Al-Ahram Weekly – 25 September 2003 I am loath to put pen to paper again to continue a debate with Ran HaCohen that doubtless appears more than a little self- indulgent to many outsiders. Maybe we do sound like two birds singing from the same tree limb, as one of Al-Ahram Weekly’s more compulsive Zionist […]
Wissam Yazbak, at rest in a Nazareth cemetery, cannot tell the story of what happened to him nearly three years ago, on the night of 8 October 2000. That evening a mob of several hundred Israeli Jews from the neighbouring town of Nazareth Ilit marched on the eastern quarter of Nazareth, many armed with guns and chanting “Death to the Arabs”. As the mob attacked the first Arab homes, Nazareth’s mosques called on local residents to defend their town. In the pressure cooker atmosphere of the first days of the Intifada, when communal war between Israel’s Jews and Arabs was in the air, the residents made their way uphill from the centre of town to the road that separates the Jewish and Arab Nazareths.
After a wait of three years, including 12 long months of silence as the final report was being drafted, the Or commission of inquiry into the shooting dead of 13 Arab citizens in the Galilee by the Israeli police at the start of the intifada issued its verdict this week. Theodor Or’s 781-page report, published on Monday, severely criticized several senior police officers, including the former national police chief, Yehuda Wilk, and his commander in the Galilee, Alik Ron, as well as reprimanding the former prime minister Ehud Barak and his public security minister, Shlomo Ben Ami. All were implicated to varying degrees in the decision to allow police officers to use rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition as a first line of defence in controlling demonstrations in the country’s north.