Democracy Now! April 23, 2002

Program Title:
Democracy Now! April 23, 2002
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Activists slip nto Yasser Arafats compound, Siege around Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, Activists mount a campaign against Microsoft, Debate on the roots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

9:01-9:06 Headlines: CLEAR SKIES, OR NO SKIES? THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION AND EARTH DAY Yesterday was Earth Day. To mark the occasion, Former oil executive President Bush spent the day in the acid-rain-plagued Adirondack Mountains to sell his Clear Skies initiative. The plan is a market-based approach to reducing pollutants. Environmental groups warn that the plan would be a step backward from goals set by Clean Air Act regulations already on the books. But over the weekend, the Bush administration succeeded in ousting the head of the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Robert Watson. Watson is an outspoken critic of Bushs energy policy. Controversy had mired the meeting since it was revealed the US State Department was supporting Watsons ouster. That controversy turned to outrage when the Natural Resources Defense Council uncovered a memo from the US oil corporation Exxon Mobil asking the White House to unseat Watson. Exxon Mobil was a major contributor to Bush's election campaign. GUEST: DAVID DONIGER, policy director, Natural Resources Defense Councils Climate Center CONTACT: 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break MUSICAL GUEST: MATT JONES Singer, civil rights activist, and composer Matt Jones, a member of the Freedom Singers. 9:07-9:20 IN RAMALLAH, MORE INTERNATIONAL ACTIVISTS SLIP INTO YASSER ARAFATS COMPOUND; IN BETHLEHEM, TALKS BETWEEN THE ISRAELI ARMY AND PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATORS; MICROSOFT THANKS ISRAELI TANKS Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat met with US State Department official William Burns yesterday to discuss the standoff there and at Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity. The US envoy met Arafat at his compound, where about 300 aides, security guards and foreigners have been confined to a few rooms by Israeli troops since late March. Israel is demanding the Palestinians hand over five suspects in October's assassination of an Israeli Cabinet minister as well as the alleged mastermind of a large arms shipment to the Palestinian Authority intercepted by Israel. Arafat has refused, saying the six will face trial in Palestinian courts. There's growing speculation that Israeli forces might try to break in and seize the wanted men. Even as they met, an Israeli bulldozer destroyed several cars parked outside and began building a rampart, according to foreign activists in the compound. On Sunday, a group of about 30 international activists gathered at the hospital in Ramallah to plan a march to the presidential compound, as word spread that a siege was imminent. By staging a series of diversions, the activists managed to get a group of six activists inside the compound. Kevin Skvorak is inside the compound. Guest: Kevin Skvorak, one of six International Solidarity Movement activist inside Arafats compound Contact: The first direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators on the three-week standoff at Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity ended this morning. Smoke, gunfire and the thud of sound grenades engulfed the area yesterday, prompting speculation that the three-week siege was heading towards a close.Only hours before the outbreak of gunfire, 17 journalists, foreign and Palestinian, had their Israeli government press credentials seized by an Israeli army officer close to Manger Square, site of the ancient church.Guest: Georgina Reeves, Independent Media Center of Palestine Contact: MICROSOFT THANKS ISRAELI TANKS Theres a new ad campaign in Israel. Recently Microsoft billboards have popped up around Tel Aviv that state: "From the depth of our heart - thanks to The Israeli Defense Forces." Gush-Shalom, the Israeli peace group, recently sent a letter to Microsoft chair Bill Gates complaining about the billboards. Guest: Adam Keller, spokesperson for Gush-Shalom, the Israeli peace bloc. Contact: 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:40 ARIEL SHARON PLANS TO ANNEX HALF OF THE WEST BANK: A DEBATE ON THE HISTORY OF THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT AND ZIONISM Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres Sunday confirmed a report that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wants to annex half of the West Bank under an unpublished plan for the Palestinian territories that he is drawing up with close advisers. Following a report in the London Telegraph, Peres confirmed in an interview on NBCs Meet the Press that Sharon is suggesting Israel annex half of the West Bank as an interim agreement. Peres says he doesnt think that is a final solution. Meanwhile, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports Sharon angrily declared Sunday at his weekly cabinet meeting that the Israeli government will not discuss the removal of any Israeli settlements on Palestinian land until the next elections in October 2003. Banging his hand on the table for emphasis, he said there would also be no such discussion after those elections if he is reelected. The subject was raised when a Labor Party minister asked why the government doesnt adopt Israeli Army officer recommendations to evacuate isolated settlements. According to an Israeli news program, senior officers are arguing that isolated settlements in the Gaza Strip have become tremendous security burdens, requiring a regiment of soldiers to protect each one. Today on Democracy Now! we will have a discussion on the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, looking at the expanding Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands, but also going back earlier, to the 1948 war and the roots of the Zionist movement. Guest: Ilan Pappe, senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Haifa University and author of The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict Guest: Meir Pail, professor of military history, former Knesset member and former military officer, speaking to us from Tel Aviv Guest: Norman Finkelstein, lecturer at De Paul University in Chicago and author of several books including The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering (Published by Verso). Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict .His earlier book A Nation on Trial on Daniel Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners was named a notable book for 1998 by The New York Times Book Review.Contact: 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:41-9:58 ARIEL SHARON PLANS TO ANNEX HALF OF THE WEST BANK: A DEBATE ON THE HISTORY OF THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT AND ZIONISM, contd MUSIC 6: Palestine - Matt Jones ( 20: The Question of U - Prince Graffiti Bridge (Pasiley Park/Warner Bros.) 40: Brother, That Ain't Good - Matt Jones End: Freedom Medley: Guide My Feet/Oh, Freedom - Matt Jones 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits

Date Recorded on: 
April 23, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
April 23, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. April 23, 2002
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