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September 1998 
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In the past year far fewer Israelis have died as a result of "terrorism" than any other year since "Oslo". Far more Israelis die yearly in traffic accidents than at the hands of Palestinians quite legitimately fighting against their occupation, dispossession, and torture -- now through the "triple occupation" of the Arafat regime, the Israeli army, and the American CIA.

It's quite a game that's been going on over the past year actually.The Israelis will never admit it, but they've been doing all they can to stimulate terrorism, while at the same time badgering Arafat all they can to have him repress and terrorize his own people.

And the Hamas organization will never admit it but they've been doing all they can to hold back the many Palestinian activists and potential martyrs, not wanting to play into Israel's hands at this time, hoping to get the Israeli army roadblocks moved abit further away through "redeployments", even if they understandable oppose the overall "Oslo" arrangements signed 5 long years ago today on the White House lawn.

With the recent Israeli assassinations of leading Hamas activists,coupled with Israeli manipulation of the Arafat "Authority" to increasingly and severely repress Hamas-oriented persons and institutions, ongoing attempts continue to be made to heat up the overall situation and provoke a "terrorist" response. These two AP articles from yesterday and today outline quite mildly the still growing tensions in the area.



JERUSALEM (Associated Press - 9/12)

U.S. envoy Dennis Ross struggled Saturday to revive the moribund Mideast peace process while street clashes in West Bank cities injured at least 16 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier.

The latest violence was triggered by Israel's slaying of two top Hamas fugitives, which drew threats of vengeance from the Islamic militant group and prompted some calls to scrap the peace talks altogether.

The Israeli military was on high alert and the Palestinian lands remained sealed off for a second day after Hamas threatened to stage suicide-bomb attacks inside Israel -- something that has not happened in more than a year.

`We are under a constant threat of terrorism,'' Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said as he headed into talks with Ross, demanding that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat do everything possible to crack down on groups that stage attacks in Israel.

As if to pre-empt that call, Palestinian police staged an extraordinary display of public force against Hamas on Saturday. About 3,000 officers beat and dispersed a protest by about 200 Hamas activists in Gaza City.

Palestinian police later explained the action by saying the demonstration was unauthorized -- although such gatherings are often condoned -- and claiming the Hamas supporters had thrown stones at police.

Meanwhile, Israeli peace activists staged their biggest rally in months on Saturday to denounce the government's failure to move the peace process ahead. A crowd estimated by police at 40,000 and organizers at up to 100,000 gathered in a Tel Aviv square, some holding signs reading: ``Bibi is dangerous for Israel'' - a reference to Netanyahu's nickname.

Against this tense backdrop, Ross held a three-hour meeting with Arafat in the West Bank town of Nablus.

Neither spoke to reporters afterward, but Arafat walked the envoy to his car and they talked for another five minutes there, with Arafat whispering insistently into Ross' ear.

While the two were meeting, about 2,000 students at a nearby university staged a rally to protest Thursday's killings of fugitive Palestinian brothers Imad and Adel Awadallah and call for a halt to any further peace talks.

Little progress has been reported so far in the shuttle meetings Ross has been holding daily since his arrival on Wednesday.On the table is a U.S. proposal for an Israeli withdrawal from 13 percent of the West Bank and detailed provisions for Palestinian cooperation with Israel and the United States on security, an issue Ross has been try to untangle during this visit.

Israel has long said the Palestinians are not doing enough to fight Islamic militants. A security blueprint was worked out by Israeli, Palestinian and U.S. security officials in December, but was rejected by Netanyahu as insufficient.

In Saturday's West Bank clashes: About 80 teen-agers, some masked and armed with slingshots, hurled stones and bottles at Israeli troops at the Jewish enclave of Rachel's Tomb. At least four Palestinians were hit by rubber bullets, and army radio said a soldier was injured as well.

Soldiers in and around Ramallah fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse dozens of stone throwers. Army radio said at least 10 Palestinians were hurt. Two Palestinians were hit by rubber bullets after a crowd stoned soldiers in the divided town of Hebron.

The Palestinian Cabinet, meeting at its customary late hour on Friday, suggested Israel's killing of the Hamas fugitives -- who were slain in a hail of bullets in their West Bank hideout -- was timed to doom Ross' mission.

``There is no hope for progress if Israel continues with such policies,'' the Cabinet said in a statement.Israel sometimes targets alleged terrorists for assassination, a practice tacitly accepted by the Israeli public but consistently condemned by human rights groups.

``Events ... prove the relentless continuation of the Israeli policy of extra-judicial executions,'' the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens' Rights said in a statement Saturday.

Meanwhile, in a show of defiance, the Palestinian Cabinet said it had discussed preparations for a declaration of statehood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip at Friday night's meeting. Arafat has said he would proclaim statehood on May 4, 1999, regardless of whether a final peace agreement with Israel had been negotiated.

Netanyahu has hinted he might respond to such a declaration by annexing chunks of the West Bank, which would likely set off an explosion of violence.


JERUSALEM (Associated Press 9-13)

Israel braced for threatened revenge attacks by Islamic militants, deploying troops Sunday to guard bus stops, shopping centers and other possible targets. Israeli media said the alert status was unprecedented.

Speaking on the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Oslo accords, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the peace process for not preventing terrorist attacks.

``The Oslo agreement was supposed to bring peace. This means that there wouldn't be terror attacks here from the territory handed over to the Palestinians,'' Netanyahu said on Israel Radio.

Despite these misgivings, Netanyahu reaffirmed his commitment to the agreement signed by the previous Labor government. ``We are trying to fix its damage,'' he said.

Netanyahu said he had, in recent meetings with U.S. peace envoy Dennis Ross, demanded the Palestinians suppress terror groups like Hamas as a condition for advancing the peace process.

Hamas has promised to retaliate against Israel for its killing Thursday of two fugitives of the group's military wing who were wanted for their alleged involvement in attacks against Israel.

Hundreds of Palestinians called for revenge bombings against Israel in pro-Hamas demonstrations Saturday throughout the West Bank. At least 16 Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers were injured in ensuing clashes.

In efforts to avert a possible Hamas attack, security forces canceled leaves for police and soldiers and troops fanned out to cities throughout the country to protect shopping areas and bus stops -- targets of previous suicide bomb attacks.

Despite the threats, Ross continued in his efforts to get Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to agree on a U.S. proposal to end the 18-month stalemate in the peace talks.

According to the intiative, Israel would withdraw troops from 13 percent of the West Bank in tandem with Palestinian agreement to smother anti-Israeli militants.

Neither side has reported any progress in Ross' meetings, which began Wednesday. Sunday marked the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 13, 1993 signing of the first Oslo peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians, which set a framework for eventual Palestinian autonomy.

Since the signing, Palestinians have assumed self-rule in the Gaza Strip and now control large towns in the West Bank, but other major provisions of Oslo have not been implemented amid mutual recriminations.



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