Thursday, February 20, 2003

Israel: Threats of forced mass expulsion
"The real problem is that Israelis do not view the suicide bombings as part of the Palestinian struggle to end Israel's occupation, nor do they see them as revenge for the aggressive tactics of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). (According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, military action has caused more than 2,000 Palestinian casualties, at least 1,500 of them civilian.) Israelis see the attacks as proof that the Palestinians are determined to destroy the state of Israel, and to kill Jews because they are Jews. In this climate the expulsion of the Palestinians is touted as a security measure, a humane response to an intractable problem. The Israeli authorities are doing nothing to check the momentum of such plans.

"Which populations will be "transferred" remains deliberately unclear: Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank? Those in the refugee camps? Or all Palestinians between the Mediterranean and the Jordan river, including Israel's Arab citizens?... All Palestinians, whether Israeli Arabs or those in the West Bank or Gaza, remember the 1948 expulsion and unceasingly vow: "This time we won't let them drive us out." The Palestinians are well aware of the danger, though their legal expertise and their links to the international community on both sides of the Green Line separating Israel from the occupied territories provide some protection."

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