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The day after
13 September 2001
following the messages we circulated yesterday, we have received a considerable number from peace and justice groups around the world, all with the same basic message: condemning all violence; expressing sympathy for the people in the United States; pointing out that violence breeds violence, that the attacks have occured in a context of ongoing terrorist attacks by states and non-state organisations, they are not random acts of terror; and urging the US government to bring only those directly responsible to justice and not to inflict more harm and destruction on other innocent people in other other parts of the world. Rather than circulate them all, we will upload a selection of these messages to our website tonight.
In addition we have received several messages from the Israeli peace group Gush Shalom - they have circulated messages from Palestinian groups out through their international e-lists, and pointed out that the mass media coverage of Palestinians dancing for 'joy' at the attacks in the US are a total distortion of the Palestinian reaction to the attacks - they say: "while some Palestinians are celebrating this successful attack on what they see as the supplier of arms and money to their occupiers ... the official media are wrong in not reporting the mix of opinion, in not reporting the truth of deep disagreements among Palestinians. Some are horrified at this attack, as they have been by attacks on Israeli civilians. "
Below is a message from one Palestinian group; and below that a reminder that while the eyes of the world are on New York and Washington, other tragedies continue ...
We pray to God to please give these families the patience and the strength.
As Palestinians who suffer daily form acts of Israeli aggression against our innocent people, we cannot find the words to express how shocked we were to see the horrific scenes on TV. We condemn such acts and we do not accept such horrific acts in the 3rd millennium where peace, prosperity, and freedom should cover the whole world.
We reiterate our deepest condemnation of this horrible act on these innocent humans. No matter how can we express our sorrow, we can't find enough words to say how sorry we are.
Please let us work together to stop these acts of terrorism all over the world. Let us work hand in hand for establishing a safer world to live in.
Then a friend phoned warning us to immediately open CNN, We were just in time to see a plane fly into the World Trade Center's other tower. While we were glued, like everybody else, to the TV screen we gradually realised that we weren't watching another terrorist attack, like those to which we ourselves are exposed as part of the revenge-upon-revenge cycle of bloodshed in which our army and Palestinian militias had gotten themselves, and which apart from the fear and the human tragedy only made hope that the occupation will ever end fade away, but to which we nearly got used during the past months here in Israel/Palestine.
What we witnessed here on our screens was so terrible and so huge; the world would not be the same after this day. The calculated decision to hijacking planes full of passengers and turn them into big suicide-missiles with a combined killing potential nearing that of atom bombs - and all that without any warning, no demands made...
But now it's the day after.
This night the Israeli army continued the invasion and penetrated deeply into the town of Jenin and destroyed the local police station. In this and other attacks by the IDF (and in one case by settlers) a total of eleven Palestinians were killed - one of them a nine-year old girl. Israeli forces still impose a strict siege of Jenin with its tens of thousands of inhabitants, preventing even the passage of medical crews and patients, and in the process violating the "A" areas which according to Oslo should be under exclusive Palestinian control.
At any other time, all of the above would constitute a major news item on CNN and BBC, and international diplomatic initiatives would already be afoot to ease the crisis and get the army out of the Jenin area. Now, the world looks elsewhere and Sharon feels himself to have carte blanche.
We face days of unchecked rampage, with bloodshed unnoticed by the world. We will do what little we can - at least by trying to fill in for the mainstream media and passing on what we hear.
Following is the report which we got yesterday about the demolition of Palestinian houses in Jerusalem. (It may not seem so dramatic against the background of what is on everybody's mind. But the story of injustice which plants the seeds of future hatred deserves to be told.)
Jerusalem, Tuesday morning Sept. 11. Bulldozers of the Jerusalem Municipality, under the protection of dozens of heavily armed police and Special Forces arrived at the Arab neighborhood of Beit Hanina. They destroyed the home of the elderly widow Aisha Abu Na'am and her daughter, and the house where Issa and Merriam Jaradat had lived with their five children. Then the bulldozers put their teeth into the home of the Bader family, but after the kitchen, bedroom and children's room were destroyed a quick legal action by lawyer Jawad Boulos succeeded in halting the destruction, saving the last two rooms.
Five more "illegal" Palestinian homes in Beit Hanina are in imminent danger. The Committee Against House Demolition plans to help the families rebuild.