Israeli Brinkmanship Draws the Region Closer to a Disaster
Saturday, March 30, 2002
Gaza City: An intensely dramatic and violent day marked events in Palestine,
today, March 30th, Saturday. As Israeli tanks closed on the presidential
Office Compound of Arafat, Palestinians throughout occupied territories
along with Palestinians inside the green line (1948 Palestinians) took
to the streets and declared a strike to voice out support and sympathy
with the Palestinian besieged president.
According to Palestinian media sources, thousands of protesters took to
the streets of Gaza; all chanting in one voice strong support for president
Arafat. Arab media networks aired live coverage, minute by minute, events
of the siege and bombardment of the presidential office in Ramallah in
West Bank. News coming out of Ramallah reported that Israeli army tanks
invaded the city completely. And there are more than 30 tanks surrounding
Arafat and several of his close aids. In the evening, Apache helicopters
fired missiles at the compound only few meters from the room where Arafat
was staying. The largest and most influential Arab TV Network, Al Jazeera,
reported live coverage of Israeli tanks firing heavy machine guns at windows
at the presidential compound. Palestinians in Gaza City were seen sticking
to the TV news listening to breaking news one after another.
President Arafat sent a message through TV cameras to ask Palestinians to ・
remain steadfast in the face of an Israeli brutal aggression supported
with American weapons.・He added, ・They (Israeli) want me a prisoner or
fugitive or dead, but I tell them I will be a martyr ・ martyr・a martyr..・
.on the soil of our holy land.
This statement has instantly become famous as it was repeated over and
over on TV screens throughout the Arab World by the various media networks
with his deep and slow but confident voice, the words of Arafat, apparently,
hit deep into the minds and hearts of millions of Palestinians and Arabs.
Arafat at this particular moment is rapidly gaining millions of sympathizers
and admirers both in Palestine and in the Arab and Moslem world. One prominent
Egyptian TV personality pleaded eloquently in Arabic to the rest of the
Arab leaders to try to save Arafat from being murdered by ・the war criminal
Sharon・as he put it.
The streets of Gaza, of course, were filled with protesters who were enraged
at Israel's attempt to endanger the life of Arafat and the total indignation
and humiliation of the entire Palestinian nation and its president. One
speaker at the rally, Mr. Zakaria Al Agha, a member of the Central Committee
of the PLO, said,・If Sharon has crossed all red lines and declares an
open war at us, well, we tell Sharon and Israel that we will answer back
with a limitless and endless war against Sharon and his generals of Occupation.・
Also, another speaker, Mr. Al Taib Abed Rahim, General secretary of the
Presidency, spelled his anger at Sharon, ・the Palestinian people shall
never surrender. We are fighting for a just cause to end an occupation.
Arafat is our President and the symbol of the Palestinian struggle. We
are with you Abu Ammar ( Arafat ). We are with you to the last man. We
are all martyrs we get ride of this ugly occupation.・
The crowd cheered and clapped enthusiastically. With one voice thousands
of protesters chanted, ・towards Jerusalem we march on by the millions
One young protester, a student from the local Islamic University, condemned
strongly the continuous ・Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people
and their president.
He said,・We urge the world to lift the dangerous siege on our President
and to put an end to Sharon's reckless and evil acts of terror. Occupation
is the real terror. Sharon is committing war crimes against our people.
And we know that he (Sharon) got the green light form Bush to carry out
his military incursion in Ramallah and point the gun at Arafat's head.
The world must stop the terror of Sharon and Bush soon before the Israel
and the US commit more war crimes and massacres against the Palestinian
March 30th. 2002