May 12 2002: News Updates from Palestine
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May 9
Photos from Jenin

Israel Prepares to Attack Gaza! Journalist, forigeners still held by IDF!

News and Analysis:
1) License to keep killing (Al-Ahram Weekly, Egypt)
2) Gaza Prepares for Israeli Attack (Associated Press)

3) Israeli Troops Exit Palestinian Areas (Assoicated Press)
4) Ten Internationals Arrested by Israeli Army Inside Nativity Church in Bethlehem (Jerusalem IMC)
5) Foreign Activists Head to West Bank (Assoicated Press)
6) An Anti-American Boycott Is Growing in the Arab World (New York Times, New York)
7) Exiled Palestinians Await Next Move (Assoicated Press)
8) Israel detains Reuters cameraman for 11th day (Reuters)

1) License to keep killing
As the US reaffirms its support for Israel, Palestinian civilians, including small children, were the victims this week of continuing
Israeli aggression.
Issue 9 - 15 May 2002

Israeli soldiers posted outside the city of Jenin shot and killed a Palestinian mother and her two small children in what eyewitnesses described as "cold-blooded murder" on 5 May.

Israel's latest victims are Fatima Zakarna, 30, and her two children, 4-year- old Abir and 6-year-old Bassil.

"The victims were picking grape leaves hundreds of metres away from the Israeli tank; they posed no threat to the soldiers, yet they opened fire on the three, killing them on the spot," said Nasser Ikmeil, who witnessed the killing.

Mohamed Zakarna, Fatima's husband, said he saw the tank's machine-gun swivel in the direction of his family. Suddenly his little girl's face was riddled with bullets, his wife lay on the ground bleeding from her head and neck and his son was gasping for breath.

Overwhelmed by the massacre of his whole family, Zakarna wept uncontrollably and tore at the earth. Rather than helping him, or transferring his dying wife and kids to the hospital, Israeli soldiers behaved in a characteristic manner.

The soldiers cuffed his wrists and took him "for questioning," holding him for several hours.

Initially, the Israeli army spokesman claimed that a large bomb had gone off near the tank, and that three Palestinians were killed and one soldier was injured in the explosion. Then, a few hours later, there was a story about a fictitious land- mine exploding near the tank. Then finally, the army said that the snapping of a tank tread -- not a bomb or land-mine explosion -- produced the loud noise which "prompted" the soldiers to open fire and kill the mother and her two children.

The killing, the army said, was done "accidentally and by mistake." Nonetheless, the spokesman stressed that the soldiers acted in accordance with standing orders and violated no rules. This implies that soldiers are under orders to open fire on anything that moves in their vicinity the moment they hear an explosion and without any consideration for the consequences. But those consequences are dire for the Palestinians who lose children and other civilians "accidentally" or "by mistake" almost every day.

A few hours after the murder of the Zakarna family, the Israeli army killed a third child in Tulkarm: an 8-year-old boy identified as Tamer Khaled Abu Sirriya. The act brought the number of Palestinians killed by Israel this week to 23.

Abu Sirriya was reportedly playing with his brothers in the courtyard of their home when an Israeli bullet pierced his chest, killing him on the spot. When a Palestinian youth who was in the vicinity tried to rescue the dying child, an Israeli sniper opened fire again, injuring the rescuer, Shadi Anbar, who lost his right eye.

The US, Israel's guardian-ally, seldom publicly censures Israel for killing Palestinian civilians. The effective American collusion also enables the Israeli army to continue its daily rampages through Palestinian towns and population centres despite utterly mendacious claims about "leaving Palestinian towns."

On Tuesday, Israeli tanks rolled back into the town of Tulkarm, shooting in all directions and imposing a curfew on more than 100,000 Palestinians.

Tulkarm Governor Ezzeddin Al-Sharif said Israeli occupation troops detained more than 30 young men on suspicion of involvement in the resistance. He also pointed out that the Israeli army moved the borderline between the West Bank and Israel proper at least one kilometre eastward.

This means that thousands of acres of Palestinian farmland will be confiscated, presumably for Jewish settlement expansion. Meanwhile, the Israeli army continued to consolidate its presence in and around Palestinian population centres throughout the West Bank.

Israeli army forays and raids into major Palestinian towns are now carried out on a daily basis, in spite of the symbolic presence of some unarmed Palestinian policemen. Last week, Israeli Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz declared that Israel was no longer bound by the demarcation of the West Bank into areas "A, B, and C" pursuant the Oslo agreements. The implication of the statement is very clear: no area in the West Bank is off-limits to the Israeli army.

The actual purpose of the virtually daily penetration into Palestinian population centres has little to do with security needs, or, as the Israelis say "fighting terror," but to convey a message to the Palestinian population that the Oslo process is over and that they should come to terms with Israel's renewed direct occupation. In other words, a return to the status quo, this time with Yasser Arafat in Ramallah instead of Tunis or Beirut.

2) Gaza Prepares for Israeli Attack
Israeli TV Report Says Operation Postponed
.c The Associated Press

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (May 11) - Preparing for a feared Israeli offensive, residents of the Gaza Strip have begun hoarding food, while armed Palestinians patrolled the streets and reinforced ramparts meant to keep Israeli tanks out.

An Israeli incursion into densely packed Gaza was expected in retaliation for a Hamas suicide bombing Tuesday that killed 15 Israelis. The leadership of the Islamic militant group is based in the strip, which was spared during Israel's offensive in the West Bank.

''Our people are steadfast and will continue with all their power to defend our holy cities, Christian and Muslim places,'' Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said Friday at his West Bank headquarters, responding to a question about a possible incursion into Gaza.

Tanks and troops were massed around Gaza's borders, but Israel TV's Channel 2 reported Friday that Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer decided to postpone the operation because of leaks about army plans. Ben-Eliezer's adviser, Yarden Vatikai, would not confirm or deny the report.

Israel's six-week military offensive in the West Bank effectively ended Friday with the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Bethlehem - the last major city they still occupied - after the resolution of a standoff at the Church of the Nativity.

Under the agreement, 13 suspected militants were sent into exile and 26 were released into Gaza, where they fired assault rifles in the air to acknowledge cheers from crowds lining the streets. Seventy-three Palestinian policemen and civilians were set free.

Speaking in Rome, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said the aim of a military operation in Gaza would be ''to reach points where we have had centers of terror in a very careful and measured way.''

Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin seemed unconcerned as he was showered with kisses from well-wishers at his neighborhood mosque in Gaza City on Friday. ''I am not afraid, because I only fear God,'' the 70-year-old told The Associated Press.

Gaza, a narrow strip of land on the Mediterranean, was captured by Israel from Egypt in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel handed most of Gaza and parts of the West Bank to Arafat's Palestinian Authority in 1994. But it still controls key roads and several enclaves where an estimated 7,000 Jewish settlers live among some 1.2 million Palestinians.

In the Shati refugee camp near Gaza City, resident Hassan Al-Najar squatted on a prayer mat as he read from the Quran, Islam's holy book, and listened to the news on the radio.

The 70-year-old father of 10 spoke proudly of the camp's ''resistance'' to Israel. But he sounded resigned when asked about an Israeli attack on Gaza.

''What can we do? It would be different if we had anti-armor weapons, but we don't,'' Al-Najar said.

Gaza is one of the world's most densely populated areas, and an invasion on a scale similar to Israel's sweep through the West Bank would risk high casualties among civilians and Israeli troops.

The birthplace of the Palestinians' 1987-93 uprising against Israeli rule, Gaza has taken the brunt of Israeli attacks in the early stages of the current 19-month-old Palestinian-Israeli violence.

In the Jebaliya refugee camp near Gaza City, a shantytown of 70,000, residents said Friday they would fight if Israel invaded the camp. In recent weeks, gunmen in the camp have been taking up positions every evening behind sandbags and mounds of debris and rubble.

Last month, Israeli forces left most Palestinian-controlled areas they had entered but remained in Bethlehem waiting for a resolution to the standoff at the church, the traditional site of Jesus' birth.

In recent days, Israeli troops have briefly re-entered West Bank towns, arresting suspected militants and destroying alleged bomb factories before leaving. On Friday, troops entered the town of Tulkarem and demolished the four-story home of a suicide bomber from Hamas.

AP-NY-05-11-02 0323ED

3) Israeli Troops Exit Palestinian Areas
.c The Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel put off its offensive against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and pulled out of a West Bank town Saturday, leaving Palestinian-run territories free of Israeli troops for the first time in six weeks.

Palestinian officials expressed little relief, however, as Israeli tanks and most reservists called up in recent days continued to sit on the border with Gaza.

``Postponed doesn't mean canceled,'' said Saeb Erekat, a senior official in the Palestinian Authority.

Erekat, a chief negotiator for the Palestinians for years, was looking forward to the arrival of CIA Director George Tenet, who has been deeply involved in trying to bring the sides to a cease-fire. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell had said Tenet would probably be here this week although U.S. Embassy officials said an exact date had not yet been set.

Residents in Gaza, home to 1 million Palestinians, have been bracing for an Israeli incursion after a suicide bombing in a suburban Tel Aviv pool hall killed 15 Israelis earlier in the week.

But an Israeli official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Saturday that the operation had been postponed. And military sources said some reservists had been sent home.

Israeli newspapers reported that the decision came in response to American pressure. But the Israeli official said Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer was concerned that too many details of the operation had been leaked and that Palestinian militants had been given too much time to prepare.

In downtown Tel Aviv, about 50,000 Israelis rallied Saturday night in favor of an Israeli pullout from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. ``Leave the territories for Israel's sake,'' read banners at the biggest peace rally since Palestinian-Israeli violence erupted 19 months ago.

In the West Bank, Israeli troops pulled out of the Palestinian town of Tulkarem, after a brief raid there.

The military confirmed that there were no soldiers in Palestinian-run areas for the first time since March 29, when Israel launched its operation to root out Palestinian militants responsible for suicide bombings that have killed scores of Israelis.

``We left all of the cities out of our own free will, and we don't have any intention to go back there and reoccupy them,'' Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said Saturday on CNN's ``Novak Hunt & Shields.''

Asked if American pressure was involved in the decision regarding Gaza, Peres said Israel does not consult Washington on military operations but that the administration had ``made a note of cautiousness.''

In Bethlehem, clergy held hands at the Church of the Nativity, saying the Lord's Prayer as they reclaimed the shrine after a 39-day standoff between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen ended there Friday.

The siege was lifted after 13 militiamen were deported to Cyprus and 26 others were taken to Gaza and set free. Israeli troops then withdrew, freeing residents who had been confined to their homes under curfews since April 2.

Inside the church Saturday, black-robed monks and local volunteers scrubbed the floors, wiped down the walls and cleared out trash left behind by the Palestinians who had spent nearly six week inside the church, built over the place where tradition holds that Jesus was born.

A special service was planned for Sunday, to be led by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, a Vatican envoy who had been involved in negotiations to end the standoff.

But as one crisis ended, there were fears of additional violence elsewhere.

After the suicide bombing Tuesday south of Tel Aviv, several Israeli Cabinet ministers had suggested a limited military operation in Gaza was imminent. Tanks and troops began moving to Gaza's borders while Gaza residents began stocking up on provisions. Hamas, whose leadership is based in Gaza, had claimed responsibility for the suicide attack.

In the Jebaliya refugee camp, about 100 militants, armed with with hand grenades, anti-tank rockets and machine guns marched through the streets.

The Israeli decision to hold off in Gaza was welcomed in Egypt, where President Hosni Mubarak met with Saudi and Syrian leaders to discuss ways out of the Mideast conflict. More than 1,600 Palestinians have died in 19 months of fighting that has claimed nearly 500 lives on the Israeli side.

``It is obvious that there is an Israeli reconsideration to the decision ... to attack Gaza,'' Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said. ``We don't say that the danger is over, but we say that there is more realization to the gravity of such an adventure.''

Peres said Saturday that he wants a U.S.-proposed peace conference to be held by June, but it was not clear whether Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat would be welcome to attend.

Also Saturday, a 14-year-old Palestinian boy was killed and two others, ages 11 and 14, were wounded by Israeli soldiers near the Karni crossing between Gaza and Israel, Palestinian hospital officials said.

The Israeli army said its soldiers opened fire on individuals who were crawling toward the border fence.

Gaza, a narrow strip of land on the Mediterranean, was captured by Israel from Egypt in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel handed most of Gaza, and parts of the West Bank, to Arafat's Palestinian Authority in 1994. But it still controls key roads and several enclaves where an estimated 7,000 Jewish settlers live among some 1.2 million Palestinians.

Also Saturday, Israeli Education Minister Limor Livnat, who accompanied Sharon to Washington last week, proposed that the United States appoint an interim Palestinian government in order to sideline Arafat whom Israel has branded a terrorist.

The appointment of a new leadership should be followed - after an extended period - by Palestinian elections, Livnat told Israel Radio. ``The Americans need to be the ones exerting great pressure, as they did in Afghanistan,'' she said.

It was not immediately clear whether Livnat was expressing the views of the government. Sharon also wants Arafat sidelined and moved to a symbolic leadership position devoid of real authority, but has not said how he envisioned to bring about such a switch.

The Palestinians have said Israel has no right to meddle in their affairs and Bush, while sharply criticizing Arafat for failing to rein in militants, also told Sharon he needs to work with the Palestinian leader.

Sharon's Likud party was to hold a convention in Tel Aviv Sunday to discuss formulating an official party position opposing the creation of a Palestinian state.

05/12/02 00:51 EDT

4) Ten Internationals Arrested by Israeli Army Inside Nativity Church in Bethlehem
Nativity Update: For Immediate Release:
by imc-pal • Friday May 10, 2002 at 06:59 AM

Ten Internationals Arrested by Israeli Army Inside Nativity Church in Bethlehem
May 10 (Bethlehem) Today at 2:40 pm, the Israeli army stormed the Church of the Nativity and arrested ten internationals, who had risked their lives last week to bring food and medical supplies to the priests, monks and Palestinian citizens held inside the church. Those inside had been reduced to eating grass and leaves until the internationals brought in rice, lentils, salt and other essential foodstuffs. One of the internationals, Mary Kelly - a trained nurse, was able to treat the injured and sick who had been denied access to medical treatment until then.

This week, during the negotiations for the release of all the parties inside, Yasser Arafat’s office assured the internationals that the Church officials would protect them from any harm or arrest by the Israelis. However, yesterday, priests from the Latin, Greek and Armenian denominations along with the lawyer for the church, Anton Salman began to pressure the international citizens to leave the Church and turn themselves in to the Israelis. The internationals appealed to President Arafat’s office to intervene and President Arafat himself informed the internationals that they should remain in the Church until the Israeli army withdraws from the city of Bethlehem and that no one would turn them in.

Today, the Church officials ignored President Arafat’s order and mounted so much pressure on them that the Fathers surrounded the internationals inside the Church, insulted them, pushed and shoved several of internationals and locked all of them into a room. According to eyewitnesses, the forced removal of the internationals by the Israeli military and police forces was carried out with church officials in attendance.

At the moment, the internationals are detained on bus in handcuffs and are en route to an unknown location. The lawyer for the internationals has not been informed or provided with any access to them. Four other internationals who were arrested by the Israeli army during the attempt to bring in the food, are being held at Ramle prison by the Israelis and have been hunger striking to protest their deportation since last Thursday. Three are refusing water.

The list of the internationals is as follows:
1. Nauman Zaidi, USA
2. Robert O’Neill, USA
3. Larry Hales, USA
4. Kristen Schurr, USA
5. Alister Hillman, UK
6. Allan Lindgaard, Denmark
7. Stefan Coster, Sweden
8. Erik Alger, Sweden
9. Mary Kelly, Ireland
10. Jacqueline Soohen, Canada

For more information please contact:
+972 (0) 55 840 767

5) Foreign Activists Head to West Bank
.c The Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) - When new foreigners arrive in the West Bank to demonstrate against Israel, their veteran colleagues quickly split them into two groups: those who need a lesson in how to cope with tear gas and those who need to learn who the Israelis and Palestinians are in the first place.

The small core of foreigners who have prominently protested Israel's offensive against Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank is a loose-knit group of volunteers, divided between those who have been interested in Palestinian rights for years and veteran globalization protesters who have discovered a new cause.

``It's a very fluid situation as far as who we have at any given time,'' said Tony Aschettino, a spokesman for the International Solidarity Movement, which coordinates many of the foreign protesters. ``We've gotten anyone from anarchists to communists to people who are Islamists.''

On Friday, 10 activists from the group refused to leave the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, delaying an end to a tense 39-day standoff and an Israeli troop withdrawal from a city that had been under curfew for more than five weeks.

After several hours, Israeli police in riot gear went inside and forced them out. All 10 activists, including four Americans, were being questioned by police and will be deported, according to police spokesman Rafi Yaffe.

The activists dashed into the church May 2 to bring food to the 123 Palestinians holed up inside, to describe conditions there and to act as human shields to prevent the Palestinians from being harmed.

``We felt that somebody had to do something, we knew how desperate people were,'' said Georgina Reeves, a spokeswoman for the group, who was not in the church.

The activists claimed clergy inside pushed and shoved them Friday before police removed them. But priests said they didn't know anything about the claims, and one accused the activists of desecrating the holy site by smoking and drinking alcohol.

One of those inside, Kristen Schurr, 33, from New York City, told The Associated Press earlier this week she was a veteran of protests for Palestinian rights who tried several times to get into the church before her successful run.

``I've been following the brutality of the Israeli occupation of Palestine since 1987, the first intefadeh,'' she said.

But many others knew little of the conflict before arriving here in recent weeks, though they were battle-scarred veterans of anti-globalization protests, Aschettino said.

``They're like, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tear gas, we know, we use it for air freshener at home,''' he said.

Other activists gave them short briefings on the tangled history of the conflict, before sending them out to protest, he said.

Many of the protesters arrive in Israel on their own and find their way to the International Solidarity Movement, an amorphous group of activists. The group includes Americans, Canadians, Britons, Indians and activists from several other countries, Aschettino said.

A 24-year-old from New Jersey who is studying Middle East studies in Cairo, Aschettino came to Israel two weeks ago to try to bring attention to the plight of Palestinians during his spring break.

Now he is a spokesman for the group, though he knows nothing about when or how it was formed.

``Nobody knows anyone. It's very loose,'' he said.

While cracking down on the Palestinian militants, Israel has also tried to neutralize the foreigners. When the 10 activists made it into the church, Israeli forces arrested 13 others who had tried to accompany them.

Nineteen other foreigners, most of them French, were deported from Israel earlier this month after they defied the army and entered the besieged compound of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Ramallah.

And Israel has prevented approximately 200 foreigners who said they were humanitarian aid volunteers from entering Israel, the government said.

``As long as any foreigners are allowed into Israel or Palestine, we will still be here,'' Aschettino said.

05/11/02 03:03 EDT

6) An Anti-American Boycott Is Growing in the Arab World
May 10, 2002
New York Times

CAIRO, May 9 - Doughnuts may not be quite as American as, say, apple pie, but they come close enough to make Samir Nasier, a Saudi fast-food king, nervous.

So nervous, in fact, that Mr. Nasier and his brothers are offering roughly $300,000 to anyone who can prove that their House of Donuts chain has any connection to the United States.

For good measure, their slogan "the American pastry" is being jettisoned, with Mr. Nasier musing aloud that doughnuts might qualify as traditional Saudi fare, given that he started making them 21 years ago.

"We share the same outraged feelings of the Saudi public toward the attitude of the American administration," Mr. Nasier said, speaking by telephone from the Jidda headquarters of his 180-outlet chain. "We are deleting anything that relates to America."

American support for Israel, especially during its recent military offensive in the occupied territories, is driving a grass-roots effort to boycott American products throughout the Arab world. With word spread via the Internet, mosque sermons, fliers and even mobile phone messages, the boycott seems to be slowly gathering force, especially against consumer products.

Purchases of American goods generated by 300 million Arabs form such a small part of American exports that even a widespread boycott would not cause much of a blip. Most trade consists of big ticket items like airplanes, with total American exports to the Middle East amounting to $20 billion in 2000, just 2.5 percent of America's total exports.

But a long boycott could retard the spread of franchises and other products, experts say. Sales at most American fast-food outlets in the Arab world are already off somewhere between 20 and 30 percent on average, American diplomats and industry analysts say, and consumer products face a similar decline.

The boycotts have largely been the effort of individuals and small groups without government involvement, like student organizations and such civic organizations as are allowed to exist. They reflect a growing sentiment that Arabs should distance themselves from the United States, and they want their governments to do likewise.

"They are beginning to feel that shouting slogans in reaction to what the U.S. is doing is not enough," said Kamal Hamdan, a Lebanese economist. A Marlboro smoker, he said that whenever he pulls out a packet, somebody invariably now reproaches him with, "What, still smoking American cigarettes?"

He went on: "They want to design detailed programs against specific goods and services that might involve the banking system, insurance, financial markets. They want to find some pressure points that can have an economic impact."

The attitude is everywhere. Scores of lists circulate suggesting non-American substitutes for things like Lays potato chips and Head & Shoulders shampoo.
The research does not always seem that rigorous; Domino's Pizza was listed as non-American on one list apparently on the strength of sounding Italian.

Al Montazah, a supermarket chain in Bahrain, enforced the boycott on all its roughly 10,000 daily customers by replacing some 1,000 American products with alternatives. A few parents lacking Pampers diapers grumbled, but Abdulmonem al-Meer, the general manager, said the move had boosted sales at some stores.

"I know it will not do much in terms of putting pressure on the American government, but whatever I can do I should do," Mr. Meer said.

The boycott calls have thus far prompted little violence toward American companies, although an empty Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli was bombed overnight Thursday.

Even places like Syria, where American products have long been barred, are trying to get into the act. Billboards around Damascus show horrific scenes of Israeli troops razing Jenin refugee camp, with the slogan, "Boycott American products - Don't be an accomplice," in Arabic and English.

"No Americans Allowed," reads a yardlong wooden sign in the window of Mondo restaurant, incongruously an American-style diner decorated with icons like the Statue of Liberty. "The American people should feel that they have a problem," said Ahmed Diab, the 38-year-old owner.

The Arabs established a boycott office in Damascus in 1951 against companies that did business with Israel, and that kept products like Coca-Cola and Ford vehicles out of the Middle East for decades. But it gradually faded as major markets like Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel.

Boycott support in the region's government-run newspapers has been almost universal, although outright endorsements by senior officials have been rare, given that it could hurt foreign investment. The Syrian government is among the few encouraging the boycott.

More typical is a speech by Sheika Fatima al-Nahyan, the wife of the ruler of Ajman in the United Arab Emirates, telling a women's group, "Start by boycotting all makeup and clothes made by the enemies and prevent children from buying their products, too."

The idea has gained the whole-hearted support of many religious figures, with myriad Friday prayer sermons devoted to the issue. Worshipers at one Jidda mosque were so fired up when they emerged that they converged on a hapless grocer next door to demand that he tear down a Coke sign. He demurred.

Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the influential Muslim cleric on Al Jazeera satellite network, displays a blinking banner on his Web site that reads, "Boycott America from Pepsi cans to Boeing."

Indeed, the flood of e-mail and Web sites sets this effort apart from all previous ones. Calls for boycotting three American corporations - McDonald's, Starbucks and Microsoft - gained rapid momentum through the Internet.

In the case of McDonald's, the rumor erupted that it donated a part of every meal's cost to Israel. Local franchises from Morocco to the Persian Gulf issued statements denying it, stressing that they were locally owned and operated. The Lebanese McDonald's even paid for an instant message to be flashed on 60,000 cellphones, but in some cases the damage had been done.

After a McDonald's opened a year ago at the end of her street in Taif, Saudi Arabia, Lama Muhammad's 5-year-old daughter insisted on one Happy Meal a day. But recently she started watching the news with her mother. "I told her we are not supposed to buy from there because they support Israel," her mother said. The child has not asked for a Happy Meal since. Saudi parents report that their children vie in the schoolyard to list all the American things they avoid.
In the case of Microsoft and Starbucks, word bombarded across the Internet after the Israeli Microsoft branch sponsored a billboard supporting the Israeli Army, as did remarks reportedly made by Howard Schultz, chairman of Starbucks, at his Seattle synagogue.

A local news article forwarded endlessly quoted him as saying that Jews needed to confront rising anti-Semitism worldwide and that the Palestinians needed to do more to fight terrorism. The remarks about the Palestinians prompted the boycott call, even though the company issued two statements saying Mr. Schultz did not believe terrorism was representative of the Palestinian people and that he thought Israeli and Palestinian states should live together peacefully.

"Everybody is addicted to Starbucks - it's the hip place," said Kholood Khatami, a 25-year-old Saudi journalist. "It's not empty, but it is not as crowded as it used to be. I'm boycotting. Of course, there are some things you cannot avoid - technology and software is all American."

Many companies, especially fast-food restaurants, are fighting back with huge advertising campaigns saying the boycott will only hurt locals. Burger King, in a typical advertisement this week in Saudi Arabia, pointed out that it bought everything from bread to lettuce to mayonnaise from Saudi producers.

Others with American products like Kellogg's breakfast cereal or Hershey's chocolate are hoping that the United States will change its Middle East policy fast enough for old consumer habits to return.

"Our sales are suffering, but I am not concerned about the loss of sales," said Sheik Wahib S. Binzagr, the patriarch of a Jidda merchant family that has imported a wide variety of American goods for decades. He was nonplused to find the clan's own name on the boycott list.

"I laugh from desperation because I cannot do anything about it," he said. "There is damage, and I think efforts should be mobilized to rectify the bad relationship, and then the other things will correct themselves."

7) Exiled Palestinians Await Next Move
.c The Associated Press

LARNACA, Cyprus (AP) - A European envoy on Saturday said the Palestinian militants exiled in a deal to end the standoff at the Church of the Nativity were free men, but so far the group has been confined under police guard to the top floor of a three-star beach-front hotel.

On Monday, European Union foreign ministers were expected to decide where in Europe the 13 Palestinians - one of whom was hospitalized in Larnaca with a broken leg caused by an Israeli bullet - will be sent after their stay in Cyprus.

The group was ensconced in the Hotel Flamingo in Larnaca on Friday after being flown to the Mediterranean island on a British military plane as part of a deal that ended the 39-day standoff. So far they have only been let of the top floor of the hotel to take meals in the sixth floor dining room. No visitors have been allowed.

Twenty-six other militants who had stormed into the Christian shrine April 2 were taken to the Gaza Strip and freed. Israel then pulled its occupation forces out of Bethlehem and ended its incursion into the West Bank.

EU envoy Miguel Moratinos, who met the Palestinians for 45 minutes, said they were ``free men.''

``I want to underline this point,'' Moratinos said. ``They are not prisoners. They are not detained people. They have signed on a personal basis an agreement to go to a third country. They came here on a voluntary basis. It was not a deportation.''

At the hotel, the manager said the Palestinians spent their first day away from the Bethlehem combat zone watching foreign TV channels, eating, calling home and eagerly awaiting the names of the countries that will take them in.

As a small group of pro-Palestinian protesters shouted anti-Israeli slogans outside the hotel, one of the Palestinians opened his room window and waved a Palestinian flag briefly.

``I'm glad for all this attention the hotel is getting,'' manager Anthonis Josephides said, adding that the tourists did not seem to mind sharing the hotel with the gunmen, whose $30-a-night room bills are being paid by the Cypriot government.

In Rome on Friday, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said Israel reserved the right to seek the Palestinians' extradition, saying this would ``depend upon the circumstances.'' He said if they were set free, Israel might try to bring them back for trial.

Peres said it was up to host countries to decide what to do with them, but that Israel hoped the governments ``will do the necessary things so (the Palestinians) will not create some troubles or cause some harm.''

Samir Abu Ghazaleh, the Palestinian representative to Cyprus, told reporters it was unlikely the men would be extradited to Israel.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Cassoulides has ruled out the possibility of the gunmen staying in Cyprus.

``We are too close to the region and this would not be wise,'' he said.

Cyprus has been the scene of several deadly incidents in the past involving Palestinians and Israelis.

05/11/02 16:05 EDT

8) Israel detains Reuters cameraman for 11th day

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli authorities held Reuters cameraman Jussry al-Jamal in detention for an 11th day Friday despite renewed appeals for his release.

The army gave no new information about Jamal, 23, who it has said is being questioned on suspicion of assisting Palestinian militants.

Jamal was arrested along with Mazen Dana, another Palestinian cameraman working for Reuters, in the West Bank city of Hebron on April 30. Dana was freed the next day.

The army has given no new details of the allegations against Jamal and has not said where he is being held.

"The treatment so far meted out to Mr Jamal is unacceptable for a journalist who was arrested while carrying out his professional duty. It contravenes all normal legal safeguards cherished in democratic societies," Reuters Editor-in-Chief Geert Linnebank said in a letter to the Israeli authorities.

"His treatment is in blatant contravention of international standards for conduct toward journalists legitimately doing their jobs." Linnebank said Reuters was extremely concerned about Jamal's continued detention and demanded his immediate release.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, a reporters' rights organization based in New York, has also demanded the release of Jamal and several other journalists in Israel.

Hussam Abu Alan, a Palestinian photographer working for the French news agency Agence France Presse, is among those being detained. He has been held since April 24.

The journalists were detained during a military offensive which Israel launched in the West Bank after Palestinian suicide attacks killed scores of Israelis as part of a more than 19-month-old uprising against Israeli occupation.

05/10/02 11:48 ET


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