Journalists Carefully Targeted by Israelis
Latest | Recent Articles | Multimedia Page | TV | Search | Blog

Email this article | Print this article | Link to this Article

Journalists Carefully Targeted by Israelis


RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP - 12 March) - Israeli forces fired for 10 to 15 minutes from tank-mounted machine guns on a hotel where journalists were photographing armor targeting the al-Amari refugee camp early Tuesday.

No one was injured in the shooting, which sprayed the glass-enclosed stairwell and nearby rooms where about 40 journalists were working. An ABC television camera left running on a tripod when the journalists took cover was hit by seven bullets - one directly in the lens.

The army said the tanks were returning fire from a gunman located somewhere on the upper floors of the hotel and that they were unaware journalists were working from the building. ``It was dark,'' a spokesperson said. An investigation was continuing, the army said.

The reporters said there were no gunmen in the four-story New City Inn, where about 40 television and photo journalists covering the army assault on al-Amari were working from the upper floors.

``If there is a gunman, I would not stay in the building for one minute,'' said ABC television news producer Nasser Atta, who has 13 years experience covering conflicts in the Middle East.

The journalists, working mostly for U.S. and European media outlets, had chosen the hotel some 300-400 yards from the camp's perimeter because it was well-situated to observe the army assault without being caught in the cross fire, Atta said. All the rooms were occupied by journalists, except for four rented to a Swedish company, he said.

He said the tanks earlier had driven by the hotel parking lot containing about 20 media vehicles clearly marked with large lettering.

The journalists recorded the assault on the camp undisturbed for about 40 minutes before a two tanks turned and opened fire from machine guns without warning about 3 a.m. The army surrounded the al-Amari camp in Ramallah as part of raids on several Palestinian towns and refugee camps in recent days aimed at detaining militants and seizing weapons.

``The minute the first round hit, we just all hit the ground,'' Atta said. ``It was a terrifying experience. We did not expect it.''

The fire shattered glass in the stairwell and adjoining rooms, damaging walls and furniture and bursting a water pipe, Atta said.

The firing stopped after the journalists contacted the army to inform officials they were in the hotel, Atta said. The army said it apologized to the journalists for any damaged caused to equipment.

Journalists in the hotel at the time were working for the U.S. networks ABC and CNN, Italy's Rai Uno, Germany's ARD, the Qatar-based satellite broadcaster Al-Jazeera, Reuters, AFP and The Associated Press.


By Ibrahim Barzak

JEBALIYA REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza Strip - 12 March -- Israel intensified its offensive against Palestinian militants - the largest military operation in 20 years - killing 28 Palestinians in raids Tuesday on refugee camps and other targets. Seven Israeli motorists were killed in shooting attacks.

Six of the Israelis were killed when gunmen opened fire on cars near Kibbutz Metsuba, a communal farm near the border with Lebanon. Israeli troops killed two gunman and battled a third for more than an hour. Officials were trying to determine whether the gunmen had crossed over from Lebanon.

That shooting and another in the West Bank that killed one Israeli were apparently in retaliation for Israel's offensive, launched last week after a series of deadly attacks on Israeli civilians.

Israeli security sources said Tuesday that most combat soldiers in Israel's standing army and some reserve troops - a force of many thousands - were deployed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the largest-scale operation since Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. In the West Bank town of Ramallah alone, dozens of tanks were patrolling the streets.

Deputy Defense Minister Dalia Rabin-Pelossof, a moderate and daughter of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, said she expected the strikes to be halted by the time U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni arrives in the region Thursday. Two previous truce missions by Zinni were scuttled by violence.

As the fighting raged, two Israeli Cabinet ministers from the ultra-nationalist National Union party submitted their resignation, saying they felt Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's actions against the Palestinian Authority were not tough enough. Sharon retains a solid parliamentary majority - 75 out of 120 seats - despite the protest.

On Monday evening, about 50,000 Israelis demonstrated in Tel Aviv, calling for stiffer action against the Palestinians. "Defeat Arafat, destroy terror," banners read.

In Tuesday's fighting, the Jebaliya refugee camp - the largest, with 100,000 residents, and a stronghold of the Islamic militant group Hamas - came under heavy Israeli fire from tanks and helicopter gunships during a three-hour incursion. The camp was plunged in darkness when Israeli fire struck a transformer.

Hundreds of Palestinian gunmen exchanged fire with Israeli forces, and at least 18 Palestinians were killed and 75 wounded by Israeli fire, doctors said. Many civilians, some in their pajamas, fled the fighting, moving toward nearby Gaza City on foot and in donkey carts. "They are killing us," said Laila Ayoub, 38, carrying a baby girl in her arms. "They used helicopters to fire on us while we were leaving."

Israeli government spokesman Dore Gold said Israel was showing restraint and "not using the full strength of its air force against the refugee camps."

Israeli tanks also took control of Ramallah and the adjacent Amari refugee camp, where fierce gunbattles were reported. Five Palestinians, including two policemen, two unarmed guards at the parliament building and a taxi driver, were killed by Israeli fire, doctors said.

Several tanks were deployed outside the headquarters of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. The takeover came only a day after Sharon announced that Arafat, who had been confined to Ramallah for the past three months by Israel, was free to move in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In an angry response, a senior Arafat adviser, Ahmed Abdel Rahman, said Tuesday that "talking peace with the Israelis was a historic mistake." Abdel Rahman said he was confined to his home because of heavy Israeli tank fire.

Israeli troops announced over loudspeakers that boys and men between the ages of 16 and 40 must come out of their homes and surrender to Israeli forces in Ramallah. Local TV stations urged the men not to comply.

Over the weekend, Israeli forces up rounded up nearly 2,000 Palestinians in sweeps of three other West Bank locations, in hopes of tracking down suspected militants. In the Tulkarem refugee camp, troops wrote numbers on the foreheads and forearms of several detainees for identification.

Arafat equated the action with the treatment of Jews in Nazi concentration camps during World War II, when numbers were tattooed on the arms of prisoners as a means of identification.

"Isn't this the sort of thing they used to say the Nazis did against the Jews?" Arafat said of the numbers written on the Palestinians, speaking Monday on Abu Dhabi Television. "So what do they say about these things? Isn't this a new Nazi racism?"

Army officials rejected Arafat's accusation, saying it was aimed at stirring up passions and encouraging his followers to carry out more attacks. The army chief said Tuesday he ordered the practice stopped.

Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said Tuesday that "we have to be careful not to humiliate (people), not to treat human beings with contempt," adding that he believed Arafat felt humiliated by the Israeli actions.

Israel's offensive began last week, after a string of attacks by Palestinian militants on Israeli civilians. Since the beginning of March, 159 Palestinians and 58 Israelis have been killed, making it the bloodiest period since fighting broke out in September 2000.

Israel's incursion into Jebaliya ended before dawn Tuesday. The Israeli military said it was aimed at finding rockets, destroying weapons factories and arresting suspected terrorists.

Palestinians huddled in terror in cinderblock hovels or fled into the darkness as Israeli tanks rumbled into the Gaza Strip's biggest and most crowded refugee camp.

A Hamas leader, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, threatened bloody revenge. "We have no choice but to kill the occupier, to kill him everywhere, every village and every city. There's no other way to defend ourselves," he said.

In the camp, troops destroyed four buildings, including two metal workshops and the home of Ibrahim Hassouna, a member of the Al Aqsa Brigades militia who killed three Israelis in a shooting attack on a Tel Aviv restaurant last week before being killed by police. The army said the metal workshops produced mortar shells.

Palestinian security officials said Israeli undercover troops commandeered a Palestinian ambulance and drove it into the camp.

Elsewhere in the Gaza Strip, Israeli helicopters shelled a metal workshop and a Palestinian security installation in the Khan Yunis refugee camp, killing four Palestinian civilians, including three members of a family.

In the Deir el Balah refugee camp, Israeli gunboats and helicopters shelled a Palestinian security installation, killing a policeman.

Comment on these article(s)

March 2002


Saudi Future Unstable; More Money to Secretly flow to Palestinians
(March 29, 2002)
What goes on in public and on CNN/Al-Jazeera is one thing. This is political theatre meant for all to see. But like the proverbial icberg the great bulk of what is going on is beneath the waves and hidden from regular view.

Arafat Surrounded - And A Letter from Bir Zeit University near Ramallah
(March 29, 2002)
"Reports are rampant, breaking news that there is a planned incursion, occupation, total destruction... who knows of Ramallah and so we have to act and act quickly."

Saudis plead, Bin Laden emals, Arafat sits, Jesse offers...US and Israel prepare
(March 28, 2002)
With the #2 summit Saudi suffering a stroke and hospitalized (how appropriately) at the American University in Beirut, the Arab League summit was even more of a circus and disaster than we had predicted.

The "Saudi Peace Plan"...of 20 Years Ago
(March 28, 2002)
In April 1981 Crown Prince Fahd of Saudi Arabia unveiled the "Saudi Plan" which then dominated the Arab League summit held in Fez, Morocco, in November.

Saudis Humiliated, Betrayed, and now "Invited"
(March 28, 2002)
Quite literally as Saudi Royal "Crown Prince" Abdullah was following his script in Beirut no matter what, the U.S. Government was announcing in Washington that he had "accepted" to visit the Bush Presidential Ranch in Texas at the end of next month.

"The summit is heading toward total chaos"
(March 27, 2002)
Today's "Arab Leaders" always seem to manage to bumble themselves from one disaster to another. Then the controlled media and commentators they either own or manipulate in one way or another mostly cover up for them, including such subsidized and sponsored English-language publications as "Middle East International" in the UK and "Washington Report on Middle East Affairs" in the U.S.

Arafat Unheard at Summit - Secret Israel Phone Calls to Cairo and Amman
(March 27, 2002)
How much is factual, how much is disinformation from Mossad, how much is twisted and spun....these are all legitimate questions needing consideration, especially these days. But there's no doubt Irish author Gordon Thomas has considerable connections in the murky world of intelligence and especially with the Israeli Mossad, and he's been on target with quite a few things in the past.

They Call This A Summit?
(March 26, 2002)
Readers of MER won't be nearly as surprised as most may be that journalists are already proclaiming the grand Arab summit in ruins and as the BBC correspondent concluded this evening, "they might as well go home now before it starts".

What a Mess the Arab World is in
(March 26, 2002)
Such a mess. "Arab Leaders" who are mostly inept and corrupt and miserably repressive. An Arab League that is impotent and crippled. Arab media that can't figure out whom to interview about what.

Huge Damascus Demo Screams About Sharon and Warns Arab Summiteers
(March 26, 2002)
History is repeating itself after 20 years, but everything is even worse today for the vast Arab world and its fast growing now over 200+ million.

"Grand Plan" For War On the Palestinians
(March 25, 2002)
As the impotent Arab League run by the corrupt and repressive Arab "client regimes" prepares to meet and do nothing real and serious as usual; the Israelis, with an American wink and much under-the-table help, are preparing even bigger assaults against the Palestinians.

Vital History - Origins of Israel's "Arab Problem"
(March 25, 2002)
In 1947, the then representative of the Zionist Organization in Washington, Nahum Goldman, urged David Ben-Gurion not to declare a "Jewish State" but rather to hold out for finding some way of accomodation with the Palestinians that could lead to a unified "bi-national state" ...

Draft Text of Arab Summit Resolution - More of the Same Sweet Nothings
(March 25, 2002)
Much too weak, fractured, and frightened to actually act in any serious and independent manner -- even in the face of such repeated Israeli and American provocations and humiliations -- the grand "Arab world", meeting in summit in Beirut later this week, is poised to essentially do nothing.

Europeans See Americans Far Better Than Americans See Themselves
(March 23, 2002)
Time magazine was wrong a few months ago, but understandably so under the circumstances and few really expect much more from the mass American media .

Cheney Admits US will attack Iraq 'for Israel's sake'
(March 22, 2002)
While the mostly co-opted and cowardly "Arab leaders" -- the Arab "client regimes" -- fly their lavish private jets into Beirut 20 years after the Israelis besieged the city, destroyed the country, and attempted at great cost to bring Lebanon under their and American domination ...

Threatening With Nukes Could Well Lead to Use of Nukes - Part 1
(March 22, 2002)
One dreadful day they will be used. That likelihood seems now to be growing, especially as irresponsible leaders in both the US and UK keep publicly threatening to do just that rather than insisting that such weapons should never ever be used ...

Marching toward an American Police State - Part II
(March 22, 2002)
The above title was used to headline an article published on Wednesday, the same day we now learn the federal government was raiding Muslim homes and organizations in the Washington DC area.

U.S. Shifting to Large once Secret Qatar Military Base for Regional Control
(March 21, 2002)
The Americans have apparently agreed to let the Saudis off the hook when it comes to Prince Sultan Airbase, the largest and most sophisticated in the region, as long as they are on the hook when it comes to controlling the Arab Summit and fronting politically with "the Saudi Plan".

A Plea to US and Europe: Don't Participate in Killing and Torture of our People
(March 21, 2002)
All of the American "client regimes" in the Middle East -- including the main ones in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan -- use censorship, intimidation, torture, and the omnipresent secret police, to control their societies and prevent popular expression against their policies and corruption.

NewsFlash: Some U.S. Forces Beginning to leave Saudi for Qatar
(March 20, 2002)
Just days after Vice-President Richard Cheney visited Saudi Arabia and other countries in the area there are reports coming from the region that U.S. military forces are beginning to move out of Prince Sultan Air Base, a facility the U.S. is said to have spent tens of billions of dollars to make the most modern command base in the region.

Marching toward an American Police State - "Washington Scene"
(March 20, 2002)
A FOX NEWS cameraman was accosted by Pentagon Police outside the building on Tuesday -- as he was shooting pictures of an arrest being carried out by Virginia State Police on a highway that runs alongside the Pentagon but outside Pentagon property!

Squeezing and Smothering Arafat To Death
(March 20, 2002)
The Israelis, and the Americans of course, have Yasser Arafat right where they want him now. He either does as he is told and paid or he's a way or another.

More Humiliation for the Arabs both in Palestine and at the upcoming Arab Summit
(March 19, 2002)
It's terribly humiliating of course, but the Israelis have now told Arafat, in public, that he can go to the Arab Summit in Beirut if he does as he's told and declares the fighting ended.

(March 18, 2002)
We already know it was a CIA operation back in the late 1980s that resulted in American-created anthrax spors being sent to Iraq and paid for by the U.S. Congress. We've just learned that a secret CIA team has recently gone to Northern Iraq to secretly meet with the Kurds and help prepare the coming war there.

Angry Demonstrators Condemn both Israel and U.S. in Arab world
(March 17, 2002)
For a second straight day, thousands of Arabs took to the streets across the Middle East on Saturday to burn Israeli and American flags and express anger over the rising Palestinian death toll.

Greater CIA Regime Being Thrust on Palestinians
(March 17, 2002)
Now the Israelis ... are proposing to try to save the "Authority" of Yasser Arafat by putting CIA "monitors" in Palestinian cities, offices, and jails; and CIA listening amd "monitoring" devices throughout the Palestinian bantustans and "occupied territories".

Has The U.S. Lost Its Way?
(March 16, 2002)
We comprise slightly less than 5 per cent of the world's population; but we imbibe 27 per cent of the world's annual oil production, create and consume nearly 30 per cent of its Gross World Product and - get this - spend a full 40 per cent of all the world's defence expenditures.

Transfer? Expulsion? Jordan is Palestine? Approaching the End Game
(March 16, 2002)
If the Palestinians are unable to strike further in view of Israel's and the CIA's unprecedented war to crush them into submission Sharon will undoubtedly say his tactics are working.

Massive New Super Bomb Being Built To Kill Saddam and Threaten All
(March 15, 2002)
With its soldiers beginning to even look a bit like the Centurions in the Star Wars saga, the U.S. appears intent on enforcing the new "new world order" through brute force as well as technological marvels and overpowering firepower and information gathering capabilities.

(March 15, 2002)
Like so many words, this one "conspiracy" is overused and misused by many. That makes it all the more important to know whom to trust and rely on, whom to take seriously, whom to discount.

Manger Square has become a wild, blood-drenched place
(March 14, 2002)
After nearly 35 years of increasingly brutal military occupation since the 1967 war, Palestinian society itself has been tortured and disfigured. The Israelis have used informers and all kinds of means to bring the Palestinians to their knees ...

The U.N.'s latest cowardness, impotence, and duplicity
(March 13, 2002)
It should be a Saturday Night Live skit...the U.N. uttering (or is the correct word stuttering) the term "Palestinian State" after the U.S., Europe, Ariel Sharon and nearly everyone else has other than the crazy Israeli racist fundamentalists.

The Latest As Israel's Slaughter of the Palestinians Escalates Still Further
(March 12, 2002)
Israeli forces killed 31 Palestinians on Tuesday in their biggest offensive in the West Bank and Gaza since Israel captured the territories in the 1967 Middle East war.

Journalists Carefully Targeted by Israelis
(March 12, 2002)
Israeli forces fired for 10 to 15 minutes from tank-mounted machine guns on a hotel where journalists were photographing armor targeting the al-Amari refugee camp early Tuesday.

"Nazi Behavior" Charges Arafat As Israelis Crush Palestinians into Submission
(March 12, 2002)
Nothing like this has happened to the Palestinians since the 1967 War. And this time the cowardly "Arab leaders" are simply watching and pretending; while those who claim to be supportive of the Palestinians in the U.S. are, disorganized, inept, impotent, demoralized, and used up.

Two Poems
(March 11, 2002)
These two unpublished poems were written by a 25 year old Israeliwoman at the time of the first Intifada.

Black Friday and Saturday in the once Holy Land
(March 10, 2002)
The war in 1973 was intense and almost lead to a nuclear confrontation -- remember the infamous "Kissinger nuclear alert"? But for most Palestinians alive today there hasn't been such a bloody day in their lives as on Friday at least 44 Palestinians were killed, hundreds injured.

Israelis Kill and Rampage - U.S. Rhetorically Complains but in Reality Helps
(March 9, 2002)
Serious and urgent questions need to be asked: Why have not the governments of Egypt and Jordan at the very least broken political relations with Israel; and why in fact are these governments actually preventing demonstrations against what the Israelis are doing?

The Israeli Spy CoverUp
(March 9, 2002)
In addition to the "spy coverup" there is now a "media coverup". "We stand by the story" said a FOX News spokesman on 20 December. But now "The Story No Longer Exists" and FOX News has covered up the story of what happened, and why.

American Univ in Washington - Second Rate and Third Class
(March 8, 2002)
When it comes to international affairs and matters relating to the Middle East serious and honest people should keep away from American University in Washington, DC.

Now the US Says it was the Iranians and the Palestinians not the Libyans. Right!
(March 8, 2002)
You just gotta love the Americans, no shame at all. All these years they have been repeatedly and loudly insisting it was the Libyans who bombed Pan Am 103 out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland - more than a decade of sanctions ensued in fact.

Israeli Spying on US - Spiked Story from FOX News - Who Done It?
(March 7, 2002)
Just who pressured FOX News? Why did FOX News cave in so easily? What now months later when an expanded story is not just coming back to life in foreign publications but appears to be the greatest spy scandal ever involving the Israelis spying on the Americans?

Israeli Spying On The U.S. - Essential Background
(March 6, 2002)
The world of spying, like the world of "black ops", is full of confusion, disinformation, and false leads. Those in the media, even the biggest establishment news outlets, usually lack the means (as well as the will) to penetrate very far into this world on their own.

LeMonde on the Israeli Spy Ring in U.S.
(March 5, 2002)
Tremendous pressure was brought to bear in a coverup in which the U.S. government is now thought to have participated.

Israeli Spy Rings Rolled Up in U.S.
(March 5, 2002)
Israeli spying on the U.S. has long been going on; but it is usually covered up or glossed over by the major American news media.

Arafat in Dog Kennel, Sharon in Twilight Zone, Hosni Lost in Space
(March 5, 2002)
After some 20 years in power Hosni Mubarak, chatting with George Bush II today at the White House, has helped lead his country to nowhere, the Palestinians to disaster, and the Arab world to impotent feebleness. More on Mubarak and his shameless Egypt to come -- for he as well as Saudi Abdullah are Lost in Space.

© 2004 Mid-East Realities, All rights reserved