The Guardian July 11, 2001


Preparing for war while talking about ceasefire

The Sharon-Peres Government is continuing its preparations for an all-
out military assault upon the Arab Palestinian people, an action which may 
escalate into a dangerous region-wide flare-up. This would be a disaster 
for all peoples of the Middle East, says a statement issued by the Israeli 
Communist Forum.

The Israeli press is flooded with articles by well-informed commentators 
describing in full detail the plans for that attack. Many of these articles 
remark that the decision has been taken long ago and the Sharon Government 
is just waiting for the most auspicious political circumstances to launch 
it. Sharon is also trying to get US approval for the use of force on a 
scale which was not seen in our region for many years.

While the proclaimed "restraint" of the Sharon Government continues, so 
does the closure and siege of Palestinian towns and villages, the 
assassination of Palestinian activists by Israeli undercover units, the 
daily humiliation of Palestinians at Israeli military roadblocks, and the 
rampage of settler vigilantes  all of it leading to further Palestinian 
casualties and to a further deterioration of their already severely 
curtailed standard of living.

Many Palestinian families can no longer afford even the most elementary 
products as going to work is denied to them, they are often locked up in 
their towns and villages and prevented from leaving them even for the most 
urgent medical and humanitarian reasons.

It is this situation that leads some Palestinians to acts of despair, 
including suicide bombings directed at the civilian population in Israel.

We condemn the harming of innocent civilians and note that in the final 
reckoning such acts cause damage to the just Palestinian cause. Still, once 
again we need to sound the warning: the one and only lesson from the events 
of the past months is that there is no solution by force. The use of more 
force by the Israeli Army will not solve anything and will cause more 
bloodshed, both Palestinian and Israeli.

War plans

Therefore, we reiterate our demand not to implement the Israeli 
Government's war plans. We call upon the Government to agree to a cease-
fire on the basis of the diplomatic initiatives recently brought up in our 
region, and which include the return of Israeli forces to positions they 
held before October 2000, and the complete freezing of construction in all 
settlements.

Immediately upon the cease-fire going into effect, Israel must implement 
all its obligations under previous agreements and start negotiations on a 
definite solution. It can only be achieved on the basis of withdrawal to 
the June 1967 lines, the creation of an independent Palestinian state in 
the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including East Jerusalem. The solution must 
recognise the right of the Palestinian refugees to have their problem 
solved in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions.

The Israeli Communist Forum condemns the hysterical campaign of incitement 
against Knesset Member Azmi Bishara, which is part of the incitement 
campaign against the Arab Knesset Members (KMs), the whole Arab population 
in Israel and the parties which represent that population.

The calls to put Arab KMs on trial and to outlawing Arab political parties 
are the peak of a racist, fascist assault against the Arab population, 
against freedom of speech and against democratic rights in Israel.

The fact is that this inflammatory campaign has also been joined by 
political forces which, in the past, avoided this kind of demagoguery and 
were among those seeking peace, equality and democracy in Israel.

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