Uri Avnery is one of the most activist in the peace now movement (Shalom Achsav).. He is one of those who can save the moral face and image of Israel... Why? Because he says the truth..!  We appreciated him very much because he stood always with the truth..

Find hereby his last article which gives a prophetic vision of the actual conflict...!
If they don't hear him.. the are fighting a lost batlle..  Thank you Mr. Uri Avnery

Best wishes from Jerusalem..

Fr. Raed

A Lost War
Uri Avnery   October 6, 2000

Military action speaks for itself. The results can be  seen  with the naked eye..

In this war, some 70 Palestinians (including 11 who were  Israeli citizens) were killed, several thousands were  wounded,  many  of them severely. On the Israeli side, two soldiers were killed  and
several dozens wounded, almost all of them lightly.

What does that show? The Israeli armed forces  trained  for  this war for months. The Chief-of-Staff and his officers announced  in advance that they were going to use attack helicopters,  missiles and  tanks.  But  they  did  not  disclose  their  main   weapon: sharpshooters.

The sharpshooter is a soldier/policeman whose job is to kill.  It is obvious that in the training exercises that preceded this war, this method was practiced thoroughly. The sharpshooter is trained
to look at a crowd of demonstrators, chose a target, take aim and hit the head or upper body.  Special  bullets  were  employed  in order to ensure that the victim would die immediately or  in  the

This method is based on  a  simple  premise;  "to  exact  a  high price", as the generals explained in their peculiar language. The planners thought that if they cause the Palestinians heavy enough
casualties, they would stop the confrontation, and surrender.

During the battle, the generals boasted that "if  we  had  wanted to, we could have killed many  more."  That's  true,  of  course. Indiscriminate fire on crowds of demonstrators could have  killed
hundreds, even thousands.  Moreover,  it  was  possible  to  bomb Palestinians towns and villages from the air or bombard them with artillery. But Ehud Barak understood that the political price  of
such actions would be intolerable. On the  other  hand,  to  have tanks enter  Palestinian  towns  would  have  cost  too  much  in military terms. In the narrow streets, tanks  are  vulnerable  to
Molotov cocktails. Therefore, the sharpshooters were preferred.

This is both an immoral and an unwise strategy; immoral,  because it turns soldiers and policemen into executioners. Of course, the practice itself is not new. It was used  first  by  Ariel  Sharon
(the same Ariel Sharon) in the first  years  of  the  occupation, when he instituted a reign of terror in the  Gaza  Strip.  As  he told me himself afterwards,  he  gave  the  order  "not  to  take
prisoners". Palestinians caught bearing arms were killed  on  the spot. Later, the  practice  was  employed  by  the  "Mista'arvim" ("Pretending to be Arabs") undercover  units,  whose  slogan  was
"ensure death". This was discovered when the  Mista'arvim  killed one of their own men, mistaking  him  for  a  "terrorist".  After wounding him, they dispatched him at very close range with a shot
in the head.

Lately, it was discovered that the practice has been extended  by the Mista'arvim to preclude medical assistance  to  the  wounded. Palestinian ambulances were not  allowed  to  get  close  to  the
victims, who remained on the spot and  died.  (Sad  to  say,  the Palestinians have learned  this  lesson  and  employed  the  same barbaric method at the Joseph's Tomb compound.)  Israeli  snipers
killed the ambulance driver who tried to save the boy at Netzarim checkpoint.

It seems that the use of  sharpshooters  in  order  to  kill  has become a part of the doctrine of both the army  and  the  police. The Palestinians, on the other side, have not yet been trained to use their weapons in this way. On TV , the  Palestinian  soldiers were seen shooting with no purpose. That explains  the  ratio  of casualties on both sides.

The practice  of  premeditated  killing  is  manifestly  immoral. Perhaps it is even illegal under Israeli law, being one of  those orders over which - in the words of an Israeli military  judge  - "there flies the  black  flag  of  illegality".  Undoubtedly,  it contravenes the international laws of war. The  Palestinians  are already talking about  going  to  the  international  war  crimes tribunal, which is about to be set up. I don't envy the  position in which General Shaul Mofaz will find  himself,  if  this  comes about.

But even from a strictly military point of view, this practice is counter-productive.  The  executions  do  not  "pacify"  (a  term beloved by generals  the  world  over).  They  achieve  the  very
opposite: every funeral breeds avengers, every grave deepens  the hatred, causing more casualties. The ordinary,  non-lethal  means of riot control, that do not cause escalation,  would  have  been
more useful.

The way of thinking  of  the  generals,  those  who  planned  the operation and those who command it, arouses sad reflections. Once we had commanders of moral convictions, like  Yitzhaq  Sadeh  and
Shimon Avidan, and sophisticated generals, like Yigal  Allon  and Moshe Dayan. Within one generation we have acquired generals  who resemble their worst American and Russian counterparts,  generals who believe in brute force. Those have  been  beaten  everywhere, from Viet-Nam to Afghanistan. Ours were beaten  in  Lebanon,  and they go on.

The use of attack helicopters and missiles is courting  disaster. Sooner  or  later,  inevitably,  something  like  the   Kafr-Kana disaster in the Wrath of Grapes war in Lebanon  will  happen:  an
accidental massacre of civilians, whose photos will arouse world- wide outrage. This week we saw what outrage can do: the death  of the boy Muhammad al-Dira changed Israel's standing overnight. All the lies and half-truths publicized by the  army  spokesmen  have not put an end to this reaction, but achieved the opposite.

On  each  day  of  this  war,  the  world  has  seen  Palestinian youngsters, almost all of them armed  only  with  stones,  expose themselves  to  the  Israeli  snipers.  Their   courage   aroused admiration. In the eyes of the world, they  are  the  heroes.  No glory here for Israeli generals.

This war was lost before it started - as will be the much  bigger next one, that is already looming on the horizon.

Fr. Raed Awad Abusahlia
of the latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Personal Secretary of H.B. Patriarch Michel Sabbah

P.O.Box 14152  Jerusalem  97500
Tel.  00 972 2 6282323/6272280
Fax  00 972 2 6271652
E-mail: nonviolence@writeme.com
E-mail: Latinpat@actcom.co.il
Website: http://www.Lpj.org
Website: http://members.xoom.com/nonviolence