Wednesday, June 11, 2003

No peace in the Middle East. 

The Electronic Intifada believes that the U.S. media is ignoring violence against the Palestinians, even as negotiations for peace continue:

"Yet The Guardian's Conal Urquhart reported that "As George Bush talked about peace with the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers, Israeli soldiers were raiding the refugee camp of Balata and the city of Nablus for the third day running." ("Children shot in third day of Israeli army raids, The Guardian, 5 June 2003)

Urquhart described how "screams echoed around the clinic" in the camp, "as a woman brought her seven-year-old daughter in for treatment. She had been shot in the abdomen by an Israeli soldier" as the Aqaba summit took place. Later the same day, the report said, a boy was shot in the head with a rubber-coated bullet.

According to the Red Crescent, The Guardian reported, "some 50 people have been treated for bullet and shrapnel wounds" in two days.

Dr. Samir Abu Zarzur, the head of the casualty department at Rafiah hospital in Nablus, said that his department treated 32 people injured by the Israeli army on Tuesday, the day President Bush was meeting the Palestinians' Mahmoud Abbas and other Arab leaders in Sharm Al-Sheikh and urging them to join a struggle against "terrorism."

"Twelve of the injured were children. One eight-year-old was shot in the face with a rubber-coated bullet. A young woman lost her eye and a young man lost a kidney. There are two or three still in a serious condition," The Guardian quoted Abu Zarzur saying.

In a 7 June press release, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PCRS) reported that on 4 June, the day of the Aqaba summit, "A PRCS ambulance on its way to rescue injured people in the Balata Camp was stopped by Israeli soldiers. Soldiers attacked the ambulance, hitting one of the EMTs on the face and head." Under threats of further violence from the soldiers, the ambulance was forced to turn back.

The only US newspaper that we were able to find that reported the events in Balata was Newsday, on 5 June, in a report by the same Conal Urquhart.

The Chicago Tribune's account of the day of the Aqaba meeting was quite different. The paper said, "the day gave rise to hope not only for what happened but also for what did not: There was no major Israeli-Palestinian violence" ("Bush hails good beginning, Chicago Tribune, 5 June 2003). The report made no mention of the three-day long Israeli attack on Balata Camp that caused so many injuries and continued during the Aqaba summit.

Nor did the violence and suffering stop after the summit.

On 5 June, 15 year-old Ibrahim Abu Habla, who had been shot in the eye by Israeli occupation forces in Tulkarm, also near Nablus, on 28 May, died of his wounds, Agence France Presse reported. He had been among a number of children shot with live bullets for throwing stones at the occupier's tanks. ("Palestinian dies of wounds in West Bank," AFP, 5 June, 2003)"