FW: Palestinians plan to strike back

Barry Stoller bstoller at SPAMutopia2000.org
Sat May 12 09:23:29 MDT 2001

Guardian; BBC; Reuters. 12 May 2001. Israel's policy of ethnic cleansing
intensifies; Palestinians plan to strike back; Iraq to assist. Combined

Israeli helicopters have carried out a rocket attack on a car parked
near the Palestinian Authority security headquarters in the West Bank
town of Jenin, killing two people and injuring several more.

The vehicle, reported to have belonged to a member of Palestinian leader
Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, was reduced to a burning, twisted pile
of metal.

Palestinian policeman Ala'a Jahoudi was killed by shrapnel as he stood
close to the car.

A man inside the car, identified as Mo'tassem al-Sabbah, died of severe
burns. He was said to be a senior member of the Tanzim, a militia
associated with Fatah.

Witnesses said four helicopters flew overhead and fired at least three
rockets into the car.

Israel has killed at least 30 Palestinians who it suspected were
responsible for attacks against its citizens and soldiers during the
seven month uprising.

Palestinians have condemned what it calls Israel's "policy of

Witnesses say the first rocket missed the car, giving three other men
time to escape before the other rockets struck. Mr Sabaa was hampered by
a leg injury.

"I am sure that the gunships were targeting one person," witness Ghassan
Samer said.

"This is terror by the Israelis, they put terror in the heart of the
people by shelling a car near so many people."

Reuters news agency quoted Tawfiq al-Tarawi, the head of Palestinian
intelligence in the West Bank, as saying that the Israelis were
targeting an intelligence officer named as Abdel-Karim Oweis. Mr Oweis
was injured in the attack, but the extent of his injuries is not clear.


Armed Palestinian factions are split over the best military strategy for
forcing Israel out of the West Bank and Gaza. A big debate is going on
behind closed doors, with some wanting to target Israeli soldiers and
Jewish settlers on the West Bank and Gaza, while others want to expand
the war into Israel.

Abu Leila, head of the radical Democratic Front for the Liberation of
Palestine (DFLP), said his group, with Fatah and the small People's
party (the former communists), backed the first strategy. Islamic Jihad
and Hamas want to take the war into Israel.

Abu Leila's group, which until now has taken a minor role in military
action, yesterday claimed responsibility for attacking an Israeli army
post in Gaza with hand grenades.

Hussan Tahfish, a 16-year-old Palestinian, was killed yesterday, shot
dead after throwing stones. The DFLP, the third largest faction within
the PLO, says that limiting the battle to Gaza and the West Bank will be
viewed sympathetically abroad as a battle against occupation. Bridges,
roads and other key points could be bombed to disrupt the movement of
both settlers and Israeli troops.

They believe that car bombs, suicide bombings and other attacks inside
Israel are counter-productive, and confirm Israeli fears that if it
gives up the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinians will simply continue
the war until they recover all of Israel.

Abu Leila, 60, an Iraqi, told the Guardian that there was an important
split over tactics.

Speaking at his party's headquarters in Ramallah, he said: "Everyone
agrees, more or less, that armed action is necessary in retaliation for
Israeli aggression." But, he said, "suicide missions give the Israelis
the impression that Palestinians are out to get them."

In Ramallah yesterday, gunmen fought for at least two hours with Israeli
troops, who replied with tank shells.

He said differences over strategy are "debated from time to time but we
all take into consideration that Israelis are bombing and shooting, with
children wounded and killed. It would not be acceptable from a popular
point of view to publicly debate this disagreement at the present time."


A second group of Iraqi volunteers began military training on Saturday
to enable them to fight alongside Palestinians in their uprising against
Israel, the Iraqi News Agency INA reported.

INA said a first group of several thousand fighters had finished a
two-month stint of military training to prepare them to join
Palestinians fighting Israeli troops.

President Saddam Hussein, in an open letter to the Iraqi people on
February 17, ordered the formation of 21 military divisions. A day
earlier U.S. and British warplanes had raided targets near Baghdad.

According to official figures nearly seven million Iraqis have
volunteered to fight with the Palestinians against Israel.

Its offer to provide military support for the Palestinian uprising is
widely seen as symbolic, since the Israeli army firmly controls access
routes into the areas affected by the conflict.

Earlier this week Saddam offered Palestinians living in territories
under the Palestinian Authority free education in Iraqi universities.

The Iraqi leader has promised aid of $276 million to help the families
of Palestinians killed or wounded in their uprising and a further 700
million euros $644 million to buy food and medicine for the


Barry Stoller


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