Tags: Israel | Attacks | Fatah | Targets

Israel Attacks Fatah Targets

Wednesday, 15 November 2000 12:00 AM

Extensive shooting engulfed the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, as Palestinians marked the 12th anniversary of their declaration of independence with gunfire, stone throwing and tire burning.

The Palestinian declaration of 1988 was made while their leaders were still in Tunisia. They are not fully independent.

Israeli reports suggested that Arafat was losing control in some West Bank localities and that local Fatah groups there were taking over.

Palestinian sources said eight people were killed in Wednesday's fighting and that more than 100 were injured. They said two people, 22 and 29 years old, were killed in Tul Karem; two, ages 17 and 18, were killed at Karni; a 21-year-old man from the village of Samua was killed as well as a 20-year-old man in Hebron, a 16-year-old near Jenin, and a 13-year-old boy in Kalkilya.

The Israeli army reported three soldiers and three civilians injured in Wednesday's fighting.

The Israelis, who lost four people in drive-by killings earlier this week, sent undercover units into the villages of Kusra, Talfit and al-Muayer, and arrested 15 people believed to belong to Arafat's Fatah Tanzim paramilitary groups. The three villages are in areas where Israel is responsible for security and the Palestinians for civilian affairs.

One source, recounting arrests in Kusra, said they caught four people who apparently fired at an Israeli bus several hours earlier.

Heavy fighting ranged between Beit Jallah near Bethlehem and the Jerusalem suburb of Giloh.

The Israelis responded to occasional Palestinian shooting with machine-gun fire that lasted hours. TV footage that the army spokesman released showed hits inside an arched building, while some tracer bullets bounced off its walls.

A helicopter gunship later fired missiles at an abandoned building from which fire was directed, the army spokesman said.

U.S. first lady Hillary Clinton was at the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) during the shooting at Giloh, across a hill south of the building. Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg said he took her to the porch, pointed at the area, and told her what was going on.

They could not see the fighting because it was raging on the other side of the hill.

The Israelis reported shooting incidents near several West Bank towns from Tul Karem to Hebron and in several places in the Gaza Strip.

In a gesture to the family of Israel's late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and a message to other Israelis, Yasser Arafat videotaped a message of condolence over the death of the late prime minister's wife, Leah. Mrs. Rabin was buried in Jerusalem Wednesday.

Arafat said he was laying a wreath of Palestinian flowers on her grave and pledged to continue the peace process that she has championed.

Despite the daily violence, shelling and pain, the Palestinians are still committed to continue the peace process, Arafat said. "There is a ray of hope at the end of the dark tunnel," he continued, calling for continued work to achieve peace.

Israel's Channel 1 TV, which broadcast the tape in all its evening newscasts, said Palestinian TV was supposed to broadcast the message as well, but did not.

Communications Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said Arafat was talking about peace but in fact stepping up the violence. "One person planned everything and pushed everything," he said, alluding to Arafat.

"I see no way to sit with him before there is quiet," Ben Eliezer said.

Meanwhile, United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson told reporters after her meeting with Arafat in Gaza that she was shocked by what she had seen and heard in the Palestinian territories.

She said that she would report to the General Assembly, Secretary General Kofi Annan, and her human rights committee of "the excessive use of force by the Israeli soldiers against the Palestinians."

"I will be reporting about the issue of the need of the international protection of the Palestinian people," she added.

"I will also be reporting on the numbers of Israelis [who] were killed by Palestinians," she said. Palestinians have killed 24 Israeli soldiers and civilians.

Copyright 2000 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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Extensive shooting engulfed the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, as Palestinians marked the 12th anniversary of their declaration of independence with gunfire, stone throwing and tire burning. The Palestinian declaration of 1988 was made while their leaders were...
Israel,Attacks,Fatah,Targets
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2000-00-15
Wednesday, 15 November 2000 12:00 AM
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