Monday, January 28, 2002

Israeli commandos recently seized a ship called the 'Karine A', along with the 50 tons of weapons it had on board. Israel immediately claimed that these weapons were coming from Iran and were intended for the Palestinian Authority, and that the ship was owned by the Palestinian Authority. Both Israel and the United States seized on this to derail any attempts to continue with any peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Indeed, the most vocal Israelis seem to want to use the Karine A as the coup de grace for Yasser Arafat. However, a suspicious mind might note: 1) the United States, which apparently 'assisted' the Israelis in apprehending the Karine A, has a long history of manufacturing false evidence against its foes (the Maine, Tonkin Gulf, Kuwaiti incubator babies, 9-11); 2) there are severe problems with the Israeli assertion that the Karine A is owned by the Palestinian Authority; 3) while I admit that there is hardly any dumber group of people than the Palestinian Authority, it is difficult to believe that they would think that they could move that many weapons by boat in the extremely heavily monitored Red Sea, not to mention the logistical difficulties in getting through the Suez Canal and moving the larger weapons in the Palestine itself; 4) the speed with which the Israelis and Americans pounced on this incident to isolate Arafat, without any real evidence to connect the ship to the Palestinian Authority except for the testimony of the captain, suggests that it is being used for its propaganda value (the almost unanimous acceptance by the American press of the Israeli version of the facts in this case is telling, especially given the real paucity of hard facts available). Sharon seems to have decided that the time is ripe to finally rid himself of his archenemy Arafat, and it seems to suit the Americans to keep the conflict burning at its hottest, presumably to allow for convenient excuses for American military involvement whenever and wherever they should deem appropriate.