As President Bush praises Sharon, hailing him as a man of peace, the UNO speaks of a “massacre” in Jenin and Sharon characteristically ignores a UN initiative.
George Bush declared that “I believe Ariel Sharon to be a man of peace. I am convinced that he wants Israel to live in peace with its neighbours and I accept the idea of two states living side by side”. As for Chairman Arafat of the Palestine Authority, he declared that “Arafat has condemned terrorism, not we want him to act”.
The Palestine Authority reacted with a venomous attack on these words, complaining that President Bush is condoning state terrorism and is turning a blind eye to the horrific acts of violence perpetrated against civilians by the Israeli Armed Forces (IDF) in the recent incursion into the occupied territories.
“It is a present, an award from Bush for the policy of state terrorism and Sharon’s war crimes”, declared Saeb Erakat, the head of the Palestine Authority negotiating team. He added, “Sharon continues to carry out terrorist activities against two or three million Palestinians”.
As the IDF begins a slow withdrawal from some of the occupied territories, NGOs move in to see what they left behind. Peter Hansen, the Director of UNRWA (United Nations Palestinian Refugees Agency), what happened in Jenin was no less than a massacre of civilians by the IDF. “In a few words, this is hell and it is not an exaggeration to speak of a massacre. Until now I have avoided to use the term ‘massacre’ but after what I have seen, there is no other word to describe it”.
He explained. “I have seen people in deep shock, whose homes were demolished. I have seen families trying to take people out from under piles of stones, piece by piece. An expert in earthquakes who was with me told me he had never seen such massive destruction”.
Kofi Annan has called on the international community to provide a peacekeeping force to be sent to the area, one which he describes as “a multinational force coming from a coalition of wills”, rather than an official UN force.
He announced a four-point plan: a withdrawal of the Israeli forces to the positions of September 2000, as contained in the Tenet Plan, that the international force should guarantee peace, should help to provide a scenario where economic activity can be restarted and finally that emergency aid should be made available to those who need it.
Upon hearing this plan, Ariel Sharon summarily rejected it.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru