Israel Targets Palestinian Infrastructure, Using U.S. Weapons

By imposing economic sanctions, sealing borders and
blockading Palestinian cities, Israel has “devastated the
economy of the West Bank and Gaza” according to a Dec. 4
United Nations report. Israel has prevented Palestinian
workers in the West Bank and Gaza from going to their jobs
in Israel, stopped the flow of supplies to Palestinian
factories and held back taxes due the Palestinian Authority.

At the same time, in what Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak
called “a broad operation against the Palestinian
infrastructure,” the Israeli military is systematically
bombing the economic base of the West Bank and Gaza. This is
much the same as past Pentagon bombings targeting the
civilian infrastructure in Iraq and Yugoslavia.


By imposing economic sanctions, sealing borders and
blockading Palestinian cities, Israel has “devastated the
economy of the West Bank and Gaza” according to a Dec. 4
United Nations report. Israel has prevented Palestinian
workers in the West Bank and Gaza from going to their jobs
in Israel, stopped the flow of supplies to Palestinian
factories and held back taxes due the Palestinian Authority.

At the same time, in what Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak
called “a broad operation against the Palestinian
infrastructure,” the Israeli military is systematically
bombing the economic base of the West Bank and Gaza. This is
much the same as past Pentagon bombings targeting the
civilian infrastructure in Iraq and Yugoslavia.

Under the guise of “retaliation,” “destroying sniper hiding
places” or “protecting Israeli settlers,” Israel has
demolished factories and administrative and police centers
of the Palestinian Authority, leveled fields and greenhouses
in an attempt to destroy the economic base for an
independent Palestinian state.

The oppressed Palestinian people’s response to this war
against them has been to intensify their fight for
independence and self-determination. Thousands participated in demonstrations in a
Dec. 8 “Day of Rage” marking the beginning of the first
Intifada 13 years ago.

Even the New York Times, no friend of the Palestinians,
noted this determined response. “As this long period of
violence produces a mounting toll of death, injury and
property damage,” the Times wrote Dec. 10, “the Palestinian
population grows steadily angrier and the voices of
moderation get even quieter…A fresh wave of rage is
breaking on the shores of accumulated humiliation and
resentment.”

U.S. SUPPLIES ISRAELI WEAPONS

The Israeli Army uses the U.S.-made M-16 rifle, which has a
range of more than a mile. According to Palestinian doctors,
a major source of the maiming injuries is using these high-
velocity bullets at close range.

Washington not only supplies the weapons used to kill and
maim, U.S. aid of $10 million a day actually keeps the
Israeli state afloat. The U.S. views Israel as a battering
ram against the Arab revolution, securing Wall Street’s grip
on Middle Eastern oil.

Even now, while sponsoring a new commission to “establish
peace” in the Middle East, Washington is far from an “honest
broker” in the region. While providing the weapons used to
pummel the Palestinians, the U.S. government is seeking to
ease the burden that the two-month Palestinian uprising has
placed in the Israeli government.

While no additional U.S. aid is planned for the
Palestinians, the Clinton administration is seeking to
cushion the effect of the Intifada on the Israeli economy
with an additional $450 million this year.

In every way, this is a U.S.-Israeli war against the
Palestinian people. The working class and other concerned
people in the U.S. are in a unique position to give
solidarity to the Palestinian struggle by demanding that the
U.S. stop all aid to Israel.

PALESTINIAN ECONOMY CUT IN HALF

“Three years of progress [in the Palestinian economy] have
been wiped out in two months of conflict,” said Terje Rod
Larsen, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East, who
presented the UN report in Gaza on Dec. 4.

In the first six weeks of the Palestinian uprising Israeli
attacks resulted in the partial or total destruction of 431
private homes, 13 public buildings, 10 factories and 14
religious buildings, the UN said.

Palestinian economic activity has been cut in half, with an
estimated $388 million drop in local economic output.

About 190,000 Palestinians have lost their jobs, and 760,500
dependents no longer have regular household incomes. Close
to half of the population live on $2 a day or less,
according to the UN.

Author: Joyce Chediac

News Service: Workers World News Service

URL: http://www.workers.org