7 the whole street with machine gun fire. They killed the Al Aqsa guy, and also killed some civilians and injured 20 or 25 people. One 11-year-old boy had to have his leg amputated.
Connect Savannah: George W. Bush is the only American president to publicly call for Palestinian nationhood. From your point of view, isn’t that a huge step forward for Middle East peace?
Connect Savannah: Is that one of the Israeli “surgical precision strikes” the U.S. media is always telling us about?
Dave Reed: When I hear Bush or any of the current leadership in Israel or the U.S. talk about a Palestinian state, I keep thinking about a statement from a senior member of the Israeli leadership when he was asked about a two state solution. He basically said -- and I’m paraphrasing -“Look, Palestinians can call it whatever they want to call it. If they want to call it a state, they can call it a state. If they want to call it fried chicken, they can call it fried chicken.” In other words, they’re just going to have to live with what we give them.
Dave Reed: Well, in the press the next day they did indeed call it a “precision strike.” But I met with the families of some of the injured people, and it wasn't very precision. The Israeli soldiers didn't just shoot the people they were after -- they got out of the car, sprayed the whole street, got back in car and took off.
Connect Savannah: You seem particularly struck by your time in Hebron.
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Dave Reed: Hebron is an amazing, beautiful place. It’s also where you Dave Reed: One of can see the the architects of natural proSharon’s disengression of milgagement plan itary gave an interview in occupation. A the Israeli press. He very small was very candid number of about the disenextremely gagement plan. He radical Jewish said it was not fundamenintended to distalists have engage anything. established a The whole idea was settlement right in middle The late Yassir Arafat's grave site in Ramallah; he was to stymie the U.S , of the old city. buried in sand in a temporary site and plans are for and give Israel The govhim to be moved to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem room and time to finish the wall and ernment has when a Palestinian capital is established build more settleput military in ments. The point the old city with certainly was not to allow the creation of a a mandate to protect the Jewish settlers. Palestinian state. So there are about 400 settlers in the But you have to realize that at the middle of Hebron with 2500 soldiers to same time, polls show that a vast majority protect them, a ratio of about six soldiers of Israelis support disengagement. The to one settler. tide is really turning against the hardcore It’s almost this otherworldly thing. far right settlers. But I just don't know that Everywhere there are checkpoints, everyit's enough to cause a withdrawal. where there are settlements. In the middle of the city you've got these settlers who Connect Savannah: Is it true that since are seriously some of the most fundamen9/11 and the Iraq War, Islamic fundamentalist people on the planet. I mean, they talism is on the rise with Palestinians? really are frightening. They walk around with complete impunity because they Dave Reed: I didn't get that feeling at all. know the military is there to protect them. That’s an idea put out in the media by the One day during Ramadan I was with a Israeli government and our government, Palestinian friend of mine, walking by the that there's a strong Islamist movement in Ibrahimi mosque. The Jewish settler kids Palestine. I just didn't see it. There’s cerhad come down from a nearby settlement tainly a strong nationalist movement. and began throwing stones at Palestinians Palestinians are not interested in a leaving the mosque from midday prayers. monarchy or in a theocratic government, One soldier half-heartedly tried to stop they’re interested in democracy. The vast them, but the kids knew he wasn’t actually majority are interested in some form of going to do anything to them. Then they secular government. There’s little disstarted throwing rocks at me and my cussion of an Islamic state. Virtually every friend. Some were six or seven years old. Palestinian I met talked about peace and Now, in Hebron if Palestinian kids wanting to work with Israelis to build decide to throw any rocks, the first response is rubber bullets. And it can very quickly move up to live ammunition. continued on page 8
Connect Savannah: Ariel Sharon has put a lot of political capital on the line with his disengagement plan, which would dismantle many Israeli settlements.
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