Mid-East Realitieswww.middleeast.org


August 25, 2001

MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 8/25: About 400 fanatical "settlers" have forced their way into homes in the middle of Hebron, a city of 120,000 Arabs. About 6000 fanatical "settlers" contnue to occupy about 35% of the Gaza Strip, amidst more than 1 million Palestinians.

Gaza is probably the biggest concentration camp in the world today, a unique ghetto surrounded by electrified fences and Israeli military checkposts. Hebron too is everywhere surrounded by the Israeli military which is now planning to build more fences to surround more Palestinian villages and cities, perpetuating a neo-apartheid situation not known anywhere else in the world.

This is what the Israelis have brought about. This is what the Americans have made possible and continue to support against the whole world.


[AP - 25 August - KHAN YUNIS, Gaza Strip] -- Two Palestinian militants with automatic rifles and hand grenades launched a pre-dawn raid Saturday on an Israeli military outpost in the southern Gaza Strip, killing three Israeli soldiers and wounding seven before being shot dead.

Palestinian militants have targeted Israeli troops and Jewish settlers in Gaza throughout the 11 months of Mideast fighting. However, Saturday's attack was among the most daring and one of the deadliest.

The two attackers climbed over separate embankments, breaking into the isolated Marganit military base at around 3 a.m., and began shooting and throwing grenades at soldiers, the Israeli army said. Soldiers shot back, killing one Palestinian. The second man tried to flee, but was pursued and shot dead, the army added. The shooting lasted about 10 minutes.

The radical Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility, saying the action was in retaliation for Israeli attacks on Palestinians. The group's leader, Nayef Hawatmeh, has been based in Damascus, Syria, for years, and the movement had not previously played a major role in the current Mideast fighting.

In a videotape made before the attack, the two Palestinian militants were shown with Kalashnikov rifles, seated in front of a Palestinian flag.

"I donate myself to God and our people," said Hisham Abu Jamus, 24. "The attack is a response on (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon's policy of killing the Palestinians."

Abu Jamus and the other assailant, Amin Abu Hatab, 26, previously worked for the Palestinian security forces, but quit after the Palestinian uprising began last September, Palestinian security sources said.

After the attack, Israeli helicopters were in the air over southern Gaza, authorities blockaded a coastal road used by Palestinians, and additional military vehicles arrived in the area from Israel proper. Palestinian security officers evacuated their buildings in Gaza to guard against possible Israeli retaliation.

"This incident proves that the Palestinians have no intention whatever of respecting the cease-fire," said Israeli government spokesman Avi Pazner.

Sharon's government has said it will respond swiftly to attacks against Israeli targets.

"There will be no situation in which they send terrorists or continue shooting ... and we will sit quietly and not respond," Israel's Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told Israel TV on Friday.

The Israeli dead included a major, Gil Oz, age 30, the army said.

The three soldiers killed Saturday marked the second highest toll for the Israeli military since the violence began. Seven soldiers and an Israeli civilian were killed Feb. 14, when a Palestinian bus driver plowed into a crowd waiting at a bus stop near Tel Aviv.

In Gaza on Friday, 11 Palestinians, all but one of them children and teen-agers, were wounded by Israeli army fire in three separate incidents, doctors said. Two of the wounded, a 12-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, were in critical condition.

In two instances, Palestinian youths threw rocks at soldiers, who responded by firing at the stone-throwers' legs after they came too close to military outposts, the military said.

In the third incident, the 13-year-old Palestinian girl and her uncle were wounded by what Palestinian security officials said was unprovoked Israeli fire while the two sat outside their home in a Gaza City neighborhood. The girl was in critical condition, doctors said. The army said it was checking the report.

The Israeli troops in Gaza protect about 6,000 Jewish settlers who live in fortified enclaves in Gaza, surrounded by more than 1 million Palestinians.

With the renewed violence, chances for a resumption of truce talks appeared to dim. Earlier this week, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres both said they were willing to conduct such talks, but have failed to set a time and place.

Bush, speaking Friday in Texas, urged Arafat to stop suicide bombings and said Israel should show restraint.

"If the Palestinians are interested in a dialogue, then I strongly urge Mr. Arafat to put 100 percent effort ... into stopping the terrorist activity. And I believe he can do a better job of doing that," Bush said.

Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo criticized Bush's comments, saying they were intended "to obstruct the proposed meeting" between Peres and Arafat.

Mid-East Realitieswww.middleeast.org

Source: http://www.middleeast.org/articles/2001/8/360.htm