Israeli Security forces on terror alert : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Security forces on terror alert By Margot Dudkevitch

JERUSALEM (October 20) - Police and IDF remain on high alert following warnings of Islamic extremists' plans to launch terror attacks inside Israel or against Israelis and security forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Fueling the concern is skepticism about reports that the Palestinian Authority has begun rounding up Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists it released in recent weeks. Among the hard-core fugitives still believed at large are suicide bombing masterminds Mohammed Deif and Mahmoud Abu Hanoud.

With the full knowledge of the PA, Palestinian organizations have called for two "Days of Rage" tomorrow and Sunday during the Arab League summit in Cairo. They called on the public to escalate confrontations with Israeli security forces in an attempt to gain support.

The terror warnings came as an explosion ripped through the Bethlehem headquarters of the Preventive Security Service and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat's Force 17 yesterday, killing two. Five people were said to be injured.

Palestinian radio and TV stations said that IAF helicopter gunships rocketed the building, but later retracted the claim after the IDF issued a strong denial. The army also said it offered help to the Palestinians, but its offer was turned down.

After the explosion, which rocked most of Bethlehem, hundreds of people gathered in the city center.

Israeli security officials last night cast doubt on PA claims that the explosion was caused by a gas canister that ignited ammunition kept in a storeroom next to the building, saying they did not rule out that it was a bomb being prepared for a terror attack that exploded prematurely.

Anticipating violence after today's Friday prayers at the Temple Mount, Jerusalem police announced last night that they will limit the number of Palestinians allowed on the site. For the second Friday in a row, only Palestinians older than 40 will be allowed to enter the Mount.

Last Friday's prayers passed peacefully, after two weeks in which young Palestinians stoned Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall, forcing their evacuation.

Security officials pointed to numerous violations yesterday of the Sharm e-Sheikh cease-fire. In addition to the shootings on Mount Ebal, there were shooting incidents throughout the day in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.

Last night, shots were fired at Psagot, near Ramallah, and also at IDF positions along the Egyptian border. Early yesterday morning, snipers fired two shots at IDF troops deployed in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo.

In the West Bank, shots were fired at IDF troops at the Ayosh junction, north of Ramallah, at Shdema near Beit Sahur, at El Khader near Bethlehem, and at Israeli vehicles travelling on the Gush Etzion tunnel road.

IDF soldiers returned fire only if they identified the source of fire. Numerous stonethrowing incidents also took place.

Shots were fired last night from a passing car at an IDF vehicle travelling from Kfar Darom to the Gush Katif junction. No one was injured, and IDF soldiers fired warning shots in response.

Palestinians demonstrated in several areas of the Gaza Strip: at the District Coordinating Office in the northern Gaza Strip, Netzarim junction, Gush Katif junction, and near Neveh Dekalim, where a roadside bomb was detonated as a bus passed. No one was injured.

In the afternoon, hundreds of Palestinians gathered at the Erez crossing and threw firebombs and stones at IDF troops. Firebombs and stones also were thrown throughout the day at IDF posts along the Egyptian border.

Arieh O'Sullivan and Etgar Lefkovits contributed to this report.

-- Martin Thompson (, October 20, 2000


Nando Times

Israel refuses to cooperate with U.N. inquiry

The Associated Press

GENEVA (October 20, 2000 7:03 a.m. EDT - Israel on Friday refused to cooperate with a United Nations inquiry into alleged human rights violations in the treatment of Palestinians protesters in West Bank and Gaza. The refusal came after the U.N. Human Rights Commission condemned Israel over the violence that has raged since Sept. 28.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement rejecting a resolution passed Thursday by the commission, which set up the inquiry and blamed Israel "widespread, systematic and gross violation of human rights" during the violence.

The resolution, which described some of Israel's actions as "war crimes," was passed by 19 votes to 16, even though the United States and European nations voted against.

"The resolution, accepted by a slight majority of Arab countries and their supporters, is hostile, unbalanced and unnecessary," the foreign ministry said. "Israel will not cooperate in the implementation of the operative part of this resolution."

Clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem has left more than 100 dead, almost all Palestinians.

The commission's vote mandates Mary Robinson, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, to lead a team to the area to take stock of rights violations "by the Israeli occupying power."

The United States and European countries had claimed that passing the resolution could endanger the progress made earlier this week at the Sharm el-Sheik summit.

"Its language is one-sided and vituperative. Its prescriptions are at variance and in conflict with those agreed to by the parties themselves," said U.S. representative Nancy Rubin.

But Palestinian spokesman Nabil Ramlawi rejected the suggestion that the move would damage the work of the summit.

"I believe the Israelis themselves do not want peace," Ramlawi said. "Any action from the international community in supporting the Palestinians in their struggle against the Israeli occupation can only help."

The Palestinians were also hoping for condemnation of Israel from the General Assembly. At U.N. headquarters in New York, European Union diplomats were trying to persuade the Palestinians to soften language in their draft of an assembly resolution.

The resolution is expected to be adopted at the conclusion of a special emergency session of the 189-member assembly that began on Wednesday and was expected to continue Friday.

The United States has refused to even negotiate with the Palestinians on the General Assembly resolution, which would single out Israel for condemnation for the violence that followed the Sept. 28 visit to a site holy to Muslims and Jews by hawkish Israeli politician Ariel Sharon and the "excessive use of force" by Israeli forces.

The Palestinian draft would pass even without the EU votes, since a majority of countries would likely vote in favor and there is no veto in the assembly. But Arab nations appeared willing to at least discuss certain amendments with the Europeans in hopes of winning wider support for the resolution, which unlike a Security Council resolution is not legally binding.

Earlier this month, Israel came under heated criticism at the Security Council. In the end, the council condemned the "excessive use of force" against Palestinians. The United States abstained from the vote after trying to weaken the text.

-- Rachel Gibson (, October 20, 2000.

Jer usalem Post

Friday, October 20 2000 02:50 21 Tishri 5761

More than 200 attacks on Jewish targets By Chani Cohen

JERUSALEM (October 20) - More than 200 attacks on Jewish targets have occurred world-wide since the beginning of the month, parallel to the violence in the Middle East, Simon Wiesenthal Center dean Rabbi Marvin Hier said yesterday.

"These attacks are just the tip of the iceberg. It has been a long time since we have seen signs in Germany reading 'Death to the Jews,'" Hier said at a press conference in Jerusalem.

The Wiesenthal Center is demanding that the United Nations formulate a resolution condemning the more than 200 antisemitic attacks worldwide, including more than 60 on synagogues, such as an attack this week on a synagogue in Damascus.

"This is the largest number of attacks on synagogues since 1938, and the world has been silent," the center's associate dean, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, said. "We will try to make sure that the same democracies that voted against Israel in the recent resolution condemning Israel, as well as the United States who did not veto the bill, will take a leadership role in the international arena in speaking out against these hate crimes. If the UN charter is to have meaning then the international community, through the UN, needs to speak out against antisemitism."

According to the center, there has been an unprecedented increase of antisemitic attacks throughout Europe - on synagogues, schools, and individuals - since the UN issued a statement earlier this month condemning Israel for the use of excessive force.

From the nature of the crimes, as well as brochures and Internet material distributed by various hate groups, it appears that the Palestinians are finding allies among right-wing extremists in Europe and the United States.

"If the extreme European right unites with the Moslem cause, then we will find ourselves in a totally different situation that is out of control," said the head of the Wiesenthal Center's Israel office, Dr. Efraim Zuroff.

Center officials are expected to meet soon with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and plan to try to make it an issue in the United States presidential elections.

Hier attributes the reluctance of governments to speak out on behalf of the Jewish people, to politics.

"It is hard to look oil in the eye and cast blame for the attacks against the Jews," Hier said. "But the issue should not be how the Arabs will react, but rather that synagogues are being burnt. Governments are afraid and do not want to be put on the spot, but that is exactly what we need to do.

"I can assure you that if the situation was reversed and 60-70 mosques were burnt, and the Arab nations were to demand a UN resolution, they would get it," he added.

Hier said he is also dissatisfied with Israel's passivity.

"Israel is most likely being so quiet on these events because they presently have their hands full," Hier said. "However, this is strategically a big mistake. Israel has the moral responsibility to Jews all over the world to demand from the United Nations that we do not want domestic sympathy, but rather an active solution."

-- Rachel Gibson (, October 20, 2000.

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