< < <
Date Index
> > >
Re: Israeli destruction catalogued
by Trich Ganesh
25 April 2002 04:02 UTC
< < <
Thread Index
> > >
There is little doubt regarding what is going on in the occupied 
lands of Palestine.  The problem is manifold: (1) There is the 
unabashed attempt to destroy all memory of belonging to 
Palestine: anyone who returns to that land encounters unfamiliar 
names for places that in the not so distant past were quite familiar. 
(2) There is the demonization of all Palestinians as terrorists, and 
there is the facile representation of the same in the British and the 
US news agencies.  (3)  There is the most powerful lobby 
representing some 6 million US-based Zionists who navigate US 
foreign policies (and domestic representations of those policies) 
and who go on to dictate terms to their counterparts in the Israeli 
state.  (4)  There is the almost complete absence of opposition to 
state terror within Zion, the Zionist left being after all Zionist and 
ultimately right of left.  (5) There is the misunderstanding in US 
minds that there are no Palestinians who live in the space called 
Israel and that much of what is happening is between Israelis and 
their "territorial" neighbors - almost none of my students knew that 
Palestine is actually the name for a place where many lived before 
being forced to live with Zionists, and then forced to move out.  (6)  
The Intifadahs are all represented as terrorist attacks on the 
legitimate state of Israel.  (7) The sellout of Arafat, of the states of 
Egypt and Syria as well,  during and after Oslo, has not left the 
struggles leader-less, but it has given rise to charges of 
numberless groups who engage in acts of terror.

So many layers, so many systematic erasures, and so little unity 
among the Arab states!  The oil factor stays most important: the 
Saudi state is the largest seller of oil to the US.  Venezuela is the 
third largest seller of oil to the US - can a coup against the elected 
government of Chavez be far behind?  How long can Venezuela 
last?  Or will a new coalition of OAS states emerge - learning from 
Argentina - that will start to redefine the politics of that continent?  
And will that complicate further the question of Palestine?

One able  critique of Labor and Likud and the Ha'aretz 
representations of the carnage in Palestine, is in the recent works 
of Yitzhak Laor.


Date sent:              Tue, 23 Apr 2002 22:28:07 +0500
To:                     wsn@csf.colorado.edu
From:                   Syed Khurram Husain <skhurram@lums.edu.pk>
Subject:                Israeli destruction catalogued

Is the Israeli incursion into Palestine really about "uprooting the
infrastructure of terror" or is it about uprooting all infrastructure?  The
actions detailed in this report from Ha'aretz newspaper appear to
corroborate the argument that the larger Israeli strategy, which remained
active throughout the Oslo Peace Process, is to strangulate the
Palestinians till they either die of suffocation or leave their homes.
There is mounting evidence now that Zionism has turned into an
exterminationist ideology of the very sort that it sought to flee from once
upon a time.  This includes the nature of the rhetoric that is used to
justify its actions.  The phrase by the Israeli army officer cited in
Ha'artez saying that the IDF should learn from the German army's actions in
the Warsaw ghetto is only one example.  Listening to the propaganda of
Israeli spokesmen, one wonders whether Goebbels himself would have been
able to do a better job.

Khurram Husain

Ha'aretz Daily
Tuesday, April 23, 2002 Iyyar 11, 5762 
Ramallah Diary  
`So much damage in just one hour' 
By Amira Hass 
Two days ago, the charred pile next to the building with wide glass windows
was still emitting heat. Given the countless number of empty canned food
tins, one might conclude that they were the leftover combat rations the
soldiers set on fire earlier that morning, just before they left Ramallah.
But some papers that were not totally burned indicated that it was not just
garbage that was set on fire. Fragments of checks attached to bank record
books indicated that bank documents were also added to the fire. 

The building under discussion is a five-story structure in El Bireh that
houses the Palestine International Bank. It was captured by the Israel
Defense Forces on Friday, March 29, the first day of its incursion into
Ramallah and its twin city, El Bireh. 

For 23 days, a large force of soldiers remained in the building, on the
bank's three floors (plus the basement) and on the two floors housing
private consulting and advertising agencies (including the Sky advertising
agency, which won the monopoly on Palestinian advertising on Palestinian
television and is run by Tarek Abbas, Abu Mazen's son). 

For three weeks, four or five armored vehicles and a tank or two were
permanently positioned next to this building that symbolized a milestone on
the road to developing the Palestinian yuppie business sector, considered a
pillar of the concept of "building a peace process by developing the
private sector." The building and the main branch of the Palestine
International Bank were described as a "five-star hotel"; it had marble
corridors, designer furniture, matching drapes, state-of-the-art
electronics, pleasant waiting rooms, the latest computers and a parking lot
for clients' cars. 

For three weeks mounds of dirt and flattened cars dragged into the middle
of the adjacent streets ensured that no one would approach the building. On
the third day of the IDF's invasion of the city, March 31, two days after
it had taken over the building, the soldiers were observed bringing some
things into it and removing other things from it. With guns aimed, they
instructed journalists to leave the place and said they were searching for
weapons and wanted individuals. 

Two days ago, walking from room to room and floor to floor, one found it
was possible to discover what had transpired in this building. 

The IDF force's attempt to break into the main safes was apparently
unsuccessful and the locks were ruined. Bank officials' safes were broken
into and their contents disappeared. The safe of the automated teller
machine also could not be broken into, but the soldiers did manage to ruin
the actual machine, which costs around NIS 40,000. 

The soldiers smashed glass doors and windows; on some floors, they broke
down walls, apparently in a not very thorough search for weapons that were
not found (otherwise they would have broken down all the walls), tore out
marble tiles, ripped out telephone wires, destroyed telephones (other
equipment disappeared), broke a few pieces of furniture, littered the
floors with food scraps and scrawled in Hebrew on the walls. 

The state-of-the-art telephone switchboard (made by Telrad) was removed.
The soldiers threw around files of documents while other folders
disappeared or were found piled up in a corner of the room. 

But the main focus of the force's mission was to destroy the bank's entire
computer network. 

"The saboteur knows about computers," concludes the bank's director
general, Osama Khader, who on Sunday wondered around from room to room in a
daze and pointed out the damages. The bank, which was founded in 1997,
serves 16,000 clients. The up-to-date database of accounts, recent
transfers, transactions, checks paid out to and received by customers - all
was destroyed. The soldiers, Khader pointed out, damaged the main computer
room, ripped out wires, took away diskettes and damaged the hard drives or
took them away. The bank's computer terminals were all thrown around,
broken or had missing or broken drives. Computer parts were found strewn
around the courtyard and other parts were found charred in the pile of food
that had been set alight. 

"Please don't litter," was written on a piece of paper found hanging on a
wall in the manager's office. The floor was covered with sunflower seed
shells and coffee stains. There were blue booklets strewn next to
demolition tools and hammers, and the stamp on each one indicated that they
were a donation from the Kabbala Learning Center for world peace, love and
human dignity. 

There was a similar scene in the offices of Sky: a decorative wall near the
entrance had disappeared; Tarek Abbas, the director, wondered where the
wall had disappeared to: there was no trace of it. The clogged toilets
emitted a stench. There were computers strewn about the room that had been
damaged, disk drives that had been broken and hard drives that had
disappeared. One drawer had had $1,000 in it and that too disappeared. A
VCR disappeared. Children's toys marketed by the company were destroyed.
All of the business cards of customers and potential customers had

Similar and even worse scenes of destruction were uncovered two days ago in
other offices in Ramallah and El Bireh (as well as in Nablus and Bethlehem)
which the soldiers had stormed into: in the housing bank and in all of the
Palestinian Authority's offices (except for the Ministry of Planning headed
by Nabil Sha'ath and the Ministry of Sport and Youth), the computers had
been destroyed by various methods and documents were tossed out, torn up
and disappeared. The offices of human rights organizations, independent
research institutes and non-governmental health organizations were
destroyed: at the Medical Relief Committees' eye center, all the eyeglasses
were found broken and scattered on the floor, the same organization's
warehouse for aids for handicapped people was broken into and some of the
equipment was destroyed; data bases and computers used by the research
institutes to monitor health, agriculture and environmental and water
quality were destroyed. 

Officials at the Higher Education Authority thought that they had been
spared the destruction: Last Friday, when the curfew was lifted for a few
hours, its three floors of offices and six wings were still intact.
Officials even made sure to leave the doors open so that the soldiers would
not break them down if they wanted to enter the offices in their search for
wanted individuals and weapons. 

But on Friday night, the soldiers burst into the building. A neighbor
counted 11 explosions and related that the soldiers remained in the
building no more than an hour. On Sunday morning, Dr. Gabi Baramki, the
authority's adviser on academic affairs and a former president of Bir Zeit
University, hurried to the place. "So much damage in just one hour," he
said stunned and searching for words to describe the losses incurred. 

All of the computers were piled up in a few corners and blown up, along
with the printers. The explosion tore a hole in the floor of one of the
rooms. In the Ministry of Education, which had been broken into two weeks
earlier, written documents, books and printed research papers were
destroyed or had disappeared. In the offices of the Higher Education
Authority, at least some of the hand-written documents remained intact. But
as Baramki says, the general destruction indicates that the purpose of the
operation was to strike at the infrastructure of Palestinian civil society,
to cause it to regress, erase its accomplishments and halt its development. 

The IDF also blew up the computers in the large Max supermarket in the
city's southwest. A few Palestinian businessmen built it in 1998. Some of
them had lived for years in the United States. The force entered the
supermarket twice: once some food products were taken from the shelves, but
that isn't what bothers Hisham Abd al-Rasul, one of the owners; when the
computers were blown up or disappeared, the large supermarket lost all of
its business records, receipts and orders. 

The first time the force went into the store, it tried unsuccessfully to
break open the safe. Two weeks later, the force returned with more
appropriate equipment for breaking into safes. There was NIS 60,000 in the
safe, but one day after the curfew was lifted, the supermarket's managers
discovered that the money had disappeared. Neighbors and managers
circulated this information in e-mails that were sent all over the world.
After a few days, Civil Administration officials contacted Palestinian
liaison officials and informed them that this was not the objective. The
money was returned. 

Dozens of Ramallah residents (and residents of other cities) were not so
lucky even though many of them wrote in e-mails about the money, jewelry
and electronic items that disappeared from their homes after IDF soldiers
broke in or were positioned there. An eight-year-old girl's gold earrings,
gold jewelry, cash (NIS 800 here, $400 there and more), VCRs and video
cameras were hidden beneath a soldier's coat. Hundreds of people have been
busy over the last two days cleaning the mess left behind by the soldiers,
trying to straighten out the apartments and offices and recording the
damages incurred: the office owners and private banks, at least, are
planning to file suit against the IDF.

< < <
Date Index
> > >
World Systems Network List Archives
at CSF
Subscribe to World Systems Network < < <
Thread Index
> > >