Fatah Calls For Attacks
On US And Zionist Targets

By Margot Dudkevitch and Lamia Lahoud

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 terrorists.
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 in Israel.
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 reported.
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 attacks.
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," others responded.
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 extremism.
"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 Bank.
"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.
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