Monday, August 23, 2004

Newsweek article on Palestinians

Newsweekarticle on Paletinians

Israel's near-defeat of the Palestinian resistance has also stirred demands for reform. After 3,000 deaths (many of them civilians) and massive destruction, many Palestinians feel exhausted, beaten and skeptical about the logic of continuing the armed struggle. The few active guerrillas in the West Bank admit that attacking Israeli targets has become a near-insurmountable challenge. "The [724km security] wall has made it almost impossible for us to conduct operations," says Zacaria Zubeideh, the leader of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the Jenin refugee camp. Battered by Israel's harsh reprisals, ordinary Palestinians have turned their anger toward both the militants and the Palestinian Authority. After Hamas guerrillas fired Qassam rockets from the Gaza village of Beit Hanoun last June, Israeli troops occupied the village for 39 days, destroying houses, razing fields and shooting dead 21 people, both militants and civilians. "We're eating s—t from both sides," complains Mustafa al Refeiri, a farmer whose house and banana plantation were bulldozed by the Israelis during the siege. "If we tell Hamas not to fire, they'll shoot us. And if they fire their rockets, the Israelis will shoot us. We're caught between two fires, and the Palestinian Authority does nothing to help us."