New uprising erodes settler security, morale, says Fatah : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

New uprising erodes settler security, morale, says Fatah Occupied Jerusalem | Reuters | 10/12/00

A Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation has built on gains made in an earlier revolt by turning Jewish settlers into virtual prisoners in their own homes, a Palestinian leader in the West Bank said yesterday.

Marwan Barghouthi, one of the most senior officials in Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction, said increased pressure on settlers was a major achievement of the 10-week-old Palestinian revolt in the West Bank and Gaza.

"This Intifada has succeeded in turning settlements into detention camps for the settlers and military bases for Israeli troops," Barghouthi told Reuters on the 13th anniversary of the start of the first Palestinian uprising or Intifada.

"Bypass roads, built on occupied lands, are also 'liberated' because settlers are afraid to use them," said Barghouthi, chief West Bank coordinator of the latest Palestinian uprising. Barghouthi was speaking as Palestinians across the occupied territories held a second so-called day of rage to mark the anniversary of the start of an 1987-93 uprising.

There are some 200,000 Jewish settlers in 145 settlements living amidst more than three million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Under interim peace accords Israel agreed to freeze settlement building until a final peace agreement was sealed.

Palestinians say it is legitimate to target settlers in their uprising as they are armed and as their settlements are illegal under international law. Palestinians see settlements as instruments used by Israel to consolidate its occupation.

"The first Intifada succeeded in diminishing occupation and led to the establishment of the first National Authority on our Palestinian lands," Barghouthi said. "This Intifada will continue and this is the people's strategic choice. It will definitely go on until it achieves independence," he said.

The previous Intifada began on December 9, 1987, and ended when Arafat signed the historic Oslo interim peace deal with Israel in 1993. The accords gave Palestinians self-rule in less than 20 percent of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In the latest uprising, Israeli forces have killed 258 Palestinians and 13 Israeli Arabs and Palestinians have killed 38 Israeli soldiers and civilians, including several settlers, according to an unofficial Reuters tally.

Barghouthi said it appeared settlers were so scared of attacks by Palestinians that they had restricted their daily routines to the extent of becoming confined to their own houses. Some settlers had fled to Israel, he said.

Israeli lawmakers have confirmed that tens of settler families have taken refuge in Israel in recent weeks amid fears for their safety, while others were willing to go if the state offered them financial compensation.

Unlike the previous Intifada, the latest confrontation has seen Israeli forces use combat helicopters and tanks. This time around Palestinians have mainly thrown stones and petrol bombs, but armed action has also come from Fatah gunmen who have fired pistols and rifles at Israeli troops and settlements. Palestinians have also set off some roadside bombs.

-- Martin Thompson (, December 10, 2000

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