Israel tightens grip on West Bank

  • From: "Muslim-News" <editor_@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 10:40:01 +0100

 
Israeli tanks, armoured carriers and helicopter gunships have taken
control of towns in the West Bank in a hardening of military tactics. 


  <http://news.bbc.co.uk/furniture/startquote.gif> 


Any resistance to this occupation now will be legitimate and accepted by
all Palestinians against the occupiers 
  <http://news.bbc.co.uk/furniture/endquote.gif> 


Ahmed Abdel-Rahman
Yasser Arafat aide 
The move follows an Israeli cabinet decision to seize and hold on to
parts of the West Bank "as long as terror continues". 

It is a response to Tuesday's suicide bomb attack in Jerusalem that left
19 Israelis, several of them children, dead - the worst attack in the
city for six years. 


A spokesman for Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is reported as
denouncing the new Israeli policy as "an open invitation" to resist "the
occupation". 


'Murderous acts' 


Israeli forces rolled into the West Bank towns of Jenin, Qalqilya and
Nablus on Wednesday morning. 




 
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/38084000/gif/_38084460_israel_qal_na
b_150map.gif> 
Witnesses say clashes broke out in the Jenin refugee camp, the focus of
a controversial Israeli operation in April. 

The army later withdrew from Nablus after arresting a number of
suspected militants. 


Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has made it clear Israel may seize more
towns. 


"Additional acts of terror will lead to the taking of additional areas,"
a statement issued by his office early on Wednesday said. 


The new policy signals "a change in the way Israel responds to murderous
acts," it said. 


Before Tuesday's suicide attack, Israel had talked about short-term
operations to arrest wanted militants and confiscate weapons. 


An Israeli security official said the new policy would essentially
amount to bigger and longer incursions. 


He said that to fully reoccupy Palestinian towns, the army would have to
call up reservists and take on responsibility for civil administration -
something it is not yet prepared to do. 


'Occupiers and invaders' 


Palestinians have reacted with fury. 




 Mourners for bomb victim Shiri Nagari, 22, at her funeral
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/38084000/jpg/_38084197_funeral_ap150
.jpg> 
Hamas said it would attack more Israeli targets

"The Israeli decision to reoccupy Palestinian territories and settle
inside them represents an open invitation to the Palestinian people and
to all Palestinian factions to practise all sorts of resistance against
the occupation," Ahmed Abdel-Rahman, an aide to Yasser Arafat, told the
Reuters news agency. 

"Any resistance to this occupation now will be legitimate and accepted
by all Palestinians against the occupiers and the invaders of
Palestinian sovereign areas," he said. 


In Ramallah - the West Bank town which is home to Mr Arafat - residents
are reported to be stocking up on food and medicines in case the Israeli
Army returns. 



  <http://news.bbc.co.uk/furniture/startquote.gif> 


Against terrorist acts, Israel will respond by capturing territories of
the Palestinian Authority - these territories will be held by Israel as
long as terror continues 
  <http://news.bbc.co.uk/furniture/endquote.gif> 


Israeli Government statement 
Mr Sharon said on Tuesday that the nail bomb attack on the bus in
Jerusalem - which also left 50 people injured - was an argument
"stronger than any words" against Palestinian statehood. 

The militant group Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack and has
promised further action. 


President Bush is expected to outline an American vision for the setting
up of a Palestinian state - and possibly a timetable for that to happen
- and his spokesman said he would not be put off by the latest "act of
terror". 


Bastions 


The Israeli army has recently been carrying out regular raids on towns
such as Jenin, which are viewed as bastions of militants and future
suicide bombers. 


Those raids followed the withdrawal from Palestinian towns under
Operation Defensive Shield, which ran from 29 March to 10 May. 


At least 1,403 Palestinians and 530 Israelis have been killed since the
Palestinian uprising began in September 2000. 


Source: BBC online 


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