Israeli repression of the Palestinian people intensifies

Israeli repression of the Palestinian people intensifies
Statement of the National Council of Arab-Americans on Israeli Raid of Jericho

The ongoing U.S.-backed Israeli war against the Palestinian people took a new criminal turn yesterday with the military assault against the Palestinian detention center in Jericho. This blatant act of state-sponsored terrorism included at least three deaths, scores of injuries and the confinement of an estimated 800 children in their school for many hours while the Israelis laid siege. The Israeli assault was aimed at the seizure and kidnapping of the Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Ahmed Saadat, along with four of his colleagues and many others.

The Bush administration and Israeli regime arrogate to themselves the right to carry out systematic assassinations, killings and kidnappings. Given the circumstances of this assault, it is inconceivable that it was undertaken without the explicit approval of the Bush administration. Saadat became the leader of the PFLP after the Israeli Air Force carried out an extrajudicial execution of PFLP Secretary General Abu Ali Mustafa on August 27, 2001. Mustafa, the father of five, was killed by two rockets fired from an Israeli helicopter as he sat at his desk in his office in the West Bank town of Ramallah. 

The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition is organizing around the country for locally and regionally coordinated demonstrations on March 18-20, the 3rd anniversary of the start of the U.S. "shock and awe" assault against Iraq. Since the beginning, our Coalition has insisted on making the connections between the U.S. war in Iraq and the decades long effort to destroy the Palestinian people. The U.S.-Israeli assault is part and parcel of the same project to impose a colonial-type domination on the Arab people and other peoples of the Middle East.

The following is a statement by the National Council of Arab Americans about yesterday's assault in Jericho. The NCA was a principal partner with the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition and other organizations in organizing the September 24, 2005 massive march on Washington against the war of more than 300,000 people.

Statement from the National Council of Arab Americans

The National Council of Arab Americans (NCA) condemns in the strongest possible terms the piracy capture and kidnapping of the Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Ahmed Saadat, along with four of his comrades and many others, on March 14, 2006.

Israeli occupation forces stormed the Palestinian detention compound in Jericho, Palestine, where Saadat and his comrades were being held, with complicity by the governments of the United States and Britain. Minutes before the assault, U.S. and British personnel vacated the compound allowing the attacks to take place. The detainees were all unarmed and under the presumed oversight of U.S. and British "observers." The assault resulted in at least 3 deaths, scores of injuries, and the confinement of about 800 children in their school for many hours.

In 2002, the Palestinian Authority (PA) entered into a treaty with the U.S. and Britain and committed to placing Saadat, four of his comrades, and Fouad Shobaki, then special military assistant to Yasser Arafat, under the supervision of a joint U.S.-British force that would oversee the Jericho compound. Ever since then, the PA under both Arafat and Abbas has defied the Palestinian High Court ruling to release Saadat and his comrades. It claimed that Saadat's detention is aimed at protecting him and his comrades from Israeli assassination if they were to be released.

In addition to the clearly complicit U.S.-British role and responsibility, we also condemn the role of the PA for allowing this assault to take place repudiating expressed calls to provide protection. The PA, as has been revealed, had been notified earlier that U.S. and British personnel were planning to vacate the compound, hence setting the stage for the attack. Yet no action was taken.

The NCA supports the Palestinian people's call for holding the entire PA apparatus, particularly Mahmoud Abbbas, responsible and echoes the demand for full accountability.

Over many decades, the Palestinian people have been at the receiving end of a vicious Israeli colonial onslaught with support by successive Western policies, particularly that of the US. This latest attack is but a continuation of these murderous policies designed to deprive the Palestinians of their leaders. In August 2001, Israel murdered the Palestinian leader Abu Ali Mustafa, then-Secretary General of the PFLP, in his Ramallah office. Over the years, it has assassinated great many Palestinian leaders, writers, journalists, clergy, unionists, and popular activists from all political orientations, such as Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

This assault to break the Palestinian people, coupled with the brutal occupation of Iraq and the evolving plans to destabilize Syria and Lebanon, are fundamental anchors of the US-Israeli policy towards full control of the region. We view this new development as a clear first step by the Israeli- American- British axis with complicity from PA circles to create new conditions on the ground to reverse the outcome of the latest Palestinian election and promote an internal Palestinian conflict.

The NCA once again reaffirms the link between the struggle against the war in Iraq and the struggle for Palestinian liberation and return. As the Palestinian and Iraqi people march forward against oppression and occupation, the anti-war movement in the US must, at the very least, stand in their support.

We call on our community and all to turn out in the largest possible numbers in the upcoming anti-war protests this weekend, March 18, to declare to the world that despite all odds the Arab people are destined to be free.

March 18-20 Global Days of Action

On Saturday, March 18 and Sunday, March 19, 2006, locally-coordinated demonstrations will take place in cities and towns across the U.S. and around the world, including in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, Seattle, and many, many more. 

- To find a March 18-20 event in your area, click here.
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