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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights
30 November 2001
D i v i s i o n f o r P a l e s t i n i a n R i g h t s



Chronological Review of Events Relating to the
Question of Palestine
Monthly media monitoring review


November 2001


1

UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen, in his remarks at the opening of UNRWA’s budgetary debate in New York during the week and released on 1 November, said the Agency’s “ability to deliver humanitarian assistance effectively [was] severely affected by the whole range of Israeli closures, checkpoints, blockades and other restrictions on movement of staff”. He added that UNRWA’s efforts to negotiate access to the refugees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with Israel had failed. As a result of Israeli restrictions on movement of goods and labour, more than 76 per cent of Palestinian households in refugee camps served by UNRWA were below the poverty line. The situation was more acute in the Gaza Strip, where almost 80 per cent of refugee households were below the line. (Reuters)

During talks in Amman, King Abdullah II and Prime Minister Tony Blair had emphasized “the need to put the [Israeli-Palestinian] peace process back on track and reaffirmed that the process should clear the way for the creation of a Palestinian State”, a Jordanian official said. Mr. Blair had stressed the “right of the Palestinians to establish their State and enjoy security, stability and prosperity, while underlining Israel’s right to exist and to security”, the official added. (AFP, XINHUA)

Palestinian Council Speaker Ahmed Qurei said on Israeli Army Radio that a Palestinian State should be declared “immediately”, as world leaders like President Bush and Prime Minister Blair had expressed their support for it and Messrs. Sharon and Peres were not against it. (AFP)

IDF paratroopers and undercover units abducted Hamas official Omar Ali Muhammad Jabarin and three other Palestinians in the village of Beit Iba, northwest of Nablus, in an area under full Palestinian control. Later on Israeli security forces also captured Hamas activist Firas Ahjazi in the Hebron region. (AFP, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition, XINHUA)

An Israeli helicopter gunship fired missiles at a car travelling near Tulkarm, killing two alleged Palestinian militants, Israel Radio said. Quoting Israeli security sources, the radio said the two targeted Palestinians were Hamas activists on their way to carry out a bomb attack inside Israel. A third person in the car, apparently the driver, had been seriously injured and apprehended by the Israelis, the radio said. Two girls, who were not far from the car at the time of the strike, were injured, one of them seriously, Palestinian sources said. In a further operation, the IDF later moved some 13 tanks into Tulkarm from its southern entrance, prompting gun battles with armed Palestinians, according to Palestinians sources. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

Prime Minister Blair told a joint news conference with Prime Minister Sharon in Jerusalem that it was “important that we do everything that we can to find the way back to a viable peace process in the Middle East”, adding that the “cycle of bloodshed” had to stop. From his part, Mr. Sharon said “once there is complete quiet and a complete end to terror, violence and incitement, we can go on to conducting peace negotiations – something I want very much”. He added that he was building a team to conduct negotiations, which he and Foreign Minister Peres would lead, in order to advance an agreement, “first a ceasefire agreement and after that a political agreement”. (AFP, Reuters)

Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa said the Arabs would not accept Israeli actions against the Palestinians without responding “with appropriate measures”. He noted that Israel’s “aggressive” policies towards the Palestinians would only insure the continuation of the “circle of action and reaction” and lead to more bloodshed. Mr. Moussa said Israel alone was to blame for the deterioration of the situation, which he assessed was tending towards an “explosion”. He accused Israel of “not heeding US and EU calls to end the violence and its policy of assassinating Palestinians”. (AFP, DPA)

In a 25-page report, B’Tselem said the Israeli police and army had not taken measures to prevent or stop settler violence against Palestinian individuals and property, although “the settlers’ acts were expected, and in many cases involved large numbers of settlers acting in broad daylight”. The IDF said it tried to prevent settler violence and prepared for settler rioting after Palestinian attacks. The IDF and the Israeli police said they had brought to justice settlers who took part in acts of violence. A spokesman for the settlers rejected the report and said settler leaders opposed settlers “taking the law into their own hands”. B’Tselem maintained that Israel’s failure to make settlers obey the law was “notably conspicuous” because it so vigorously enforced the law against Palestinians. (DPA, Reuters)

At his meeting with Chairman Arafat in Gaza City, Prime Minister Blair urged Palestinians not to be fooled by the Bin Laden rhetoric and renewed calls for a Palestinian State that would not undermine Israel’s right to exist or threaten its security. Responding to a Palestinian journalist’s suggestion that he make a declaration similar to the Balfour one, he said he did not “make any claims as big as that”. For his part, Chairman Arafat also dismissed Mr. Bin Laden’s call to Muslims and assured Mr. Blair of the Palestinian commitment “to keep and sustain the ceasefire, push forward the peace process and achieve peace” not only for the Palestinians but for the people of the region. (AFP, Reuters)

Israeli Defence Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer accepted the IDF’s recommendation and approved the erection of a security fence that would encompass the northern Gaza Strip settlements of “Eley-Sinai”, “Dugit” and “Nissanit”. The fence, which could take over a year to complete and which would include a patrol road and movement sensors similar to those on Israel’s borders, would reportedly be built south of the road connecting the three settlements and the Erez industrial zone and would aim at averting further Palestinian infiltration attacks on the settlements. (The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition)

The World Bank approved a US$25 million loan for a water and sanitation project in the Gaza Strip. (DPA)

2

In an interview published in Maariv, Foreign Minister Peres said he was in favour of Israel abandoning several settlements immediately, “not in order to please the Palestinians, but because there are particular settlements exposed to gunfire, which have no future”. Mr. Peres also called for a resumption of peace talks. “If I were Prime Minister, I would continue the negotiations under fire, because it is impossible to achieve a ceasefire without negotiations”, he said. Regarding the assassination of Palestinian militants, Mr. Peres supported the policy, so long as militants poised to carry out attacks were targetted and not political figures. Commenting on Mr. Peres’ statement on settlements, PA Cabinet Secretary-General Ahmed Abdel Rahman praised the former’s “courage to talk about the issue of settlements in a Government of settlers” but said the only way to achieve lasting peace would be to dismantle all settlements. (AFP, Reuters)

Chairman Arafat and Foreign Minister Peres met in the town of Formentor, on the island of Majorca, Spain, where they both arrived in order to participate in a Euro-Mediterranean conference. The two men had lunch together, along with President Mubarak and Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar. No comment was made after the talks. (AFP, BBC News Online, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition)

In a new incursion into the Gaza Strip, the IDF had advanced some 500 metres into the village of Beit Lahiya, an area under PA control, Palestinian security sources said. Two tanks and two bulldozers had stormed the area bordering the “Dugit” settlement and had begun to destroy farmland, they added. Separately, two Israeli tanks ploughed 200 metres into Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, again without provocation, according to the Palestinian sources. (AFP, Reuters)

3

A new Israeli checkpoint near the village of Dura al-Qar, north of “Beit El” settlement and Ramallah, came under attack. One soldier was killed and another moderately wounded in a drive-by shooting. After the shooting an Israeli tank and about a dozen armoured vehicles made a brief incursion into the nearby village of Silwad, where arrests were made. Later, military bulldozers tore up the road used in this attack, located to the east of the Palestinian area, and cut it off completely. Tanks also moved into new positions near the Jalazone refugee camp to the north of Ramallah, preventing access to it even by foot, and within the northern sector of the zone soldiers were blocking the entrances to several buildings. (AFP, Arutz 7)

Israeli tanks and bulldozers entered dozens of meters into Rafah, firing heavy machine-guns and destroying houses owned by brothers Raad and Sami Yunes. The houses were destroyed without giving a reason, Palestinian sources said. In Khan Yunis, two houses caught fire and were badly burned when they were hit by illumination grenades fired by the Israeli army. Nobody was reported hurt in those incidents. (AFP)

4

A Palestinian police officer was killed in the Gaza Strip, when an Israeli tank fired from the “Kfar Darom” settlement on a Palestinian security post in Deir Al-Balah. (AFP)

A Palestinian from Hebron opened fire on an Israeli bus at an intersection in the French Hill in northern East Jerusalem, killing two Israelis and injuring 40, before being killed by Israeli police. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack. The Palestinian leadership condemned it after a meeting of the PA cabinet and the Executive Committee of the PLO. (AFP, DPA, Reuters, XINHUA)

Israeli border guards prevented the PA Justice Minister, Fraih Abu Meddain, from entering Egypt to attend a meeting of Arab ministers, despite the fact that he had received approval the previous week from the Israeli Government for the visit to Egypt. Also, some 1,200 Palestinians had been held up for several days on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing point, waiting for the Israeli authorities to let them through, an Egyptian border official said. Israel had tightened security at the borders and was only letting 200 Palestinians through daily. (AFP)


5

A Palestinian civilian was severely injured in Tulkarm when one of the Israeli tanks deployed there moved into the town centre and started firing, Palestinian security officials said. (AFP)

An Israeli tank and two bulldozers advanced into the Rafah area and destroyed two houses, amid gunfire in which two Palestinians were wounded. Israel Radio said the aim of the incursion was to find tunnels connecting Rafah with Egypt used to smuggle arms into the Gaza Strip. (AFP, DPA)

US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer said in a speech before Israel’s Foreign Press Association that the PA had “a responsibility to ensure that groups it controls, or should control, do not move into terrorism” but that “Israel’s right to self-defence should be accomplished without incursions into Area A”. (DPA)

Some 30 Israeli tanks and APCs pulled out of Qalqilya before dawn but maintained a tight siege around it. (AFP, DPA)

A member of the Palestinian security forces died of wounds he had sustained in a clash with Israeli forces in Ramallah on 21 October. The body of another Palestinian security officer, missing since a gunfight with Israeli soldiers on 18 October, was found after the Israeli army withdrew from Ramallah, Palestinian security officials said. (AFP)

Chairman Arafat and Foreign Minister Peres held a meeting in Brussels, at the official residence of Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt. The meeting was also attended by EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel and PA Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nabil Shaath. None of the participants made a statement upon leaving the building. Belgian officials described the talks as the most substantive between the two men since September. Belgium, currently holding the European Union’s rotating presidency, sought during the meeting “to restore trust between the parties and to lay the groundwork for the mission the European Union plans to send to the Middle East [from 15 to 18 November]”, Mr. Verhofstadt’s spokesman said. “There were no negotiations and no decisions”, an Israeli source said after the meeting. Messrs Arafat and Peres were both in Brussels for a two-day meeting of EU Foreign Ministers and their 12 Mediterranean partners. (AFP, DPA, EFE, Reuters)

PM Sharon said in broadcast remarks that the IDF had achieved the goals set for the incursions into Palestinian areas and would leave once security was ensured. He said 42 Palestinian gunmen had been killed in clashes and another 15 militants were either killed or wounded in targeted attacks since Minister Ze’evy’s assassination. Another 85 Palestinians had been arrested. Mr. Sharon said Chairman Arafat was not stopping the militants and there had been no arrests “apart from a facade aimed at satisfying foreign public opinion”. (Reuters)

6

Three Palestinians and an Israeli soldier were killed and at least two more Palestinians were wounded in an exchange of fire south of Nablus. The clash had erupted in Tell, a Palestinian village in Area A bordering on Area B. Two senior members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades were later killed in a car explosion in the Jenin refugee camp. Separately, two Palestinians were wounded, one seriously, when Israeli tanks opened fire with shells and heavy machineguns on refugee camp near Rafah. Another Palestinian was hurt when an Israeli tank fired on the taxi he was in near the “Gush Katif” settlement block in the southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian police said. Palestinian police also accused an Israeli tank of deliberately ramming another taxi head-on near the “Netzarim” settlement in the northern Gaza Strip injuring four people, one seriously, although the Israeli army said the incident was a traffic accident involving a military jeep. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

In an interview on Israeli Army Radio, Minister Peres said he was trying to see if he could work out a joint peace initiative with Prime Minister Sharon. Israeli newspapers said the plan included the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian State buffered by Israeli-controlled security zones in the West Bank. Ha’aretz said the draft provided for a ceasefire, negotiations with the Palestinians based on UN resolutions calling for an Israeli withdrawal from land seized in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, and the establishment of a Palestinian State, which would be created in stages, starting from the Gaza Strip. Its borders would be worked out through negotiations and the eventual Israeli borders would be guaranteed by the US. It said the plan did not provide for dismantling settlements and the current status quo in Jerusalem would be maintained if no final status agreement was reached. Palestinian refugees would not be allowed to return to Israel and an international committee would be set up to arrange for compensations. PA Cabinet Secretary-General Ahmed Abdel Rahman dismissed the plan as a guise for entrenching the Israeli occupation and said “Serious talks with the Israelis will resume once we hear them talking about Palestinian rights and a withdrawal from the territories, ending settlements, establishing the Palestinian State and the return of Jerusalem and refugees”. (AFP, DPA, Reuters, XINHUA)

B’Tselem said in a statement that the IDF had perpetrated many human rights violations in Beit Rima during its 24 October raid into the West Bank village, which resulted in the death of five Palestinian security officers. B’Tselem spoke of “excessive use of force and the unjustified shooting of Palestinian security force personnel”, as well as denial of medical treatment to the wounded for several hours and punitive house demolitions forbidden under international law. The IDF said in response that soldiers had acted in accordance with “accepted standards” and the raid aimed at striking the “terrorist infrastructure” in the village, leading to the arrest of 11 Palestinians involved in attacks on Israelis, including Minister Ze’evy’s killing. It said its medics treated wounded Palestinians and did not permit ambulances into the area during the raid “to allow troops to operate with security”. B’Tselem called on the IDF to institute stricter rules of engagement, to investigate all the cases in which Palestinians were killed in Beit Rima, to ensure ambulances were given immediate access to the wounded and to cease demolishing houses. (Reuters)

The Presidency Conclusions issued by the Belgian EU Presidency at the end of the two-day Euro-Mediterranean Conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Brussels said, inter alia, that the Ministers “strongly urge[d] all the parties concerned to resume immediately, without any prerequisites or conditions, negotiations with a view to applying the recommendations contained in the Mitchell Report and the Tenet Plan” and “stressed that negotiations should lead: for the Palestinians, to the establishment of an independent, viable and democratic State and an end to the occupation of their territories; for the Israelis, to live in peace and safety within internationally recognized borders”, adding that “[t]he quest for peace must include all aspects, and in particular a just solution to the matter of refugees”. (Belgian EU Presidency web site: www.eu2001.be)

7

Israeli troops and tanks had completely withdrawn early in the morning from Ramallah, an IDF statement said, adding that, “the Israeli forces have taken up positions around Ramallah in a sector where security matters remain the responsibility of Israel and from where our forces can prevent terrorism aimed at our civilians and soldiers.” In remarks from Washington, Secretary Powell said he was pleased with the Israeli withdrawal from Ramallah and expressed the hope that it would be followed by withdrawals from the other villages in the near future. He also said he hoped Chairman Arafat would continue to do all he could to end the violence. (AFP, Comtex Scientific Corporation, DPA, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition, Reuters)

The joint peace initiative Foreign Minister Peres was trying to formulate with Prime Minister Sharon was intended to prevent the international community from imposing its own plans on Israel, the Jerusalem Post reported. Explaining the urgency of the initiative, Foreign Minister Peres had referred to plans the US, the EU and the UN had been putting forward and said that Israel could not let its actions be driven by the agendas of other bodies with vested interests. (The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition)

The IDF shot dead a 23-year-old Palestinian during clashes in the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip. Five other Palestinians were injured in the exchange, including two women, one of whom was pregnant, Palestinian sources said, adding that the woman was in critical condition. The sources said the clashes broke out after Palestinians from Khan Yunis exchanged fire with soldiers guarding the nearby settlement of “Neve Dekalim”. Separately, a 53-year old Fatah activist died in Israeli custody after being shot when a special team of Israeli border police appeared at his home near Hebron to arrest him on charges of murdering a Jewish settler three years ago. Local Fatah leaders said the IDF had summarily executed him. His son and another man were also injured in the shooting. But Israeli section commander Lieutenant Colonel Dror Weinberg told AFP that the man had pulled a pistol on the arrest team, who shot him. An 11-year-old Palestinian boy was wounded when the IDF opened fire in the Shajaiya area east of Gaza City, Palestinian hospital sources said. (AFP, DPA, XINHUA)

Hard-line settlers in Hebron were becoming more aggressive, both towards the majority Palestinians and the Israeli police investigating their depredations, Israeli public radio said. It quoted military and police sources as saying that settlers were increasingly resorting to such means as throwing stones and spitting at Palestinians, as well as looting and burning their shops. Among the worst offenders were children under 12, who could not be prosecuted because of their age, the radio said. (AFP)

A statement issued after a meeting of the PA cabinet and the PLO Executive Committee in Ramallah said the recent IDF withdrawals from Palestinian towns were “accompanied by a complete blockade blocking all access to these towns”, turning them into “collective detention camps”. The Palestinian leadership warned that Israel would “continue its attacks and assassinations [of Palestinians] to render it impossible to return to calm and apply the Mitchell plan”. (AFP)

The Swiss Foreign Ministry announced that it had started consultations with the 189 States signatories to the 1949 Geneva Conventions with a view to holding a conference in Geneva, on 5 December 2001, on the treatment of civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. (Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition)

8

According to the UK dailies The Independent and The Guardian, Prime Minister Blair had urged President Bush at their meeting in Washington to throw his weight behind a new push for peace in the Middle East, as such a move was seen as essential to retain moderate Muslim support in the anti-terrorist campaign. (Reuters)

A 23-year-old Palestinian man was killed and three others, including a pregnant woman, were wounded when Israeli tanks fired heavy machine guns in the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip. Israel said its forces in the “Gush Katif” settlement block, next to the refugee camp, were responding to mortar bombs, which had caused no injuries. An 11-year-old Palestinian boy was wounded when Israeli troops stationed near the Karni crossing with Israel opened fire, reportedly without provocation, in the Shajaiya area east of Gaza City, Palestinian sources said. A Palestinian blew himself up, injuring two Israeli soldiers, during a raid by Israeli commandos searching for militants in the town of Baqa al-Sharqiya, north of Tulkarm. Meanwhile, a 57-year-old Palestinian died of his wounds at Al-Shifaa Hospital in Gaza City. (AFP, Reuters, XINHUA)

The EU had formulated a new initiative for peace in the Middle East, which had already been presented to the Palestinian side, Al-Ayyam reported. According to PA Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nabil Shaath, the European plan consisted of a political and a security part. The first called for the establishment of an independent, sovereign, democratic and sustainable Palestinian State; an end to Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip; a resumption of negotiations based on UN Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973); and a just solution to the refugee problem. The second part of the initiative called for Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation and the implementation of the Tenet ceasefire agreement and the Mitchell report recommendations, in the presence of international observers. Once there was progress in implementing the plan’s security part, the sides could start implementing the political part, Mr. Shaath said. PA Minister and senior negotiator Saeb Erakat had confirmed the existence of the European plan and had said the Europeans would discuss it with the US Administration before formally presenting it to the Palestinians and the Israelis. Israel Radio reported that, according to diplomatic sources, Israel continued to oppose the involvement of the EU in efforts aimed at resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because of the EU’s inclination to favour the Palestinians. Israel also rejected any involvement of an international observer force in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, saying that observers would only serve the Palestinians. (DPA, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition, XINHUA)

Israel wanted to see a “successful” and independent Palestinian State, Foreign Minister Peres said in an address to the Swedish Social Democratic Party congress in Västerås, Sweden. “We should continue efforts to give Palestinians their own economy and independence, so that we can live as good neighbours”, he added. He expressed the hope that IDF would complete its withdrawal from Palestinian cities “in a very short time, another few days”. Palestinian Council Speaker Ahmed Qurei, who also addressed the congress, said it was “now the time to recognize an independent State” and to “return immediately to serious negotiations”. Messrs. Peres and Qurei both attended a lunch with senior Swedish officials led by Prime Minister Goran Persson and Foreign Minister Anna Lindh. The talks they held there did not amount to negotiations, Israeli sources said. (AFP, Reuters)

Arab Communications Ministers denounced Israel for banning their Palestinian colleague, Imad Al-Falouji, from travelling to Egypt to attend their two-day conference that had opened on 7 November. In a statement, they accused Israel of violating international conventions by refusing to allow Mr. Al-Falouji to perform his duties outside the Occupied Palestinian Territory and described the Israeli move as “totally unacceptable”. (DPA)

Addressing the German parliament, Chancellor Schröder said the Middle East crisis required action by the US, the EU, Russia and the United Nations “at the highest level”. “The unsolved conflict must not be allowed to serve as a false pretext for criminal activity by terrorists”, he noted. He added that peace between Israel and the Palestinians was indispensable in order to “deprive terrorism of the soil, in which it grows” and reiterated that military means alone were insufficient in the fight against terrorism. (AFP)

Speaking to reporters after meeting Secretary Powell in Washington, PA Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nabil Shaath said he had asked Mr. Powell to make public a US vision of Middle East peace and urged the US to send monitors to oversee implementation of the recommendations of the Mitchell Committee report. (AFP, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition)

9

A 14-year-old boy was seriously injured by the IDF after being shot in the head in the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, and a deaf mute Palestinian man was shot dead. In another incident, two Palestinian teenagers were also wounded in the refugee camp when they were fired on from the nearby settlement of “Neve Dekalim”. Another five Palestinians, who were throwing stones at the IDF at the Karni border crossing, were hit by bullets and shrapnel from tank shells. (AFP)

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the US would boycott the planned conference of the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Geneva Conventions scheduled for 5 December 2001 in Switzerland. Mr. Boucher said the US believed that “such a meeting would be counterproductive and [had] no legal basis under the Convention, which [the US] strongly support[ed]”. (AFP, Reuters)

The IDF decided to postpone a withdrawal from Jenin and Tulkarm, after it received warnings of possible attacks by Palestinian militants from the two cities. (Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition, XINHUA)

According to a poll in Ma’ariv, most Israelis believed that stepping up peace efforts was the best way to end their confrontation with the Palestinians. A majority of 53 per cent said Israel should increase its peace efforts, slightly more than double the 26 per cent who said Israel should declare an all-out war on the Palestinians. Another 14 per cent thought Israel should continue combating the Palestinian intifada as it had been to date. A similar 53 per cent majority said they supported a unilateral separation from the West Bank and Gaza Strip, without first signing a peace treaty with the Palestinians. The unilateral separation plan called for Israel to pull out of the Palestinian Occupied Territory and then build a fence around the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Half of the Israelis polled also supported a plan whereby a Palestinian State would be established in the Gaza Strip as a first step. A large number, 64 per cent, believed Prime Minister Sharon would not succeed in stopping bombing and shooting attacks by Palestinian militants on Israeli targets; only 31 per cent said they thought he could succeed. Some 55 per cent, however, said they were nonetheless satisfied with Mr. Sharon’s general performance in office. The poll questioned 594 adult Israelis earlier in the week and had a 4.5 per cent margin of error. (DPA)

An Israeli settler from “Mevo Dotan”, near Jenin, was shot in a roadside ambush, as she was returning from work in the settlement of “Shaked”, lost control of her car and got killed. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades in Jenin later claimed responsibility for the attack. (AFP, Arutz 7, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition)

10

IDF tanks and soldiers entered the Area A village of Araqa near Jenin, where the attackers on an Israeli settler the previous day had reportedly fled, arrested 12 Palestinians and demolished the house of a gunman who had killed three Israelis at the Afula bus station, before being killed, on 4 October. (AFP, Arutz 7, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition)

President Bush told the United Nations General Assembly: “We are working toward the day when two States – Israel and Palestine – live peacefully together within secure and recognized borders as called for by the Security Council resolutions.” This was the second time Mr. Bush expressed publicly his support for a Palestinian State, and the first time a US President called it “Palestine”. (AP, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition)

King Abdullah II said the Arab world must be ready to offer a collective guarantee of Israel’s security in return for the setting up of a Palestinian State, The Times of London reported. The British daily said that a deal along these lines was already being discussed by key international players including the US, Russia, the EU, the UN, Egypt and Jordan. (AFP, ITAR-TASS, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition)

A Palestinian man had been injured in an explosion near an Israeli military checkpoint in the southern Gaza Strip, said Palestinian and Israeli security sources, who offered different accounts of the incident. In another incident, two mortar rounds were fired at the Israeli-run Rafah border crossing, without causing injuries. (AFP, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition)


11

Defence Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer announced at a Cabinet meeting that the IDF would not be withdrawing from the Tulkarm and Jenin areas in the coming days, explaining that the frequent intelligence warnings of terrorist attacks and the lack of PA activity against them made it undesirable for these areas to be handed over to the PA. (Arutz 7, DPA, Reuters)

The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), the Palestinian rights group LAW and the Swiss-based World Organization Against Torture issued a joint report, which contended that the Israeli High Court ruling of September 1999 banning torture had been regularly flouted, particularly since the outbreak of the intifada. An Israeli government report on the issue and the response by the human rights groups would be submitted to an 11-day meeting of the UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva, due to begin the following day. (AP, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition)

Secretary of State Powell met Foreign Minister Peres in New York and re-arranged his schedule to include a meeting with Chairman Arafat. Mr. Powell told reporters he was “confident” that sooner or later US President Bush would meet Mr. Arafat. (AFP, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition)

The following was part of the Daily Briefing by the Office of the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

(UN Press Release DB/11/11/01 of 12 November 2001)

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan also discussed the Middle East situation with Secretary of State Powell, Foreign Minister Ivanov and EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Solana, who “encouraged their representatives in the field to continue working together to help the Israelis and the Palestinians find a way to resolve the current crisis in their relations”, which should be based on the Mitchell report recommendations. (AFP, BBC)

12

Israeli troops, backed up by tanks and helicopters, raided the village of Tell, west of Nablus, killing one Palestinian and wounding several others in an exchange of fire, as well as arresting 45 men and destroying the house of an alleged militant, assassinated on 1 November in a helicopter attack near Tulkarm. (AFP, Arutz 7, DPA, Reuters)

A 12-year-old Palestinian boy, who had been shot in the head the previous week in clashes between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip, died of his wounds. (AFP)

New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff said after talks with Chairman Arafat in New York that his country would send a peacekeeping force to help implement any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. He added: “It is in the interests of the international community including New Zealanders to work together to try to defuse the Israeli-Palestinian problem and at the same time, as Chairman Arafat put it to me, drain the swamps where terrorism can breed”. (DPA)

During a joint press conference with President Chirac, President Mubarak warned of a new generation of more “ferocious terrorists” if the Arab-Israeli conflict was not settled. (AFP)

In a joint statement issued after their annual lunch on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York, the Foreign Ministers of China, France, Russia, the UK and the US (the five permanent members of the Security Council), called on Israel to withdraw from all areas, into which it had made incursions, and to ensure greater restraint by the Israel Defence Forces. Messrs. Tang Jiaxuan, Hubert Védrine, Igor Ivanov, Jack Straw and Colin Powell also “called on the Palestinian Authority to take all possible steps to put an end to violence”, adding that negotiations were the only route to peace and that the two sides should put the Tenet plan and the Mitchell Committee recommendations into practice. (DPA, Reuters)


A high-level Arab League women’s meeting held in Cairo, with the participation of several first ladies, warned that “the Palestinian problem has reached a dangerous turning point because of Israel’s pursuit of aggressive policies and the intensification of its oppression of the Palestinian people”. They charged that Israel had exploited the aftermath of the 11 September terrorist attacks on the US to equate “legitimate national resistance to occupation” with terrorism. “Arab women reiterate their full support for the Palestinian woman, who defends her territory ... and fights for an independent Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as its capital”, their statement said. (AFP, EFE, XINHUA)

The Palestinian mobile phone operator “Jawwal” filed a lawsuit in a Palestinian district court, seeking damages of Shk1.8 billion (some US$425 million) from two Israeli mobile telephony companies for operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territory without a license. The civil lawsuit reportedly marked the first time a Palestinian company had invoked the Oslo accords in a commercial court case and attempted to claim jurisdiction over an Israeli company in a Palestinian court. (Financial Times, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition)


13

Prime Minister Sharon’s spokesman Raanan Gissin said Israeli troops would not leave Palestinian areas around Jenin and Tulkarm until Palestinian security forces agreed to restrain militants and prevent violence. (DPA, Reuters)

Amnesty International (AI) issued a report entitled “Broken Lives – A Year of Intifada”, where, inter alia, it urged for the immediate deployment of “[a]n international observing presence [that could] greatly assist by defusing situations and give both Palestinians and Israelis greater protection”, according to a statement highlighting the contents of the report. AI criticized Israeli methods of combating the intifada, condemning the “killing [of] Palestinians and ... shelling Palestinian towns”. It deplored the deliberate killing of Palestinian militants as a “blatant violation of the right to life” and said Israel’s military blockades of Palestinian towns and villages amounted to the collective punishment of all Palestinians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The report “also condemn[ed] the Palestinian armed groups who have shot deliberately at residential areas and cars ... and set off bombs targeting civilians in shopping malls and restaurants”. The Israeli Foreign Ministry called Amnesty “biased and not objective” but said “any specific and substantiated claims concerning specific cases” would be investigated. PA Cabinet Secretary-General Ahmed Abdel Rahman welcomed Amnesty’s findings as “a strong condemnation against the Israeli occupiers”. (Reuters)

Israeli police said they had arrested two settlers suspected of shooting and wounding a Palestinian farmer, as he harvested olives the previous week. The pair, in their 20s and residents of the “Shvut Rachel” settlement in the northern West Bank, were suspected of belonging to a network responsible for a series of anti-Palestinian attacks. Their firearms had also been seized and taken for ballistic tests. According to B’Tselem, 11 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli civilians since the outbreak of the intifada. (AFP)

Former South African President Nelson Mandela told a news conference at the South African Embassy in Washington that he had urged President Bush, during a meeting the previous day, to meet Chairman Arafat. Mr. Mandela said President Bush’s refusal to do so undermined US impartiality in the Middle East peace process. (Reuters)

A 29-year-old Palestinian mother of five was killed by the IDF after being hit in the chest while inside her home in Tulkarm. The IDF said its forces responded to Palestinian fire from the area and had first determined that no civilians were inside the building. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

Presidents Bush and Putin said in a joint statement after talks in Washington that “acting in concert with other key parties”, they were stepping up efforts to bring peace to the Middle East. In their statement they called on Israel and the Palestinians to resume peace talks at a high political level, while calling for the implementation of the Tenet ceasefire agreement, as well as the Mitchell report. The statement also urged Israel and the Palestinian Authority to take “urgent steps” to ease tensions. (AFP, Comtex Scientific Corporation, Reuters)

14

Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi and former Israeli Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, who had held separate talks with Secretary Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in Washington, said that seven days of calm before the Israelis and the Palestinians could enter into negotiations no longer appeared to be a US prerequisite. “The Americans, including Powell himself, apparently understood that this [week of calm] [was] a recipe for never getting to talks,” Mr. Beilin said, adding “for months and months, we have been waiting for calm, and have granted the veto to extremists from both sides who want to break this calm”. (AFP, AP, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition)

Seven Palestinians were injured when the IDF fired on the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip in response to a Palestinian mortar attack, which slightly injured an Israeli soldier. One of the Palestinians was in a serious condition, hospital officials said, while Palestinian security sources and witnesses said that a school had been seriously damaged when 18 Israeli tanks shells hit it overnight. Several houses were also damaged, they said. (AFP)

Foreign Minister Peres told CNN that a Palestinian State was “today almost an accepted solution by all parties”, adding that, “there are differences about the size, the connection, the security”. He said, “the idea that two peoples, the Israelis and the Palestinians, must have two separate States that will co-exist in a fair manner is accepted by everybody”. (AFP)

Ha’aretz reported that Israel’s Ministry of Housing and Construction was preparing tenders for 200 housing units in the West Bank settlement of “Ma’aleh Adumim”, east of Jerusalem. Another 400 units were already under construction, with 300 of them already sold. (DPA, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition)

Following a meeting in Ramallah under Chairman Arafat, the leadership of the PA and the PLO asked the UN Security Council membership “to take a firm position and adopt a binding resolution with regard to Israel”. It also asked for a clear Security Council resolution on the establishment of a Palestinian State in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, with Jerusalem as its capital. A separate PLO statement issued in Gaza City “vigorously reject[ed] a return to the politics of partial solutions, interim agreements and a delay on the key issues of borders, Jerusalem and refugees”. The Palestinian leadership said general talk about the Palestinian State remained “insufficient and incomplete unless it [was] accompanied by deeds, especially from the American Administration” and expressed opposition to peace initiatives floated by Prime Minister Sharon and Foreign Minister Peres, warning that such proposals were “in fact designed to Judaize Jerusalem, consecrate the occupation of most of the Palestinian territories, and erase the question of refugees, as well as sow division among the Palestinians”. These statements came on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the Palestinian declaration of independence in Algiers by the Palestine National Council. (AFP, Reuters)

15

The IDF overnight entered the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip and destroyed buildings it said were used by gunmen to fire anti-tank grenades, mortar shells and guns at military outposts and the “Gush Katif” settlement. A gun battle erupted after troops and 12 armoured vehicles, including tanks and bulldozers, had moved some 700 metres into the camp. Hospital officials said one Palestinian had been killed and 20 had been wounded by the time the tanks and troops withdrew. Witnesses said hundreds of people had fled their homes as helicopters hovered overhead and tanks fired shells. Four buildings had caught fire and several homes had been destroyed or damaged. Israeli tanks also entered the Area A village of Al-Shawawra, southeast of Bethlehem, where troops arrested 10 PFLP and Islamic Jihad members before withdrawing, the IDF said. Witnesses said two Palestinians, including an infant, had been hurt. In a separate incident, troops wounded three Palestinians, including a 42-year-old woman, when they opened fire in Rafah, near the Egyptian border, hospital sources said. Palestinian security sources also said the IDF had closed the road between Deir el-Balah and Khan Yunis, and its tanks and jeeps had made an incursion of 100 metres into Deir el-Balah. (AFP, AP, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition, Reuters, XINHUA)

Speaking in the course of the General Debate of the UN General Assembly, Foreign Minister Peres said there was “broad agreement” on the establishment of a “non-military and economically viable” Palestinian State and the gap between Israelis and Palestinians involved emotions more than territorial differences. (AFP, Reuters)

Israeli Defence Minister Ben-Eliezer had authorized a relaxation of restrictions on the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on the eve of Ramadan, Israel Radio reported. The measures included an easing on travel restrictions through the lifting of roadblocks and the opening of certain roads. The Erez and Rafah border crossings into the northern and southern Gaza Strip respectively were to open additional hours to allow extra goods to enter into Gaza. Fishing limits for the Palestinians from the Gaza coast were to be expanded. Muslims from the West Bank and Gaza Strip would be allowed to pray at the Al-Haram al-Sharif compound mosques in the Old City of Jerusalem. Up to 5,000 Palestinian traders would be allowed to enter Israel and 30 Palestinian prisoners, as well as Palestinians being held for illegally entering or working in Israel, would be released on the Eid al-Fitr. (AFP, AP, DPA, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition, XINHUA)

UNICEF official Pierre Poupard, at a news briefing in Geneva, called on Israel to stop targeting Palestinian children and urged the PA to discourage children from taking part in the unrest, partly by keeping them in school. “There is no question that in the past 14 months Palestinian children have paid a very high price”, he noted. An estimated 194 children under the age of 18 had been killed since late September 2000, of whom 166 were Palestinian, 27 Israeli and one foreign, according to UNICEF. More than 7,000 Palestinian children had been injured, including 530 with permanent disabilities, and nearly 100 schools had been shelled. UNICEF had trained thousands of teachers, social workers and volunteers to help children cope with social and psychological distress stemming from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (AFP, Reuters)

USAID had cancelled a US$90 million project to pave a road between the cities of Jenin and Nablus, Israel Radio reported. The project had been cancelled because of “security considerations” and a “change in the Palestinians’ priorities in the past year”, the radio quoted USAID Head Larry Garder as saying. The PA, however, said the project had been cancelled for “political reasons”, the radio said, adding that the plan would have been the biggest infrastructure project in the Palestinian areas. (DPA)

16

Palestinians fired a mortar at an IDF position at the Erez crossing post, causing no casualties or damage. After the attack, two Israeli tanks penetrated some 400 metres into an Area A at Beit Hanoun, Palestinian security sources said. Israeli fire wounded a Palestinian policeman in a neighbouring village, hospital sources said. (AFP)

Israeli President Moshe Katsav said in his Ramadan greetings: “In the name of the Israeli people, I take this opportunity to call on our Palestinian neighbours ... to put out the fire so that we can engage in a serious and fundamental dialogue that will lead us to real peace and security.” (AFP, Arutz 7, Israeli MFA)

US continued to monitor Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Sample satellite photos had been shown to representatives of Defence Minister Ben-Eliezer with US representatives reportedly waiting for “explanations”, particularly regarding new outposts adjacent to existing towns. (Arutz 7, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition)

Jewish settlers staked out a new outpost, “Givat Salit”, in the north of the Jordan Valley about a kilometre west of the “Mehola” settlement, near where a settler had been killed in a roadway ambush on 24 September. (AFP, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition)

IDF troops shot and killed an armed Palestinian who was part of a group trying to enter the “Nisanit” settlement in the northern Gaza Strip. (Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition)

17

IDF withdrew from Tulkarm but continued to maintain a tight closure on the city, with some troops left in Area A. (Arutz 7, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition, The New York Times)

Following a meeting with Chairman Arafat, the head of the visiting EU delegation Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt told a press conference that “the Europeans want[ed] to underline that after the 12 days of relative quiet recently there [was] a need to relaunch the peace process”. (Arutz 7, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition, Reuters)

18

In a joint press conference with the visiting EU delegation, Prime Minister Sharon reiterated his demand of seven days of quiet and called for the heads of the EU to transfer funds not to the PA, but directly to the Palestinian people. European Commission President Romano Prodi later dismissed Mr. Sharon’s allegation that the money was being used to buy weapons. Following the press conference, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana referred to Mr. Sharon’s demand for one week of quiet as “stupidity”. Spokesman for Prime Minister Sharon Ra’anan Gissin said that the EU could play only a limited role as mediator in the Middle East conflict, because it had persistently shown bias in favour of the Palestinians. (Arutz 7, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition, Reuters)

Israel Radio reported that Israeli police in Hebron would begin handing out chocolate-covered eggs containing small toys to local children, both Israeli and Palestinian, to discourage them from throwing stones. The inclusion of Israeli children in the announcement drew complaints from settlers. (Arutz 7, EFE, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition)

19

An IDF tank patrol killed two Palestinians allegedly trying to enter the “Dugit” settlement near Beit Lahya in the Gaza Strip, with other two escaping. A Palestinian witness said two policemen were run over by an army vehicle after being wounded by tank fire and dragged away by Israeli troops, although a Palestinian medic said it was not clear if they had died before they were run over. During the subsequent IDF incursion into the Sudaniyeh neighbourhood of Beit Lahya, Israeli tank shells and machine-gun fire damaged the American International School. (AFP, Arutz 7, DPA, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition, Reuters)

Three Israeli tanks rolled more than a kilometre into Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian security officials said. Fighting ensued with no casualties reported. (AFP, EFE)

An IDF undercover unit abducted Abed Rabbo Abu Khoussa, a senior member of Hamas and one of the founders of its military wing Izz al-Din al-Qassam, from the Shijaya neighbourhood of Gaza City. The IDF suspected him of involvement in the abduction of two IDF soldiers in 1989. (AFP, Arutz 7, DPA, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition, Reuters)

Israeli soldiers shot dead one Palestinian and wounded another near the “Shavei Shomron” settlement about 15 km northwest of Nablus, Radio Israel reported. (DPA, Reuters, XINHUA)

Highlights of Mr. Powell’s foreign policy address in the University of Louisville’s McConnell Center for Political Leadership: Israel must end the occupation, stop building settlements and ease restrictions on the lives of Palestinians; Palestinians in return must convince Israelis that they are committed to peaceful coexistence with the Jewish state through a negotiated agreement; Asst Secretary of State for Middle Eastern Affairs William Burns would return to the region; the US remained ready to contribute actively to a third party monitoring and verification mechanism acceptable to all parties; former Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni would serve as a special advisor on Middle East policy; Israeli settlement activity “severely undermined Palestinian trust and hope” and “cripple[d] chances for real peace and security”; “whatever the sources of Palestinian frustration and anger under occupation, the intifada [was] now mired in the quicksand of self-defeating violence and terror directed against Israel.” (AFP, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition, Reuters – For full text of Secretary Powell’s statement, see http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2001/ index.cfm?docid=6219)

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

(UN Press Release SG/SM/8032–PAL/1898 of 19 November 2001)

In a joint statement released in Beirut, European Commission President Romano Prodi and Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt welcomed, on behalf of the European Union, “the vision and commitments” of President Bush regarding peace in the Middle East, as outlined in his UN General Assembly address and in the Kentucky statement by Secretary Powell. The EU leaders underlined the fact that the EU and the US were adopting a common approach to the Middle East peace process and were “striving for a final settlement based upon the absolute security of the State of Israel and a democratic and economically viable State of Palestine” and called “on Israelis and Palestinians to fully implement the Mitchell report and the Tenet understanding, in particular cessation of violence and an immediate freeze of settlement activities”. The French and German Foreign Ministers, Hubert Védrine and Joschka Fischer, also welcomed the speech by Secretary Powell. (AFP)

A PA statement said Secretary Powell’s remarks on a Palestinian State, his emphasis on the need to end Israeli occupation, implement UN Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) and the land-for-peace principle, solve the issues of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees, stop settlement activities, end the embargoes on Palestinians, and enforce immediately the Tenet agreement and the Mitchell recommendations, constituted “effective ground for halting all acts of violence and heading for the final-status talks”. The Palestinian leadership reiterated its commitment to peace as a “strategic option” and welcomed Mr. Powell’s remarks on the importance of international participation involving the UN, Russia, the EU, Egypt and Jordan alongside the US, to provide essential backing for peace, stability and security in the region and the world at large. It also renewed the call for immediate deployment of UN observers to monitor the implementation of the Tenet understandings and the Mitchell report recommendations. Speaking to AFP, PA Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nabil Shaath said the Palestinians still saw some weaknesses in Mr. Powell’s elucidation of Washington’s vision for the Middle East, which lacked a timetable or any mention of Palestinian demands for international observers. This criticism was echoed by Palestinian Council Speaker Ahmed Qurei in a statement published in Al-Ayyam, where he expressed the hope that the missing details would be carried by the US special envoys, Assistant Secretary of State William Burns and retired Marine General Anthony Zinni, during their visit to the region at the end of the week. (AFP, DPA, XINHUA)

20

Prime Minister Sharon welcomed Secretary Powell’s speech and understood the US approach presented therein, but stressed that the cessation of all terrorism, violence and incitement was a prior condition for any diplomatic progress, a statement published by the Israeli Government Press Office said. It added that Mr. Sharon, in conjunction with Foreign Minister Peres, had set up a negotiating team to conduct talks with the US special envoys Messrs. Burns and Zinni, who were expected in the region. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Ari Meckel said that Israel was satisfied with Secretary Powell’s remarks, which, “as a first step … put all the pressure on the Palestinian Authority by conditioning any talks on an immediate end to the violence”. He welcomed the fact that Mr. Powell refrained from calling on Prime Minister Sharon to drop his insistence on seven days of total calm before proceeding to implement the Mitchell report recommendations and stressed the Secretary’s demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish State”, which, he said, meant a rejection of the right of Palestine refugees to return to Israel. In response to the call for Israel to stop settlement construction, Mr. Meckel said Prime Minister Sharon had already promised as much but noted that Israel would continue to build within the boundaries of existing settlements “according to the needs of the population growth”. (AFP, XINHUA)

Palestinian security officials said Israeli tanks had moved 100 metres into the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip and had attacked Palestinian houses with shells and heavy machine-gun fire, injuring six people and damaging or destroying 20 houses. They said 26 families had been forced from their homes in the raid, while the camp’s electricity supply had been cut when tank shells destroyed the central transformer. An IDF spokeswoman said the tanks had set out to destroy two buildings housing tunnels used to smuggle in arms from Egypt but had come under attack and had returned fire. Chairman Arafat’s adviser Nabil Abu Rudeina said the incursion into Area A had been designed to “put obstacles in front of the two US envoys” Secretary Powell had promised to dispatch to the region in the coming days. (AFP, DPA, EFE, Reuters)

Yarden Vatikay, a spokesman for Defence Minister Ben-Eliezer, said mobile homes in the Hebron settlement had become unsafe because of the Palestinian uprising and would be replaced by concrete houses. He did not know how many mobile homes would be replaced or if the construction had begun. Ha’aretz reported 12 caravans were being replaced with permanent homes in the “Tel Rumeida” settlement. Mr. Vatikay said Israel was taking similar steps in the Gaza Strip, where it was replacing metal classrooms and homes with concrete ones that could better withstand gunfire and mortar bomb attack. Raanan Gissin, a spokesman for Prime Minister Sharon, said the construction in Hebron would not contradict the Government’s decision to stop expanding settlements, as it would be within the built-up areas of the settlement. “Security, stability and ceasefire cannot be sustained while this creeping cancerous settlement is continuing”, PA Cabinet Secretary-General Ahmed Abdel Rahman told Reuters, and called the Israeli move a “flagrant challenge to the American Administration”. (Reuters)

The IDF had dug a series of trenches around sections of Jenin, Palestinian security officials said. They added that to the northwest of the town, close to the northern boundary with Israel, a five-kilometre long trench had been created to a depth of two metres. Other trenches stretched for two kilometres to the northeast and for three kilometres to the south. They said that to the northeast, Israeli forces had bulldozed dozens of acres of agricultural land and destroyed water pipes supplying around 20,000 people. Telephone lines had also been brought down. Jenin was the last of six Palestinian Area A towns still partially occupied by the Israeli army. (AFP)

Bertrand Bainvel, a UNICEF official in East Jerusalem, called on Israel to release 160 Palestinian children from its jails and to stop using violence against young detainees. Since the beginning of the intifada Israel had arrested more than 600 Palestinian children, Mr. Bainvel said, adding that in some cases the children were subjected to violence, while in other cases psychological threats were used against them. The Israeli Prison Authority denied juvenile prisoners were subjected to violence and said they were treated “humanely and respectfully”. Mr. Bainvel said the children should be released or, if Israel insisted on keeping them behind bars, their health and education conditions should be improved and they should be isolated from criminal prisoners. He added that his agency was coordinating with Israeli human rights groups “to investigate more closely” cases of violence. (Reuters)

In a written submission to the United Nations Committee against Torture, Amnesty International said Israeli security forces were increasingly using torture against Palestinian suspects, despite a 1999 Israeli High Court ruling, which sought to stop the practice. AI cited “strong evidence” that illegal methods including painful handcuffing, sleep deprivation and prolonged squatting on haunches were being used by Israel in its interrogation of Palestinians and called on the United Nations to launch an investigation. Amnesty also said Israel was keeping detained Palestinians in investigative custody for more than 20 days without allowing them access to legal representatives or informing their families and called on the UN Committee to condemn the destruction of Palestinian homes as cruel, inhumane and degrading. In its submission, Israel said the High Court ruling had “had an immediate and profound effect” on the conduct of investigations by security forces, while claiming that the judgement “did not find the alleged interrogation methods constituted torture in violation of the [UN] Convention”. It further said the Israeli authorities were investigating complaints and disciplining wrongdoers. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

The state-run French Development Agency (AFD) had decided to donate 5.5 million euros (about US$5 million) to the extension of a school building programme in the Occupied Palestinian Territory over a period of two years finishing in 2003, a statement said. The primary and secondary schools involved in the project would be fully equipped and five information technology rooms would be set up, it added. The AFD had been involved in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since the end of 1998 and had committed 43.3 million euros to the area, the statement said. (AFP)

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told the press that “the vision of ways of overcoming Palestinian-Israeli confrontation and achieving an overall settlement in the region” outlined by Secretary of State Powell was “largely in line with Russia’s position”. He expressed Russia’s support for the implementation of the Mitchell Committee recommendations and its readiness to continue the close coordination with the US, the EU, the UN, Egypt, Jordan and other regional parties to settle the crisis and restart the peace process. (ITAR-TASS, Reuters)

Senior Palestinian negotiator and PA Minister Saeb Erakat said the PA had formed a committee to negotiate with Israel, following the arrival the following week of Assistant Secretary of State William Burns and Secretary Powell’s Senior Advisor on security Anthony Zinni to the region. Mr. Erakat said he would be the chief negotiator for the Palestinian committee, which would be headed by Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen. Other committee members would be Yasser Abed Rabbo, Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) and Hassan Asfour. (DPA)

In Gaza, a Palestinian public security spokesman said three Israeli army tanks had entered about 300 hundred metres into a Palestinian-controlled area south of Gaza City and had destroyed a Palestinian police post near the “Netzarim” settlement. (DPA)

Secretary Powell, speaking to reporters in a joint appearance with visiting German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, said he was pleased with the responses from Prime Minister Sharon and Chairman Arafat to his 19 November speech outlining the US policy on the Middle East. Secretary Powell said Mr. Sharon had announced the formation of a working committee to deal with US envoys to be sent to the region and Mr. Arafat had expressed satisfaction with the speech and had promised to cooperate with Washington to promote peace in the Middle East. “We have a new opportunity before us, an opportunity that I hope both parties will seize. And the US will do its part”, Mr. Powell said. Asked what he thought of the Israeli Government’s decision to build permanent housing in Hebron after his call for an end to settlements, Mr. Powell reiterated that the US had always held a position that those settlements were a disturbing and destabilizing factor in the pursuit for a solution to the Middle East crisis. (AFP, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition, XINHUA)

21

The IDF entered the Palestinian-controlled village of Kufr al-Labad, near Tulkarm, and arrested two men, a 24-year-old PA policeman and his 19-year-old brother, Israel Radio reported. A statement from Prime Minister Sharon’s office said both were suspected of “terrorist activity” and had been taken away for interrogation. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

Israeli Defence Ministry spokesman Yarden Vatikay said the threat of suicide bomb attacks had forced the IDF to remain in the town of Jenin for the current period. (The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition, Reuters)

A 56-year-old Palestinian man with heart problems had died after waiting for two hours at the Tal Essultan checkpoint near Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian hospital sources said. The man had been prevented from crossing the checkpoint to go to Rafah hospital. The PA had lodged a protest with Israel over the death through the joint security liaison commission, a Palestinian security source said. (AFP, Reuters)

US Middle East envoys Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs William Burns and retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni met at the White House with President Bush and Secretary of State Powell, ahead of their departure for the region on 25 November. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters the two had heard from the President “what he want[ed] them to do”. “Their job is to get on the ground and work with the parties, help the parties move forward, help the parties come to the understandings that create a real ceasefire, that’s the first goal”, he added. Mr. Burns was expected to travel throughout the region while Mr. Zinni, accompanied by senior advisor to Mr. Burns, Aaron Miller, would stay in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory working on achieving a lasting ceasefire that could pave the way for resumed political negotiations. (AFP)

22

An IDF spokesman said a cell of five Palestinian militants in the West Bank had been broken up. The five, including two PA policemen, were allegedly responsible for several attacks and were linked to the Tanzim. Separately, Israeli troops had arrested six Palestinian students belonging to militant Islamic groups during a raid into Area A territory near Ramallah, Palestinian officials said. The IDF announced it had closed several PA offices near East Jerusalem, in what it described as an operation to prevent “terrorist activities”. An IDF spokesman said the offices in Al-Eizariya were used by Palestinian security services and were located in Area B, under Palestinian civilian rule but Israeli security control. (AFP)

Five Palestinian boys were killed on their way to school in the Gaza Strip, reportedly when one of them kicked an unexploded Israeli tank shell. The children, from the same extended family and aged from seven to 14, had found the shell where it lay on scrub land between a Jewish settlement and the town of Khan Yunis, a Palestinian security officer said. According to AFP, their deaths brought to 982 the number of people killed since the beginning of the intifada, including 771 Palestinians and 189 Israelis. (AFP, Reuters)

23

An Israeli booby-trap mine was responsible for the deaths of the five Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip the previous day, Maariv reported. Quoting military sources, the paper said the bomb had been placed a week earlier by special forces aiming to kill Palestinian militants who were firing mortar bombs from the area at Israeli targets. The army declined comment, other than to say the blast occurred in an area under full Palestinian control. Defence Minister Ben-Eliezer ordered an investigation into the explosion and expressed sorrow for the children’s death. In a statement, the PA called for an international investigative committee “to look into the murder of the innocent children and to determine Israel’s responsibility”. US State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said the US “deeply regret[ted] “the tragic accidental deaths of five Palestinian children ... when they came in contact with unexploded ordnance” and expected that the IDF investigation would thoroughly determine what had happened”. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

Israeli troops shot dead a 15-year-old Palestinian in Khan Yunis, in clashes which erupted after the funeral of the five Palestinian schoolboys killed in an explosion the previous day. Israeli soldiers fired live ammunition at dozens of mourners throwing stones at an army outpost west of the town’s cemetery, Palestinian sources said. Four stone-throwers were also lightly to moderately injured. An estimated 10,000 to 30,000 people walked in the funeral procession from Nasser Hospital to the Al-Kabir Mosque in Khan Yunis, where the crowd prayed before heading to the town cemetery. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

The UN Committee against Torture, citing “numerous allegations” that Israeli law enforcement officials torture or mistreat Palestinian detainees, urged the Government of Israel to “take all necessary steps to prevent such abuses and to institute effective complaint and investigative mechanisms”. It also urged Israel to review its laws and policies to ensure that all detainees were brought promptly before a judge and ensured prompt access to lawyers. In a statement issued in Geneva, the committee made up of 10 independent experts, acknowledged Israel’s security concerns in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but declared that “no exceptional circumstances” justified torture. The Committee also expressed concern that a 1999 decision of the Israeli High Court, which had ruled as illegal the use of “moderate physical pressure” by Israeli security forces in interrogations, contained no definite ban on torture. Allegations continued that methods used during interrogations of Palestinians violated the court ruling, the statement added. (AFP, Reuters)

Three Palestinians were killed when Israeli helicopter gunships fired more than five rockets at a car in the village of Yasid, north of Nablus. Two of the men had died immediately and the third had been shot dead from the helicopter while trying to get away. All three were said to be Hamas activists. The IDF refused to comment on the attack. Israeli sources said the apparent target of the strike was top Hamas military leader Mahmoud Abu Hanoud, but Palestinian officials did not have information that he was among the dead. Separately, Israeli tanks opened fire with heavy machine-guns and fired shells at a car carrying two families about 200 metres from the Rafah border terminal, killing a woman and injuring three other passengers, a senior Palestinian security official said. The tanks continued to fire and prevented ambulances from taking away the wounded, the official added. Meanwhile, near the Palestinian Area A village of Beit Iba, west of Nablus, two Palestinians were killed in an explosion in a field in Israeli-controlled territory, hospital sources said. It was not clear whether they had accidentally set off a bomb they were planting or they had been killed by an Israeli booby-trap. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

A Gallup poll published in Maariv found that 55 per cent of Israelis wanted to speed up negotiations with the Palestinians despite the violence, 20 per cent wanted to declare war and 19 per cent preferred the status quo. Of the 544 Israelis surveyed, 59 per cent said they were in favour of an independent Palestinian State, while 36 per cent said they were against. At the same time, 58 per cent of respondents said Prime Minister Sharon should not give way on his demand for a total end to violence before launching peace talks, whereas 35 per cent said a significant decrease in fighting was enough to resume talks. (AFP, Reuters)

The United Arab Emirates had paid its full share of US$150 million to the funds set up by the October 2000 Arab summit in Cairo to help the Palestinians, a Foreign Ministry spokesman was quoted by the official WAM news agency as saying. According to the spokesman, US$135 million had been paid into the two funds and US$15 million had been handed directly to the PA at its request. (AFP)

25

In retaliation for a mortar attack on the “Kfar Darom” settlement the previous day, which had resulted in the death of one IDF soldier and the wounding of two others, Israeli helicopter gunships fired at a PA military intelligence site and a Force 17 office in Khan Yunis, Fatah offices in Deir el-Balah, the PA naval police headquarters in Sudaniya and other targets in the Gaza Strip, injuring a number of Palestinians; also, three Palestinian houses were bulldozed in Deir el-Balah. Following another mortar attack, five members of a Palestinian family were wounded, including two young brothers who seriously hurt, when an Israeli tank shell hit their house in Khan Yunis. Israeli troops entered Area A near Rafah and destroyed hundreds of square metres of farm land next to the “Morag” settlement; a pregnant Palestinian woman was shot in the stomach by Israeli troops near Rafah, according to Palestinian hospital sources; and IDF tanks, bulldozers and armoured vehicles entered some 2 km into Beit Lahiya, from the nearby “Dugit” settlement north of Gaza City, triggering an exchange of fire. (AFP, Arutz 7, BBC, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition)

IDF announced that its special forces had laid the bomb in Area A near Khan Yunis that had killed five Palestinian schoolboys on 22 November. (The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition)

A 13-year-old Palestinian was killed during clashes between Palestinians and IDF soldiers in Bethlehem. (AFP, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition, XINHUA)

Defence Minister Ben-Eliezer said Israel would continue its policy of “targeted killings” and informed the Cabinet that IDF would stay in Jenin for the time being, IDF Radio reported. (The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition, XINHUA)

For the second year in a row, Bethlehem officials had cancelled Christmas celebrations, Israel Radio reported. (The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition)

At CIA’s request and ahead of the US envoys’ arrival, the US-chaired Israeli-Palestinian security committee convened for two hours, first time in more than a month, with participants reporting that the talks were held in a positive atmosphere and that the two sides agreed to stabilize a ceasefire. (AFP, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition)

26

The IDF imposed a closure on the village of Silat al-Dhahr, between Jenin and Nablus, after an Israeli vehicle came under gunfire, and started a search for gunmen there. (Arutz 7)

Foreign Minister Peres met PA Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nabil Shaath in Jerusalem, Israeli Army Radio reported. No details emerged from the meeting, which took place at the King David Hotel, where US envoy Anthony Zinni was staying. (DPA)

27

“We hope that both sides, especially the Israeli side, will take concrete measures to carry out previous agreements on ceasefire”, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue told a regular news conference in Beijing. She added that China condemned the Israeli invasion of Palestinian-controlled areas, which had resulted in heavy casualties, and felt “gravely uneasy” about the subsequent escalation of tension in Israeli-Palestinian relations. The two sides should cooperate with international mediation efforts to bring an early end to violence, she noted. (DPA, Reuters, XINHUA)

The IDF had completed its withdrawal from the reoccupied part of Jenin without incident, an Israeli military spokesman announced, adding that Israeli forces had deployed to positions around the town “from where they [could] continue to protect the safety of the Israelis”. Palestinian security officials confirmed the withdrawal of what they said were Israeli armoured vehicles that had taken up position in Jenin. PA Cabinet Secretary-General Ahmed Abdel Rahman said the Israeli move out of Jenin was not a withdrawal but a redeployment and was meant as a “swindle” designed to curry favour with the visiting US delegation. “There are still checkpoints and tanks, there are still assassinations, entries into Palestinian villages and cities. Nothing has changed on the ground in the daily life of the Palestinians”, he told AFP. He added that the uncertainty about whether the Israelis had actually withdrawn and to where underscored Palestinian calls for international monitors. (AFP, Reuters, XINHUA)

Two Palestinian men from the Jenin refugee camp were shot dead after killing two Israelis and wounding more than 30, some of them seriously, in the northern Israeli town of Afula. A spokesman for Prime Minister Sharon said the attack was the “Palestinian welcome” for the high-level US delegation visiting the region. “It demonstrates the determination of terrorist organizations to continue their murderous activity in spite of US efforts to get a ceasefire, and also underscores the fact that the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat is doing absolutely nothing to stop terrorism”, spokesman Avi Pazner said. (AFP, DPA)

Visiting US envoys Anthony Zinni and William Burns met with Prime Minister Sharon, Israel Radio reported. After the meeting, the envoys joined Mr. Sharon for a helicopter tour of the West Bank. Following that and reacting to the news about the shooting in Afula, Mr. Zinni said the incident pointed out “the importance of gaining a ceasefire and, as the Prime Minister said, the ceasefire is what we need so we can get onto something more comprehensive and more lasting”. The Prime Minister was also due to host a lunch for Messrs. Zinni and Burns, after which they would meet Foreign Minister Peres and, in the evening, Defence Minister Ben-Eliezer. (DPA, Reuters)

Palestinian gunmen attacked an Israeli bus heading for the “Gush Katif” settlement in the southern Gaza Strip, killing an Israeli woman and injuring another woman and a child. Israeli troops returned fire and killed a suspected assailant. Shortly afterwards, the IDF launched an incursion with tanks and jeeps more than a kilometre into Area A farmland belonging to the town of Al-Qarara. Israeli army officials said only that troops were searching the area for other suspected gunmen. In a statement distributed by WAFA, the Palestinian leadership condemned the deadly attacks in the Israeli town of Afula and the “Gush Katif” settlement. “We condemn any operation which targets civilians, Palestinian or Israeli, and the Palestinian leadership has given strict orders to Palestinian security to pursue those responsible in order to prevent any Israeli retaliation”, the statement said, adding that “[t]hose responsible for these attacks have endangered the ceasefire”. The Palestinian leadership reiterated its readiness “to cooperate fully with the two [US] envoys to help them achieve their goals”. (AFP, XINHUA)

Russia urged the Israeli Government “not to exert pressure on Palestinians, withdraw troops from the Palestinian Authority regions, as well as give up the practice of nonjudicial reprisals”, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko told ITAR-TASS. Moscow expected that “the Palestinian leadership [would] decisively check acts of violence and [would] make effective steps to stop terror”, he added. That would help end the deadlock and embark on the path of implementing the Mitchell recommendations, including a resumption of negotiations. Russia, for its part, was ready to keep actively and practically contributing to that goal, Mr. Yakovenko stressed. Referring later to the latest attacks by Palestinian militants, Mr. Yakovenko said in a statement that the Palestinian leadership should “do all they [could] to stop extremists from committing such crimes in the future,” while calling on Israel to “refrain from responding to the provocation” of the attacks. Russia expressed “particular concern that this bloody act was staged when possibilities had emerged to improve contacts aimed at overcoming the Palestinian-Israeli confrontation.” Separately, the Ministry announced the Russian Middle East Envoy, Andrei Vdovin, would leave for the region in a bid to “bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table.” The statement said the Mr. Vdovin’s mission, beginning 28 November, was to be undertaken “in close coordination with the US co-sponsor of the [Middle East] peace process, the United Nations and the European Union.” (AFP, ITAR-TASS)

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US envoy Anthony Zinni toured the West Bank by car with US consular officials for a closer look at Israeli settlements before meeting for two hours with Chairman Arafat in Ramallah. Following the meeting, Mr. Zinni told reporters at a joint press conference that his mission to the area was to broker a ceasefire between the Palestinians and the Israelis before implementing the Mitchell report recommendations and the Tenet plan. (AFP, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition, Reuters)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson told a news conference she supported calls for the creation of a Palestinian State, and said independent monitors should be used to stop the violence in the Middle East, noting that “the occupation [by Israel] itself [was] at the heart of the human rights violations, and it [had] to be addressed.” (Reuters)

A young Palestinian man had been gunned down during the night by the IDF near the settlement of “Netzarim,” in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian security and Israeli military officials said. The IDF claimed the man ignored orders to halt, as well as warning shots, and “the soldiers fired, convinced they were faced with a suicide bomber”, an IDF spokesman said. However, PA Gaza Security Chief General Abdel Razeq Al-Majeida called the incident a “crime” and accused Israeli soldiers of letting the man bleed to death. Earlier, two Palestinians had been wounded, one seriously, when the IDF had opened fire on a group of Palestinians near Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, according to PA officials. Witnesses said they heard a powerful explosion followed by gunshots. An Israeli military spokesman said the seriously wounded man had been attempting to plant a bomb. (AFP, Comtex Scientific Corporation)

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A Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up while on a bus in northern Israel, near a military base close to the town of Hadera, killing three other people. At least nine people were wounded, most of them not seriously. Prime Minister Sharon said before boarding a plane for the US that he considered Chairman Arafat “directly responsible for acts of terrorism”. Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed responsibility for the bombing. The PA condemned the attack targeting innocent civilians, saying that its security forces would exert every possible effort to find those responsible for the bombing and bring them to justice. (AFP, Comtex Scientific Corporation, DPA, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition, The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition, Reuters)

Speaking to reporters after meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher in Washington, Secretary of State Powell said he expected a timetable on how to proceed with negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians would “come in due course now that General Zinni [was] on the ground talking to both sides”. (Reuters) General Zinni met with IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. General Shaul Mofaz and others in Tel Aviv. Later in Ramallah, he met PA Preventive Security Chiefs Jibril Rajoub (West Bank) and Mohammed Dahlan (Gaza), as well as Palestinian Council Speaker Ahmed Qurei and PA Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Nabil Shaath. (AFP)

Two Palestinian men were killed when the IDF opened fire on cars at a roadblock near Nablus, Palestinian hospital officials said. Later in the day, two Palestinian women from the same family were wounded when Israeli tanks opened fire on the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip. One woman, aged 17, suffered head wounds, while the other, aged 20, suffered wounds to her arm after the tanks had fired more than a dozen shells and heavy machine-guns, Palestinian security sources said. Several houses in the area were also damaged by tank shells. (AFP, DPA)

Prime Minister Sharon said in remarks before the Israeli Editors Council in Tel Aviv that he was one of a handful of people capable of reaching a permanent settlement with the Palestinians, stressing that the settlement could only be achieved through a series of interim agreements between the two sides. (AFP, DPA, Ha’aretz-English Internet Edition, XINHUA)

The following statement was issued by the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
(UN Press release SG/SM/8054 of 30 November 2001)

30

In a statement carried by WAFA, the Central Committee of Fatah called “on all Palestinians to fully respect the ceasefire and to work towards a return of calm and the success of international efforts to end the [Israeli] occupation, assassinations and incursions”. The Committee also “welcome[d] the new American stand on ending the occupation, freezing settlements activities and establishing a Palestinian State,” the statement said. (AFP, XINHUA)

Eight Palestinians, including a 12-year-old boy, had been wounded when the IDF opened fire on a demonstration in Ramallah, Palestinian hospital sources said. The boy had been wounded in the mouth by a rubber bullet. The IDF said they had opened fire when several dozen of the protestors moved towards a military roadblock. (AFP)

Almost two-thirds of Israelis view the creation of an independent Palestinian State as a “threat” to the security of their own country, according to a poll published in The Jerusalem Post. The poll asked: “In your opinion, regardless of the size or the strength of a Palestinian State, if one is established, will it constitute a threat to the State of Israel?” Sixty-five per cent answered “yes”, while 29 per cent said “no” and the rest gave no opinion. The 502 Israelis polled were divided on the principle of establishing a Palestinian State, with 47 per cent in favour and the same figure opposed, with the rest undecided. (The Jerusalem Post-Internet Edition)

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