Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter

Source: Division for Palestinian Rights (DPR)
31 October 2004



Division for Palestinian Rights

Chronological Review of Events Relating to the
Question of Palestine

MONTHLY MEDIA MONITORING REVIEW
October 2004


1

Massive Israeli forces advanced into the northern Gaza Strip on the heels of recent attacks on Israel, with the stated aim of limiting such attacks. Some 200 tanks and armoured vehicles were reported to have entered Gaza the previous night. At least 44 Palestinians and five Israelis had been killed, and over 100 Palestinians injured since tanks rolled into the northern Gaza Strip three days earlier. Seven Palestinians were killed during the continuing Israeli attack, as troops took control of a 9-km “buffer zone” between the Jabalya refugee camp and the border of Gaza. Israeli tanks fired at least 10 shells at PA President Arafat’s HQ west of Beit Hanoun, killing one Palestinian in the building. Five Palestinians were killed by missile strikes on the Jabalya refugee camp, while one was killed near the “Erez” crossing. The latter was one of seven Palestinians arrested by Israeli soldiers near the Gaza-Israel border, shot while trying to escape. (Albawaba.com, BBC, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Gulf News, The Jerusalem Times, Reuters)

At least 12 Palestinians were killed and scores injured on the fourth day of an Israeli military operation in the northern Gaza Strip codenamed “Days of Penitence”. A second Palestinian was killed at the “Erez” crossing after he and other militants had tried to storm the border area between the northern Gaza Strip and Israel, sources on both sides said. That attack, carried out by eight persons, was jointly claimed by Hamas and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. (AFP, Albawaba.com)

PA Ministers Saeb Erakat and Nabil Sha’ath expressed dismay at US Secretary of State Powell’s criticism of the intifada, adding that there would be no progress in the peace process until after the US presidential elections. Mr. Erakat denounced the Israeli raid in the Gaza Strip as “a war crime and state terror”, and said he feared all of Gaza would soon be reoccupied. (AP, Ha’aretz)

Commenting on Israel’s military incursions, a White House spokesman said that Israel “has the right to defend itself”, but urged both sides to promote the Road Map. The US State Department stated that Israel had the right to defend itself but it was urged “to avoid civilian casualties and minimize humanitarian consequences”. The EU’s Presidency, held by the Netherlands, condemned the attack on Sderot and called Israel’s military retaliation “disproportionate”, noting that many casualties were Palestinian civilians, including children. (BBC, Reuters)

The French Foreign Ministry spokesman Herv Ladsous said that France was “deeply concerned” by the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip. “We have condemned the rocket strikes which led to the deaths of two children in Sderot two days ago. Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorism but must do so with respect for international humanitarian law. Recourse to violence is not a solution,” he said. (AFP, BBC)

The Russian Federation urged Israel to refrain from using “indiscriminate” force in the Gaza Strip. “Russia urgently calls on Israel to avoid the indiscriminate use of force, especially in densely populated Palestinian territories, and to abide by international humanitarian norms as it pursues its right to self-defence,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. (AFP)

2

Two Hamas members, Mehdi Jamal Mustapha, 35, and Khaled Ramadan Al-Amriti, were killed in an Israeli strike on their car on a main road in Gaza City, which also wounded four bystanders. Earlier, Israeli forces killed four Palestinians carrying Kalashnikov rifles who had crossed Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip into the western Negev, according to Israeli sources. In the early hours, three other Palestinians were killed and four others wounded when an Israeli helicopter fired at a crowd of people near the Jabalya refugee camp, according to Palestinian hospital sources. Witnesses said the victims wore uniforms of the Islamic Jihad. (Albawaba.com)

PA President Arafat called on the international community to act immediately to put a stop to the Israeli military campaign under way. “I call on the entire world to act immediately and rapidly to stop the criminal and racist attack launched by the Israeli army” on the northern Gaza Strip, he told journalists outside the muqataa in Ramallah. He said that the Israelis were “using inhumane and illegal weapons, such as fragmentation bombs”. (AFP)

Prime Minister Sharon told Army Radio that Israeli forces would operate in the Gaza Strip until all Palestinian rocket fire against Israeli towns had been halted. He also called on his Defence Minister and top army officers to come up with “new ideas”. “Get the best minds working and find additional solutions. This is a complicated struggle. I have directed the Defence Minister to do everything possible to find new methods as the need arises,” he said. (Albawaba.com)

3

At least ten Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire as more than 200 Israeli armoured vehicles raided the northern Gaza Strip, supported by attack helicopters, fighter planes and unmanned surveillance drones. Israeli tanks flattened a kindergarten, houses and factories in the Jabalya refugee camp. The dead included two 14-year-olds, a 13-year-old and Raed Abu Wadi, 36, a deaf and mute man who was standing on his balcony when an Israeli sniper shot him. Palestinian sources identified one of four Hamas members killed as Faris Al-Masri, a field commander in northern Gaza and brother of Hamas spokesman Mushir Al-Masri. Medical sources also confirmed that Ramy Qudass, Misbah Al-Rantissi, Yasser Bhbeez, 20, and Mohammed Al-Shrafy were killed in the attack. Palestinians launched at least three Qassam rockets into Israel according to an IDF spokesperson. Israeli armoured brigades have isolated the three major population centres in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, including the Jabalya refugee camp, Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun. (AFP, Albawaba.com, The Washington Post)

The following statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General was issued in New York:

(UN press release SG/SM/9518)

The Palestinian Legislative Council met in an emergency session and issued a statement in which it suggested that militants stop firing rockets at Israel. “The Palestinian Legislative Council, while asserting our people’s right to resist Israel’s ugly occupation, calls on all factions to put this resistance in a strategic frame that is consistent with the Palestinian higher interests,” the statement said. The PA Cabinet declared a state of emergency. It had earlier called for international intervention, humanitarian help for the people of Gaza and denounced the “world’s silence in the face of the magnitude of the crimes committed". PA Foreign Affairs Minister Nabil Sha’ath called for an emergency meeting of the signatories of the Fourth Geneva Convention to demand that Israel respect its provisions regarding the treatment of civilians under occupation and in time of war. (AFP, Ha’aretz)

The League of Arab States asked the UN to address the “grave Israeli aggression on the Palestinian people”. It also called on Secretary-General Kofi Annan to prepare a report on the Israeli “crimes” against the Palestinian people and asked Governments and relief agencies to send humanitarian aid. It would appeal to the UN for urgent action to halt the “continuing war of extermination against the Palestinian people”. Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa said the attacks were “in violation of international law and the Geneva agreements”. Several Arab countries, including the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), condemned the Israeli offensive. The GCC called it “organized state terrorism.” (AFP, Albawaba.com, AP, Ha’aretz, The Washington Post)

Prime Minister Sharon said Israel would expand the offensive in the Gaza Strip until militants had stopped firing rockets into Israel. Hamas spokesman Mushir Al-Masri said at a rally of 4,000 in Gaza City, “The Qassam rockets will not stop as long as the occupation exists”. (Ha’aretz, Reuters)

4

At least eight Palestinians, including a child and a teenage girl, were killed by the IDF in separate incidents, bringing the death toll to over 70, with over 250 injured since the start of military operations on 28 September. A helicopter fired a missile at a crowd of Palestinians in the Jabalya refugee camp, killing one person. More than 100,000 Palestinians live in the Jabalya refugee camp. A pre-dawn air strike at the refugee camp killed four Palestinians, including a Hamas field commander, who were allegedly planting a bomb. One Palestinian was shot dead by soldiers as he entered an area in which the troops were operating. Asma Dwidar, a 16-year-old Palestinian girl, was killed within the refugee camp after being hit by a bullet in the chest. The International Committee of the Red Cross had dispatched vehicles to distribute food and water in the hardest-hit neighbourhoods where power and water had been cut off for days. A medical source at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City said Israeli forces had repeatedly fired on ambulances and medical workers attempting to remove the dead and wounded. One Palestinian was killed near an Israeli settlement in the southern Gaza Strip. A 4-year-old Palestinian boy was killed by a stray bullet fired by Israeli forces near his home on the outskirts of the village of Khuzaa in the southern Gaza Strip, witnesses and medics said. The boy was hit in the head when soldiers guarding Israeli bulldozers clearing farmland near Khan Yunis fired warning shots. An Israeli military source initially denied any shooting by the army in the area. (AFP, BBC, DPA, Reuters)

UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen sent a letter to Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Silvan Shalom demanding an apology for allegations made against an UNRWA ambulance driver in the Gaza Strip. Israeli’s military and its UN Ambassador alleged Israel had footage of a rocket being transported in an UNRWA ambulance. An initial investigation by UNRWA and analysis of the footage had established that the object in question was a stretcher. In the letter Hansen said, “It is appalling that, with the serious conflict now raging in the northern Gaza Strip, where UNRWA ambulances are operating in constant danger alongside those of other humanitarian agencies to try to save and transport scores of wounded Palestinians to hospital, the Government of Israel would put out such deliberately inciteful, false and malicious propaganda, encouraging IDF soldiers on the ground (or in the air) to think that UNRWA ambulances and other humanitarian vehicles are transporting terrorists and weapons. […] I request an immediate public retraction and apology from the Government of Israel.” (UNRWA press release HQ/G/31/04)

Later in the day, Rami Assalleya, a 26-year-old Hamas member, was killed in the Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip when an IDF tank fired a shell at a group of Palestinians. Another Hamas member was seriously injured by shrapnel. (Xinhua)

Hamas fired rockets into Israel despite Israel’s massive military offensive undertaken to stop such attacks from the Gaza Strip. One Qassam rocket hit a college campus in Sderot, slightly wounding a man, police said. A second hit the town’s industrial zone, but reportedly caused no damage or casualties. (AFP)

Secretary-General Kofi Annan would launch an investigation into Israeli allegations that Palestinian militants had used UN ambulances to carry weapons and would ask Israel for proof to support its accusations, said his spokesman Fred Eckhard. He added that the Secretary-General had “no reason whatsoever to doubt” the conclusions of UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen who had demanded a retraction and apology from the Israeli Government. UNRWA held a news conference on 3 October in Gaza to respond to the Israeli charges, showing what it said was the Secretary-General Kofi Annan would launch an investigation into Israeli allegations that Palestinian militants had used UN ambulances to carry weapons and would ask Israel for proof to support its accusations, said his spokesman Fred Eckhard. He added the Secretary-General had “no reason whatsoever to doubt” the conclusions of UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen who demanded a retraction and apology from the Israeli Government. UNRWA had held a news conference on 3 October in Gaza to respond to the Israeli charges, showing what it said was the ambulance seen in the Israeli video and presenting its driver and rescue workers to reporters. Rescue worker Wahel Ghabayen, 38, said he had run with a stretcher to a school in Jabalya on 2 October after he had heard that someone there may have been wounded. He said the wounded boy had already been moved by the time he arrived. “I came back to the car with the stretcher, and I folded it and threw it inside the car,” he said. “If it was a missile, I would not throw it into the car but would put it in carefully.” Earlier in the day, Mr. Hansen said in an interview broadcast by CBC TV he had no qualms with the fact that some Hamas members were among UNRWA’s many employees. “Oh, I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll and I don’t see that as a crime. Hamas as a political organization does not mean that every member is a militant, and we do not do political vetting and exclude people from one persuasion as against another,” he said, stressing that all staff were required to respect “UN standards and norms for neutrality”. (AFP, AP)

The UN Security Council convened a meeting at the request of the Arab Group. A draft resolution sponsored by Algeria, Pakistan and Tunisia demanded an immediate halt to Israeli incursion into the northern Gaza Strip and urged Israel and the Palestinians to immediately implement the Road Map. The Permanent Representative of Algeria said he hoped for a vote on the draft by the following day at the latest. “Taking into account the gravity, the urgency of the situation, the seriousness of the situation, we need to have the Security Council take a decision quickly,” Ambassadir Abdallah Baali said. Ambassador John Danforth, Permanent Representative of the US to the UN, dismissed the text as biased. “What the Security Council should say, if it says anything, should be said to both sides. Many speakers today have spoken about the cycle of violence and that is exactly what it is. One side acts, the other side reacts, then more reaction and more violence. And round and round it goes. And unfortunately the United Nations, both the General Assembly and the Security Council, instead of saying stop it to both sides, acts as the adversary of Israel and the cheerleader of the Palestinians. That is not the way to peace. That is not the Road Map to peace,” Mr. Danforth said. British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry, President of the Council, said there was “strong support in the Council for the resolution”. (AFP)

Secretary of State Powell repeated the US position that Israel had a right to defend itself, saying before arriving in So Paulo, Brazil, “Mr. Sharon finds the need to respond to that. I hope it does not expand. I hope that whatever he does is proportionate to the threat Israel is facing and I hope this operation can come to a conclusion quickly.” (AFP, Xinhua)

5

Israeli troops continued their operation in the northern Gaza Strip. A Palestinian gunman was killed by an Israeli tank shell fired at the Jabalya refugee camp. To the south, Israeli troops shot dead a 13-year-old schoolgirl from an observation tower in the Tal al-Sultan neighbourhood of Rafah. Dr. Ali Musa, head of Rafah hospital, said the body of Iman Al-Hams was riddled with 20 bullets, including five in the head. Israeli military sources claimed troops had fired at the girl after she crossed into a restricted zone and was spotted planting “what seemed to be an explosive charge”. Omar Khalifa, 29, a local garage owner, told AFP he saw troops firing in the direction of Iman and two other pupils. “The girl started to run away and soldiers then fired at her satchel which she had thrown on the ground. Three troops got out of a tank positioned next to the tower and fired at her. They formed a circle around her body and only allowed rescue workers to take it away half an hour later.” According to AFP, her death brought to 78 the number of Palestinians who had died in the Gaza Strip since Israel launched its offensive on 28 September and the overall number of Palestinian deaths since the beginning of intifada, to 3,414. (AFP)

The Israeli Air Force fired a missile at a group of Palestinians in the Jabalya refugee camp early in the day, witnesses said, killing one, a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, and wounding three others. Anonymous Israeli military sources told AP the target was a group of armed Palestinians, but would not comment on a Palestinian claim that an unmanned drone fired the missile. (AP, Reuters)

Hamas member Mussa Jabarin, 45, was shot dead after an army unit surrounded his house near the village of Sair, north of Hebron. Israel Radio quoted an IDF spokesman as saying the soldiers had found a rifle with Mr. Jabarin after he was killed. (AFP, Xinhua)

Fawaz Fakhan, 28, and Ibrahim Tawahiya, 35, both members of Force 17, and an Israeli policeman were killed in an Israeli raid on a Ramallah grocery store overnight. Nine other Palestinians were arrested, including Muzid Sawafta, 27, a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades who had been hiding for several years, wanted for alleged involvement in suicide bombings and other anti-Israeli attacks. Israeli authorities later said they were investigating whether the policeman, Staff Sergeant Ronen Beb-Meiri, 31, was the victim of “friendly fire”, Israel Army Radio reported. (AFP)

Hundreds of Palestinian schoolchildren aged between 10 and 17 clashed with IDF troops near Hebron while protesting the Israeli offensive in the northern Gaza Strip. Children threw stones at an army position and troops responded by firing tear gas and rubber bullets, lightly injuring three teenagers. (AFP)

Israel Radio reported that Israeli and Egyptian security officials were expected to meet on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing to discuss Israel’s disengagement plan and the future control of the “Philadelphi route”. Israeli security sources said there was no connection between the meeting and any talks on ending the IDF operation in the northern Gaza Strip, but said Israel would discuss a ceasefire if its Egyptian hosts asked them to do so. (Xinhua)

An unnamed Israeli military official said Israel and the PA had begun negotiations aimed at ending the weeklong Israeli operation in the northern Gaza Strip. Israel would withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip only if the PA promised to prevent any rocket attacks against southern Israel, said the official, adding that contacts were expected to accelerate in the coming days. PA Minister Saeb Erakat responded, “I have no knowledge of such contacts but the position of the PA has been consistent in calling upon Israel to resume peace negotiations immediately and speak to the PA instead of destroying it”. (Xinhua)

Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz told Yediot Ahronot, “We will intensify our activity on the ground and in the air. The only way to lower the level of terror is to strike at it, to strike at it and again to strike at it. I can’t say exactly how many weeks the operation will continue. We will take every course of action, and we will persevere with it as long as necessary... The deeper the IDF activity is, the more limited the fire on Sderot will become.” (AFP)

Nizar Rayyan, a senior Hamas leader in the Jabalya refugee camp, said his movement was working on anti-aircraft missiles to counter Israeli airstrikes. He called upon all Palestinian militants to take all necessary security measures against Israel’s unmanned reconnaissance drone. (Xinhua)

The IDF issued a statement saying it was re-evaluating its claim that Palestinian militants had used a UN vehicle to transport a home-made rocket. The video of the alleged incident was also removed from the IDF and Foreign Ministry websites. An anonymous Israeli military official told AP a study of the video indicated the object may not have been a rocket and could have been a stretcher. Matthias Burchard, Chief of the UNRWA Liaison Office in Geneva, said the Israeli military had confirmed it would retract the allegation. He also said UNRWA was able to confirm quickly that the object was a stretcher and was therefore “quite astounded that the IDF, with its superior technology, was not able to do so before launching its campaign”. Speaking on Israel’s Channel One TV, UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen said, “It is not the first time that the Government of Israel has propagated falsehoods against UNRWA: A few months ago, two Cabinet Ministers declared in public that UNRWA ambulances were carrying body parts of fallen Israeli soldiers. In that case, too, a thorough investigation was carried out and led to the conclusion that there was not a shred of evidence to suggest that the claim had any basis in fact." (AP, Ma’ariv, The Jerusalem Post)

The Organization of the Islamic Conference Secretary-General Abdel Wahid Belkaziz said in a statement, “We condemn Israel’s insistence to expand its military operation in Gaza despite a UN call to end the violence and despite Palestinian offers to stop firing Qassam rockets in return for ceasing fire.” The statement urged the international community, especially the Quartet, “to press Israel to return to peace negotiations on the basis of the Road Map for peace in the Middle East and put an end to its unabated aggression against the Palestinian people”. “Israel’s policies do not serve the peace process but will further increase violence and aggravate instability and insecurity,” the statement said, and called on the international community to intervene immediately to protect the Palestinians and facilitate humanitarian assistance and rescue work to hundreds of displaced Palestinian families. (UPI)

PA President Arafat told Al-Sharq al-Awsat he would give up all his political and security posts and be happy with a ceremonial one in an independent and viable state. “I am ready to be another Nelson Mandela... I agree to that only after the creation of the Palestinian State which I would preside over in the beginning and then step down.” President Arafat said he would in any case accept decisions of the Palestinian leadership at large over whether to run in elections planned for next year. (AFP, UPI)

The Security Council voted on the draft resolution sponsored by Algeria, Pakistan and Tunisia on the latest Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip. The resolution was vetoed by the United States, with three members abstaining and 11 voting in favour. Following the veto, the Permanent Observer for Palestine to the United Nations, Nasser Al-Kidwa, told the Council that the day had been yet another sad day for the Security Council, which had again failed to fulfil its responsibilities under the Charter by not taking a stand with regard to the bloodshed against the Palestinian people, specifically now, in northern Gaza, by the Israeli occupation forces. It had failed to do that, and it had failed to call for an end to the bloodshed and destruction. Mr. Al-Kidwa questioned what was the difference between the acts of some Palestinian groups and the too many acts of violence of the Israeli occupying forces? Both were aimed at civilians. The real difference was that the Palestinian groups were acting against the will of the Palestinian Authority, while the actions of the Israeli occupying forces were committed by an official army pursuing an official policy of the Government of a State Member of the United Nations. On the question of Israel’s right to self-defence, he said it was inadmissible to talk about that right as if that were in regard to a regular peace-loving country, in full respect of the law. Israel was an occupying Power, and the question of self-defence had been addressed by the International Court of Justice. Naturally, Israel had the right to defend its citizens, but on the basis that it was an occupying Power. Attempts at exoneration in that regard were unacceptable, then or in the future. He said that that day’s veto was the seventh by the present United States Administration on draft resolutions on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. It was the twenty-ninth veto by the United States on related drafts. That summed up the entire tragedy of the Middle East. (UN News Centre, S/PV.5051)

An Israeli military official said Israeli and Palestinian security officials had begun indirect contacts aimed at ending the Israeli offensive in the northern Gaza Strip. The Israeli official said the Palestinians had delivered messages through mediators, offering to try to prevent rocket fire on Israeli towns if Israel ended the operation. However, Defence Minister Mofaz said, “It will take time until we can be sure that we remove the threat of the rockets.” (Daily Post)

Twelve UN organizations working in Gaza issued a statement in which they said that the ongoing violence on top of the sharply deteriorating humanitarian situation this year was pushing the Palestinian population into a deep crisis. These agencies called on Israel to guarantee unrestricted and secure access to Gaza for humanitarian supplies and relief workers. (UN press release IHA/955-PAL 2013)

Amnesty International issued a press release in which it expressed its concern about the deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation as a result of the Israeli army incursion in the Jabalya refugee camp and surrounding areas in the northern Gaza Strip (including sectors in the nearby towns of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya). It said that the Israeli army had repeatedly used excessive force, including heavy shelling from tanks and helicopter gunships. Experience had shown that the use of such weapons and the manner in which they had been deployed by the army in densely populated residential areas (the Jabalya refugee camp is one of the most densely populated places in the world, with more than 100,000 Palestinians living on less than two square kilometres), invariably resulted in a high rate of death and injury of bystanders and people who were not involved in armed confrontation. These tactics betrayed a lack of respect for fundamental human rights principles, including the right to life. (Amnesty International press release MDE 15/095/2004)

6

Three Palestinians and a Thai worker were killed in the Gaza Strip, the IDF and Palestinian medics said. Two Hamas members were shot dead by the IDF after they failed to infiltrate the “Kfar Darom” settlement in the southern Gaza Strip. The third militant was killed when an explosive charge he was carrying exploded. The worker from Thailand was employed in the settlement and died in exchanges of fire between Palestinians and the IDF. Twenty Palestinians were also reported to have been wounded, two of them young women who were in a serious condition. Those deaths brought to 88 the number of Palestinians killed since Israel launched an offensive in the northern Gaza Strip on 28 September. (AFP)

Hamdan Obeid, 58, and his son Hamuda, 25, were killed when a tank shell exploded in the Jabalya refugee camp and two other Palestinians were injured in an IDF operation in northern Gaza that penetrated further into the area and took control of many buildings around the Jabalya camp and neighbouring Beit Lahiya, according to Palestinian witnesses. Previously Attalah Qahman, 17, had been killed and ten other Palestinians, including eight children, had been injured by Israeli tank fire in the nearby town of Beit Lahiya, also according to hospital sources. (AFP)

Defence for Children International’s Palestine Section issued a press release in which it indicated that children bore “the brunt of Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity in northern Gaza”. The press release also said that the siege and invasion of Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahiya and Jabalya town and refugee camp had seen the IDF targeting civilians and their properties. A total of 75 Palestinians had been killed during Israel’s so-called “Days of Penitence” military campaign, among them 20 children in the north of Gaza. In addition, one child was killed in the south and two children in the central area of the strip. More than 285 Palestinians have been injured in the raids, among them over 100 children. ( www.dci-pal.org)

Dov Weisglass, Prime Minister Sharon’s former Chief of Staff, told Ha’aretz that "the significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process”. “And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian State, and you prevent a discussion on the (Palestinian) refugees, the (final) borders and Jerusalem”. He went on to say “Effectively, this whole package has been removed indefinitely from our agenda,” and added, "And all this with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress." Mr. Weisglass told Israel Radio Ha’aretz had cut one of his quotes. “Everything that was said was that at the current time, with a broken-down Palestinian Authority, with Palestinian terrorism, there is not and will not be peace negotiations that could, God forbid, lead to the establishment of a Palestinian State anchored in anarchy,'' he said. (AFP, Israeli Radio)

In a statement issued by Prime Minister Sharon's office said that the Road Map remained the only viable blueprint for peace with the Palestinians and Mr. Sharon supported it as “the only plan liable to help progress towards a viable political agreement”. (AFP)

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abul Gheit said Egypt was “disappointed” at a US veto of the Arab-backed resolution demanding Israel immediately halt its week-long military operation in the northern Gaza Strip. “Egypt also regrets that the international community has not been able to send a clear message to the Israeli Government to stop its offensive against the Palestinian people,” he said. He added that it was important for Israel not to consider the US veto a green light for it to continue with its actions against the Palestinians or think that this situation will shut the door against demands for peace in the Middle East. (AP)

Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh said that India had told Israel that isolating and confining Palestinian President Yasser Arafat would fuel further extremism in the Middle East. Mr. Singh, who was delivering a lecture on the situation in the Middle East, added that India recognized Mr. Arafat as the elected leader of his people. In his talk Mr. Singh recalled what Mahatma Gandhi said about Palestine: “Gandhiji wrote in an essay on Palestine in 1938: 'My sympathies are with the Jews... but my sympathy does not blind me to the requirements of justice... Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French...'" Mr. Singh said since assuming power his Government has clearly stated that it remained "full supportive of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and committed to their cause for a homeland of their own”. (AFP)

The Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People met to discuss developments in the Middle East peace process and the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. It also discussed the report by the Chairman on the United Nations International Conference of Civil Society in Support of the Palestinian People, held on 13 and 14 September 2004 at Headquarters; the report by the Chairman on his attendance at the Fourteenth Ministerial Conference of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries at Durban; and consideration of the draft report of the Committee to the General Assembly, contained in A/AC.183/2004/CRP2. (UN press release GA/PAL/969)

In response to recent events in the Gaza Strip, Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot spoke by telephone with his Israeli counterpart Silvan Shalom and with Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia. Mr. Bot urged them to end the violence and return to the negotiating table in accordance with the Road Map. Speaking in his capacity as President of the Council of the European Union, he said that he was very concerned about the escalating hostilities. He condemned the Palestinian rocket attacks and called on PA President Arafat to bring his full influence to bear to put a stop to them. He described the response by the Israeli armed forces as disproportionate and noted that it could make Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip more problematic in the long run. Mr. Bot emphasized that the EU was willing to support withdrawal from the Gaza Strip if its five conditions were met. He also said that the European Union was prepared to facilitate consultations between the parties to the conflict, if asked. (www.eu.int)

US Secretary of State Powell told reporters while visiting Grenada: “Prime Minister Sharon reaffirmed Israel's commitment to the Road Map. It’s a position that he has had for a long period of time, since the summits last summer in Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh. It was the understanding he had with the President in April... and so there was never any doubt in our mind that that represents the Prime Minister's position and the position of the Government of Israel.” (www.state.gov)

UN Spokesman Fred Eckhard said UNRWA was aware of only one staff member being detained by Israeli authorities in Gaza, who has been in custody for over two years, pending trial. In the West Bank, there were 24 UNRWA staff in Israeli detention, but most were held under “administrative detention” without a charge or trial, he said. Prime Minister Sharon's spokesman Ra’anan Gissin said it appeared that the IDF had erred in its initial analysis of the ambulance video footage. However, Israel was more concerned that UNRWA employees were members of militant groups. Israel would provide the UN team dispatched to Israel by the Secretary-General to look into the UNRWA ambulance allegations with all the documents it had available, as well as the drone footage, to prove that UNRWA was too close to militant groups, Mr. Gissin said. (AP, UN News Centre)

Palestinian election officials had decided to extend a voter registration drive until 13 October because only 51 per cent of the 1.8 million eligible voters had registered, Palestinian Election Commission head Ali Jerbawi said. He blamed the low registration numbers on Israeli restrictions, including a large Israeli offensive into the northern Gaza Strip. (AP)

7

According to AP, 84 Palestinians have been killed in the current Israeli offensive in the northern Gaza Strip. (AP)

An IDF tank fired two shells at a crowd of Palestinians in the town of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza, killing two people and wounding three others, hospital officials said. (AP)

Two Palestinian boys, ages 15 and 14, were killed in an IDF missile strike near the Jabalya refugee camp, their relatives said. The IDF said its missile was aimed at militants about to fire a Qassam rocket. The boys' relatives said the two had been playing with an empty tube. A 13-year-old boy from Jabalya died of wounds suffered last week, hospital officials said. (AP)

Palestinians fired three “Qassam” rockets at the Israeli border town of Sderot. The rockets caused no injuries and damaged a house, the IDF said. Three people were treated for shock. Sa'eed Seyam, a Hamas leader in Gaza, told Xinhua the position of Hamas concerning firing the rockets at Israel "has not changed." The Hamas leader added that the movement would stop firing the rockets at Israel only "if the Zionist enemy stops all its criminal actions and practices against our people." (AP, Ha’aretz, Xinhua)

Two Palestinians were killed in a gun battle with an IDF patrol east of the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis, witnesses and medics said. (Xinhua, Al-Jazeera)

One Palestinian was killed and another was injured by IDF fire in Tulkarm in the northern West Bank after the two threw firebombs at the troops. (Ha’aretz)

Mohammad Raddad, 17, was reportedly shot dead after an IDF contingent had surrounded his house in the village of Seida, to the north-east of Tulkarm, and opened heavy fire on it. Several Palestinians were arrested by the IDF throughout the West Bank. (IPC)

8

A medical source at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis said Khaled Abdul-Aziz Abu Teimah, 26, had died from wounds sustained the day before, in the east of the town. (IMEMC)

Marzuk Abu Udwan, 50, a Palestinian working in the “Peat Sadeh” settlement in the Gaza Strip, was shot dead during an attack by militants. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

Israeli troops killed three Palestinians in a missile attack on the northern Gaza Strip: Yasser Al-Khatib, 18, Mohammed Subuh, 17, and Samah Samir Nassar, a 10 year-old girl, who was standing in front of her house. (AP, Reuters)

Hassan Sharadha, 15, died of injuries sustained when Israeli troops fired a tank shell into Jabalya refugee camp the previous week, hospital officials said. (AP)

A Palestinian was killed late in the day by Israeli soldiers in the northern Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian hospital sources. (AFP)

Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa said Israeli policies have increasingly created a state of frustration amongst the Arab population in the Middle East. Spokesman for the Secretary-General Hussam Zaki said Mr. Moussa expressed concern over the way the UN Security Council handled world peace concerns and the extraordinary protection by world powers enjoyed by Israel, referring to the latest US veto at the Council. Mr. Moussa was speaking at a symposium on international law in the Middle East in Frankfurt, Germany. Meanwhile, French parliamentarian Moghit Jackan called for the protection of Palestinian civilians from Israeli atrocities, stating that the French people supported the Palestinian people and stressing the need to establish an independent Palestinian State. (IPC)

9

Israeli troops killed eight Palestinians in Gaza. Abdul Rafu Nabhan, 25, a Hamas member, was killed by a rocket east of the Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. Three people were wounded. A Palestinian attempting to approach a route used by settlers was killed earlier by Israeli soldiers. Two Palestinian policemen were killed during an air strike on the Khan Yunis refugee camp. Two Palestinians were killed in an exchange of gunfire between Israeli soldiers and residents of Beit Hanoun. Later in the day, another two Palestinians were killed and three others injured in a grenade attack in Beit Lahiya. Ten Palestinians were wounded in Sikka Street to the east of the Jabalya refugee camp, when an IDF tank fired a shell at residential houses in the vicinity. (DPA, Reuters)

10

Israeli forces killed two Palestinians as they continued their offensive in the northern Gaza Strip. Medical sources said an Israeli warplane fired a missile in the eastern section of the Jabalya refugee camp, killing two Palestinians, including a schoolteacher and destroying two houses. The IDF confirmed there had been two incidents in which the army had spotted two armed Palestinians and opened fire. (BBC, DPA, Reuters)

PA President Arafat chaired a meeting of the National Security Council and one of the Fatah Executive Committee. Both meetings called on the international community, particularly the Quartet, to move urgently and work to stop the atrocities committed in the northern Gaza Strip, and force the Israeli Government to respect UN resolutions. (IPC)

Prime Minister Sharon rejected his army’s request to scale back its Gaza offensive, seeking to avoid any show of weakness after a major bombing in Egypt, according to security sources. Mr. Sharon decided that a pullout from the Jabalya refugee camp would encourage Palestinian militants to resume rocket fire into Israel and “send the wrong message”. Army Chief Moshe Yaalon had asked Mr. Sharon for permission to redeploy outside Jabalya, saying the army had driven back rocket crews and the longer troops stayed in the densely populated camp, the greater the risk. (Ha’aretz, Ma’ariv, Reuters)

Saudi Arabia donated an additional US$6 million to UNRWA. A memorandum of understanding was signed by UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen and Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of the Saudi Development Fund Yousuf Ibn Ibrahim al-Bassam. The amount brings to US$7.2 million Saudi Arabia’s total donation to UNRWA this year, beyond its contribution to the Agency’s regular budget. (DPA)

The New York Times article entitled "The High Cost of Israel's Gaza Mission: Innocent Victims" said that in 11 days of fighting in the northern Gaza Strip, Israeli forces had killed at least 90 Palestinians, including about 55 militants and 35 civilians of whom 18 were under the age of 16, according to Palestinian hospital officials. The Israeli offensive in northern Gaza had claimed more Palestinian lives than any operation since the military swept through Palestinian cities in the West Bank in the spring of 2002 in response to a wave of suicide bombings. In Gaza, the Israelis were sticking to the relative safety of their tanks and armoured vehicles, and just two soldiers had been killed. But this also meant the troops tended to be firing powerful weapons into congested areas from a distance. Palestinians had fired about 450 rockets in the past three years, most launched from the northern Gaza Strip and directed at the Israeli town of Sderot. Four Israelis had been killed, including two children, ages 2 and 4, who were struck on 29 September. (The New York Times)

11

Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians near the “Kfar Darom” settlement. Three other Palestinians died of injuries sustained a week earlier from the ongoing Israeli raid in the northern Gaza Strip. One of the men was Yassuf Abu Seif, 20, a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. In the central Gaza Strip, Israeli armoured vehicles and bulldozers entered the town of Deir El-Balah. At least one Palestinian was killed and three others injured, according to Palestinian sources. (AFP, BBC, Ha’aretz)

An Israeli missile hit the house of a local Islamic Jihad leader in the Jabalya refugee camp, wounding at least three persons. It had initially been reported that Islamic Jihad leader Mohammad El-Sheikh Khalil was critically wounded in the blast, but relatives later said he was unhurt. Israeli military sources denied the blast was caused by Israeli forces. In the West Bank, Israeli forces arrested eleven Palestinians, including six from the Hebron area and three from the Ramallah area. Also in the West Bank, Palestinian farmers got into a fist fight with settlers who tried to prevent them from harvesting olives in their groves, near the settlement of “Yitzhar”. The army came to intervene and fired on the farmers. One Palestinian farmer was critically wounded. (AP, Ha’aretz, Reuters, The Washington Post)

An investigation was ordered into the shooting death on 5 October of Iman Al-Hams, 13. Israel’s top military prosecutor Brig. Gen. Avichai Mandelbilt ordered the probe after Israeli soldiers accused their commander of returning to spray the girl with bullets when she had already been shot down. The girl was shot from an Israeli army observation tower in the Tel Sultan neighbourhood in the southern Gaza Strip. (AP, BBC, Ma’ariv)

A document formulated by the PA Negotiations Department said Israel would retain control over the Gaza Strip and would therefore be bound by the obligations of an occupying Power under international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention. It further stated that Israel sought to proclaim an end to the Gaza Strip’s occupation in order to absolve it of all legal responsibilities as an occupying Power, while simultaneously retaining military control over the Gaza Strip and its inhabitants. (Ha’aretz)

Thousands of local UNRWA workers went on strike demanding better pay and complaining of discrimination. The strike by nearly all 6,500 Palestinian workers paralysed schools and clinics serving thousands of Palestinians in refugee camps in the region. The workers demanded higher salaries, private health insurance and longer maternity leave. An UNRWA spokesperson promised that UNRWA would look into the workers’ demands. (Reuters)

The Knesset in its first winter session voted 53-44 against Prime Minister Sharon's statement to dismantle all settlements in the Gaza Strip and a few in the West Bank. Mr. Sharon told the Israeli parliament he would present the pullout plan for approval on 25 October, after which he would introduce a bill on compensation for the 8,500 settlers to be evacuated. He said dismantling all 21 settlements in Gaza and four small ones in the West Bank was necessary to return the diplomatic initiative to Israel. "It is essential for us to see that our friends, especially the United States, stand by us," Mr. Sharon said. He warned that a continued stalemate would work against Israel, while blaming Palestinians for the freeze. Opening the session, he said Israel accepted the Road Map, and the Palestinians had failed to stop militants from attacking Israelis and failed to reform their administration. Mr. Sharon promised the parliament "constant supervision" over the implementation of the pullout plan, and left open the door to changing it or backing away from it if the security situation deteriorates. (AP, DPA, Ha’aretz, Reuters)

The UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) opened a meeting in Beirut for senior Arab and international figures to discuss and propose solutions for improving the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The meeting entitled “Arab-International Forum on Rehabilitation and Development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Towards an Independent State” will continue until 14 October (dpa, ESCWA)

12

An official report issued by the PA Health Ministry said 115 Palestinians had been killed since the beginning of Israel's Days of Penitence in northern Gaza on 29 September. The report said that among the dead, 65 were civilians, many of them children under the age of 16. It said that at least 450 Palestinians were injured in the large-scale military aggression, including 20 in critical conditions. (Xinhua)

Israel unveiled custom-built radar meant to give a life-saving early warning to residents of the southern town of Sderot. The system called “Maanim” (Points of Origin) was installed in and around the town after three weeks of field testing in which it proved capable of spotting rocket launches from Gaza, Israeli security sources said. (Reuters)

The Israeli High Court of Justice rejected a petition by the Temple Mount Faithful group demanding a ban on the Government and Jerusalem municipality from authorizing the construction of another mosque on the Temple Mount/Al-Haram Al-Sharif. The petitioners said that in recent weeks there had been public announcements stating initial steps had been taken to build a fourth mosque in the eastern section of the compound, which today is an open space. The State Prosecution said that a Jordanian delegation had recently visited Israel as part of efforts to limit the possibility of a collapse of the exterior wall on the Temple Mount/Al-Haram Al-Sharif. During one meeting, the heads of the Jordanian delegation said King Abdullah of Jordan had requested the construction of an extra turret on the site. Police sources told the delegation in response that they could not agree to such a request, as it would need approval at the political level. (Ha’aretz)

The following statement was issued by the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General:

(UN press release SG/SM/9534)

The IDF informally conceded that UNRWA was not involved in transporting Qassam rockets for militant Palestinians, as alleged in the previous week. The Israeli Army spokesperson Ruth Jalon said in a radio interview that the allegation was not true. (DPA, The Jerusalem Post)

A car bomb exploded outside a Police HQ in Gaza Strip as a convoy carrying Moussa Arafat, the top security official in the Gaza Strip, passed by. Mr. Arafat escaped unhurt. Palestinian officials said the attack was the result of internal sensitivities and had nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (AP)

The IDF said in a statement that it might have been mistaken when it accused UNRWA of transporting a rocket to militants, but stopped short of clearly admitting an error. “After a thorough review of the material, the nature of the object loaded on the vehicle cannot be determined with certainty,” it said. “Thus, the determination that the object loaded was a Qassam rocket was too unequivocal and made in haste.” (AP, www.idf.il)

13

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, for the second time in a week, expressed concern over the two-week offensive by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip. “This operation has resulted in the deaths of 116 Palestinians, including many children. In one tragic case Iman Al-Hasan, a Palestinian schoolgirl, was shot 20 times on her way to school,” said Mr. Straw in a statement. He criticized the difficulties that relief agencies such as UNRWA were facing in delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza and the West Bank. “Any blockages in these supplies will only worsen the already desperate living conditions of many of the people of Gaza,” he added. (AP, AFP)

Israel was set on a collision course with the EU and could turn into a pariah state, like South Africa during the apartheid years, if the Mideast conflict was not resolved, Israel’s Foreign Ministry warned in a confidential 10-year forecast obtained by AP. The 25-page document, put together by the Ministry’s Centre for Political Research, said the EU was pushing to become a major global player in the next decade, and that as a result, the US, Israel’s main ally, could lose international influence. Analysts wrote if the EU overcame internal divisions and spoke in one voice, its global influence would grow considerably and be more in line with its powerful economy. (AP)

The IDF widened its operation in northern Gaza. Dozens of tanks and army bulldozers rolled into Beit Lahiya in the early hours as the focus of “Operation Days of Penitence” shifted north from the nearby Jabalya camp. Bulldozers flattened several buildings and fields in the area. Col. Eyal Eizenberg, commander of the IDF “Givati” infantry regiment, said “we intend to reduce the Qassam rocket fire at Israel... I think we have conveyed this message to the Palestinians over the past two weeks. If this message is not understood, we will intensify our control on the ground”. (AFP)

The IDF suspended a platoon commander on suspicion that he emptied an ammunition clip into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl, Iman Al-Hasan, after she had been shot from an army outpost and had collapsed to the ground. (AP)

In the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, Ghadeer Jaber Mokheimer, 9, died of injuries sustained a day earlier while sitting at her desk in an UNRWA elementary school. She was the second child in recent weeks to die after being shot in an UNRWA school. (AP)

In Beirut, participants at the UN-sponsored Arab-International Forum on Rehabilitation and Development in the Occupied Palestinian Territory gathered US$23.5 million in relief money pledges for Gaza. The British-Palestinian Relief and Development Fund also joined the effort. PA Labour Minister Ghassan Al-Khatib said that over 55,000 people were under siege and cut off from electricity and water. Infrastructure and sewerage had been destroyed, as had two schools and a hospital. Mansour bin Fata, Coordinator of the Al-Aqsa Fund at the Islamic Development Bank said, “The Palestinian economy is totally asphyxiated by Israel. We need to help the Palestinian economy open up to the world, starting with the Arab countries”. (The Daily Star, DPA)

PA Foreign Minister Nabil Sha’ath said after a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk Sharaa in Damascus, “Syria is directly concerned with the Palestinian dialogue since its land is still occupied and is facing the same problems as the Palestinians with Israel”. (UPI)

Imad Kawasma, a commander of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, was arrested by the IDF in Hebron. (Xinhua)

Israeli missile strikes killed three people in separate incidents in the northern Gaza Strip. One of the fatalities was identified as Mohammad Al Masri, a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. (dpa, Reuters)

Jihad Barhoum, 16, was shot dead and two other Palestinian teenagers were wounded by IDF gunfire in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip late in the day. (AFP)

A Palestinian wounded by IDF tank fire in the Gaza Strip died of his injuries, hospital sources in Gaza City said. Jihad Mussa, 37, had been seriously wounded by shrapnel in the Jabalya refugee camp on 10 October. (AFP)

Two Qassam rockets were fired from the centre of Beit Lahiya shortly after IDF troops had moved in. (AFP)

Dr. Ambrogio Manenti of the WHO told reporters in Jerusalem, “Malnutrition, mental distress, anaemia in pregnant women, infant mortality have increased while immunization levels have decreased and there is one reason for that: the closures which prevent access to health services. Over 700 closures currently in place restrict movement in the West Bank with patients prevented from, or delayed in, accessing health services.” Dr. Manenti also criticized Israel’s West Bank barrier, saying it affected “210,000 people so far, a fifth of them children and another fifth women of child-bearing age”. Doctors and ambulances had difficulty moving around and reaching patients, he said, adding that more than 50 ambulances had been attacked by Israeli troops in the first five months of 2004. Lt.Col. Ofer Mey-Tal, representing the IDF at a health forum held in Jerusalem, denied charges of curbed freedom of movement, saying that “except for Nablus, cities and villages are not under tight closure and in most cases, people can freely move.” A statement read on behalf of Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, whose representatives were not allowed by Israel to leave the Gaza Strip, warned against repeated trauma inflicted on the local population because of army raids. In the statement it said “A culture of death and hopelessness has developed because of Israel’s policies,” adding, “According to our statistics more than 20 per cent of Gaza children want to become suicide bombers as they see death as the only alternative.” (AFP)

The following statement was issued by the Spokesman for the Secretary-General:

(UN press release SG/SM/9540-PAL/2014)

Stephane Dujarric, Associate Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, when asked if the Secretary-General expected an apology from the Government of Israel and if the UN considered the matter of the UNRWA ambulance closed, told reporters, “We’re waiting to hear back from our team with a full explanation of what happened”. A UN team that was asked by Mr. Annan to investigate the Israeli allegations had not yet returned from the Middle East. ( UN News Centre)

EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana unveiled in his remarks before the European Parliament a four-point approach to speeding up the Middle East peace process. On security: “The EU is willing to provide assistance to the PA to improve its police force to enable it to function effectively, combat terror and restore law and order.” On political reform: “The Union will provide all the assistance it can to the PA for the reform process to begin. If the PA wants to carry out reform, they will always be able to count on us.” On economic reform: “We are willing to do all we can economically speaking so the plan won’t suffer because of lack of a financial commitment from the EU. EU taxpayers, however, have the right to expect that their contributions actually advance the peace process.” On elections: “They are necessary to reinforce the legitimacy of the Palestinian leadership. The EU will assist the electoral process, which must be held under conditions acceptable to all parties.” (Al-Ayyam, www.eu.int)

14

UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen told AP in Amman, “The Israelis have recognized they made a mistake and for that they deserve a credit, but they will deserve more credit if they would stop the campaign with unfounded accusations and instead issue an apology.” Speaking to a donor conference in Amman, Mr. Hansen also said, “I wish to have an apology. I would like to see as much energy spent in withdrawing these accusations as there was energy in making them.” (AFP, AP)

IDF tanks and bulldozers pulled back from Beit Lahiya, after tearing up roads, flattening strawberry greenhouses and knocking down walls of dozens of houses in what residents said was the most devastating raid in four years of the intifada. In the two-day raid, the demolitions focused on outlying farms, the centre of town and old Beit Lahiya. The town’s mayor, Mohammed Al-Masri, said it now resembled the aftermath of an earthquake. (AP)

Six Palestinians were killed in three separate missile strikes, starting on the evening of 13 October. The first two strikes hit the Jabalya camp, killing three Hamas militants, one of whom was identified as Nidal Massud. The IDF said in both cases pilots targeted militants planting explosives. In the third strike, helicopters fired missiles at Rafah, killing Ali Shaath, 19, Ahmad Dahawi, 20, and Ismail Assawalhi, 70. Seven Palestinians were wounded, two seriously: a 65-year-old man and a 70-year-old woman. The military said it was a “routine” operation to remove cover for Palestinian gunmen. According to AP, since the start of the campaign on 29 September 105 Palestinians have been killed by IDF fire, including 18 children under the age of 16. The AFP count reached 124 with the latest deaths. (AFP, AP)

In the southern Gaza Strip, about 20 Israeli tanks moved into the Rafah refugee camp. Bulldozers destroyed at least 32 houses and damaged 10, leaving about 300 Palestinians homeless, according to the UNRWA. (AP)

Senior IDF officers warned that the operation in the northern Gaza Strip, rather than being expanded, should have been wrapped up. “The operation has exhausted itself, and continuing it is liable only to lead to complications,” a senior officer told Ma’ariv, on condition of anonymity. “Every additional day that passes makes the humanitarian situation in the northern Gaza Strip worse, and in the meantime, the Palestinians are learning the IDF’s patterns and the location of the troops in Jabalya, Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya, making it possible for them to strike at the soldiers.” “The benefit of continuing the operation is doubtful, because even when the IDF is in the northern Gaza Strip, this does not completely prevent Qassam rocket fire at Israel,” another officer told the paper. (AFP)

The IDF demolished Nassim Jabari’s home in Hebron. Mr. Jabari and another Hamas activist, Ahmed Qawasmeh, had blown themselves up on board two buses in Beersheba, killing 16 Israelis. Mr. Qawasmeh’s home had been demolished immediately after the attack but the Israelis had initially held back from dynamiting Mr. Jabari’s home for fear they would trigger the collapse of adjacent homes. (AFP)

The Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip will begin in May 2005, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told members of the Knesset, announcing at the same time that the current military offensive in the Strip would be widened. The evacuation of 21 Israeli settlements should take no longer than 12 weeks, Mr. Sharon said. (DPA)

Prime Minister Sharon said he would limit the number of worshippers at Al-Haram Al-Sharif in East Jerusalem to 50,000, unless Muslim clergy agreed to take steps to help prevent a possible collapse of the structure. Israeli Police said there would be no need for restrictions if the Islamic Trust (Waqf), which had responsibility for the site, cordoned off the problematic south-eastern corner of the compound. However, Muslim officials quoted Jordanian and Egyptian engineers as saying the shrine was stable. “We call upon all worshippers to come and pray at the mosque,” said Adnan Husseini, Director of Waqf. “If the Israelis don’t permit them, then they can pray in the streets.” Later in the day, Israeli authorities said they would not limit the number of Muslim worshippers at Al-Haram Al-Sharif. (AFP, AP, Reuters)

Ali Jarbawi, Secretary-General of the Palestinian Central Electoral Commission, said at a press conference in Ramallah that 1,109,444 out of a total 1,610,572 potential voters, or 67.24 per cent of the potential electorate, had registered to vote in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since the registration began on 4 September. Mr. Jarbawi said that 70 per cent of the adult Palestinian population in the West Bank had registered while the figure for the Gaza Strip was 63 per cent. Ramallah, with 74 per cent of residents registered, was one of the areas where numbers had been highest. The figures do not include numbers for East Jerusalem, where Israel had shut six registration centres on 13 September. (AFP)

Speaking at a symposium in Paris, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said, “Peace for the Israelis will come through abandoning an occupation that brings only difficulties in Israel,” such as “terrorism, an economic slowdown with a drop in tourism, international incomprehension, the considerable financial cost of this military presence, the protection of 300,000 settlers”. He added that “our imperative is, of course, the existence and security of Israel: We will never compromise on this imperative”, but “a viable Palestinian State that offers a future to young Palestinians” would be a guarantee for this imperative. The comments came ahead of a three-day visit to Israel that Mr. Barnier intended to make on 17 October. (DPA)

UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen told a conference of donor countries in Amman, “The Agency will continue to provide relief services to refugees in Gaza and the West Bank despite the Israeli Government’s obstruction of staff work.” He said the Agency would soon start a campaign to raise US$200 million to be able to sustain its operations in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. He also deplored the poor response of potential donor countries as only 43 per cent of the $209 million needed this year was secured. (UPI, UNRWA press release HQ/G/35/2004)

Jean Ziegler, the UN Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, said that the 2000 Association Agreement between Israel and the EU laid out respect for human rights as an “essential condition”. “There is only one possible weapon to fight for the right to food, that’s article two of the Contract of Association between Israel and the European Union,” he told journalists. “States should be taken by their word. Grave violations of the right to food have been recorded, they are clear, this accord must be suspended.” Mr. Ziegler said he had written to EU Commission President Romano Prodi asking for the agreement to be temporarily suspended until the food situation improved, and would be writing again to the next President, Jos Manuel Duro Barroso, who would take over in November 2004. The UN had little power to deal with the situation, while the EU accounted for about 62 per cent of Israeli exports, he added. “The United Nations is in a total stalemate in the occupied territories on the right to food.” (AFP)

PA President Arafat urged Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa in a letter to “intensify his contacts with the international community to support the Palestinian people against Israel’s official policy of killing and destroying and to revive the peace process, which is currently at an impasse,” the League’s spokesman Hossam Zaki said. “[Mr.] Moussa is following developments in the Palestinian territories with great concern and is engaging contacts with several international parties in an attempt to intervene and put an end to the bloody Israel campaign against Palestinian civilians,” Mr. Zaki said. (AFP)

US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the US hoped that Israel would end the Gaza operation “as soon as possible”. He said that while the US recognized Israel's right to self-defence, “they should do it in a manner that concludes as quickly as possible and that minimizes any loss of civilian life or humanitarian consequences.” (www.state.gov)

Prime Minister Sharon approved a plan by the Defence Minister, the Chief of Staff and senior officers to redeploy IDF forces from Jabalya and Beit Lahiya. Israel’s Deputy Defence Minister Zeev Boim told Israel Public Radio that the military campaign in northern Gaza was being scaled back, partly as a gesture to Palestinians at the start of Ramadan, although troops would not immediately leave the area. “We have no desire to make it difficult for the population,” Mr. Boim said. “The operation has met its objectives and the level of Qassam attacks has dropped considerably.” But he added, “It has not been decided to put an end to the operation.” (UPI)

15

Two Qassam rockets fell in an open field in the south of Israel. No casualties or damage were reported. (The Jerusalem Post)

Three members of Palestinian armed factions were killed in a pre-dawn helicopter strike on the Jabalya refugee camp. (AFP)

A group of settlers attacked Palestinians who were picking olives in their orchards near the Hebron Hills in the West Bank. Several settlers were arrested by the IDF. (Ha’aretz)

A preliminary report presented to IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Moshe Yaalon purportedly said it could not be proven that an IDF officer had repeatedly shot a 13-year-old Palestinian girl to make sure she was dead, a security official stated. The officer in question was suspended. (Ha’aretz, AP)

17

IDF forces raided the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip. An IDF spokesman said the aim of the raid was to search for weapons. Israel Radio reported the troops were also searching for tunnels used to smuggle arms. Palestinian security officials said the troops destroyed seven houses in the camp and damaged several others. The troops, backed by at least 10 armoured vehicles and two bulldozers, entered the camp under intense fire, witnesses said, and a tank fired at least one shell at a house, moderately injuring two children. (DPA)

Israel’s Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz told ministers at a cabinet session that although the IDF had pulled troops out of some areas of the northern Gaza Strip, the IDF’s actions, aimed at preventing militants from firing Qassam rockets at Israel, had not ended. He said the IDF would use “special means” to continue fighting and the offensive would be over only after an end to Palestinian rocket fire on Israel. Armoured and infantry units were occupying two hills overlooking Beit Hanoun and the Jabalya refugee camp and helicopters continued to patrol. Mr. Mofaz warned that the force was ready to re-enter those areas if more rockets were launched against Sderot. (DPA)

PA Foreign Minister Nabil Sha’ath told BBC Television, “If Mr. Bush is re-elected, he promised that he would reinvigorate the peace process, but with his team around, and with his views so far, it doesn't look very promising. If Mr. Kerry were to win, most likely some of Clinton's team would come back. That is okay, but it might take them a year before firming up a policy. We cannot wait that long.” (Reuters)

The Palestinian leadership “welcomes the plan announced by the European foreign policy chief Mr. Solana to revive the peace process, implement the Road Map, conclude a reciprocal ceasefire and enforce all the signed accords,” the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization said in a statement. ( www.palestine-pmc.org)

Prime Minister Sharon said nothing would deter him from pushing forward with his disengagement plan. “The responsibility of managing the issues of the country, the responsibility of the future of the country, is not the concern of just one group. It is the concern of the entire nation, and this burden is placed on my shoulders, and this is how I plan to behave,” he said. At an earlier meeting with Mr. Sharon settler leaders had pressed unsuccessfully for a national referendum on the plan. “The Prime Minister is intractable,” Mr. Eran Sternberg, spokesman for the Gaza settlers, said after the meeting. (AP)

The report entitled “Razing Rafah” issued in New York by Human Rights Watch (HRW) found Israel violated international law by systematically destroying Palestinian homes in Rafah in a bid to create a buffer zone along the border with Egypt. HRW suggested Israel had used weapons-smuggling by Palestinian militants as a pretext for the mass demolitions in Rafah over the past four years, where more than 10 per cent of the people have lost their homes. “The pattern of destruction strongly suggests that Israeli forces demolished homes wholesale, regardless of whether they posed a specific threat,” the report said, basing its findings on tours of the area and satellite imagery. (www.hrw.org)

18

Two members of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, Sa'di Abu Al-Eish, 20, and Mohammad Ashour, 21, were killed in a clash with IDF troops near the settlement of “Rafiah Yam”, close to Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. (IMEMC)

In an incident near the “Kissufim” crossing into Israel in the central Gaza Strip, two militants attacked an IDF vehicle and injured one soldier, the IDF said. The troops returned fire, apparently killing the two men. The Al-Quds Brigades issued a leaflet saying its militants managed to flee the scene. (IMEMC, Ha’aretz)

The Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, claimed responsibility for an attack near the Sufa crossing in the southern Gaza Strip in which two militants were killed by the IDF after they managed to infiltrate into Israel. The Brigades named the two as Abdul Aziz Al-Jazzar and Abdul Sattar Al-Jaabari. The IDF said the militants were about to attack “Holit kibbutz”. (AP, IMEMC)

Britain should play a more active role to help revive the Middle East peace process, PA Foreign Minister Nabil Sha’ath said during his visit to London. “I don't think the three coming months should just witness Palestinians being killed”, he said following talks with the UK’s Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. “I think something can be done by the Americans' friends and allies, and I think Britain is very well situated to do that.” Mr. Sha'ath reiterated the PA's commitment to the Road Map and to a simultaneous ceasefire by Israel and the Palestinians. “We would like very much to see the UK, with its important relations across the Atlantic, its permanent status in the Security Council and its influence in the Quartet, to help us pursue that,” he added. (AFP)

Speaking to reporters during his tour of the Jabalya refugee camp, Commissioner-General of UNRWA Peter Hansen said at least 90 houses had been destroyed, adding the figure was “a low estimate but will increase, I am sure, as we get more and more careful surveys. That means that hundreds of people, I believe 600 to 700, will be added to the rows of homeless which is already 20,000 people in Gaza,” he said. “Most of what we have seen here in Jabalya over the last two weeks is a gross violation of international and humanitarian law,” he stated. (AFP)

The following remarks were made by US First Lady Laura Bush to the International Lion of Judah Conference in Washington: “Freedom is also at the heart of the President's approach to bringing peace between Israel and the Palestinian people. My husband is strongly committed to the security of Israel as a vibrant Jewish State.” Mrs. Bush added that, “We want to help the Palestinian people establish a democratic and viable state of their own. But before there can be two states, all parties must renounce violence and fight terrorism.” (www.whitehouse.gov)

French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier during a visit to Israel called on the Israeli Government to coordinate the Gaza disengagement plan with the Palestinian Authority. Mr. Barnier said, during a press conference with his Israeli counterpart, Silvan Shalom, that the EU was prepared to contribute to the success of the Israeli plan, viewing it as only a first step of the Road Map. ( The International Palestinian Centre)

UK surgeon David Halpin is hoping to enter the Gaza Strip this weekend on his third mission to take lifesaving aid to the children of Palestine. With an enthusiastic group of volunteers and a shipment of donated goods he sailed on board of the MV Barbara from Torbay to the port of Ashdod and on to Gaza. The 64-year-old Dartmoor doctor aims to deliver a consignment of jumpers, small bags with toiletries, knitted woollen hats and toys as well as medical supplies to hospitals in Gaza City. He also intends to set up a small office employing a Palestinian worker to run the Gaza end of the charity he formed, the Dove and the Dolphin. Dr. Halpin said: "I believe it is vital to show these people and the children who have endured so much that they have not been forgotten. This is all about sharing out humanity. It may not seem much, but to see the smile on a child's face, a child who may have nothing, when they receive a toy or small gift is truly heartening and humbling. (Western Morning News)

The 17-day Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip, the biggest in four years, came to an end after the IDF withdrew its forces from the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza on 16 October. Much of the camp had been reduced to rubble after fierce fighting between the IDF and Palestinian gunmen. At least 100 Palestinians were reported to have been killed in this operation. (TheChristian Science Monitor, The Observer)

Rev. Nile Harper, head of a 24-member US Presbyterian Church delegation visiting Damascus, called on Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories and said that his church was studying the possibility of withholding investments to increase pressure on Israel. Rev. Harper described the barrier that Israel was building as “unhelpful”. He added that the General Assembly of his church, whose investments in US firms total US$8 billion had instructed its investment agency to study the possibility of withdrawing its money from US corporations whose products “are being destructively used against the Palestinians” by Israel. (AP)

19

Two Palestinian gunmen were killed by the IDF near the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian security sources said. Israeli army sources said the two men had been shot after being spotted trying to plant explosives in the area. The identity of the two men was not immediately known. Those deaths brought the overall death toll since the September 2000 start of the uprising against Israeli occupation to 4,501, including 3,473 Palestinians and 954 Israelis. (AFP, Reuters)

Two Palestinian children, three-year-old Hassan Shahwan and his six-year-old sister Hasna, were injured by shrapnel when an Israeli tank shell hit their house in Khan Yunis, Palestinian medics said. (AFP)

The Saudi Arabian Government published a statement referring to “the inhuman practices by Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian people ... which do not respect the sanctity of Ramadan.” It renewed calls on the international community to “force Israel to halt this haemorrhage and comply with relevant UN resolutions”. (AFP)

Israeli Labour party leader Shimon Peres voiced fears that Prime Minister Sharon's life was in danger at that time, saying the atmosphere of incitement surrounding Mr. Sharon's disengagement plan was as bad as in the lead-up to the 1995 assassination of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. “The incitement has me terrified, the harsh words that are being voiced again”. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

Visiting Austria, Israeli President Moshe Katsav said the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would escalate if the Palestinians continued with “terrorism”. He told a press conference that Austria and other European states should use their influence to persuade the Palestinians to disavow terrorism. (AFP)

The Israeli army arrested some 17 Palestinians in different parts of the West Bank, Palestinian security sources said. The sources said that the Israeli troops entered the Jenin refugee camp and arrested six armed Palestinians. Another Israeli military unit entered Dheisheh refugee camp arresting one resident. The sources added that two Palestinians were detained in Tulkarm, five in Azun, near Qalqilya, and three in Dora, south of Hebron. According to the sources, the detainees were taken to unknown places and they said that Israel claimed that they were all wanted militants. (Xinhua)

In a press conference with UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in London, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said, “On the Middle East I, as a member of the Quartet, agree with the Foreign Secretary that we should do whatever we can not only to assist the Palestinians in reforming their institutions and their security, but we should also monitor the Israeli plans for withdrawal and see how the international community will work with them. And in my judgment, it should be in accordance with the Road Map. But of course, the decisions have not been taken yet, and once that is taken, the international community will have a lot to do." (UN News Centre)

A Palestinian gunman shot dead an Israeli in an ambush near Jenin, Israeli medical sources said. The man was fatally wounded when the Palestinian opened fire from a moving car near the “Mevo Dotan” settlement, they said. The killing was claimed by Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in a telephone call to AFP in Jenin. (AFP, Reuters)

In the southern West Bank village of Beit Jala, IDF troops arrested a 29-year-old Palestinian woman, Ahlam Jawarish, who IDF sources said was planning to carry out a suicide attack in Israel. (AP)

Israel’s President Moshe Katsav apologized for what he called the “accidental” killings of Palestinian civilians by Israeli soldiers, but said the deaths occurred because Palestinian militants hid among civilians and launched rockets from residential areas. “I am very sorry and I apologize for the deaths of civilians, women and children,” Mr. Katsav said during his visit to Austria. “That's accidental, they are never our targets.” (AP)

Some 2,500 Palestinian children had been arrested by Israel since the intifada began four years ago, the PA Ministry of Prisoners said. Of the total, 391 children were still in Israeli jails, and more than 400 were under 18 years of age when they were arrested. According to the report, 7 percent of the jailed children were ill and needed health care, while 83 percent were schoolchildren. (Xinhua)

Palestinian legislators sharply criticised the increasing lawlessness in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The lawmakers asked PA Prime Minister Qureia to explain in his upcoming report to the PLC why his Government had failed to deal with the rise in lawlessness. (Xinhua)

UNICEF began distributing more than 40,000 school bags to children in the northern Gaza Strip. UNICEF said the school bags were a token of support, meant to give a sense of normalcy in the lives of children, and a sense that no matter the circumstance, education must continue. (www.unicef.org)

20

IDF forces killed two Palestinians in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. One was shot when an Israeli tank opened fire on a group of civilians leaving a mosque at dawn, local sources said. The other, identified by Palestinian security sources as Jihad Ahmad Hassanen, 21, a member of the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad, was killed by IDF troops deployed near the Egyptian border. “The man and two others were trying to lay an explosive device,” Israel Radio reported. (IPC, WAFA)

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said he would visit the Middle East twice in November to support a European Union initiative to revive the Road Map, hoping to end what Spain saw as damaging inaction in Middle East peacemaking. Mr. Moratinos made the announcement during a visit to Madrid by PA Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath who said that “we want to revive the Road Map out of its coma”. (AP, Reuters)

21

An Israeli man was killed in an explosion in the Rafah region of the southern Gaza Strip, Israeli security sources said. There was no immediate confirmation of the victim's identity but sources within Hamas had claimed to have launched an attack on a tank unit in the area. (AFP)

The IDF killed two Palestinian militants at an army checkpoint near Gaza City, Palestinian and Israeli sources said. 24-year-old Islam Al-Wadiya of the Islamic Jihad's armed wing the Al-Quds Brigades, and 19-year-old Abdel Karim Mansi Zomlot, of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, were killed during a joint operation to attack an army post east of Gaza City. Israeli sources said the men were spotted crawling near the post. The latest violence raised the overall toll since the start of the intifada in September 2000 to 4,508, including 3,478 Palestinians and 956 Israelis. (AFP, Xinhua)

The IDF raided Qalqilya and destroyed three houses, Palestinian security sources and witnesses said. The IDF went into the city under intense fire and backed by several armoured vehicles. Then they exploded the houses of Sameh Al-Sweety, a Palestinian prisoner, Mustafa Shreem and Samir Al- Shoubaki. (Xinhua)

PA Negotiations Affairs Minister Saeb Erakat told the Voice of Palestine that a European ministerial delegation would meet PA President Arafat before holding a conference on the Middle East peace process in Britain. The conference “would be held on the basis of the Madrid agreement and other international agreements and plans, especially the Road Map peace plan," he said. (Xinhua)

At a meeting with UN Special Coordinator Terje Rd-Larsen in Jericho, PA Negotiations Affairs Minister Saeb Erakat called on the United Nations immediately to intervene and provide international protection for the Palestinian people and form a committee to investigate Israeli attacks in northern Gaza. Mr. Erakat said that a human catastrophe had taken place in northern Gaza as a result of the recent Israeli operations which killed 140 citizens and wounded 500 others. He called on the UN to activate the role of the Quartet and to suggest mechanisms for implementation, timetables and observation teams on the ground to implement the Road Map as an indivisible whole. (BBC)

Two Palestinians, Mr. Adnan Ghoul and Mr. Imad Abbas, were killed when the IDF hit the car in which they were travelling in Gaza City with rockets. The IDF said that Mr. Ghoul “was the leading Hamas figure responsible for the developing and the production of the Qassam rockets.” (AFP, AP, Reuters, www.idf.il)

22

Hamas militants fired over 30 mortar shells at the “Gush Katif” settlement block in the Gaza Strip, damaging four houses and causing no casualties. Iyad Al-Sirr was killed and another Palestinian gravely wounded as they prepared to fire a mortar at the “Neveh Dekalim” settlement, Palestinians and the IDF said. Another Palestinian was killed by a burst of gunfire during Mr. Al-Sirr’s funeral in Khan Yunis. ( AP, AFP)

PA Foreign Minister Nabil Sha’ath condemned the fatal Israeli missile strike which killed Adnan Ghoul as a threat to Middle East peace hopes. “This is the kind of behaviour which makes it very, very difficult to reach a ceasefire and very difficult to create the environment for peace,” Mr. Sha’ath said after talks at the European Union. (AFP)

A Qassam rocket landed in the western Negev in Israel. No injuries or damage were reported. (Ha’aretz)

An IDF missile hit the home of a leader of the Popular Resistance Committees in Beit Lahiya, near the Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian witnesses said. Palestinians said the apparent target, Amer Qarmout, and his family were unhurt. (Xinhua)

A total of 107 Palestinians were killed in the recent IDF offensive in the northern Gaza Strip, UNRWA said in a report. 431 Palestinians were wounded and 675 left homeless. UNRWA said it would cost US$2.5 million to rebuild the private homes destroyed. (Xinhua,www.unrwa.org)

Five European foreign ministers were planning to visit Ramallah in the near future, according to PA Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath. Speaking to the Al-Quds newspaper, Mr. Sha'ath said the ministers would meet with PA President Arafat, in an effort to end his physical and diplomatic isolation. (Ha’aretz)

Egypt was proposing a change to its peace treaty with Israel to allow for the deployment of two Egyptian border guard battalions along its border with the Gaza Strip to prevent arms smuggling, whereas Israel had suggested instead an exchange of letters on the subject. The details of the agreement would be discussed during the meeting in Israel set for November 11 between Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit, Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman, Prime Minister Sharon, Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom and heads of the Israeli security establishment. (Ha'aretz)

EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana stated after meeting with PA Foreign Minister Nabil Sha’ath: “We are going to present also to our friends, the Palestinians, a plan in order to get that disengagement process in the most effective manner. So that it is part of a process which is not an end in itself, but a part of the process that should lead to the end of the occupation. We are ready to contribute and to cooperate with our Palestinian friends on all the elements that they need: security, or the administration reform, or whatever is necessary and we will contribute also to the economic conference, which is going to take place in order to help also from the economic point of view.” (www.eu.int)

Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, executed a Palestinian accused of collaborating with Israel. In a leaflet, the Brigades announced the execution of the alleged informer Hassan Musallam who had been accused of providing information that helped Israel assassinate the group's founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, and led to the death of nine others. Hamas spokesman Musher al-Masri said the killing of Mr. Musallam was meant as a warning to other informers. (Xinhua)

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Kieran Prendergast briefed the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. He stated that the Secretary-General would, within the week, send to the President of the General Assembly a letter outlining the structure and planned activities of the register of damages caused by the construction of the separation barrier. (UN document S/PV.5060)

24

EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana revealed that the EU intended to contribute to the implementation of the Road Map by sending army experts to train Palestinian policemen. “Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip should be the first step in a process that leads to the pullout from all the occupied areas,” said Mr. Solana. (Xinhua)

According to local press reports, PA President Arafat's aide Nabil Abu Rudeineh said the PA welcomed the EU's plan to follow up the Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip which must be part of the Road Map. Mr. Abu Rudeineh told reporters in Ramallah, “The PA will deal with this initiative seriously and with great attention.” (Xinhua)

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reported that more than 1,200 Palestinian university students cannot start their studies abroad due to an Israeli travel ban imposed on Palestinians aged between 16 and 35 that prevented them from travelling through the Rafah crossing. In a statement, the Centre called upon the international community, especially the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to intervene and press Israel to allow Palestinian students to travel abroad to continue their studies. (Xinhua)

According to a report published by legal experts from the Israeli Justice Ministry, Foreign Ministry and the military, Israel would be considered under international law as the occupying Power even after it withdrew from the Gaza Strip. Under international law Israel would be responsible for the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the people living there, since Israel intended to maintain control over the crossings into the Gaza Strip, its coastline and airspace. “We must be aware that the disengagement does not necessarily exempt Israel from responsibility in the evacuated territories,” said the 47-page report. However, Israel could reduce its responsibility over the Occupied Palestinian Territory if someone else were to take control there. The report, submitted to the Israeli National Security Council, which is responsible for implementing the pullout, said both the involvement of an international force in the Gaza Strip or the establishment of a Palestinian State would reduce the burden on Israel. (Xinhua)

The Israeli cabinet approved a bill to compensate settlers who would evacuate from the Gaza Strip under Prime Minister Sharon's disengagement plan. (Xinhua)

25

Approximately fourteen Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes and tank incursions in Khan Yunis, Gaza, Palestinian sources and medics said. Witnesses said an 11-year-old boy, three PA policemen and six armed men were among the dead. Israeli pilotless drones fired at least eight air-to-surface missiles at several neighbourhoods in Khan Yunis, south of Gaza city. At the same time, IDF troops backed by tanks entered the neighbourhoods of Namsawi and Baten Al-Samen, pounding residences and clashing with armed Palestinians. Palestinian medics said as many as 63 other people were wounded. (AP, AFP, UPI)

Chaired by PA President Arafat, the Palestine Liberation Organization called on the international community immediately to step in to stop further Israeli attacks on Khan Yunis. The PLO circulated a leaflet condemning the attack on the Namsawi neighbourhood and Baten Al-Samen area in Khan Yunis. Mr. Arafat warned of the serious situation in the city, saying the assassination and killing of Palestinian civilians and children would have bad results for the Israelis. “We call on the UN Security Council immediately to interfere to stop the Israeli attack,” the leaflet said. Israel said the incursion in Khan Yunis was aimed at silencing mortars and Qassam rockets, which were being fired at settlements in the southern Gaza Strip. (Xinhua)

Prime Minister Sharon launched a parliamentary debate on the Gaza disengagement plan. Mr. Sharon told the Knesset he was determined to press ahead with his plan despite the difficulties it could cause for the country. In his speech Mr. Sharon appealed to lawmakers to support his “unilateral disengagement” plan in the scheduled vote so Israelis could live in peace. (AP)

Yehoshua Elitsur, an Israeli settler, was indicted by an Israeli court for the killing of a Palestinian taxi driver near the settlement of “Itamar” near Nablus in the West Bank, judicial sources said. Mr. Elitsur had opened fire, killing the driver, Sayyel Jibara, on 27 September. (AFP)

PA Foreign Minister Nabil Sha'ath said in an interview with Le Figaro that the next US president must realize that defusing the Middle East crisis was key to fighting the war on terrorism. “I don't want to be negative and say that the continuation of the conflict produces instability and terrorism in the world,” Sha'ath told the newspaper. “I prefer to say that by resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict we will remove from terrorists the real reasons or pretexts for hatred against the West.” (Ha'aretz)

In an article published in Ha'aretz, Amira Haas said Israel’s Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz was asking Israeli judges to stop imposing temporary confiscation orders on PA funds. Israeli judges had customarily imposed seizures on Palestinian funds in response to Israeli citizens' damage suits against the PA in recent years, before a court had reached a verdict. About half of the PA budget deficit was caused by seizures imposed by Israeli courts on PA funds, Palestinian sources said. A PA Treasury source said the sum of confiscated funds reached some NIS1 billion this month, consisting of levies, taxes and customs collected by Israel for services and merchandise intended for the PA. The cumulative deficit this year was US$490 million, while the PA's current budget was US$1,444 billion. The temporary seizures of the last two years contradicted Israel’s commitment to the US to transfer to the PA, under the Road Map, all the customs and tax money taken by Israel for merchandise and services intended for the PA. Representatives from the Israeli and Palestinian treasuries have been meeting over the last two months, with US involvement, to discuss ways to solve the problem. Attorney Yossi Arnon, representing the PA, said the damage suits were much higher than customary. Mr. Arnon's office was representing the PA in a number of lawsuits, including 16 financial suits of various types, 37 suits dealing with terror attacks and five suits regarding damage caused to alleged collaborators, coming to a total of NIS6 billion. In cases of death, Mr. Arnon said, Israeli courts awarded up to NIS1 million in compensation, while in suits against the PA for terror attacks the sums reached tens of millions of sheqels. Israeli courts had confiscated NIS858 million in PA funds in connection with lawsuits against the PA. (Ha'aretz)

PA Minister of Labour Ghassan El-Khatib told the Voice of Palestine that the Israeli occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory was the reason for the current violence. He said Israel was taking advantage of the international community's refusal to make any political move, saying that the Israeli attack on Khan Yunis matched Israel's concept of the withdrawal plan — leaving the lands destroyed. “The only way to achieve security and peace is to recognize the Palestinian people's legal rights and restart the peace process that guarantees an end to occupation,” he said. (Xinhua)

In an interview with the Associated Press, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Terje Rd-Larsen, said he stood by his criticism of the PA and urged Israel to return to negotiations to break the deadlocked peace process. Mr. Larsen said “Every Palestinian knows in his or her heart that everything I said in that statement to the Security Council in July was correct, and now, and not to my surprise actually, I'm being embraced by Palestinians of all walks of life because of what I said." PA Negotiations Affairs Minister Saeb Erakat concurred that the issue "is behind us" and that Palestinians had a very good working relationship with Mr. Larsen. (Ha'aretz)

US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said foreign leaders must pressure PA President Arafat to step aside. The conversation must be conducted “by those who still talk to him... we're not among those,” Ms. Rice added. (AP)

PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia told a weekly session of the Cabinet in Ramallah: “At the time we talk about a promised Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, Israel carries out massacres in the Palestinian areas every day… we want to say to the whole world that words and statements are not enough anymore, and we want actions indeed.” (Xinhua)

26

IDF forces withdrew from the Namsawi neighbourhood and Baten Al-Samen area in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis after an incursion that left behind 17 Palestinians dead and more than 70 wounded. In addition, some 200 Palestinians had been made homeless due to the demolition of their homes. (IPC)

Palestinian medical sources said that IDF forces stationed near the settlement of “Neveh Dekalim” had opened fire on hundreds of Palestinians marching in the funeral procession for the victims of the latest IDF attacks on Khan Yunis, wounding many of the marchers. (IPC)

A Hamas militant was killed in an IDF missile attack in the Khan Yunis refugee camp, Israel Army Radio reported. Another four people were injured in the attack, the radio station added, quoting Palestinian sources. (Xinhua)

Palestinian militants in the northern Gaza Strip fired a Qassam rocket into Israel, Palestinian residents said. There were no reports of injuries or damage. Witnesses reported a large explosion on the Israeli side of the “Erez”/Beit Hanoun crossing. The IDF said militants had launched three projectiles — either mortars or Qassam rockets — near the crossing. (AFP)

Abdelaziz Mouamar, 28, was fatally wounded when IDF soldiers opened fire near the Sufa crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel. According to the IDF, Mr. Mouamar was attempting to launch an anti-tank rocket. (AFP, www.idf.il)

A Palestinian was in critical condition after being shot by an Israeli settler at the “Yizhar” settlement close to Nablus, Israeli police sources said. According to initial inquiries, the shooting took place after a dispute between a settler and the Palestinian who had been harvesting olives. (AFP)

UN Special Coordinator Terje Rd-Larsen “deplored the loss of life during the renewed military operation [in Khan Yunis] that began Sunday and ended this morning resulting in the death of at least 17 people, including civilians, among them an 11-year-old child," according to a statement from Mr. Rd-Larsen’s office. “Mr. Rd-Larsen calls on Israel, as the occupying power, to act under the framework of international law, most critically in the protection of the civilian population, property and infrastructure,” the statement added. (UN News Centre)

The Israeli Supreme Court requested the IDF to appoint a senior officer to hold an inquiry into the scale of the destruction of Palestinian homes in the Rafah region of the Gaza Strip, then report back to the Court, judicial sources said. The Court was responding to a petition filed by the Arab-Israeli human rights group Adalah, which had accused the military of having perpetrated war crimes. President of the Supreme Court Aharon Barak said the accusations could not be taken lightly. (AFP)

PA Foreign Minister Nabil Sha’ath told the Voice of Palestine radio station that during his meeting with the Swiss Foreign Minister on 28 October he would discuss the preparations for a conference of the signatories of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the implementation of the recent International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion. (BBC)

27

The Islamic Jihad movement claimed responsibility for firing three Qassam rockets at the Israeli port of Majdal, while the Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, claimed responsibility for firing two rockets at the southern Israeli city of Sderot. (Xinhua)

PA Negotiations Affairs Minister Saeb Erakat told the Voice of Palestine radio station: "If Israel is serious about the peace process, it would return to negotiations with the PA to coordinate the Road Map plan as a whole unit and to make the withdrawal from Gaza a part of it." Mr. Erakat said the PA was ready to take responsibility for any area Israel pulled out from within the West Bank and Gaza Strip, adding that "the international society and the Quartet committee have to put mechanisms and schedules in place to supervise the implementation of the Road Map.” (AFP)

PA President Arafat’s adviser Nabil Abu Rudeineh told AFP: “The PA is ready to assume its responsibilities in the Gaza Strip if Israel pulls out. We are in favour of any withdrawal from occupied land, even one centimetre. But the vote at the Knesset is not important. What matters is what happens on the ground.” (AFP)

Russia's Foreign Ministry welcomed the Knesset’s approval of the removal of settlements from Gaza and part of the West Bank, saying the move would help revive the Middle East peace process. The Ministry called on the Palestinians to respond to Israel's move by "taking resolute action to stop terror attacks against Israel, including the launch of rockets on Israeli settlements.” At the same time, it urged Israel to refrain from "collective punishment" and "disproportionate use of force," saying that ending violence was essential for restarting peace efforts. (AP, www.mid.ru)

Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa said the planned Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip should be unconditional, MENA news agency reported. Mr. Moussa said Israel's disengagement should not be something that provided security for Israel at the expense of the Palestinians. The planned withdrawal should be based on relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and the land-for-peace principle, he added. Mr. Moussa said the Palestinians and other Arab countries should now reach an agreement on the policy to be adopted towards the planned withdrawal. (Xinhua)

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ali Ayed told AFP : "Our position is clear. Any [Israeli] withdrawal should be part of the Middle East Road Map and herald the start of a withdrawal from all Palestinian territories. The withdrawal should put an end to the occupation and lead to a Palestinian State." (AFP)

Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot, speaking for the European Union, welcomed the vote in the Israeli Knesset, which supported Prime Minister Sharon's disengagement proposal. “This decision is regarded as an important step towards a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, provided [...] that it takes place in the context of the Road Map, it is a step towards a two-State solution, it does not involve a transfer of settlement activity to the West Bank," a ministry statement said. Mr. Bot also reiterated the European Union's commitment to a "two-State solution agreed between the parties which would result in a viable, contiguous, sovereign and independent Palestinian State." (www.eu.int)

Javier Solana, European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, issued the following statement: "I congratulate the Israeli Government and the Israeli Parliament on the vote yesterday in the Knesset, which is a historic move which could enhance hopes for the peace Israelis and Palestinians deserve. It is a first but meaningful and important step towards the two-State solution supported by the international community through the Road Map elaborated by the Quartet." (www.eu.int)

Israel’s High Court of Justice rejected four petitions to halt the work of the Disengagement Administration. The petitions were brought by the head of the “Gaza Coast Regional Council,” Mr. Avner Shimoni; four members of the National Religious Party; residents of the West Bank settlement of “Homesh”; and a committee of the “Gush Katif” settlement block in the Gaza Strip. (Ha’aretz)

The following statement was issued by the Spokesman for the Secretary-General:

(UN press release SG/SM/9563)

The following statement was issued by the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on UNRWA:
(UN press release SG/SM/9562)

Esam Abu Etima, 30, died of severe wounds sustained on 2 October, when Israeli soldiers raided the Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. (Albawaba.com)

Three Palestinians were injured when Israeli soldiers raided the Palestinian city of Jenin. According to Palestinian security sources, Israeli troops, backed by about 50 tanks and armoured vehicles, stormed the city and the refugee camp, imposing a curfew on residents. Eyewitnesses said Israeli soldiers seized several houses, turning them into army posts from where they could look for “wanted militants.” (Ha’aretz, Xinhua)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rejected calls from within his Cabinet for a referendum on leaving the Gaza Strip after winning the Knesset’s support to dismantle settlements from the Gaza Strip and four West Bank settlements. Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and three other ministers vowed to resign in two weeks if no referendum was set. “I will never give in to pressures and threats and not accept any ultimatum. My position on the referendum is unchanged. I was opposed because it will lead to terrible tensions and a rupture in the public,” according to Mr. Sharon. (Reuters)

A poll indicated half of the Israelis favoured a referendum. If one were held, 59 per cent would vote to leave the Gaza Strip and 28 per cent against it, according to Ma’ariv. “We still cannot rule a referendum out totally. This is politics,” said a staffer working for Mr. Sharon. (Ma’ariv, Reuters)

28

Teams of doctors were trying to assess whether PA President Arafat should be taken from the muqataa in Ramallah to hospital. Reports suggested that Mr. Arafat could be moved to hospital in Amman or Paris. Jordanian doctors, including his personal physician, Dr. Ashraf Al-Kurdi, arrived from Amman to examine Mr. Arafat. Egyptian, Tunisian and Palestinian doctors have also been present. (AP, BBC, CNN, Ha’aretz)

An eight-year-old Palestinian girl who was on her way to school in the Khan Yunis refugee camp was killed when Israeli forces fired on houses in the neighbourhood of Al-Amal. The girl, identified as Rania Arram, was killed after being hit by a live bullet in the neck. Random machine-gun fire had come from an Israeli army outpost near the settlement of “Ganei Tal,” according to witnesses. (AFP, Albawaba.com, Ha’aretz)

In the West Bank, 15 Palestinians were arrested by Israeli soldiers in the cities of Bethlehem, Hebron and Nablus. In Bethlehem, seven men were arrested by Israeli troops conducting a search campaign. In Hebron, Israeli soldiers arrested six Palestinians, witnesses said. In Nablus, two Palestinians were arrested when Israeli forces raided several houses in the refugee camp of Beit Ilma (Camp No. 1). (Albawaba.com, Xinhua)

In the Gaza Strip, IDF troops and Palestinians exchanged gunfire near the settlement of “Morag.Israeli sources said an Israeli military post close to the settlement had been hit by mortar rounds, wounding seven soldiers, one of them listed in extremely critical condition. (Albawaba.com, Ha’aretz)

Palestinians fired a Qassam rocket from the Gaza Strip that landed in a cemetery in the western Negev. There were no injuries reported. (Ha’aretz)

Israel recently released Samar Atta Badr of Nablus, a Palestinian woman who had been held in the Israeli prisons of Telmond and Alramlah for the previous 17 months. Ms. Atta Badr said she had been beaten with clubs, sustaining fractures in her left jaw. The latest statistics showed that Israel held approximately 80 Palestinian women, mainly in the Alramlah prison. (www.ipc.gov.ps)

In the GA’s Third Committee, John Dugard, the Commission on Human Right’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, occupied since 1967, said Israel’s conduct in the occupied Palestinian territories posed the same kind of threat to the credibility of international human rights that apartheid in South Africa had posed in the 1970s and 1980s. Systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law had occurred in the territories, and they had been committed, not by uncontrolled militias, but by one of the most disciplined and sophisticated armies in the modern world, directed by a stable and disciplined Government. The Road Map was dead, largely as a result of Israel’s failure to take action against settlements. The world was looking to the US for leadership in the region, and the world was simply not getting it. It was a positive step that Israel was planning to withdraw settlements from the Gaza Strip, but settlements in the West Bank were expanding rapidly. He stressed that in the absence of Security Council action, it was incumbent upon regional organizations, especially the European Union, to apply pressure to Israel to ensure respect for human rights in compliance with the international law. He recalled the economic sanctions imposed by individual States on South Africa during the apartheid years, when Britain, the US and France had exercised vetoes to prevent economic sanctions from being imposed on South Africa. He said civil society could also bring pressure to bear on companies to cease doing business with Israel. (UN press release GA/SHC/3794)

UN spokesperson Fred Eckhard told a press briefing in New York that the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Terje Rd-Larsen spent the day in Ramallah meeting with top Palestinian officials. (UN News Centre)

Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinians, aged 10 and 17, in the Gaza Strip. Islamic militants killed a soldier in a mortar barrage on a settlement. According to witnesses, troops stationed outside the Khan Yunis refugee camp in Gaza killed a 10 year-old Palestinian girl as she walked to school. Military sources said troops shot back after coming under mortar fire. Hours later, mortar fire at the “Morag” settlement in Gaza killed a soldier and wounded six others, the IDF said. Hamas claimed responsibility for the mortar attack. In the West Bank, troops scouring Jenin refugee camp for militants shot dead a 17 year-old Palestinian. The Army said the youth was armed with a gun, but Palestinian witnesses said he had only thrown rocks at the soldiers. (Reuters)

29

PA President Yasser Arafat arrived at the Villacoublay military airport in France and was taken for treatment to the military hospital of Percy, in Clamart, south-west of Paris. (AP, Reuters, UPI, Le Monde)

Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets of the Gaza Strip in support of PA President Arafat. (Xinhua)

30

Israeli soldiers shot dead a 12-year-old Palestinian boy in Jenin. According to sources, the boy was hit during fierce clashes in the city. Demonstrations had erupted in Jenin where Israeli troops had been operating since 27 October. (DPA)

The Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization met in Ramallah. Palestinian sources said the Committee, chaired by former PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, discussed the illness of PA President Arafat and other issues during its regular weekly meeting at its Ramallah headquarters. In a communiqu, Mr. Abbas said the Committee would see to the respect of the law as well as the smooth functioning of all legislative and executive authorities. The Committee would be holding a joint meeting with the Council of Ministers when necessary, and would coordinate with all Palestinian factions to ensure the highest degree of national unity. The Committee would also continue to confer with Mr. Arafat and receive instructions from him as the leader of the Palestinian people. It called on all Palestinian factions to work together and assume responsibility to protect the nation’s fate. It expressed gratitude to all the Arab and world leaders who expressed concern for Mr. Arafat’s health and the support showed to him. (DPA, www.ipc.gov.ps)

31

A Palestinian, Mr. Ammar Ghawadra, 22, was killed and another unidentified person was wounded as Israeli forces raided the city of Jenin and its refugee camp in the West Bank. Israeli soldiers arrested several Palestinians during the raid, witnesses said. Troops broke into the city and conducted a search campaign, imposing a curfew on the camp. In Tubas, Israeli troops opened fire against Palestinians passing through the city’s Al-Hamra Israeli checkpoint, witnesses said. No injuries were reported. In Jericho, Israeli soldiers manning roadblocks prevented West Bank residents from entering the city and other parts of the southern West Bank. Israel also closed the Salah Eddin main road between the northern and southern Gaza Strip. Witnesses said soldiers held about a hundred vehicles between the Almatahen and Abu Holi checkpoints in the southern Gaza Strip. (Albawaba.com, Reuters, www.ipc.gov.ps)

In the Gaza Strip, a settler was seriously wounded when Palestinians fired mortar shells at the settlement of “Kfar Darom." Later in the day, Israeli soldiers killed two armed Palestinians not far from the settlement. (Albawaba.com, DPA)

PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia convened the National Security Council. Heads of all Palestinian security services were represented. The Council evaluated the security situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the maintenance of law and order. The Palestinian Legislative Council also met. It issued a statement declaring that existing arrangements were adequate to cope with Mr. Arafat’s absence, and therefore no new legislation was needed. (AP, Ha’aretz)

Prime Minister Sharon told his Cabinet that PA President Arafat would be allowed back when he recovered from his illness. Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told CNN that there were “no conditions” for Mr. Arafat’s return. Mr. Sharon also told his Cabinet that Israel would continue moving forward with the disengagement plan despite Mr. Arafat’s illness. (Albawaba.com, AP, CNN)

PA Finance Minister Salam Fayyad told AP that PA President Arafat phoned Ramallah and they had a five-minute telephone conversation. “This phone call is clear proof that President Arafat is fully aware of what is going on around him,” Mr. Fayyad said. On the same day, French President Chirac telephoned Mr. Arafat to inquire about his health. Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal also called Mr. Arafat to wish him well. (Albawaba.com, AP)


Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter