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 Saturday, June 14, 2003

  A U.S. President who is so gutless, he can only call a killing of a woman and a child "troubling" - Robert Fisk

Robert Fisk is an internationally recognized journalist for the Independent UK. He has been the Middle Eastern correspondent for more than 26 years – writing for the Independent (UK) since 1988 and before that for the Times of London .

Recognised as Britain's most highly honored foreign correspondent.

His on-the-spot reports on the Middle East have provided much as a reality check to official versions and doctrines of western powers.

On June 11, 2003, Robert Fisk was interviewed by Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman on his views on the current situation in Iraq and in the Palestinian Territory.

Here is an excerpt from the transcript on Fisk's comments
on the current escalating violence between Palestinians and Israelis made during the interview.

AMY GOODMAN: We are talking to Robert Fisk....... you've also written about the so-called road map to peace. I just wanted to get your response to what happened yesterday in Gaza, with the Israeli helicopter gun ships attempting to assassinate the political leader for Hamas, Abdel Azziz Rantizzi. And also Bush strongly criticizing the attempted assassination on the part of the Israel.


First of all he (President Bush) didn't strongly criticize them, he mildly, rather pathetically and rather cowardly criticized the Israelis. This was an attack which was meant to kill the political head of Hamas. And in the ghastly role which the Palestinians and Israelis play in their bloody and useless conflict, I can understand why the attack was made in that context.

But that attack did not kill Rantizzi, it killed a little child of five and a young woman. Now your President said that that was "troubling" .

That isn't troubling that's a shameful act, that's a despicable thing to do.

But there was no strong condemnation from Mr. Bush, he just said it was troubling.

If a Palestinian had attacked Israeli forces or Israeli political leader involved in encouraging violence, had killed a little Israeli girl, and a young innocent Israeli woman, Mr. Bush would not have called it troubling. He would have said it was a shameful, terrorist act, which it would have been?

How can it work when the most powerful President of the most powerful state in the world, United States of America, can be so gutless and cowardly in condemning the killing of two innocent people.

It is not troubling. It is an outrage that those two innocent people died. Just as it would be if the Palestinians had done it. Just as it is when the Palestinians do do it. [For Bush]It is not an outrage. Not a tragedy. Not shameful. It is merely troubling. Like a flood is troubling or a heavy rainfall that kills people or a storm is troubling. In that context how can this new peace possibly work.

It's called a road map, who invented the phrase road map? I suppose the poor old State Department and all the journalists dutifully used the word road map.

They can't use peace process because that's associated with Oslo and that failed. You remember the cliche for the peace process, always had to be put back on track.

What has Sharon done? He 's closed down a few empty caravans on hilltops. At large and continuing to expand Jewish settlements, the Jews and Jews only in occupied Arab land.

What have the Palestinians done? Mahmoud Abbas says I'm going to finish terrorism, there' s going to be no more violence by the Palestinians and, bang, there immediately is. We have the three main violent groups, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa immediately carrying out the suicide bombing. And then praised by Rantizzi, I remember thinking, he's praising them, that's against the road map so Israelis have got a green light to knock him off and they tried and failed.

But I always thought he was a target, he always had two gunmen with him all the time. Rantizzi is a very tough Hamas man, a very ruthless man. He was one of the Palestinians who was illegally deported from Israeli prisons into Lebanon in 1992.

I actually met him there in the southern Lebanon in the hills, when he was living rough, months after months in a tent.This is a very rough character, very tough guy--grew up the hard way in guerrilla warfare as well as politics.

But when you're going to have a situation where you have an Israeli prime minister who doesn't want to end the settlements, who is indeed the creator of the settlements, and a Palestinian prime minister who can't stop the intifada and a U.S. president who is so gutless he can only call a killing of a woman and a child troubling, what chance is there for a road map or peace process or any other kind of agreement in the Middle East?

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