April 9 2002: News from Palestine
Translation to Arabic | Translation to most European Languages

Past News Archives
April 5 | April 7

Photo Gallery:
1) Israel attacks in Jenin, Protest in Paris..

Audio Reports:
1) Democracy Now!
Monday, April 8:
- Trying to Save Lives Under Siege: Israeli soldiers raid the Jenin refugee camp, killing at least 30 and wounding many more. But the Palestinian Red Crescent Society is blocked from the camp, and doctors in the hospital can't get out.
- Stop the Violence, Stop the Occupation: Thousands of Israeli Jews and Arabs march together demanding that Israel withdraw from the Occupied Territories and resume peace talks with the Palestinians immediately
- The Disappeared: In the last 10 days, thousands of Palestinian men have been arbitrarily detained and arrested. What has happened to them? Israeli human rights groups say that some are being tortured.
- Exclusive: AMother Pleads for Her Son's Life, Part II: As the Justice Department announces it will seek the death penalty for the so-called "20th Hijacker," Zacarias Moussaoui, Democracy Now! speaks with his mother in France.

News and Analysis:

1) Over 100 killed in Jenin (Palestine IMC)
2) "Terrorism" Is a Term that Requires Consistency (FAIR)

3) US Media Rules for Covering Israeli War (Seattle IMC)
4) Jenin Update (Palestine Monitor)
5) Hezbollah Leader Warns of Wider War (Assoicated Press)
6) Israeli Troops Pull Out of Two Cities (Assoicated Press)
7) Israel Allows Arafat to Meet Advisers (Assoicated Press)

1) Over 100 killed in Jenin
URGENT ALERT: Monday, April 08, 2002, 3:29
PLEASE NOTE: al-Jazeera and LAW are now reporting around 100 killed.

Please call/fax/e-mail your foreign minister, your prime minister, the Israeli ambassador to your country.

This is exactly what Palestinian activists, civil society organizations and human rights groups have feared – a combination of Ariel Sharon, open American support (or impotence), and an international community which refuses to take real steps to protect Palestinian civilians – initial reports are 40 people killed yesterday, and continuing today. Please pass around, please take action

- Note: this is from our sources from the Jenin refugee camp. The usual ways of confirming death tolls (hospitals, doctors) has not taken place. The dead are still lying on the streets.

Ittijah has just received a phone call from the Jenin refugee camp. The following is happening:

Israeli forces are in the Jenin refugee camp. They entered the refugee camp in tanks, simply demolishing everything. As of the time of this phone call, around 250 meters of the refugee camp, including shanty houses, have been destroyed. It is not known if there were people in the houses or not. Women and children were used as human shields for the tanks.

The Israeli army yesterday called upon people to gather in the courtyard of the mosque in the Jenin refugee camp. The refugees in the camp refused, seeing this as surrender, and vowing to protect their camp. Today, refugees who have left the Camp under Israeli fire were made to wear black. They are gathered in a field sealed off with barbed wire next to Salem village, close to the Green Line.

There are Palestinians remaining in the camp who refuse to surrender. According to our sources, they say they will not become refugees again.

The tanks are shooting at people in the street, including those already injured and dead. Israeli forces are still banning ambulances from entering Jenin refugee camp. There are no confirmations yet of how many people are dead or injured, as our source was calling from a mobile phone within the camp. There is a very real possibility that massacres are taking place. According to initial reports at LAW, a Palestinian human rights NGO in Jerusalem, forty residents have so far been killed and their bodies are still lying in the alleys and streets.

The following is from LAW’s report: “Dr. Muhammad Abu Khali, Head of Jenin Hospital, stated that on Saturday April 6, three ambulances were sent to Jenin refugee camp in order to evacuate the wounded but they were attacked by Israeli soldiers. On
Sunday, April 7, Israeli forces rounded up 150 residents and shot two Palestinians, Wadah al-Shalabi (32) and Abdel Karim al-Sa'di (23), in front of the eyes of their own families. LAW managed to identify five of the killed Palestinians: Samer Jaradat (25), Fadi Abu Ara (24), Mustafa al-Shalabi (32), Munir Wishahi (27) and Muhammad al-Hamed (30).

For more information, please call:
Mr. Ameer Makhoul
Ittijah: Union of Arab Community Based Associations
Mob: +972-(0)54 862 171
Tel: +972-4-850 7110
Fax: +972-4-850 7241
E-mail: ameer@ittijah.org

2) "Terrorism" Is a Term that Requires Consistency
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
Newspaper and its critics both show a double standard on "terror"
April 8, 2002

A group called Minnesotans Against Terrorism (MAT)-- which includes Gov.
Jesse Ventura, Sen. Paul Wellstone and other prominent political figures--
has condemned the Minneapolis Star Tribune for what it calls a "double
standard" on the use of the word "terrorism." But in fact, neither the
newspaper nor the organization applies the term "terrorism" in a
consistent way-- a problem that is widespread throughout U.S. media.

The organization's grievance against the Star Tribune is that the paper
says it avoids using the term "terrorist" in its reports on the Mideast
conflict. As the paper's assistant managing editor, Roger Buoen, explained
in a comment to the paper's ombudsman (2/3/02):

"Our practice is to stay away from characterizing the subjects of news
articles but instead describe their actions, background and identity as
fully as possible, allowing readers to come to their own judgments about
individuals and organizations.

"In the case of the term 'terrorist,' other words-- 'gunman,' 'separatist'
and 'rebel,' for example-- may be more precise and less likely to be
viewed as judgmental. Because of that we often prefer these more specific

"We also take extra care to avoid the term 'terrorist' in articles about
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because of the emotional and heated
nature of that dispute."

This policy of avoiding the term "terrorism" in favor of more specific
descriptions is a defensible policy-- so long as it is applied
consistently. But Buoen went on to acknowledge that the paper does make

"However, in some circumstances in which non-governmental groups carry out
attacks on civilians, the term is permitted. For example, Al Qaeda is
frequently referred to by the Star Tribune and other news organizations as
a 'terrorist network,' in part because its members have been convicted of
terrorist acts and because it has been identified by the United States and
other countries as a terrorist organization."

Here the paper is making distinctions that are not defensible. First, to
limit "terrorism" to "nongovernmental groups" is an illogical restriction.
Does a plane being blown up stop being terrorism if it turns out that some
nation's intelligence agency secretly ordered its destruction? To make
such an arbitrary distinction over the use of a word with such powerful
connotations certainly doesn't sound like "allowing readers to come to
their own judgments." (The Star Tribune's ombudsman noted that the
Associated Press also reserves the word "terrorist" for non-governmental

Similarly, to decide that it is all right to label Al Qaeda as a
"terrorist network," not because its specific actions fit a definition of
terrorism, but because the U.S. government has used that label in public
statements or in legal actions, is not allowing readers to make up their
minds but letting the state make up their minds for them.

Furthermore, the September 11 attacks are certainly an "emotional and
heated" subject-- probably more so than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
for most of the Star Tribune's readers. Since the reasons the paper cites
for calling Al Qaeda "terrorist" also apply to the Palestinian
organization Hamas, one can't help but wonder if the Star Tribune's
different treatment of these groups has to do with the greater degree of
outrage its readers would feel if the paper declined to use the term in Al
Qaeda's case.

So MAT has a point when it charges the paper with a double standard. But
the organization itself has a similar double standard when it comes to its
definition of terrorism. "Calling the targeted killing of innocent
civilians anything but terrorism is completely unconscionable," says Marc
Grossfield, the group's co-founder, in a press release (4/2/02). But do
they really mean it?

FAIR asked Grossfield if his organization would refer to the bombing of
Hiroshima as a terrorist act. "No, we would not," he responded. Yet it
would seem to fit MAT's definition precisely: Hiroshima was targeted
precisely because the city, lacking significant military targets, had
escaped previous bombing damage, so its destruction by a single bomb would
send the starkest possible message to Japan about the price the nation
would pay if it refused to surrender. So why isn't that targeting of
civilians, who died on a scale undreamed of by any suicide bomber,
considered to be terrorism?

"The use of weapons of mass destruction in WWII against an evil force who
had engaged in genocide is not something that this organization is willing
to judge," was MAT's official response.

So targeting civilians stops being terrorism when it's done to combat an
"evil force." Of course, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who
targeted civilians anywhere who did not consider the force they were
fighting to be "evil." This is a definition of terrorism that hinges on
whether or not one agrees with the reasons for killing civilians.

In fact, the only consistent definition of terrorism is based on the
deliberate killing of civilians to achieve political goals-- not on
whether the killers are backed by a state or not, and certainly not on the
methods they choose to use to kill their victims. A consistent definition,
however, is one that virtually no news organization would be willing to

They would have to refer to the "terrorist" bombings of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, to U.S. support for "terrorist" governments in Central America
that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, to the U.S.'s "terrorist"
attacks on civilian infrastructure in Iraq and Yugoslavia. (The attacks on
water treatment facilities in Iraq alone have certainly-- and
deliberately-- killed more civilians than any Palestinian group; see The
Progressive, 9/01.)

And they would have to use the word "terrorism" to describe actions by
both sides in the Israeli-Palestian conflict. Consider a May 1996 report
from Human Rights Watch on Israel's tactics in Lebanon earlier that year:

"In significant areas in southern Lebanon whole populations-- indeed
anyone who failed to flee by a certain time-- were targeted as if they
were combatants.... The intention of the warnings that were broadcast and
subsequent shelling is likely to have been to cause terror among the
civilian population.... The IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] also executed
what appear to have been calculated direct attacks on purely civilian
targets.... The IDF at times hindered and even attacked ambulances and
vehicles of relief organizations, and carried out a number of attacks on
persons attempting to flee the area."

If news organizations are prepared to describe such tactics as terrorism,
then they should consistently apply the same term to non-governmental
groups that target civilians. If media are unwilling or unable to be
consistent, then they should, indeed, avoid the use of the word
"terrorism," instead describing specific activities and letting readers
make up their own minds what they should be called.

3) US Media Rules for Covering Israeli War
by Jonathan/IMC Seattle • Sunday April 07, 2002 at 05:22 PM

Original article is at http://jerusalem.indymedia.org/news/2002/04/7284.php

Taking a look at Israel/Palestine war coverage in the US mainstream press, we can see a number of unspoken rules which editors and producers are applying to the news. It’s useful to examine these rules and consider what they shield us from understanding.

Rule 1: Blame Yasser Arafat.
The scene was almost comical: Secretary of State Colin Powell telephoning, badgering Arafat to broadcast a ban on suicide bombings, while the Palestinian leader was literally blockaded inside his office, and while Israeli Defense Force troops had occupied Palestinian radio and television stations (at the time, the IDF-occupied television station in Ramallah had reportedly replaced news bulletins with hardcore pornography). Israeli and US government propaganda consistently overstates Arafat's control over the politically diverse, beleaguered, increasingly desperate Palestinian population, and while such statements are commonly treated with skepticism elsewhere in the world, the US media rarely seeks a critical perspective.

Rule 2: Blame Palestinians.
It is possible to imagine a big sign taped to the front door of ABC (or FOX, or CNN or the Washington Post, etc.): "Remember the formula: Palestinians = terrorists; Israelis = defending their country’s right to exist." Palestinian civilians taking refuge in a church, under siege by well-armed IDF troops, are "gunmen"—even if the great majority of them are unarmed.

The social situation of US journalists on the ground in Israel may also have an effect on reporting. According to former NPR reporter Steve McNally, many well-intentioned American reporters come to identify with the lifestyles, fears and concerns of middle class Israelis, simply as a result of where they choose to live. Few journalists are regularly based in Palestinian areas, where restricted mobility, fear of attack and the relative lack of resources make living less comfortable. McNally believes that this trend colors much news reporting from the region, leading journalists to view Palestinians with reduced sympathy.

Rule 3: Downplay US ability to intervene. Dismiss US responsibility.
Until Bush called for Israeli troops to withdraw (undercutting the urgency of his statement by planning to dispatch Secretary of State Powell to the region—but not until the following week), administration rhetoric made the Israel/Palestine conflict sound like it was taking place far beyond the US sphere of influence. The mainstream media in this country rarely challenge that idea, even though the US subsidizes the Israeli military to the tune of $2.4 billion annually (on top of another $1.2 billion in general economic aid), making the US an overshadowing player in Israeli military activity.

Egyptian president Hosni Mubarrak recently charged that the United States, as Israel’s powerful sponsor, bears primary responsibility for the current situation. Policymakers in Israel, too, realize their dependence upon the approval of the US government—and thus of the American public. Former Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu noted in a recent Jewish Star Times editorial Israel’s need to retain American public sympathy; in the same breath he simply scoffed at the criticisms of the rest of the world. Netanyahu’s and Mubarrak’s comments, reported in the international press, were largely ignored in US media conversations about whether we should "get involved."

Rule 4: Green light for racist depictions of Arabs and Islam.
After a post-9/11 season of self-congratulatory discussions about the American values of tolerance and diversity, the mainstream media is once again peppered with racist assertions about "the arab mind," "the disarray of the Muslim world" or Islam; we learn from Reuel Gerecht of the Wall Street Journal that "Arabs only respect strength."

Rule 5: Stay on message.
This evident rule encourages journalists never to mention Israeli violence, except in the context of prior Palestinian violence. Although the practice of contextualizing stories about a conflict may seem like a way of achieving balance, "balance" is not always the same as "objectivity." In this case, the concern with "balance" can conceal the vast imbalance of power separating the powerful IDF and the terrorized Palestinian civilian population. That imbalance is starkly evident in the comparative death tolls since the beginning of the second Intifada: over 400 Israelis killed, 1500 wounded; over 1300 Palestinians killed, 18,700 wounded.

Contrary to these facts, American mainstream media have generally reproduced US/Israeli government propaganda, giving the impression that Israel is the victim of illegitimate Palestinian aggression. A FAIR study released earlier this month demonstrated that Israeli violence is characterized as "retaliation" far more often than Palestinian violence in mainstream network coverage of the conflict. In Israeli and US government usage, Palestinian violence against Israelis is "terrorism," but never the other way around.

These ways of confusing and distorting coverage have unfortunately become habitual for newsrooms like that of CNN, where journalists covering the war in Afghanistan were directed to contextualize reports on Afghan victims by reminding viewers of the American victims of Sept. 11. A similar directive may now be in place regarding Israeli attacks. After days of studiously ignoring actual conditions in the Occupied Territories, on April 3 network anchor Carol Lin spoke with Sean Riordan, an Independent Media Center journalist working in Bethlehem. As Riordan described the Israeli assault on Bethlehem, Lin stopped him to interject, "I've got to say though, you know, obviously there are two sides to every story." Incredibly, the anchor went on to lecture Riordan on-air about the proper (pro-Israel) spin to the story, and closed by trivializing and contradicting his statements.

When another CNN story quoted Riordan in passing later in the day, he was identified not as a journalist, but as an "activist," i.e. someone who has chosen sides in a conflict (unlike, we are supposed to understand, CNN). However, in this and many other cases, it doesn't take much critical thinking to see that CNN's own reporting is often anything but unbiased.

This kind of critical thinking is within easy grasp, if we as readers and listeners seek out alternative and non-American media voices, listen to them, and take them seriously. As participants in a democratic society, we must listen, even when (in fact, especially when) they are telling us that we bear responsibility for terrible crimes being committed with our government's funding and approval.

4) Jenin Update
The Palestine Monitor, A PNGO Information Clearinghouse

8th April 2002

The United Nations refugee camp of Jenin, a one-kilometer square patch of
land home to 15,000 people, has for the past five days been under a
sustained Israeli military attack. Israeli forces have used apache
helicopters, tanks, and ground-to-ground missiles to shell and bombard the
civilians in the camp. The Israelis themselves estimate that more than one
hundred people have already been killed in the onslaught; Palestinians
believe the number will be much higher as many of the 100s of injured will
die because, since the beginning of this atrocity, they have been prevented
from receiving medical care.

Yesterday in the camp soldiers rounded up males between the ages of 15-45
and interned them in a yard. One elderly man was shot dead by soldiers as he
obeyed their orders and left his house.

Bulldozers have been used to destroy homes in order to make the streets and
alleyways wide enough for tanks to move down when the Israeli army
eventually takes over the whole camp. The camp has not had electricity or
water for five days now, and Dr. Barghouti reports that the Medical Relief
Committees have received calls from people who have no food or water and
have been reduced to drinking dirty water running in the streets. People lie
injured in the streets, and the bodies of those killed sit in the houses and
streets, decomposing.

At the same time the sick and wounded are still being denied medical care. A
few hours ago the Red Cross coordinated the movement of three ambulances,
from the city of Jenin to the camp. A mere 50 yards from the hospital the
ambulances were fired upon and forced to return to the hospital, yet more
proof of the discrepancy between what the army and government says the are
doing, and the reality of the situation.

A woman (she did not want her name used) whose son was killed on Friday, and
she has yet to see or bury his body described the past days to us. She said
“we were inside the camp, sitting inside our homes with shells falling all
around us, from everywhere. In the streets we could see a few bodies of the
dead and many people injured from the shelling– they were close but we
couldn’t get them because of the danger. Many houses were destroyed, and it
was smoky because of the fires. We have stayed there five days – we had no
electricity, no food, and no water.

At 5AM this morning the soldiers banged with their guns on our door. They
said we had to leave – so the 60 men, women and children who were in our
house left. They made us leave with their guns pointed on us – all the way
to where they had gathered all the men, women and children together. Then
they forced the men to strip to their underclothes. We had to wait and wait,
sitting on the ground for hours, the soldiers even spat on us. Then they
took the men away – we don’t know where. At 11 am they let us, the women and
children, leave the camp – forced us into the city – where there is still a
curfew. Where can we go? Some of the people have family in the city – and
some of the city people have taken us – but now there is a bigger problem
for them. Already there was not enough food, no water, and no electricity in
the city. And now all of us have to also be with them - these people we do
not know.”

This is the third time since 1948 that these people in Jenin refugee camp
have been forced to leave their homes by the Israeli army.

For more information contact Juliana at the Palestine Monitor
+972 (0)2 5834021 or +972 (0)2 5833510

5) Hezbollah Leader Warns of Wider War
Monday, April 08, 2002 10:51 PM EDT

KFAR CHOUBA, Lebanon (AP) -- As Hezbollah renewed cross-border attacks on Israeli troops Monday, drawing Israel's retaliation, its leader warned a wider confrontation was possible but said the Lebanese guerrilla group was focusing for now on a disputed border area.

Hours after Sheik Hassan Nasrallah's speech in the capital, Beirut, rockets were fired from southern Lebanon toward the Israeli border town of Kiryat Shemona. Three booms jolted the nighttime silence, followed by the sound of Israeli warplanes flying overhead.

But Syria's U.N. ambassador told the Security Council on Monday that Lebanon has confirmed ``at the highest level'' that it has no intention of opening a new front in the Mideast conflict.

Syria is the main power in Lebanon and Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe's statement followed warnings from Israel and the United States that attacks by Hezbollah guerrillas from south Lebanon across the U.N.-drawn boundary with Israel threaten to widen the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In Israel, security sources said three Katyusha rockets landed in open fields in the Upper Galilee, but there were no reports of casualties. The army said it was checking the report.

There was no word on who fired the rockets, the latest in several attacks that no one has claimed responsibility for in recent days. Lebanese authorities have arrested nine Palestinians in the earlier attacks.

Lebanese Hezbollah, which usually claims responsibility for its own actions, earlier Monday said its fighters attacked six Israeli positions in the Chebaa Farms area, a disputed stretch of farmland on Lebanon's border with the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan.

An Israeli warplane retaliated with three rockets at the outskirts of the Lebanese village of Kfar Chouba. Israeli guns also shelled other areas in the vicinity, including near the village of Ghajar, which is partly in Lebanon and partly in the Israeli-occupied Golan.

Israeli warplanes also blasted targets near the town of Hasbaya, about 10 miles north of the Israeli border and about 5 miles north of Israeli positions in Chebaa Farms. Guerrillas fired at least one surface-to-air rocket at an Israeli jet. There was no word on casualties.

The strike was the deepest in Lebanon since July 1, when Israeli warplanes hit a Syrian army position in the Bekaa Valley near the Syrian border, accusing Damascus of supporting the guerrillas.

The sharp escalation in the conflict during the past few days has led American, U.N. and European Union diplomats to warn Israel and Lebanon of the danger of reviving the war along their border. The border had been largely quiet since Israeli troops withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000, ending an 18-year occupation.

The violence has flared as Israel pressed its offensive against Palestinians in the West Bank.

Hezbollah leader Nasrallah said Palestinians were appealing to his group to enter the fighting to help them relieve the pressure from the Israeli incursion in the West Bank. But he said for now, he will continue to exercise restraint and limit the fighting to the Chebaa Farms area.

Nasrallah, speaking to about 2,000 supporters at an underground conference hall in the Hezbollah stronghold of south Beirut, speculated Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon could be planning mass expulsions of Palestinians, which could provoke more intense fighting.

``We must keep weapons for this,'' Nasrallah said.

Hezbollah is believed to possess hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Katyusha rockets that can strike deep inside Israel. Israel has accused Iran, Hezbollah's main backer, of supplying thousands of long-range rockets to the Shiite Muslim group for the purpose of striking deep inside Israel's heartland. Usually, such missiles have a range of up to 13 miles.

The guerrillas have used Katyusha rockets on numerous occasions during the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon.

``We should be prepared to face the worst. ... We keep this choice (of weapons) for the worst-case scenario,'' he said.

Turning to the United States, which labeled Hezbollah a terrorist organization, Nasrallah said Washington was a ``full partner'' with Israel in attacks on Palestinians. He said the Americans had the power to bring about a cease-fire, but did not want to.

But according to the Israeli defense ministry troops plan to pull out of the West Bank towns of Qalqiliya and Tulkarem early Tuesday. The announcement came two days after President Bush urged Israel to start pulling its troops out of the West Bank without delay.

On Monday, Israel called up additional reserve units to serve near the border. A day earlier, fighting between the Israeli army and Lebanese guerrillas injured seven soldiers and sent residents of northern Israeli into bomb shelters for an hour.

Lebanese President Emile Lahoud discussed the situation in the south with Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. A Presidential Palace statement quoted Hariri as saying the efforts were focused on contacts taking place to solve the situation in south Lebanon. It gave no details.

Although the government has backed Hezbollah's claim to Chebaa Farms, officials have recently cautioned against expending the conflict so not to give Israel the pretext of striking deeper into Lebanon.

6) Israeli Troops Pull Out of Two Cities
.c The Associated Press

NABLUS, West Bank (AP) - After yet another stern warning from President Bush and under increasing world pressure, Israel began withdrawing early Tuesday from two of the West Bank cities it occupied.

Tanks and troops rolled out of the northwest towns of Tulkarem and Qalqiliya after a week's occupation, both sides said. But shortly after the pullout began, soldiers, tanks and helicopters invaded the small southern West Bank town of Dura, the Israeli military said.

A statement issued by Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer on Monday night said that the departing troops would maintain a cordon around Tulkarem and Qalqiliya. Ben-Eliezer said the operation was a success and ``dealt a heavy blow to the terrorist infrastructure'' in the cities, where weapons were seized and wanted militants were arrested.

Israel still occupies other Palestinian population centers, maintaining a heavy presence in the West Bank cities of Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus and Jenin.

The Defense Ministry announced plans to pull out of the two towns shortly after Secretary of State Colin Powell arrived in Morocco on the first stop of his peacemaking mission. King Mohammed asked him bluntly, ``Don't you think it was more important to go to Jerusalem first?''

In response, Powell demanded ``a clear statement from Israel that they are beginning to withdraw'' from Palestinian-held territories and ``to do it now.''

Nevertheless, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has pledged to continue the offensive, which was launched 12 days ago in response to a wave of suicide bombings. Speaking before Parliament on Monday, he accused Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat of leading a ``regime of terror'' that Israel would dismantle.

White House press secretary Ari Fleischer expressed cautious optimism after Israel announced its plan to withdraw from the two towns.

``It's a start,'' Fleischer said. ``As the president said ... all parties in the Middle East have responsibilities and the president expects all parties to step up to them.''

Powell said he was encouraged but hoped the move would not be ``a little bit of this and a little bit of that,'' with advances in some areas and pullbacks in others.

Also Monday, world oil prices spiked as much as 6 percent in a fresh wave of anxiety after Iraq said it was halting crude exports for 30 days to demonstrate support for the Palestinians. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said it would not deter Bush from seeking the Iraqi leader's ouster.

``We ought to remind them that they're going to have a hard time eating their oil,'' Rice said in a speech in Texas, suggesting that Saddam needs money from oil exports more than the United States needs Iraq's oil.

At Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, fire broke out during a gun battle between Israeli soldiers and more than 200 armed Palestinians holed up inside. The violence threatened the delicate ties between the Vatican and the Jewish state.

In Nablus, the West Bank's largest city, the Israeli military said Tuesday that it had found 16 bomb-making laboratories in Nablus. After six days of fighting, dozens of gunmen surrendered to Israeli troops while scores more lay wounded or dying on a mosque floor. Doctors lacking even the most basic supplies operated without anesthetics.

Israeli helicopters also pounded the Jenin refugee camp with missiles, and bulldozers flattened homes as gunmen retreated. Israeli officials estimated more than 100 Palestinians have been killed in the camp in recent days.

Israeli Brig. Gen. Eyal Shline said the armed men ``seem to have decided to fight to the last, to make the battle as bloody as possible,'' and that several blew themselves up in suicide attacks on soldiers.

Addressing Parliament, Sharon said Israel's assault was a response to a ``murderous insanity which has taken hold of our Palestinian neighbors.''

After the operation, Israeli forces will withdraw to unspecified buffer zones in the West Bank, Sharon said. He added that ``the places we leave must have a responsible Palestinian leadership that will take over the areas.''

Sharon appeared to be suggesting he would only do business with Palestinians not affiliated with the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinian reaction was angry. Cabinet Minister Saeb Erekat said Sharon's ``endgame all along was to dismantle the Palestinian Authority,'' and that Israel would not find Palestinians to go along with such a plan. Erekat said Sharon was defying the United States by refusing to stop the offensive immediately.

In Jerusalem, U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni met with Sharon. U.S. officials said he restated demands for an immediate withdrawal from the Palestinian territories.

Sharon told Zinni that Israel must remain in the areas until the anti-terror campaign is completed to prevent a return of suicide bombers, said Sharon adviser Danny Ayalon.

Palestinian residents of Qalqiliya and Tulkarem had offered relatively little resistance to the Israeli occupation. Fighting has been more intense in other cities, such as Jenin and Nablus in the north.

In Ramallah, Israeli tanks and troops continue their siege on Arafat's office, preventing people from entering and leaving.

There was a widespread feeling in Israel that the timing of Powell's trip - he will not reach Israel until later this week - and some wording used by U.S. officials suggested an acquiescence with continuing the offensive for a few more days.

Israeli troops and tanks rumbled into the West Bank on March 29, beginning a hunt for weapons, explosives and militants who have terrorized the country with suicide bombings and other attacks.

More than 1,500 Palestinians have been arrested by Israel since then, including 500 to 600 fugitives, among them 70 to 80 involved in planning attacks on Israelis, Israeli military officials said.

Before daybreak Monday, Israeli attack helicopters began firing missiles at the Jenin refugee camp after militants ignored calls to surrender. By early afternoon, Israeli forces controlled almost the entire camp. The military said about 150 men surrendered early Monday, but Abdel Salam said only women, children and the elderly left the camp. The militants were ready to fight to the death, he said.

Two Israeli soldiers were killed in the Jenin camp Monday, the military said.

In Nablus, army officials said dozens of gunmen had surrendered and troops controlled about half the Old City - a densely populated maze of stone buildings and narrow streets.

In Bethlehem, a senior Israeli army officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said two border policemen who were shot and wounded by Palestinians threw a smoke grenade into the compound surrounding the Church of the Nativity, sparking a fire.

The fire burned for about an hour in a second-floor meeting hall above the courtyard of St. Catherine's, a Roman Catholic church adjacent to the basilica that marks the traditional birthplace of Christ. It destroyed a piano, chairs, altar cloths and ceremonial cups, clerics said.

Sharon told Parliament that soldiers would surround the church until the gunmen inside surrender. The Franciscans, meanwhile, accused Israel of violating a pledge not to attack the church. Church officials said the clerics were not hostages and would stay in the compound.

04/09/02 01:51 EDT

7) Israel Allows Arafat to Meet Advisers
.c The Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) - Easing Yasser Arafat's isolation, Israel has permitted the Palestinian leader to meet with four senior advisers at his besieged headquarters, Israeli officials said Tuesday.

Arafat has been confined to a few rooms of his headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah by Israeli troops since March 29. However, Israel is under growing U.S. pressure to ease the restrictions as part of a renewed cease-fire effort led by Secretary of State Colin Powell, who is to arrive in the region later this week.

Last week, the U.S. envoy to the region, Anthony Zinni, was permitted to meet with Arafat for 90 minutes at the Ramallah compound. At the time, Israel denied a Palestinian request that Arafat be allowed to consult with his advisers at the headquarters.

Raanan Gissin, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said Tuesday that Israel's security Cabinet, which met late Monday, decided to permit the meeting to assist U.S. cease-fire efforts.

Gissin said four senior aides would be allowed to meet with Arafat at his headquarters.

``It's a one-time thing ... it doesn't change the siege or his isolation,'' Gissin said.

04/09/02 02:42 EDT


Back to PeaceNoWar Home Page