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Express-News: Julio Noboa

Noboa: Learn the truth about Mideast

San Antonio Express-News
May 26, 2001

If we believe the U.S. media's portrayal of the Middle East conflict, then
we already have identified the good guys and the terrorists.

From local newspapers to Hollywood films, we recognize Israeli Jews as
civilized, reasonable and democratic and Palestinians as terrorists.

Now this simplistic scenario is beginning to unravel as we see images of
stone-throwing Palestinian youths facing Israeli tanks and supersonic F-16
jets bombing neighborhood factories. So to ensure continued unconditional
U.S. support, Israeli Prime Minster Ariel Sharon recently called for a total
cease-fire.

But after rejecting a key recommendation of the Mitchell commission - a
freeze on Israeli settlements - Sharon's offer is a deceitful ploy. The
Palestinians would be foolish to accept more settlement expansion, which
further reduces what little territory they have left. Moreover, these
settlements are in violation of U.N. resolutions and international law.

There are two kinds of terrorism in this ancient, contested land: The terror
of occupation and the terror of desperation.

Suicide bombers are desperate, but they are not simpletons propagandized
into martyrdom. Their family members, friends and neighbors have been
killed, tortured, maimed or made homeless by Israeli authorities. The media
will call them cowards, but what would any red-blooded American do if
invaders were to occupy and terrorize our country?

The terror of desperation is born out of brutality, deprivation and
powerlessness; it is sporadic, indiscriminate and often counterproductive.
The media would have us believe Israel is only responding to terrorism, but
this belies the historical realities of the terror of occupation.

It wasn't the Palestinians but Zionist extremists who introduced terrorism
into the Holy Land. In the 1920s, they placed bombs in Arab marketplaces to
terrorize civilians. It was Zionist terrorism that, after two decades, drove
the British out of Palestine to establish a Jewish state.

With the establishment of Israel, Palestinians became aliens in their own
land. Ruled by military edict, they were denied freedom of movement, equal
education and rights to own land. In fact, 78 percent of what historically
had been Arab Palestine became Israeli. Today, Palestinians are fighting
just to recover the West Bank and Gaza, 22 percent of historic Palestine.
Yet Israel controls about half these territories.

The terror of Israeli occupation is akin to slow strangulation - houses are
demolished, orchards destroyed, roads blockaded and water and power
manipulated.

Most of all, the terror of occupation is unforgivingly violent. A
disproportionate amount of military aggression will be used against
protesters, stone-throwers bystanders and even security police.

Local physicians long ago determined that most of the stone-throwing youth
and children who were killed had been shot in the head or upper body. This
shoot-to-kill extends to Palestinian leaders, with Israeli missiles acting
as judge, jury and prosecutor.

As many predicted, the violence has escalated dramatically since the
election of Sharon. His election was hailed by major pro-Israel Jewish
organizations. The American Jewish Congress noted, "He is widely recognized
as one of Israel's greatest military heroes."

Sharon does have a quite a record. In 1953, he led a commando squad that
massacred 69 men, women and children in Qibbiya. After the 1967 war, he
ordered the assassination of more than 100 Palestinian resistance leaders.
In 1982, his forces allowed, if not encouraged, Israeli-supported Lebanese
militia to murder more than 900 Palestinian refugees at Sabra and Shatila.

Yet Sharon already has met twice with President Bush, while Yasser Arafat
awaits his first invitation.

Still, we are told Uncle Sam is the only unbiased broker for Middle East
peace. That's certainly demonstrated by U.S. aid to Israel, which -
including military support from 1949 through 2001 - exceeds $90 billion.
Moreover, our Mideast policy has long been dictated by Israel's powerful
lobby, as documented by former Congressman Paul Findley in his book, "They
Dare To Speak Out."

Neither Israel nor Uncle Sam would permit an international peace-keeping
force or international observers, because they wouldn't "be fair" to Israel.
Perhaps they know that for decades Israel has violated numerous U.N.
resolutions by denying basic human rights to Palestinians.

And then we wonder why our allies voted us off the U.N. Human Rights
Commission.

I urge Americans to take off their media blinders, check out other sources
of information, such as the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
(www.washington-report.org), and open their hearts and minds to the full
story.

Julio Noboa is an educator and free-lance writer. To message him, e-mail
JNPAPR@aol.com