News Release

* Israel’s Wall * Sharon’s Policies * Liberia * WTO in Montreal

MARK LANCE
Lance, a professor at Georgetown University, was in the West Bank in June and July with a delegation of university faculty and has written about the wall that Israel is constructing in the West Bank. He said today: “Sharon claims that Israel is building a ‘security fence’ so that it can protect itself. That is not borne out by the facts. Physically, the wall has two distinct forms. In much of the northern section, it is a 20-foot-high concrete wall, complete with guard towers — very much like the Berlin Wall. Most of the rest is a complex consisting of a row of razor wire, a trench, a military security road, an electrified fence, another road, another trench, and another razor wire barrier…. The wall does not separate the West Bank from Israel; rather, it curves into the West Bank in such a way as to divide villages from their farmland. In the (not so) long run, this will result in the further impoverishment and likely displacement of the population of these villages, as well as the likely appropriation of this land to Israel, since — under Israeli-administered law in the territories — land which is ‘abandoned’ is taken by the state. In addition to the farmland separated from villages, the mere construction of the wall has uprooted 83,000 trees, destroyed 35,000 meters of irrigation network…” Maps and images of the separation wall are available via: , www.palestinemonitor.org/Special%20Section/Closure/Separation_wall_cover.htm, and www.btselem.org/English/Separation_Barrier/Index.asp

RABAB ABDULHADI
Abdulhadi is a professor at New York University and a specialist in Middle East affairs. She said today: “Bush has reneged on the optimistic tone he displayed in his recent meeting with the Palestinian prime minister. By demanding that the Palestinian Authority dismantle Palestinian militant groups, against the PA’s better judgment, Israel and the U.S. are practically calling on Abbas to usher in a Palestinian civil war…. Bush’s policy is a clear invitation to more blood and violence.”

BILL FLETCHER
President of TransAfrica Forum, Fletcher said today: “The U.S. needs to provide financial and logistical support to a West African peacekeeping force in Liberia. The Liberia crisis cannot be seen in isolation. Rather it is part of a larger West African crisis. West Africans must move forward to address this. U.S. troops, particularly if not under a UN command, would not be a good idea. Given the track record of U.S. military interventions since World War II, it is important to recognize that peacekeeping is not simply a matter of sending troops in but in taking a comprehensive approach including national reconciliation efforts and national economic reconstruction.”
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CAROLE SAMDUP
The World Trade Organization is currently meeting in Montreal. Samdup is a program officer specializing in trade policy for Rights and Democracy, a Canadian human rights group. She said today: “While the rhetoric surrounding the WTO is about development of poorer countries, it is clear from a litany of policies being followed that the developed countries are promoting policies for their self-interest and this frequently comes at the expense of the poorer countries.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020