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Posted: 12/3/2001 2:06:56 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/3/2001 2:21:19 AM EDT by PaoloAR15]
[b]26 killed, 275 hurt in 12 hours of terror[/b] By Aluf Benn, Amos Harel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon returns from America this morning to right-wing demands that Israel topple Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority after the worst 24 hours of terrorism inside Israel since 1996, carried out by suicide bombers in Jerusalem and Haifa, and by gunmen in the territories. Three bombings near midnight in Jerusalem on Saturday killed 10 youngsters and injured 235 other people. Yesterday afternoon in downtown Haifa, a suicide bomber on a bus killed 15 people and wounded 38. A civilian was also shot dead in northern Gaza, an IDF soldier was seriously injured near Jenin, and a Border Policeman was wounded near Tul Karm. The PA yesterday ordered scores of Islamic militants arrested and promised harsh action after U.S. President George Bush appeared to give Arafat an ultimatum to rein in Palestinian terrorist organizations. Last night Israeli security sources dismissed the arrests of about 50 people as "lip service ... far away from the top-ranking leaders of the organizations." By press time last night the arrests had been mostly in Jenin refugee camps that were home to many of the suicide bombers of the last months. Some Palestinian arrests were documented by journalists to ensure that reports of the action was disseminated, and Palestinian radio and television carried repeated official statements saying the PA would not tolerate separate militias that acted in contravention of PA policy. An official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the 50 arrested last night would be followed by another 150, possibly even by midnight last night. West Bank Preventive Security Chief Jibril Rajoub said those involved in the bombings "would pay the price." Bush and other world leaders pressed Arafat to crack down on the terrorists. "The Palestinian leader must do everything in his power to find those who murdered innocent Israelis and bring them to justice," Bush said, and he called on other Arab leaders to get involved. "This is a moment where the advocates for peace in the Middle East must rise up and fight terrorism." (to be continiued 1 of 3 pages)
Link Posted: 12/3/2001 2:08:49 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/3/2001 2:09:23 AM EDT by PaoloAR15]
Foreign Minister Shimon Peres contacted his foreign counterparts, including top Jordanian and Egyptian leaders and Europeans, to ask them to press Arafat to take serious action against the militia groups. There were reports of a planned emergency meeting today between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah to consider applying joint pressure on Arafat. Peres's message to the foreign leaders was that if Arafat doesn't rein in the extremists, the Palestinian leader's days at the head of the PA would be numbered. Echoing Bush's comments, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Britain and the European Union demanded Arafat move against groups backing terrorism. Pope John Paul II told pilgrims at the Vatican that the attacks were "sorrowful and worrisome" and urged prayers for peace. "It must be understood that we are at a turning point," said Science, Culture and Sports Minister Matan Vilnai, who had traveled with Sharon to the U.S., a visit cut short by the 24 hours of bloodletting. Vilnai did not say how Israel would retaliate but warned the Palestinian Authority was "endangering its existence" by not cracking down on militants. A senior government source in the prime minister's entourage said the cabinet meeting this morning would discuss toppling Arafat. "Arafat will be judged according to his actions, not his declarations," said Peres. Infrastructure Minister Avigdor Lieberman, education Minister Limor Livnat, and Public Security Minister Uzi Landau, called for expelling Arafat and sending the army into Palestinian-controlled territories. While waiting for the prime minister's return, the IDF, under orders from Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, tightened travel restrictions, barring Palestinians from driving on most West Bank roads. Army sources said while they have plans for a major crackdown on the terrorist infrastructure, it would not be a "perfect solution." They appeared to indicate that no new military tactics would be employed, but the range of strategies used over the past several months - incursions into PA areas, assassinations, use of commando operations and air attacks on specific Palestinian installations - would be greatly intensified. The defense minister met last night with U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni, who denounced the attackers as "the lowest form of humanity," but said the violence would not derail his efforts to arrange an Israeli-Palestinian truce. Some Palestinian officials accused Israel of provoking the latest upsurge of violence with its assassination of Mahmoud Abu Hanoud, the leader of the Hamas military wing in the West Bank. Abu Hanoud - who had masterminded several suicide bombings in Israel - was slain on November 23, a few days before Zinni arrived for his truce mission. "The assassination of Abu Hanoud ... provoked the response of the crazy people who did what they did," said Rajoub, with whom Israel has managed to work out local deals enabling IDF pullouts from Bethlehem, Bet Jalla, and other West Bank towns. [b]Arafat's responsibility[/b] "Arafat is responsible for the strategy of terror and the coalition of terror and he finances terror groups," said a government source in the prime minister's entourage. (2 of 3 pages)
Link Posted: 12/3/2001 2:16:51 AM EDT
Sharon's meeting with Bush was advanced from Monday so the prime minster could return home for the crisis. During the hour-long session at the White House, Sharon told Bush Israel does not expect Arafat to take serious action against the militias, so Israel would act on its own. Bush told Sharon he expects Arafat and the PA to take decisive action. Echoing what U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said earlier in the day in TV interviews, Bush said "the time has come for action, not words." Powell called it a "moment of truth" for Arafat and the PA. The senior government source in the premier's entourage said that Sharon did not present any detailed plans to Bush about what Israel was going to do, other than to make clear the plan to step up its actions against terrorism in the territories. Nor did Sharon speak about what Israel would do "after Arafat." The source said "we've never believed out lives depended on Arafat" and Sharon believes the Hamas would replace Arafat if he were toppled. As for Zinni, the senior source said "as long as there can be a contribution by Zinni, we'll respect that." But the source also said the government's job now is to "make sure the terrorists are struck in the hardest way possible and the organizations cease to exist - but on the other hand, to do everything to prevent war." Sharon spoke with Peres and Ben-Eliezer several times during the brief U.S. visit, and updated the foreign minister after the meeting with Bush. Despite the ongoing dispute between Peres and Sharon, the senior government source said he did not expect a coalition crisis. "This is a long struggle, but we will win this war," said the source. (3 of 3 pages)
Link Posted: 12/3/2001 4:09:58 AM EDT
PaoloAR15, I think this 'problem' will resolve itself very soon! You have seen the film of the Palestinian Authority's arrests of the 'terrorists'? It doesn't appear that these 'terrorists' are putting up much of a fight against being taken into custody! Wonder why? Because they will be released as soon as the cameras stop rolling. Notice that no 'big name' terrorists are being arrested. And Arafat is one of the biggest terrorists in history. Eric The(SaddenedOverThisWeekend'sEvents)Hun[>]:)]
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