Israeli forces demolished Palestinian homes in the Gaza Strip and said they would build new homes for Jewish settlersin the West Bank city of Hebron, hours after Secretary of State Colin Powell gave a major speech on US policy andsaid Israeli settlements are “crippling” chances for peace and security Powell’s speech, in which he called for thecreation of a “viable Palestinian State,” marked the first time President Bush’s administration has outlined ideasfor ending the conflict. The speech coincides with U.S. efforts to bolster Arab backing for the US war againstAfghanistan.
Powell’s speech came as Israeli tanks and bulldozers rumbled into a Palestinian-ruled area under cover of darknessand wrecked 18 houses, leaving families homeless during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It also came a day after aBelgian judge issued a summons for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to testify in lawsuits against him for hisrole in the 1982 massacre of more than 1,000 Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatilah refugee camps.
- Stephen Zunes, associate professor of Politics and chair of the Peace & Justice Studies Program at theUniversity of San Francisco. He also serves as a senior policy analyst and Middle East editor for Foreign Policyin Focus.
- Michel Warschowski, Israeli peace activist, journalist, and former director of the Alternative InformationCenter, a joint Palestinian-Israeli organization.