Newsletter : 3fax1009.txt
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Haifa Terrorist Crossed Security Fence
Not all the details are yet being allowed for publication, but the little that's known
indicates that the security fence was unable to stop the woman terrorist who wiped out
three families and seven other people in Haifa on Saturday. Arutz Sheva reported that the
terrorist murderer - a woman lawyer from Jenin - was able to leave her city, even though
the fence encloses it, and travel the 30 miles to Haifa. Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz
confirmed Wednesday that she arrived in Haifa in an Israeli-licensed car, supporting the
hypothesis that her accomplices were Israeli-Arabs.
Israel Increases Security, Citing New Threats
By VOA News & IsraelNationalNews.com
Israel has sent additional troops to the West Bank and Gaza Strip and is considering
calling up reserves because of warnings about planned terror attacks. The IDF said it was
likely that a number of battalions in the Central and Southern Commands would be called up
following the weeklong Sukkot holiday.
The recent significant escalation in terror warnings accompanied with an obvious
increase in attacks has forced the deployment of reservists alongside standing army
forces. The army has already cancelled classroom training and military exercises to
maximize the number of compulsory service troops available for Yesha (Judea, Samaria &
Gaza) duty but the current situation demands a more sizable force.
Earlier this week, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz approved the call-up of reservists for
Yesha duty, realizing the situation was deteriorating. Earlier Wednesday, the army
announced Arab motorists would be banned from Yesha roads in the Shomron during the coming
days; another move intended to prevent attacks against Israelis.
Ha'aretz reported that the army has information about five separate terror groups
trying to send suicide bombers into Israel. Israel also indefinitely extended a full
closure of the Palestinian territories, saying it must protect Israelis from attacks
during the upcoming Sukkot holiday that begins Friday at sundown and ends Oct. 18.
Israel locked down the West Bank and Gaza Strip last Friday to protect against terror
attacks during Yom Kippur, but a suicide bomber managed to blow herself up and kill 19
others in Haifa on Saturday.
Meanwhile, new Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia has offered to negotiate a
ceasefire with Israel. Israeli Labor Minister Zevulun Orlev, speaking on behalf of his
government, turned down the offer. He said Qureia must first prove himself with deeds and
Israel is demanding that the Palestinian prime minister fight the Palestinian Islamic
groups that have carried out terror attacks. Israel's deputy prime minister, Ehud Olmert,
said that the first step toward halting such attacks is reform of the Palestinian security
"All the [Palestinian] security organizations will be under one control and the
[Palestinian] government will start to act vigorously against terror," he said. "That's
what they [the Palestinians] will have to do and we will wait patiently to see if they are
Qureia, who says he has no intention of launching a crackdown against Palestinian
militants, has in turn rejected Israel's demands. He said he prefers a truce that is
binding on both Israel and the Palestinians.
In Lebanon, Israeli warplanes broke the sound barrier Wednesday - two days after
cross-border shooting killed an Israeli soldier and a Lebanese boy. And Reuters news
agency reported that Syria's ambassador to Spain threatened retaliation if Israeli forces
carry out more attacks in Syria. On Sunday, Israel fired missiles at what it called a
Palestinian militant training camp near Damascus. Syria said the target was a civilian
New Book Recalls 2002 Bethlehem Siege
By Laurie Kassman (VOA-Washington)
One of the most dramatic incidents in the Palestinian uprising, the Intifada, during the
past three years was the siege at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002.
Newsweek magazine correspondent Josh Hammer has written a book, A Season in Bethlehem that
describes the events surrounding the incident as a microcosm for the rest of the West Bank
Hammer's book provides a detailed description of Israel's 39-day siege of the Church of
the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem in April 2002. Israeli troops had
surrounded the church, traditionally believed to be the birthplace of Jesus, when 200
Palestinian fighters took refuge inside, along with some innocent bystanders caught in the
Israel's military had moved into Bethlehem as part of Operation Defensive Shield. Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon had launched the military campaign in the West Bank after a bloody
wave of suicide bombings in Israel. Hammer tells what happened when the Israeli troops
came into Bethlehem.
"The tanks and troops entered the Old City, which had never been before in previous
Israeli incursions. Basically, after a brief but intense battle they chased all the
militants into Manger Square and then across Manger Square into the Church of the Nativity
where they took refuge," the author explained. "And Israel then proceeded to besiege the
church for fear of causing damage to it. Rather than invading the church they decided to
wait out the gunmen holed up inside."
Palestinian gunmen finally emerged after a compromise was brokered with American help.
Most were expelled to Gaza. Thirteen were deported to Cyprus and several other European
countries that had agreed to take them in.
During his frequent reporting trips into the West Bank before and after the incident,
Hammer had come to know several of the people caught up in the chaos. They included
Bethlehem's beleaguered governor who disapproved of the Intifada, the commander of one of
the town's most-feared gangs and an Israeli reservist who found himself battling the
Palestinian fighters that day.
For many of the young fighters, he says, a deep sense of despair and unfulfilled dreams
could drive them to carry out suicide missions. "There are a few themes that seem to unite
some of them," Hammer pointed out. "A lot of the militants were in their late 20s. As
teenagers in the late 1980s most of them had gotten involved in the first Intifada, which
basically consisted of throwing rocks and stones and firebombs occasionally at Israeli
troops. Many of them had been jailed and served several years in the Israeli prisons in
the late 1980s and 1990s. And that seems to have been a very formative experience for most
of them. They were beaten, sometimes tortured, and harshly interrogated, deprived of
schooling and left there filled with if not an outward rage a buried rage waiting to
Hammer says the Palestinian Authority was not able or willing to curb the violence or
control the surge of gangs that created what he described as a lawless zone. Eighteen
months later, the Intifada has died down but, Hammer cautions, not the undercurrent of
violence. "It's petered out although the groups are still in the West Bank. They've been
driven underground. They still exist in some form."
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