Socialist Worker

Executed by Israel

Issue No. 1791

The Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, has unleashed slaughter on the Palestinian people. Look at the pictures on this page. They show Israeli soldiers executing 23 year old Palestinian Mahmoud Salah on a Jerusalem Street on Friday of last week.

He was one of 40 Palestinians murdered on that one day alone. Then on Tuesday Sharon ordered the bloodiest invasion of Palestinian refugee camps on the West Bank and Gaza Strip so far. Israeli helicopter gunships and tanks killed 19 people in the first few hours of the attack. 'They are killing us,' cried Laila Ayoub, 38, who fled in terror with a baby girl in her arms. 'They used helicopters to fire on us while we were leaving.'

Ten eyewitnesses saw the execution of Mahmoud Salah, a member of the Al Aqsa group, last week. The Israeli police claimed they had received an anonymous call that he was about to carry out a suicide attack. One witness, Yehiya Al Waari, 56, says, 'He was immediately handcuffed, then the policemen raised his arms and threw him against my car. A policeman had put his foot on his neck. Another was holding his legs. All the neighbours and myself saw from our windows how he was executed half an hour after his arrest. Members of the special units who executed Salah were repeating, 'Let's kill him'.'

If Mahmoud Salah was really about to explode a bomb, why did Israeli forces handcuff him and stand next to him for half an hour? The violence in Palestine is not a clash between equal forces. On the one side stands Israel with helicopter gunships, tanks and military support from the US and its allies.

On the other side are the Palestinians, living in Third World conditions, expelled from their homes into refugee camps 50 years ago, their homeland occupied by Israeli forces. Over 1,200 Palestinians have been killed in the last 17 months-some 150 in the last two weeks-four times the number of Israelis.

Even an Israeli court found Sharon shared responsibility for the massacre of over 2,000 Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps when he was defence minister in 1982. Now George Bush and Tony Blair say Palestinians must stop resisting and cave in to the demands of this butcher.

More and more Palestinians are turning to desperate resistance because they do not have justice. And without justice, denied by Sharon and his allies, there will be no peace in the Middle East.

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Sat 16 Mar 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1791
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