behind. When he ripped it off and yelled, 'who did it?' protesters swarmed him, thrusting pointed fingers at him while theychanted 'Shame on you! Shame on you!'

Another video clip of the protest shows participants chanting, 'Get them out! Get them out!' referring to those gathered for the reception, which followed Shabbat services. They chanted, 'Racists go home!' and 'Hey hey ho ho, Zionism has got to go.'

"There's obviously a lot of room to be critical of the state of Israel on many levels and of the leadership of Palestinians, but this concept of intersectionality removes the ability to have critical dialogue and enables people to be demonized,' said Arthur Slepian, executive director of A Wider Bridge. 'Instead of seeing people as all part of the LGBT struggle, they're saying that if you don't fully buy into the agenda of all the different struggles that need to be fought, you're outside the tent.'

"'At the end of the day it won't be productive for advancing the struggle for LGBT rights,' he told Haaretz.

"Another contributing factor to the flare-up of ardent anti-Israel sentiment at the conference and beyond is ignorance about the distinction between anti-Semitism and protesting Israeli policies, said Dove Kent, executive director of Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, which had a representative lead a session at Creating Change on the subject.

"'Because the left is silent on anti-Semitism and because the right views all critiques of Israel as anti-Semitic, Jews and our allies in the larger movements are unclear about how to understand what is and isn't anti-Semitic,' Kent told Haaretz. JFREJ, a New York City-based organization of about 1,500 members, is working to develop an analysis of anti-Semitism on the left, she said.

"The protest at the conference came a week after Creating Change organizers initially bowed to pressure from anti-Israel activists, who charged that A Wider Bridge — and any organization connected to their planned Jerusalem Open House reception — is implicated in 'pink washing,' or an attempt to make Israel look good by exploiting its positive track record on LGBTQ issues.

"After tremendous pushback by supporters of A Wider Bridge, Jerusalem Open House, and mainstream Jewish organizations, Creating Change reversed itself and put the reception back on the conference agenda.

"Inside the hotel conference room where the reception took place, several protesters ran onto the stage, said Slepian. He told Haaretz, 'as I was about to begin my interview with leaders of Jerusalem Open House half a dozen protesters came into the room and commandeered the stage. We weren't about to engage in a physical confrontation' to get them off, he said.

"The young women who took over the stage chanted, 'Israel is an apartheid state' and 'black lives matter,' said Mordechai Levovitz, who was present. Levovitz is executive director of JQ Youth, a New York-based group for young queer Jews from the Orthodox, Hasidic and Sephardic communities. He also runs the Jewish Working Group at the Creating Change conference, one of several faith groups there that help organize sessions for the gathering.

"Said Slepian, 'We evacuated the Israeli guests out the back door and people inside the room were actually quite frightened. There was a lot of very inflammatory rhetoric happening with protestors outside the room. Eventually the hotel called for some outside security. They told us we had to end the reception because there were too many people in the corridor. It was a chaotic mess and people were really, really distraught. People were crying, people were shaking, physically agitated by what was transpiring,' he said.

"'This was a conference with almost 4,000 attendees and 200 protesters, many of whom were not even registered for the conference, were able to deprive everyone else from hearing the story of our work.'

"In a statement issued Sunday, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said he feels 'deep sadness' about protesters using 'chilling words of hate and intimidation to shut down and silence other LGBTQ voices.'

"Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, spiritual leader of New York's gay and lesbian Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, witnessed the events. 'Nobody got hurt but yes, it was terrifying,' she said. While there have been protests at previous Creating Change conferences, 'nothing has escalated to this point before. There are elements within that movement which do want to shut down voices of Israelis and the pro-Israel position. I don't think that's the position of the Task Force,' said Kleinbaum, shortly after meeting with conference organizers when it concluded Sunday. 'They got caught up without really appreciating how complicated it would be.'

"It was a painful irony for many at the reception that anti-Israel demonstrators drowned out the voices of Israeli LGBTQ leaders, all the more so because many of those involved with A Wider Bridge and the Jerusalem Open House oppose the occupation and feel that Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu-led government is moving dangerously rightward.

"A three hour-long Queer Muslim-Jewish dialogue session during the conference went off without a hitch. It is a dialogue, said Levovitz, that the Creating Change conference has every year.

"Levovitz published a blog post titled 'What Really Happened' after the conference ended.

"After the protest and the aborted reception, members of both groups repaired to the hotel bar. The 'protesters in their keffiyahs and we in our kippas and someone in a rainbow Israeli flag all sat at the hotel bar together,' Levovitz told Haaretz. 'And it was fine.'

"But the influence of advocates of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions [BDS] movement in academia and beyond, and the increasing aggression of those who believe that members of the LGBTQ community must share a single view on the oppression of other communities — disregarding the complexities and nuances of the Israel-Palestine issue — is clearly on the rise, said those involved with the conference, and will surely come up there and elsewhere again soon.

"Intersectionality 'has led to an approach that is very rigid, dogmatic and authoritarian in some ways, with people saying there is no room inside the tent for exploring other points of view,' Slepian said. 'That is a very dangerous place for a movement of liberation to be.'"

http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/.premium-1.699452

Saturday, January 23, 2016

I went to a Trump rally in my hijab. His supporters aren't just racist caricatures

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/13/i-went-to-donald-trump-rally-in-my-hijab-supporters-arent-just-racist-caricatures

Democrats, Republicans fracturing

Trump, Sanders support shows 
working-class discontent

 

BY NAOMI CRAINE

The protracted erosion of jobs, wages and conditions of life for the working class across the United States is fueling discontent and anger on a level not seen since the 1930s. Working people, in city and countryside, are looking for answers to why this is happening, and what can be done about it. And they're increasingly fed up with "establishment" ruling-class politicians — Democrat and Republican alike — who they see as part of the crisis being visited on them.

This is why the most demagogic "outsider" candidates with a populist message — Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican Donald Trump — are attracting workers' attention and interest. Practically every week media pundits have said these candidates are on the verge of fading away, yet their poll numbers are rising as the first primaries near. And it's why there is more openness and interest among workers to considering a revolutionary working-class program and course.

The grinding depression conditions that the working class and the rural poor continue to face underlie the unprecedented shake-up in the Democratic and Republican Parties.

Now there is growing alarm among Republican politicians that conservative establishment candidates can't win support among workers, and that Trump might actually win the nomination. Presenting the Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech Jan. 12 that condemned Trump, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Republicans need to "resist that temptation" of following "the siren call of the angriest voices," joining in taking aim against the real estate mogul.

"I will gladly accept the mantle of anger," said Trump in the Republican candidates debate two days later. "I'm very angry because our country is being run horribly." Exchanges like this just strengthen Trump's image as a "nonpolitician" who's not afraid to say what he thinks and doesn't worry about what's "politically correct."

Contrary to widespread claims in the main liberal media, Trump's appeal and the source of his demagogy about stopping immigration is not racism. "His supporters are people, not caricatures," Kaddie Abdul, a Muslim woman who attended a Trump rally in Nevada wearing her hijab, wrote in the Guardian newspaper Jan. 13. She was not harassed and said the people she spoke to "feel marginalized economically, politically and socially; they see a world different from the one they think should exist."

His appeal is to bring "America" back to greatness, for a classless "we" to take control, for which he will be the voice. His rallies draw tens of thousands of workers, including some Blacks and Latinos.

Trump, like Sanders, appeals to workers' opposition to Washington getting embroiled in new foreign wars. For this reason, they are the favored candidates of Patrick Buchanan, who said, "For anti-interventionists, Trump vs. Sanders is the ideal race."

Democrats, Republicans fracturing

The crisis in the Democratic Party and Sanders' rise in the polls also reflect the growing anger in the working class. Although the Vermont senator calls himself a "democratic socialist," his campaign has nothing to do with socialism. More than anything else, he runs as the voice of the Occupy Wall Street protests of 2011-12. His demagogy about "massive income and wealth inequality" and the "greed of Wall Street" focuses on calls to break up the big banks, raise taxes on the rich and other reforms aimed at shoring up capitalist rule and protecting it from working-class revolt.

In the latest polls Hillary Clinton, who as little as a month ago appeared a sure bet for the Democratic nomination, is running behind Sanders in New Hampshire and in a statistical tie in Iowa. Clinton's campaigning has often looked tired and lackluster.

At a Jan. 17 Democratic candidates debate in South Carolina, Clinton identified her campaign with the record of Barack Obama. "President Obama has led our country out of the Great Recession," she said, but "Senator Sanders called him weak, disappointing."

"Bernie mopped the floor with Hillary," opined John Podhoretz in the New York Post the next day. Clinton's goal was "to make the point she's the serious and sober candidate and Bernie Sanders is a pie-in-the-sky fantasist," he wrote. But "the country is in a rage, Democrats as well as Republicans, at the brokenness of our politics and the stagnation of the middle class. Hillary cannot find a way to tap into that — and tapping into that is all Sanders does."

In the last quarter of 2015 Sanders raised $37 million — more than Clinton — and from more individual people than any other candidate in U.S. history.

Democratic Party leaders are starting to panic. If Clinton's campaign continues to falter, suggested MSNBC-TV host Joe Scarborough, other party stalwarts might jump into the primary race. "Those close to [Secretary of State] John Kerry and [Vice President] Joe Biden have said specifically that, if she loses Iowa and New Hampshire, they are going to have to take a much closer look," Scarborough said Jan. 11.

Leading figures in both parties increasingly complain that the twin capitalist political vehicles are coming apart at the seams, often blaming working-class, "less educated" men, especially those who are Caucasian.

"Particularly blue-collar men have had a lot of trouble in this new economy, where they are no longer getting the same bargain they got when they were going to a factory and able to support their families on a single paycheck," Obama told National Public Radio in December. "There is going to be potential anger, frustration, fear — some of it justified, but just misdirected," he said, which Trump is "exploiting."

Far from turning further and further to the right, Caucasian workers' unprecedented discontent, like that of the working class as a whole, is aimed at finding a way to fight the grinding depression conditions they face.

And under the nation's first Black president, the only progress for workers who are African-American has come by taking to the streets against the powers that be in popular protests that have forced the rulers to take steps to rein in their cops.

The New York Times ran an article titled, "For Republicans, Mounting Fears of Lasting Split" Jan. 10. "If an establishment candidate wins the nomination," it said, "about two-thirds of Trump supporters would vote for him as a third-party candidate."  


http://www.themilitant.com/2016/8004/800403.html

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Free Dwight and Steven Hammond!

(editorial)

Free Dwight and Steven Hammond!

 

Working people should back the demand for the immediate release of cattle ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond, sent back to federal prison after they already served their initial sentences for arson over fires set to protect their land. This and other issues brought to the fore in Harney County, Oregon, since the start of the year are important for workers and rural toilers across the country.

The Hammonds' five-year extended sentences were imposed under the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, part of the mushrooming of mandatory minimum sentences that have led to soaring incarceration rates over the last 30 years. Many workers have become familiar with how these laws are used to bludgeon out "plea bargains," and to punish those who insist on their right to a jury trial with draconian sentences.

Those who call the people occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge "domestic terrorists" help lay the groundwork for federal agents to use military might against them. We should never forget the FBI's murderous 1993 assault on the Branch Davidian religious sect that killed 86 men, women and children in Waco, Texas. "This heinous crime exposes the true face of the bipartisan imperialist government in the United States — its imperial presidency, Congress, armed forces, cop agencies, and courts," said a statement issued by the Socialist Workers Party National Committee. The imprisonment of the Hammonds and related developments take place in the midst of a deepening economic contraction that has hit workers, small farmers, farmworkers and others in rural areas the hardest.

Ranchers and farmers have been increasingly affected by the explosion of government red tape making it harder to make ends meet — especially for those who work the land themselves. Owners of large capitalist enterprises find ways to make the system work.

The capitalist state has been growing since the end of World War II. The Barack Obama administration has accelerated the expansion of federal regulation. In many Western states, where a majority of the land is under government jurisdiction, this leads to fights over access to grazing, water and other necessities for ranchers and farmers.

Mass meetings in Harney County have made it clear there is widespread support for freeing the Hammonds and for demands against government restrictions that cripple those working the land.

The purpose of the Socialist Workers Party is "to educate and organize the working class in order to establish a workers and farmers government, which will abolish capitalism in the United States and join in the worldwide struggle for socialism." This points to the alliance needed between workers and working farmers to put an end to the dictatorship of capital and its increasingly devastating consequences for the toilers in city and countryside.

The Cuban Revolution set an example. After taking power in 1959, workers and farmers carried through a far-reaching land reform. Land there can't be sold, and the right to use it is guaranteed to those who work it — gains that continue to this day. 
 


http://themilitant.com/2016/8003/800320.html

Oregon actions demand ‘Free Hammonds,’ open land use

...."This is a good example of why we need land reform in the U.S., especially for poor farmers," Willie Head, an African-American farmer in Pavo, Georgia, involved in struggles to defend working farmers and their land, told the Militant. "What really bothers me is that the son and father were convicted of arson and given a sentence, and then the federal court of appeals judge decided it wasn't enough and increased it. That's a dangerous precedent."

http://themilitant.com/2016/8003/800303.html

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Palestinian Journalists, Intellectuals Speak Out Against Children Participating In Terrorist Attacks And Against Targeting Civilians

Palestinian Journalists, Intellectuals Speak Out Against Children Participating In Terrorist Attacks And Against Targeting Civilians

By: C. Jacob*

Introduction

The Palestinian public and leadership widely support the ongoing violent events which PA officials have dubbed a "popular uprising" and Hamas calls an "intifada."

The PA and Fatah do not condemn stabbing or even shooting attacks, and its officials and media outlets justify the current wave of terrorism, lionize its participants, commemorate attackers who were "martyred" and praise perpetrators who survived the attack. They also accuse Israel of executing Palestinians, especially children, and claim that it still intends to change the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.[1]

Despite the atmosphere of incitement and accusations against Israel by the PA, several Palestinian intellectuals and journalist, including Hafez Al-Barghouti, the former editor of the PA dailyAl-Hayat Al-Jadida and a Fatah Revolutionary Council member, have criticized the attacks, and especially those carried out by children. They expressed outrage at the participation of teenagers, including very young ones, in stabbing attacks against Israelis, claiming that it was not the place of children, and that their childhood and lives must be protected. They accused the leadership of Palestinian organizations of "trading in the blood of children" and sending them to die by encouraging them to carry out such attacks and praising and glorifying those who do. Some intellectuals called to instill in the public and the youth values of life, study and work, rather than values of seeking death.

Some writers also urged the Palestinians to avoid harming Israeli civilians, for both moral and practical reasons. On the moral level, they claimed that Palestinians must preserve their humanity; on the practical level, they argued that harming civilians, especially at the present time, harms the Palestinian struggle and casues it to be associated with the global terrorism led by ISIS. Some even called to cease stabbing attacks due to their lack of effectiveness and their heavy cost in Palestinian lives, and called to find alternative modes of struggle.

The following are excerpts from the articles:

Criticism Of The Participation Of Children In Stabbing Attacks: We Must Protect Their Childhood

Some writers spoke out against encouraging children to carry out attacks, calling on the public to protect their childhood and not send them to their deaths. On November 11, 2015, Hafez Al-Barghouti wrote: "From the start we said: Do not send your children into the fray, even though the occupation does not distinguish between children, youth, and adults... We must not bring our children into the cycle of violence... Even the Prophet Muhammad refused to bring children into battle... We should keep our children away from the demonstrations in the areas of conflict and clashes so they can experience their childhood. Even if it is a difficult [childhood], it is better than the childhood of the injured, the prisoner, or the martyr who is [completely] bereft of a childhood."[2]

In another article titled "In Defense Of Childhood" Al-Barghouti added: "Do not cheer [the stabbing children] and do not take pride [in them], since this has become a game of blood. Those who scream and roar, congratulating a child for pulling out a knife or a schoolgirl for taking up a pair of scissors, should see them as though they were their own children. Would they agree to throw their son into this furnace?"[3]

Journalist Mohammed Daraghmeh echoed the claim that the attacks were pointless in an article in Sawt Al-Nisa, the women's and social affairs supplement of the PA daily Al-Ayyam. Addressing the youth, he wrote: "Do not march towards death. Palestine needs you alive. You may rage, rebel, and take to the streets and checkpoints. You can block roads, shout, and make your voices heard to the deaf world. If it does not hear you today, it will hear you tomorrow. But do not die. The homeland needs you alive. [True,] it will be a mark of shame for Palestinians, young and old, if they remain silent in the face of the occupation, or remain busy with their own affairs and forget the homeland. However, there must not be only two options: silence or madness. We were silent for a long time and today we are swept up in the madness of destructive revenge. A youth pushed [to the limit] by the occupation may lose all capacity for thought, hide a knife, and take to the street to seek a symbol of the occupation and slaughter it. This has happened and will [continue to] happen, but it remains on the level of individual acts. The youths of Palestine must not all rush to their deaths [en masse] in this fashion. The small number of soldiers killed by stabbing attacks cannot be compared to the large number of Palestinian youths who lay soaking in their own blood at the feet of armed and trained soldiers.

"When the second intifada ended, we stood up as one and said: We made mistakes here and there; sometimes we went mad and sometimes we lost our [humane] feelings. No one had the courage during the intifada to say what was said at its painful end, lest they be harmed. But today we must face ourselves with courage and call things what they are... Indeed, anyone who takes up a knife and attacks a soldier is committing suicide, because the well-trained and armed soldiers will kill him. Every day several Palestinian youths are killed, yet we remain silent or even praise their deaths. We should stand as one and say 'enough'...

"To the Palestinian youths who have lost hope and seek revenge, I say what I say to my children: Take to the streets, go and protest. This is only one round of the conflict, which will not bring about the end of the conflict, but rather a new phase that is necessary for each and every of us... Palestine is an international problem that will be not solved in a round of knife of suicide attacks, or protests and rallies, but only when the world understands that it must intervene and draw borders as it did in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and North and South Korea. How much longer [must we wait]? Until the day comes.

"We must protect the lives of our children and continue the national struggle... If someone asks whether the previous nonviolent struggle against the occupations [the first intifada] brought about the end of the occupation, I will ask in response: Did the armed military struggle accomplish this? The Palestinian problem is not local, but rather an international problem that the world created and only [the world] can solve, but it will not do so if we [either] remain silent or commit suicide."[4]

Jihad Harb, a political scientist and a columnist for the Amad website, which is run by former PA minister Hassan 'Asfour, called in an article to stop the stabbing attacks, since they have played themselves out. He expressed hope that the Palestinian leadership would heed him and protect the lives of the youths "who are pointlessly executed at checkpoints." According to him, "most of those who carried out such operations or attempted them, or those killed due to claims that they tried to stab, were younger than 18 and could not deal with well-protected, armed, and trained soldiers. The stabbing operations have given Israel a pretext to kill our young men and women at checkpoints... The call for the [Palestinian] leadership and organizations to work to stop the stabbing attacks - even though [this leadership and these organizations] did not join those who lead this activity [i.e., the stabbings] - comes to protect the lives of our sons and daughters, whom Palestine needs in order [to build] a better future. This is not a call for a tahdiyya[calm], but rather a call to redirect this activity and develop the methods and means of the popular resistance."[5]

Criticizing The Culture Of Death

Journalist Mahmoud Fanoun wrote in favor of the culture of struggle, victory, and life in place of the culture of pointless death: "You hear children younger than 10 wishing to die a martyr's death... [A child] wishes to die, rather than to live, struggle, fight the enemy, kill him and defeat him. He wants to offer himself up to die at the enemy's hands. Why? Why does he not wish to terrorize the enemy and persist until the enemy leaves Palestine?... When a youth dies wielding a knife - what is the wisdom of this? There is a battle. On one side is the enemy, its army and its settlers, and on the other side is a boy. The battle ends one-sidedly: the enemy kills the Palestinian fighter before he even launches his hidden attack. In this battle the enemy wins and defeats the youth before he even did anything. Had the youth planned this [attack], he could have attacked and survived or [only] sustained injury. These are the rules of war... They say that life is [but] a corridor to the hereafter and therefore it is all right if life is short, since at its end is Paradise and the black-eyed [virgins]. This [belief] does not anger the enemies; on the contrary, they are happy to have defeated the youths, and their soldiers are rewarded, while we experience tragedy in light of the loss of young life and the youths' chagrin at their failure in the battles against the soldiers.

"This is also true of [Arafat's] slogan: 'Millions of martyrs marching on Jerusalem.' Why martyrs? Are we in a swordfight where we are forced to crawl to Jerusalem while the enemy is armed with large quantities of firearms? Why not set out to conquer and win, and then we can arrive safe and sound, even if some of us are killed? These are the rules of war. This culture [of death] does not affect the enemy; on the contrary, the enemy is glad of it... We set out to die and we will indeed die, while the enemy continues to occupy the land from end to end. We achieve martyrdom, if anything at all, while the enemy achieves the homeland, instead of us defeating him and remaining alive."[6]

Criticizing Leaders Of Palestinian Organizations: They Encourage Children To Carry Out Attacks But Do Not Send Their Own Children

The writers also criticized the leaders of the Palestinian organizations, accusing them of encouraging children to carry out attacks while not sending their own children into the fray or carrying out attacks themselves. Hafez Al-Barghouti wrote: "Some organizations and clans that are morally bankrupt go too far with the

http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/8925.htm