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Al Ahram: Israel overruns Gaza
by Al-Ahram Weekly (reposted)
Friday Jun 30th, 2006 6:23 AM
Israel overruns Gaza in its anger over the kidnap of an Israeli soldier, reports Khaled Amayreh from Gaza
As this report was being prepared on Tuesday afternoon, the Israeli army was threatening to overrun Gaza and cut off electricity, water and food supplies to its estimated 1.3 million inhabitants. By dawn on Wednesday, the Israeli army had already occupied Gaza International Airport and several other parts of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army had already imposed a hermetic blockade of the Gaza Strip, demanding the immediate release of an Israeli soldier taken prisoner by Palestinian resistance fighters who, on Sunday 25 June, attacked an Israeli army outpost at Keren Shalom near Rafah. Two guerillas and two Israeli soldiers were killed in the attack, in addition to four other Israeli troops injured, one seriously, during the gun battle that lasted no more than five minutes.

The fighters, reportedly affiliated with the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) and Hamas's military wing, the Ezzeddin Al-Qassam Brigades, slipped into the Israeli outpost via a 530-metre-long tunnel, attacking it with RPG and destroying a tank. Having succeeded in taking the Israelis by surprise, the guerillas took with them as they withdrew to Gaza a young Israeli army corporal who apparently froze of fear, seeing his two comrades burn to death inside their armoured vehicle.

Furious beyond reason, the Israeli military and political establishment used every threatening word in the lexicon, vowing, among other things, to assassinate Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniya, destroy his home, and murder all Palestinian leaders if the soldier was not released. One Israeli politician called on the government to turn Haniya's home into a parking lot.

The threats were not merely verbal. The Israeli army massed hundreds of tanks just outside the Gaza Strip from Beit Hanun in the north to Rafah in the south, threatening to "crush Gaza" and "finish the terrorists".

Of course, the Palestinian guerilla attack was by no means an act of terror, even by the tendentious American standard. It was an act of resistance targeting a blood-stained occupation army who this month alone murdered as many as 40 Palestinians.

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by Al-Ahram Weekly (reposted)
Friday Jun 30th, 2006 6:23 AM
Under the pretext of fighting terrorism, Israeli military activities continue to destroy the lives of Palestinians, reports Erica Silverman from Nablus

"They [Israeli military] enter, they shoot innocent civilians, and cause destruction. I want the whole world to see the destruction," cried Samir Al-Harwri standing amidst piles of charred rubble and smoldering ash, all that remained of his gold shop in the marketplace of Nablus just after an Israeli incursion into the crowded city centre last Wednesday. Samir and his son watched Israeli bulldozers push six burning cars against their family business operated by three generations for 50 years. He estimates it will cost over $50,000 to repair the damage."They are trying to destroy the economy of Nablus," said Mayor Adaly Yaish, as he toured the destruction, estimating damages to the Nablus economy at half a million dollars. Israeli forces invade the city daily, said Yaish, waving between the smoking shells of vehicles. Crowds gathered, trying to assess the damage and extinguish the flames made by the major Israeli operation that received little media coverage.

Early that morning Israeli Special Forces, operating undercover as Palestinians, entered Al-Yasmeen Hotel in the centre of the market, according to hotel manager Salem Hantoli. "They forced the employees to take off their clothing, searched them, and then brought down the guests," reported Hantoli. A shaken American tourist said the unit announced they were conducting a "counter-terrorism" operation.

At midday the Special Forces were discovered near the hotel and a force of 30 jeeps invaded the city to evacuate them. Crowds of young men surrounded the jeeps hurling stones, and set one ablaze with a Molotov cocktail. According to witnesses the Israeli bulldozer piled several civilian cars on top of the burning jeep, and then pushed the cars adjacent to the shops. Within minutes the marketplace was burning. As shopkeepers tried to escape the flames Israeli forces fired sonic booms into the air. Two small children were shot in the legs, and several others injured.

Speaking from Hamas legislative offices just a few blocks from the chaos, Sheikh Hamed Bitawi, a Hamas lawmaker said, "All the aggression inside the green line is a reaction to the attacks against Palestinian civilians," as Israeli gunfire surrounded him. How resistance to the occupation should proceed is a point of contention in the continued ne

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Friday Jun 30th, 2006 6:24 AM
The motives behind the invasion of Gaza comprise more than just securing the release of a kidnapped Israeli soldier, reports Khalid Amayreh from the West Bank

Ignoring international -- including American -- calls for a diplomatic solution to the latest Israeli- Palestinian crisis following the abduction of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian guerillas earlier this week, dozens of Israeli tanks and armored personnel carriers rolled into Gaza before dawn Wednesday.

At the time of going to press the Israeli army had penetrated several kilometres into southern Gaza and taken over the former Gaza airport, thoroughly bulldozed and destroyed by the Israeli army long before last year's redeployment from the Strip.

Backed with armored vehicles and tanks, Israeli soldiers were also deployed in northern Gaza, training their guns towards Beit Hanon and Beit Lahya.

The invasion was preceded by the Israeli air force's bombing of three bridges in central Gaza, originally built through a grant from the European movement.

The operation, dubbed "Summer Rain", was launched after Palestinian guerillas refused to release an Israeli soldier captured during a daring operation against an Israeli army outpost inside Israeli territory, not far from the Israeli border settlement of Karen Shalom.

Two Israeli soldiers and two guerillas were killed in the lightening attack. But what has infuriated the Israeli political and military establishment most is the abduction of the soldier, a 19-year-old corporal, the son of a French immigrant, by the remaining six guerillas who took him into Gaza, hoping to swap him for Palestinian children and women interned in Israeli jails and detention camps.

Israel is believed to be holding as many as 91 Palestinian women and girls, as well as hundreds of children and minors, some without charge or trial.


JERUSALEM — Ahlam Tamimi was sentenced by an Israeli military court to 16 life sentences: one for each person killed in an attack on a restaurant in August of 2001. Ms. Tamimi brought the bomb in a guitar case to a suicide bomber who blew himself up in the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem. Sixteen people were killed in the attack, including five members of the same family.

Ms. Tamimi is one of 109 Palestinian women and 313 Palestinian children under the age of 18 who are sitting in Israeli prisons as security prisoners, the Israeli prison authority said yesterday.

Palestinian militants from the military wings of the Popular Resistance Committees and Hamas yesterday demanded the prisoners’ release in exchange for an Israeli soldier they abducted Sunday.

The women are accused of acts such as planning suicide bombings, aiding suicide bombers, preparing suicide-bomb belts, attacking Israeli soldiers with knives and being members of a terrorist organization.

“Sixty-four of the women and 91 of the youth have blood on their hands,” prison authority spokeswoman Orit Stelster said.

While Hamas is the most infamous Palestinian organization, known for its attacks on civilians and its unwillingness to recognize Israel, most of the Palestinian women in Israeli jails are from Fatah, an organization that recognizes Israel’s right to exist, to which Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas belongs and with which Israel is willing to negotiate.

“About 35 per cent of [the women prisoners] are from Fatah, about 20 per cent are from the Islamic Jihad and about 20 per cent are from Hamas,” Ms. Stelster said. “The rest are from smaller terrorist groups.”

Palestinian children in Israeli jails are boys ranging in age from 13 to 18. Most of them were jailed for carrying knives at Israeli military checkpoints or throwing Molotov cocktails at Israeli military jeeps in the West Bank.

Recently it was revealed that boys are deliberately trying to get arrested by Israeli forces by carrying knives or simple bombs. The youths are poor and living under great duress, some in cities such as Nablus that are under siege for extended periods.
Friday Jun 30th, 2006 12:09 PM
by you're making progress
Friday Jun 30th, 2006 12:56 PM
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