April 19 2002: News from Palestine
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Photos from Jenin

Photo Gallery:

A young Palestinian stands by an Israeli tank positioned in the center of the besieged West Bank town of Ramallah, Monday April 15.
A Palestinian woman walks by Israeli soldiers in the Old City of Bethlehem, April 12.
International peace activists hold up food as they are prevented by Israeli soldiers from delivering provisions to those inside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem's Old City, Thursday, April 18.

Audio Reports:
1) Democracy Now! (New York, USA)
April 18: http://www.webactive.com/pacifica/demnow/dn20020418.html
The Jenin Massacre: As Israeli troops refuse to help rescue survivors buried alive in Jenin refugee camp, the Commissioner-General of the UN’s main body in the occupied territories describes even “worse destruction than he had feared”
April 17: http://www.webactive.com/pacifica/demnow/dn20020417.html
Marwan Barghouti, the "leader of the Second Intifada," is captured and arrested: A rare interview with the popular leader just months before his arrest, and a conversation with an Israeli human rights lawyer, a Palestinian journalist, and one of Barghouti's former professors.
The War on Afghanistan Rages On: With all eyes trained on the Occupied Territories, the US and Britain launch a major ground offensive in the east, the warlords return to power, and attacks rise against ethnic Pashtuns in the north.
An Interview with an Afghan Man Whose Home was Cluster-bombed by the US: His daughter and wife were critically wounded, his brother was killed.

1) Jenin camp 'horrific beyond belief' (BBC UK)
2) 9 Palestinians Killed in Gaza Strip, West Bank (Palestine Chronicle)
3) Israel Returns to Jenin After Short Withdrawal (Palestine Chronicle)
5) U.S. lawmakers to push measures backing Israel (Reuters)
6) Vandals throw paint at Jewish monument in Greece (Reuters)

1) Jenin camp 'horrific beyond belief'
Thursday, 18 April, 2002, 20:01 GMT 21:01 UK


The UN envoy likened Jenin to an earthquake zone

A United Nations envoy has said that the devastation left by Israeli forces in a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank is "horrific beyond belief".

Terje Roed-Larsen, who toured the Jenin refugee camp on Thursday, said it was "morally repugnant" that Israel had not allowed emergency workers in for 11 days to provide humanitarian relief.

The UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has asked the Security Council to consider sending an armed multinational force to the region, under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter which authorises military force to impose council decisions.

US President George W Bush said on Thursday that he believed an Israeli withdrawal was under way and that it was going to schedule.

Desribing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as "a man of peace", Mr Bush said Mr Sharon had begun his promised withdrawal and it was being done "quickly".

"He gave me a timetable and he's met the timetable," Mr Bush said.

Palestinian spokesman Saeb Erekat called Mr Bush's comments "a gift, a reward for Sharon's policy of state terrorism and war crimes".

Israel pulled its forces out of Jenin town and part of the refugee camp before dawn on Thursday.

Officials said they were also withdrawing from Nablus and that over the next three days troops would leave most West Bank areas apart from Ramallah and Bethlehem.

Search and rescue
The BBC's correspondent said Mr Roed-Larsen was highly regarded in the region and his criticism would put more pressure on the Israelis to fully withdraw.

Palestinians claim hundreds of bodies are buried beneath the rubble, but Israel says the numbers of dead are far fewer. An independent forensic expert says evidence suggests that a massacre has taken place.

Mr Roed-Larsen said the top priority was to bring in search-and-rescue teams. The only rescue efforts currently under way are residents digging though the ruins looking for survivors.

"It is totally destroyed, it looks like an earthquake has hit it," he said.

"I am watching two brothers pull their father from the ruins, the stench of death is horrible. We are seeing a 12-year-old boy being dug out, totally burned," he said.

"We have expert people here who have been in war zones and earthquakes and they say they have never seen anything like it," he added.

Mr Roed-Larsen, who is the UN's Special Co-ordinator for the occupied Palestinian territories, was visiting the camp with Red Cross and UN workers.

He added: "It is totally unacceptable that the government of Israel for 11 days did not allow search and rescue teams to come."

Kofi Annan made his appeal for armed intervention at a closed session of the Security Council. Israeli spokesmen swiftly rejected it while Mr Erekat said it was the "right way to start fighting Israeli aggression"
Mr Annan said there was a need for a force large enough to take "decisive action" to end the deadly cycle of attacks.

The multinational force should be assembled by countries willing to supply troops and should have "a robust mandate," he said, adding later, "I expect the United States to play an important role."

Israel 'concerned'
Israel invaded the Jenin camp on 3 April, saying it was a hotbed of Palestinian militancy and declaring it a closed military zone.

Palestinian claims of an Israeli massacre in the camp have been denied, although British forensic expert Prof Derrick Pounder has said that the evidence points to large numbers of civilian dead.

Prof Pounder is part of an Amnesty International team granted access to Jenin.

Danny Ayalon, the chief foreign policy adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said that Israel shared the humanitarian concerns and was already allowing some aid teams to operate.

The partial pull-out by Israel came a day after the departure of US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who left the region without achieving a ceasefire or a full withdrawal of Israeli troops.

Israel says troops will continue to surround the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where a group of armed Palestinians are among more than 200 people who have been holed up for more than two weeks.

Israel launched its assault on Palestinian towns on 29 March after a suicide bomber killed 28 people celebrating the Jewish Passover.

Israel says it will also continue to surround the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's compound in Ramallah.

2) 9 Palestinians Killed in Gaza Strip, West Bank
Friday, April 19 2002 @ 04:42 AM GMT
By PalestineChronicle.com Reporter


GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip: Israel reinvaded the West Bank city of Qalqiliya amid heavy firing and shelling in and around the city. One Palestinian was killed and six others wounded. Meanwhile, 8 Palestinians were killed elsewhere in the West Bank and Gaza.

Israeli forces have also raided the Naseiriah neighborhood near Nablus, killing one Palestinian. Many others were reportedly detained.

In Nablus, seventy Palestinians, including many children and women were buried in a mass grave during a 5-hour lift of the Israeli military curfew imposed on the city for days. The seventy were killed during the Israeli attack on the Old City of Nablus.

15 Israeli tanks attacked the town of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip early Friday and opened fire, killing at least three Palestinians in the Brazil neighborhood.

The Israeli military says it shot and killed another Palestinian late Thursday near the Jewish settlement of Dugit, in northern Gaza. The army says the man had been carrying a bomb.

A 15-year-old Palestinian boy was shot dead in the Sweidiah neighborhood in Gaza after receiving two bullets in the head and the chest, fired by Israeli soldiers.

Two more Palestinians were shot dead near a Jewish settlement, Nitsareem in Gaza. Israel claimed that both young men intended to stage an attack on the settlement.

3) Israel Returns to Jenin After Short Withdrawal
Friday, April 19 2002 @ 04:41 AM GMT
By PalestineChronicle.com Reporter

JENIN, West Bank: After hours of an Israeli announcement of pulling back its forces from the Palestinian town of Jenin, in the northern West Bank, its forces were re-deployed again into the town of Jenin and its refugee camp.

The short-lived withdrawal, if lasted, would have ended a three-week-long military invasion that resulted in the death of hundreds of Palestinians and wide-scale destruction of property, , more than 300 homes according to some estimates.

An Israeli army General Eyal Schlein at Jenin was quoted as saying the military had destroyed the infrastructure of Palestinian militant groups that allegedly staged suicide bombings and other attacks against Israelis.

But hundreds of people, mostly civilians, were killed on the hands of Israeli troops during the Israeli attack on Jenin.

Meanwhile, Israeli tanks re-invaded the West Bank town of Qalqiliya early Friday. Israeli forces had withdrawn last week from the town, located near the border with Israel.

Gunfire and explosions were heard late Thursday near Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, where Israeli troops have held hundreds of Christian clergy and citizens hostages.

News reports said the blasts came from stun grenades. There has been no word on casualties. Earlier Thursday, a meeting to negotiate an end to the 16-day standoff at the Christian holy site was cancelled.

Direct Action for a Free Palestine
International Solidarity Movement

Contact: Amanda Ream, (212) 541-4226, x241
Eric Laursen, (917) 806-6452

April 17, 2002

For Immediate Release


A group of 28 international activists were detained for over three hours and
beaten by Israeli Defense Force troops outside the Palestinian city of
Nablus yesterday. The abuse included having shots fired at the ground in
front of them as well as physical beatings with fists, boots, and guns. At
least one female activist was thrown violently against a wall. The activists
responded with non-violent civil disobedience tactics, lying on the ground
and refusing to react to the abuse.

The activists were attempting to deliver food to Palestinians trapped in
Nablus by the IDF, who have now been without food, water, and urgently
needed medical attention for weeks as the Israelis have continued to
effectively seal off the town even after intense fighting there ended. They
include five UK citizens, 15 French, five Danish, and three Americans - two
from New York City and one from Chicago. They are members of the
International Solidarity Movement, which has been sending groups of
activists to the occupied territories since last summer to provide aid and
act as a buffer of non-violent civil disobedience for the Palestinians. A
group of Palestinian citizens who were with the internationals also were
subjected to abuse.

ISM members said the IDF actions were similar to tactics the army has used
against Israeli peace activists, and against ISM activists who attempted to
enter Gaza on an aid mission last December. Earlier this month, several
activists were hit by shrapnel when IDF troops fired at an ISM team in
Bethlehem, one requiring hospitalization. Beatings and violent shakings are
also common practice in the IDF's dealings with Palestinians on the streets
of the occupied towns and cities of the West Bank.

American ISM activists who returned from Palestine last weekend are
available for interviews with the press. Zaid Khalil can be reached at (917)
535-1563. For an interview with New Yorkers in the West Bank, call

5) U.S. lawmakers to push measures backing Israel
By Vicki Allen

WASHINGTON, April 18 (Reuters) - Key members of the House of Representatives said on Thursday they would seek up to $200 million in emergency aid to Israel, as U.S. lawmakers pushed bipartisan measures to support the Jewish State amid its campaign in Palestinian cities.

Separately, two senators offered a bill that would impose sanctions on Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization, and two House members introduced a non-binding resolution expressing solidarity with Israel and citing Arafat's "ongoing support and coordination of terror."

Members of the House and Senate had held off such measures while U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell was on a mission that ultimately failed to secure a cease-fire agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations foreign aid subcommittee, said she and other members of the panel would push for up to $200 million in emergency aid for Israel as part of a $27 billion counter-terrorism package moving through Congress.

Israel already receives $3 billion in U.S. assistance annually, and had sought up to $800 million more.

The offer of fresh aid comes as Israeli forces press a military campaign in Palestinian cities and villages in the West Bank, launched after a series of Palestinian suicide bombings carried out against Israeli targets.

Lawmakers said they hoped to pass to pass the emergency spending package by June.

"The State Department requested $200 million, OMB (the White House Office of Management and Budget) rejected it, and I think there are enough people who believe that this money is important that we will work to include it," Lowey said.


Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said the State Department would back more money for Israel, as it had done earlier. "Of course we won't oppose supplemental funding for Israel," Armitage told the subcommittee, but he did not specify an amount.

But Arizona Republican Rep. Jim Kolbe, who chairs the subcommittee, was cool to the additional aid. "I have a tendency to follow the administration's plan, which is not to ask for additional money for Israel," he said.

Two House members who agree on little other than their fierce backing for Israel introduced a resolution backing Israel's actions "to provide security to its people by dismantling the terrorist infrastructure in the Palestinian areas."

The resolution offered by Reps. Tom DeLay of Texas, a member of the House Republican leadership, and Tom Lantos of California, the senior Democrat on the International Relations Committee, expresses solidarity with Israel and blasts Arafat.

A spokesman for DeLay said he hoped for a floor vote on the resolution before the Memorial Day recess in late May.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, and Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, introduced a bill that would impose sanctions on Arafat and the PLO. But they said they did not plan to bring it to a vote for a while to avoid interfering with the White House peacemaking effort.

The bill would impose diplomatic sanctions on the PLO for what it said was failure to renounce terrorism, but would give the president discretion to waive them.

House Majority Leader Richard Armey, a Texas Republican, offered legislation that would give President George W. Bush authority to impose sanctions on Syria.

Armey said Syria has "a long and odious history of providing aid and comfort to the vilest of terrorist groups," and supports "radical Islamic forces as they launch attacks along Israel's northern border."

04/18/02 20:52 ET

6) Vandals throw paint at Jewish monument in Greece

ATHENS, April 17 (Reuters) - Vandals threw red paint at a Holocaust memorial in the northern city of Thessaloniki, in the second attack on Jewish monuments this week in Greece, officials said on Wednesday.

Television footage showed paint splashed on the menorah-like structure and the several wreaths laid at its foot, with the word "Palestine" painted on the flagstones below it.

"I cannot understand what this (conflict in the Middle East) has to do with the Holocaust," the local Jewish community's vice president Iakov Benmayor told reporters after the attack.

On Tuesday, police in the northern Greek city of Ioannina said vandals had destroyed three gravestones at the local Jewish cemetery.

Thessaloniki, home to more than 60,000 Jews before World War Two, built the monument recently to honour the thousands killed during the Nazi accupation of Greece.

The Jewish community in the city once known as "Mother of Israel" and "Second Jerusalem" was nearly anihilated during the war.

Anti-Semitic attacks have flared up in several European countries since Israel launched a military offensive in the West Bank late last month.

Greece, with long-standing friendly ties to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, has repeatedly urged Israel to end its West Bank incursions.

04/17/02 08:26 ET

CHRONOLOGY-Recent anti-semitic attacks in Europe

LONDON, April 18 (Reuters) - Attacks on Jews, synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and other Jewish sites have increased across Europe in recent months, in particular since Israel launched a military offensive in the West Bank aimed at rooting out Palestinian militants.

Following is a chronology of some of the incidents.

Feb 5 - FRANCE - Vandals paint a star of David and write "Dirty Jew" on a prominent modern bronze statue in Paris of French Jewish officer Alfred Dreyfus.

March 16 - GERMANY - A homemade grenade is thrown in a Jewish cemetery in central Berlin, no one is hurt.

March 30 - FRANCE - Masked ram-raiders smash a car into a synagogue in Lyon and set it ablaze.

March 31 - GERMANY - A group of seven or eight men attack two 21-year-old American Jews walking along one of Berlin's smartest streets after they visited a synagogue.

April 3 - FRANCE - An empty Jewish school bus is torched in the Paris suburb of Aubervilliers.

April 3/4 - FRANCE - Attackers in Montpellier throw firebombs at an office block in what appears to be a bid to target the Jewish religious centre located nearby. No one is hurt.

April 6 - FRANCE - Arsonists throw petrol bombs into a Jewish sports club in Toulouse, damaging furniture and equipment.

April 10 - FRANCE - Around 15 hooded attackers wielding sticks, metal bars and petanque balls beat up members of the Maccabi Jewish football team in Bondy, north-east of Paris.

April 12 - FRANCE - Vandals deface a Jewish cemetery in Strasbourg, painting swastikas and anti-Jewish slogans on about 20 tombstones and a wall.

April 13 - UKRAINE - Attackers beat up Jewish worshippers and smash windows at Kiev's main synagogue.

April 14 - GERMANY - A Jewish mother and her daughter were punched in the face by two attackers in a Berlin subway car.

April 16 - GREECE - Vandals damage gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in the town of Ioannina, home to a large Jewish community until World War Two.

April 17 - GREECE - Vandals throw paint at a Holocaust memorial in Thessaloniki and paint the word "Palestine" on flagstones below it.

-- GERMANY - Vandals cover the outer wall of a synagogue in Herford with anti-semitic graffiti.

04/18/02 07:03 ET


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