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How the U.S. backs violence against Palestine

September 14, 2001 | Page 3

WITHIN HOURS of the attack on the World Trade Center, the media had made up its mind about who the perpetrators must be: Arabs.

Osama bin Laden topped the list of suspects--even though he denied any connection to the attacks. But politicians were quick to pin the blame on Palestinians as well--again, despite the fact that Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat and every Palestinian organization condemned the attack.

Meanwhile, nearly every TV and radio station described Palestinians in the Occupied Territories celebrating the tragedy in the U.S.

"I would like to stress that the Palestinian people identify with the victims of this horrifying terrorist act," said Ghassan Al Khattib, director of the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center. "We Palestinians are ourselves victims, and we therefore feel the American people's pain…Of course, there were minor insignificant exceptions where some people foolishly expressed joy as an immediate reaction. The majority, however, felt a great deal of sorrow."

But the Israeli military didn't wait to exploit the tragedy. The day after the attack, Israel stepped up its repression by raiding a West Bank town and two nearby villages, killing seven Palestinians, including an 11-year-old girl.

"Now the world will not be as patient as it was before to the terror conducted and supported by the Palestinian Authority," proclaimed Israeli Defense Ministry spokesperson Yarden Vatikay.

In reality, the Israeli military and fanatical right-wing settlers are the real source of terror in the Middle East--with the full backing of the U.S. government.

After all, it's weaponry made in the USA that gives Israel the overwhelming force that has maimed and injured several thousand Palestinians--and killed more than 500--since the Intifada against Israel's occupation began a year ago. Israel uses U.S. aircraft and military supplies to carry out its assassinations of Palestinians--under the name of "fighting terrorism." And it's U.S. political and diplomatic support for Israel that allows the government to seal off Palestinian towns and villages, actions that have plunged almost half of the population into dire poverty.

U.S. backing for Israel has created bitterness and desperation on a massive scale among the 2 million Palestinians living under apartheid-like conditions. Palestinians rightly blame the U.S. government for the misery and violence they face.

For others across the Middle East who have endured similar devastation at the hands of the U.S. and its allies, the shock at this tragedy is compounded by fears that the U.S. government may use it as an excuse for wreaking more destruction.

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