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Violence in the Middle East

Fay Afaf Kanafani has sent me a copy of her book NADIA, Captive of Hope. Memoir of an Arab Woman (M.E. Sharpe, 1999, pp. 346). It appeared in the series "Autobiographies and Memoirs of Women from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America." The series is important to people working in the feminist field, and I call it to the attention of WAISers like Rick Geddes, who are doing research in that field.

We will have an important session on Women's Rights in the Middle East in our July 29-31, 2001 conference, with the participation of Fay Afaf Kanafani, Guity Nashat and others. Fay is naturally deeply disturbed by the recent clash between Israeli troops and Palestinians. She writes:

"Violence erupted in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem after Ariel Sharon and about 1000 armed Israelis visited, by force, the area between Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock.

Palestinians went to the street to protest the visit, they were met with a well-armed Israeli security force determined to silence any protest of any kind. The confrontation lasted for several days, and the result is tens of dead Palestinians (most are children) and several hundred wounded.

The Israeli forces claim that they only fire in self defense, i.e. when their life is threatened. I do not see that applicable in the case of Mohammed (the 12 years old boy) whose father tried to protect him with his bare arm, but failed ......

Pictures were taken by two French journalists, they have been aired extensively around the globe as a reminder that a nation is still under military occupation against its will, and peace negotiation is still going on ...

I want to point out that the pictures are shocking, yet, essential for all WAISERs to see. We discuss war and peace, foreign policy decisions, we also talk at length about protecting the US interest around the globe, and we provide economical/military aid to help achieve these goals. Let us not forget that part of our tax dollars may have been used to purchase the ammunition that ended the life of this 12 year old boy ...."

My comment: Fay is right. The Israeli cause has suffered a major blow. The world is disgusted by Israeli attempts to blame the Palestinians and above all by General Sharon's claim that he went to the Mosque area on a mission on peace. As usual, the US has lost credence because of its support of Israel. Arafat has warned that war could break out (and it could become a world war). It it did, the world would know when and where it started.

Ronald Hilton - 10/05/00