- Groups affiliated with Palestinian Authority Chairman
Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement yesterday called upon all Palestinian organizations,
including the Islamic movements, to attack Zionist and American targets
everywhere in response to US efforts "to remove the legitimate leadership
of the Palestinian people."
- Fatah's military wing, al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, issued
a statement yesterday in which it threatened "to strike at Zionist
and American interests and installations" in Israel and throughout
the world if the United States maintains its opposition to Arafat.
- The statement warned US President George W. Bush that
it will return to the type of fedayeen operations that prevailed in 1970s
if what they called the conspiracy against Arafat continued.
- The statement called for boycotting US Secretary of State
Colin Powell and said there is a conspiracy to harm the Palestinian leadership.
- Arafat later issued a statement distancing himself from
the Fatah statement, saying it was not made in his name.
- Meanwhile, thousands of Palestinians chanting, "We
are not beggars," marched in Gaza City yesterday protesting against
a lack of work and food.
- In the West Bank, curfews were lifted for a number of
hours yesterday in all but two Palestinian cities where IDF forces have
been deployed in Operation Determined Path.
- In Jenin, Hebron, Ramallah, Kalkilya, and Bethlehem Israeli
security officials increased the number of curfew-free hours to allow local
residents to stock up on goods and high school students to take matriculation
exams. The curfews were reinstated in the late afternoon. Only in Tulkarm
and Nablus was the curfew not lifted.
- The IDF said it plans to lift the curfews imposed on
the West Bank towns and cities for longer periods in the coming days in
order to allow residents to go about their daily routine.
- Elsewhere, the IDF continued widespread arrests of Palestinian
- Soldiers from the Nahal haredi battalion yesterday arrested
Nizal Sawiftah, the head of Islamic Jihad in Tubas, northeast of Nablus.
- Security forces arrested Bilal Mohtasab, a Hamas activist,
and Munzar Jimil Abdel Razek Jaisidi, affiliated with Tanzim, in Hebron,
and a Hamas activist in Nablus.
- More Palestinians suspected of terrorist activities were
arrested in a village south of Tubas, and in Dahiniye and El-Bureij in
the Gaza Strip, security sources reported.
- According to Palestinian reports, security forces arrested
a Palestinian woman in Nablus who was planning to carry out a suicide bombing
- Soldiers arrested a Palestinian at the A-Ram roadblock
north of Jerusalem when he attempted to snatch one of their weapons.
- Soldiers checking a deserted car in Hebron found a pipe
bomb, ceramic flak jacket, a fragmentation grenade, and bullets, the IDF
- At the Dehaishe refugee camp southwest of Bethlehem a
bomb was thrown at a tank.
- Early yesterday, IDF forces entered the villages of Adora,
west of Hebron, Beit Rima, northwest of Ramallah, and Salfit, south of
Ariel and north of Ramallah, to search for suspects involved in terrorist
- In the Gaza Strip, a bomb was thrown at an IDF patrol
operating near Rafah. One soldier was lightly wounded and hospitalized.
Security forces later demolished three shacks on the outskirts of Rafah
due to continued attacks by Palestinians against soldiers operating in
the area. According to Palestinian sources, the IDF destroyed eight houses.
- A day after Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria peacefully
dismantled 11 of 20 encampments in accordance with a deal struck with IDF
and government officials, Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said 34
illegal encampments have to be dismantled for security considerations.
He said nine encampments were scheduled to be removed in two weeks, but
did not specify a time frame for the rest.
- Speaking on Army Radio, Ben-Eliezer said: "From
our documents and reports we have 34 encampments that are defined as illegal
and require evacuation for purposes of security."
- In the Gaza City march, the demonstrators expressed their
anger at the PA, accusing it of corruption, but stopped short of attacking
Arafat. At the end of the rally, demonstrators shouted slogans in support
of Arafat in response to Bush's call to oust him, according to a Palestinian
source. But in general, the mood was against the PA, the source added.
- "There is no problem with al-Khetiar [the old man],
but all faces around him must be removed," said Ahmad el-Laham of
the Khan Yunis refugee camp, as others nodded agreement.
- "Some of those who should be serving the public
are robbing the public," said Tawfik al-Mashwaki. He said he traveled
five hours through Israeli checkpoints to attend the rally.
- Most of the demonstrators were Palestinian laborers.
The crowd marched on Arafat's damaged headquarters to express its anger.
- "I warn that there is a hunger revolution coming...
It is not politics anymore, it is survival," said Bassam Abu Sharif,
an adviser to Arafat.
- Demonstrators demanded PA jobs or stipends. Several demonstrators
held up empty plates. Others accused officials of embezzling foreign aid.
- "Where is the money we see donated by Arab nations
on our TV screens? We get nothing," a man shouted. "It was stolen,"
- Palestinian officials warned that the harsh economic
situation, together with frustration, will lead people to support Islamic
extremists who are providing social and welfare networks and lead to more
- "This situation will only breed more suicide bombers,"
Abu Sharif warned.
- "Israel is the cause of all miseries, but the Palestinian
Authority has a duty to protect its citizens from hunger," said march
organizer Muhammad Dahman. Palestinians are unhappy with widespread corruption
and what they perceive the slow process of reform, he said.
- Arafat is under international pressure to make his government
more transparent and introduce due process to his institutions. Backed
by the United States, Israel says such reform is a prerequisite for the
resumption of peace talks. However, Arafat said he cannot proceed with
the reforms as long as Israel is imposing a curfew on most of the West
- "The Palestinian Authority is in deep financial
crisis because of the war of starvation launched against it by Israel and
because of an absence of international financial aid," said Palestinian
Labor Minister Ghassan al-Khatib.
- According to unofficial Israeli figures, at least 120,000
Palestinians worked in Israel before the intifada began, earning up to
$30 a day. According to World Bank statistics, 50% of Palestinians now
live on $2 a day or less.
- There is reportedly close to 60% unemployment in the
Gaza Strip. Dahman said at least 135,000 people lost jobs during the 21
months of violence, 40,000 of whom used to work in Israel.
- Itim contributed to this report.
© 1995-2002 The Jerusalem Post - All Rights Reserved