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zio sam pinocchio - disegno di Matt Wuerker
Israel on Kosovo

"The Kosovo tragedy has already taken place [in Palestine] and it could happen again here", writes Gideon Levy, one the best Israeli journalists covering the Palestinian territories. He recalls the expulsion and exodus of up to a quarter of a million Palestinians in 1948, turning them into refugees overnight. "They were just like the Kosovo refugees. There was not much difference between the ethnic cleansing there [in Palestine] in those days and that in Kosovo today and the results are identical: 419 villages were seized and most of them razed to the ground. Hundreds of thousands of people have been living in refugee camps ever since. It was our Kosovo. Only the TV cameras were missing." Levy is one of the only Israelis commentators to dare make the comparison.

In the run-up to the elections the reaction of the two main political camps is surprising. The Labour "left" has welcomed the attacks on Yugoslavia (the Meretz party even held a demonstration demanding the expulsion of the Yugoslav ambassador), whereas the right has expressed reservations, even condemnation.

Ariel Sharon, the foreign minister, caused a sensation by saying that "Israel should not legitimise Nato's aggression, led by the United States Israel could be the next victim of the sort of action now going on in Kosovo Imagine what would happen if one fine day the Arabs declared autonomy for the Galilee and links with the Palestinian Authority".

This criticism by General Sharon and other rightwing nationalist leaders does not stem from fine feelings or respect for human rights. Remember Sharon's leading role in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and the 1970s crackdown in Gaza. No, it is about the fear of the Israeli far right that its designs - the "transfer" of the Palestinians, meaning their wholesale expulsion - or its policies - continuing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza - could in turn trigger Western reprisals.


la nato bombarda la jugoslavia

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