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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights
30 September 2001
Chronological Review of Events Relating to the
Question of Palestine

Monthly media monitoring review

September 2001



1

Colonel Tayseer Khatab, 42, director of the office of the Palestinian chief of security in Gaza Amin el-Hindi, was killed and his bodyguard injured when a bomb exploded in their car. Palestinians called the explosion an Israeli assassination. Later in the day, a Palestinian woman was killed and four others seriously injured in another car explosion in the town of Tulkarm. Palestinian security sources said the blast was caused by an Israeli tank shell. The IDF denied any involvement in the incident. (DPA, XINHUA)

2

The IDF made an incursion into Palestinian-controlled areas of the Khan Yunis refugee camp, setting up military positions 200 metres inside the camp and destroying water pipes, the Palestinian security sources said. The same sources added that the IDF had also fired shells on targets near Rafah, destroying several houses. No injuries were reported in either incident. (AFP)

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said in an interview with the Austrian magazine Profil that he feared a “regional war”, unless the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians was brought under control, adding that the only way to control the conflict would be an initiative by “the entire international community”. (DPA)

French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin warned that the international community should not stand by while the situation in the Middle East deteriorated. The international community “must display more clearly and forcefully its will to act to prevent the Israeli-Palestinian drama turning into a catastrophe”, he said, adding that the spiral of violence would not be stopped “without returning to the principle of exchange of land for peace” and a “return to dialogue”, as it had been laid out by the Mitchell report. (AFP, Reuters)

3

Senior PA officials Ahmed Qurei and Saeb Erakat met in Jerusalem with Foreign Minister Peres, in the presence of Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy. Mr. Erakat said the talks aimed at preparing a meeting between Mr. Peres and Chairman Arafat. The EU Middle East Envoy Miguel Angel Moratinos and the Director-General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Avi Gil, also took part in the meeting. (AFP)

Two Palestinians were killed and 28 injured in serious clashes with the IDF in Hebron. Earlier in the day, Israeli helicopter gunships had destroyed a Palestinian intelligence office at the western entrance of Hebron, in what the IDF said was retaliation for three earlier bomb attacks in East Jerusalem that wounded three Israelis. (AFP, DPA, XINHUA)

Ukraine offered its assistance to Israel and the PA in their efforts to resume negotiations, President Leonid Kuchma said in a message handed over to Foreign Minister Peres by visiting Ukrainian Ambassador-at-Large Viktor Nagaichuk. The message also expressed Ukraine’s readiness, as a member of the UN Security Council, “without supplanting the efforts of other countries to make its own contribution to the Middle East settlement process,” in particular through its assistance to the resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian talks. (Comtex Scientific Corporation)

4

A rapidly worsening Palestinian economy was helping fan rising violence and extremism in the Middle East, EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten warned. “To end the cycle of violence and to weaken the position of radical forces, Palestinians need to see a real prospect of an improvement in their daily lives”, Mr. Patten told the European Parliament, adding that the onus was on Israel to start lifting its economic blockade of the West Bank and Gaza and to transfer tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority. Israel also had to ensure “safe passage” between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank for Palestinians, reopen the airport in Gaza and create facilities allowing Palestinian exporters to benefit from trade pacts signed with the EU and others, the EU Commissioner said. “Third party monitoring of the proper implementation of agreements and a functioning dispute settlement mechanism would help to address Palestinian frustration”, he added, noting that a revival of the Palestinian economy would give Palestinians a stake in their own future and improve the prospect for a better future to be achieved by political negotiations. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, speaking in Durban, South Africa, proposed that Africa, led by South African President Thabo Mbeki, should take the initiative and invite the Israelis and the Palestinians for talks with the aim of obtaining a ceasefire between the two sides. (AFP)

5

President Mubarak, during talks in Egypt with EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, urged the EU to play a “more active” role in pushing forward the Middle East peace process. The two met to prepare the ground for a planned meeting between Foreign Minister Peres and Chairman Arafat. (DPA, XINHUA)

President Putin, hosting Prime Minister Sharon for a three-day visit, telephoned President Mubarak to discuss the Middle East crisis, Russian and Egyptian officials said. A brief Kremlin statement said Messrs Putin and Mubarak had discussed prospects for “joint international action for unblocking the Israeli-Palestinian crisis” but gave no further details. (AFP, Reuters)

The IDF fired two missiles on a Force 17 base in Beit Hanoun, injuring one member of the Force and inflicting serious damage on two buildings. The IDF said it had launched the strike in response to Palestinian mortar attacks in the Gaza area during the previous 24 hours, which had caused no casualties. (AFP, Reuters)

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, speaking to reporters at Amman airport, urged the US to intervene and restrain Israel from attacking Palestinians and said “the failure” of the Middle East peace process did not lie with the Arabs, but with “the policies of Israel, policies of intimidation, policies of aggression, policies of going back on agreements that were signed, policies of avoiding the responsibilities of peace”, adding that “It [was] time especially for the US to assume its own responsibility and prevent Israeli aggression against the Arab world.” (Reuters)

A report presented to Israeli Justice Minister Meir Sheetrit, Attorney-General Elyakim Rubinstein and State Prosecutor Edna Arbel by the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel said the “defensive barrier” set up by the High Court of Justice two years ago, against the torture of Palestinian suspects during interrogation, was ineffective. The organization argued that the court left practical gaps in its ruling, which allowed Shin Bet to continue torturing prisoners by depriving them of sleep and by keeping them bound for long periods. Included in the report was a list of recommendations on ways to bolster the High Court’s ruling through legislation that prevented cruel, inhumane and degrading actions, based on the UN Convention on Human Rights. The organization recommended opening the holding cells and the interrogation chambers to UN representatives, and enabling the visitors to talk freely with any prisoner wishing to do so. The report also called for full “re-education” of the Shin Bet interrogators, to move them away from violent methods of questioning suspects. Much of the report was based on dozens of testimonies collected from Palestinians who had been interrogated following the High Court’s ruling. The organization also denounced the system of internal review of any complaints filed against Shin Bet interrogators, noting that, since 1994, not a single Shin Bet interrogator had been put on trial, despite complaints that had been filed at the State Attorney’s office. (Ha’aretz)

6

An Israeli helicopter missile strike killed two Fatah members in Tulkarm, but the main target of the attack, Raed Al-Karmi, escaped with slight wounds. “Israeli security and military forces in a joint operation, attacked Raed Al-Karmi and other members of his squad”, the IDF said in a statement after up to three missiles hit Mr. Al-Karmi’s jeep near the Nur Shams refugee camp on the outskirts of Tulkarm. The IDF said Al-Karmi had been involved in numerous shooting attacks that had killed six Israelis and wounded several others. A fourth person in the jeep and three bystanders were also injured. PA Minister for Planning and International Cooperation Nabil Shaath said the missile attack was undercutting efforts to reach a peaceful settlement. (AFP, AP, DPA, Reuters) UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Terje Rød-Larsen, presenting a UN report on the economic impact of the intifada at a news conference, said Israeli army closures of Palestinian areas had had a “disastrous effect” on the economy and expressed the hope that economic issues would be at the core of any talks between Foreign Minister Peres and Chairman Arafat. “What I am calling for is a dialogue ... to lift the closures in such a way that [Israeli] security can be maintained”, he said. He added that closures made “innocent people suffer” while suicide bombers were still able to enter Israel. The report said poverty rates were expected to reach 50 per cent by the end of 2001, meaning half the Palestinian population would live on US$2 a day or less. The rate was 21 per cent before the uprising started on 28 September 2000. It said income losses from 1 October 2000 through June 2001 ranged from US$1.8 billion to US$2.5 billion. Unemployment was about 27 per cent at the end of the first quarter of 2001. Rising unemployment, loss of income, and the refusal of Israel to hand over taxes collected on behalf of the PA were among factors significantly reducing the overall Palestinian fiscal revenue base, the report said. The 2001 budget deficit was expected to reach US$371 million, compared to US$100 million in 2000. “Without the fiscal support of the international community, the PA institutions would not have been financially sustainable”, the report said. However, Mr. Rød-Larsen noted, there was “donor fatigue” and stressed the need to restore a viable economy. Asked about the scenario if there was “total [fiscal] collapse” in the PA, Mr. Rød-Larsen said there would be “a situation of anarchy and chaos in the West Bank and Gaza”. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

In an interview with Russian media before leaving Moscow, Prime Minister Sharon said “the main obstacle on the way to peace” was Chairman Arafat and suggested peace talks could resume if Mr. Arafat was replaced, without specifying by whom. Mr. Sharon added that during his talks with Russian leaders he had appealed for more Russian support in the United Nations, which he accused of “acting as a machine that automatically votes against Israel’s interests”, Interfax reported. (AP)

“Israel’s stand is well known. There will not be international observers”, Prime Minister Sharon said after returning from his trip to Russia. However, Israeli media reported that Foreign Minister Peres was open to the idea of having a ceasefire monitored by an international mechanism. (AP, The Jerusalem Post)

US Secretary of State Powell had spoken to Foreign Minister Peres and Chairman Arafat on 5 September about the prospects for a face-to-face meeting between the two, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said. (AFP, Reuters, XINHUA)

7

In a Russian Foreign Ministry statement issued after a telephone conversation between Foreign Minister Ivanov and Secretary Powell, Russia and the US urged Palestinians and Israelis “to show the utmost of restraint and to refrain from moves that could aggravate the Middle East situation still more”. The two confirmed their intention to continue joint efforts towards stabilizing the situation and expressed their support for the resumption of dialogue between Israel and the PA. (DPA, ITAR-TASS)

Israeli tanks shelled and seriously damaged a Palestinian electric cable factory east of Gaza City, Palestinian security sources said. Israeli army troops and Palestinian gunmen had earlier exchanged fire in the nearby area of the Karni crossing point between the Gaza Strip and Israel, the sources said. Israeli military sources confirmed the shooting, but did not comment on the shelling. Four Palestinian teenagers were later injured, one of them seriously, by Israeli gunfire in the same area. (AFP)

8

EU Foreign Ministers, during an informal meeting in the Belgian town of Genval, expressed frustration with what they said was the US’s reluctance to get more involved in Middle East peace efforts. They also urged the US to put more pressure on Israel. French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine added during a news conference that “at a time when the disengagement of the US is to be regretted, it is important that the EU do all in its power to stop the spiral of violence.” (Reuters) Israeli helicopter gunships fired two missiles at the Fatah headquarters in Ramallah, narrowly missing three officials in the building located in a residential neighbourhood. An Israeli government spokesman said the helicopter attack was in retaliation for recent West Bank attacks carried out by Palestinians. (AFP, Reuters)

9

According to Israeli state television, the Israeli cabinet voted to step up retaliatory attacks on Palestinian targets following a day of violence that included two suicide bombings, one attributed to an Israeli Arab, which had resulted in the killing of five Israelis and the wounding of dozens of others. In the four-hour meeting, Prime Minister Sharon reportedly ruled out large-scale military operations for fear of international criticism, opting instead to intensify tit-for-tat strikes after Palestinian attacks. (AFP) Israeli police briefly detained Palestinian cabinet minister Ziad Abu Zayad for entering East Jerusalem in violation of Israeli travel restrictions. The Minister said after his release that the Israeli move was provocative and that he would not abide by “regulations of the occupation authorities.” (Reuters)

Israeli retaliatory missile strikes hit empty Fatah offices and a building in Jericho, a Palestinian police station in Kabatiya, south of Jenin, and two Fatah offices in and around Ramallah. No casualties were reported in the three strikes. Israeli media reported that the IDF was expected to launch more punitive raids against Palestinian targets in the following days, in retaliation for the attacks on Israelis. (AFP, DPA, EFE)

10

The Israeli Government had decided to restrict Palestinian access to the Jordan Valley road in the West Bank, Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zéevy said. “Palestinians will no longer be allowed to move freely on the Jordan Valley road, and when they want to do it, it will have to be in convoys”, Mr. Zéevy told public radio. An IDF spokesman confirmed the measure but gave no further details. Palestinians would only be allowed to use the road for “medical and humanitarian reasons”, in convoys and with the required army authorizations, the radio added. A representative for the “Association of Israeli farmers in the Jordan Valley”, Dorit Hartzieli, criticized the decision, arguing it could harm the agricultural activity of Jewish settlements in the region. “If the Palestinians are no longer allowed to come here to work, it could result in a collapse of our farms”, Mr. Hartzieli warned on public radio. (AFP)

A Palestinian policeman was killed when IDF soldiers fired an anti-tank missile at a Palestinian roadblock near the town of Jenin, in continued retaliatory strikes for the previous day’s attacks on Israelis. (DPA, Reuters)

Russia strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in the northern and central parts of Israel and in the West Bank, which had claimed many human lives, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko stated in Moscow. He said that “one can clearly see behind them the intention of extremist forces to torpedo the planned meeting between Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres, which could be the first step towards relaxation”. “At the same time, we are sure that ‘an eye for an eye’ logic cannot help resolve the problem of violence, but merely plays into the hands of extremists”, he added. “The international community firmly believes that the Palestinian and Israeli leaderships should promptly begin a direct dialogue in order to launch an agreed programme to normalize the situation”, Mr. Yakovenko said, as “this is the only way to break out of the vicious circle of violence and to switch the situation over to the rut of political settlement”. (AFP, ITAR-TASS)

At the end of their two-day meeting in Cairo, Arab League Foreign Ministers condemned Israeli moves to isolate East Jerusalem from the West Bank, accusing Israel of bolstering its occupation. “Israel has gone ahead with its plan to isolate and besiege East Jerusalem, to surround it by setting up military buffer zones between the city and the surrounding villages, increasing the military presence and digging trenches around it”, they said in a statement. “The council [of Arab Foreign Ministers] voices its strong condemnation of this Israeli aggression which reflects the Government’s continued policy of shunning all signed accords with the Palestinian Authority”, they said. (AFP, DPA) The IDF carried out a 700-metre deep incursion into Palestinian-controlled territory south of Gaza City. Israeli tanks cut off the main coastal road linking the north of the Gaza Strip to the south near the settlement of “Netzarim”, in the sector of Sheikh Ajlin. The tanks also shelled a Palestinian public security building, causing small material damage, Palestinian sources said. Earlier F-16 fighters had been flying over Gaza City and the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah. The IDF moved into Palestinian-controlled territory and took up positions overlooking the town of Jenin. The new IDF deployment effectively sealed Jenin off from the rest of the West Bank, Palestinian officials said. Israeli sources said the tight encirclement of Jenin was aimed at preventing Palestinian activists from leaving the city to carry out attacks on Israeli targets. (AFP, DPA) The IDF bulldozed 4 to 5 hectares (10 to 12 acres) of plantations, mainly guava trees, in the Palestinian village of Mawasi, in the southern Gaza Strip. Also, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy was seriously injured by Israeli tank shells following an exchange of fire, Palestinian security sources said. (AFP, Reuters)

11

Israeli tanks and bulldozers made an incursion into Jenin, firing shells, which destroyed the electricity supply and plunged the town into darkness. Israeli tanks stationed around Jenin and the refugee camp launched several shells against Palestinian houses, killing two and injuring eight others. Meanwhile, Palestinian medical sources said another two Palestinian youths had been shot dead in their car by the IDF near the “Kfar Darom” settlement in central Gaza Strip. (AFP, XINHUA) Israeli bulldozers destroyed three Palestinian houses in the Beit Hanina district of East Jerusalem. Working under police protection, the bulldozers completely demolished two two-storey houses and substantially damaged a third. The destruction of the third property was stopped when it was found out that the municipality did not have approval for the work, the owner said. (AFP)

12

Nine people were killed and nearly 50 wounded, 13 of them seriously, in the West Bank, during a second night of incursions in and around the Palestinian-controlled town of Jenin, in a move the IDF said targeted “bases for terrorist activity”. IDF tanks moved into Jenin and its surrounding villages of Arrabeh, Tanoun and Tubas, destroying a Palestinian police station in Jenin and several Palestinians village homes. Nine Palestinians were killed in the Israeli tank and missile fire in and around Jenin and in the ensuing gunbattles, including a nine-year-old girl who died when an Israeli helicopter gunship fired a missile at a Palestinian home in Arrabeh. The IDF also destroyed two security posts in Qalqilya and one in nearby Salfit. Israeli soldiers also shot dead two Palestinians near the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis. Chairman Arafat’s advisor Nabil Abu Rudeineh said the Palestinians feared that Israel was taking advantage of the fact that international attention was focused on the US in the aftermath of the 11 September terror attacks in New York and Washington to launch a new offensive against the Palestinians, calling the deaths following the Israeli incursions in the West Bank “a new massacre against Palestinians“. (AFP, DPA, Oxford Analytica, Reuters) One Palestinian was killed and two wounded when the IDF opened fire on the taxi they were travelling in near Qurara town in the Gaza Strip, a hospital official said. (AFP)

13

Three Palestinians were shot dead and 13 others injured as the IDF made military incursions into West Bank towns overnight, in retaliation for the killing of an Israeli settler woman the evening before. The IDF launched another military incursion into Jenin and ploughed down the local government headquarters, Palestinian officials said. The IDF also carried out operations in the towns of Qalqilya and Salfit. (AFP) A Palestinian man was shot dead by the IDF near Ramallah, as he was trying to remove a roadblock, Israeli radio reported. According to AFP, his death brought to 801 the total number of people killed since the start of the intifada, including 613 Palestinians and 165 Israelis. (AFP, EFE)

14

A Palestinian teenager was shot dead and four others were wounded during clashes between Palestinians and the IDF near the Karni crossing point. (AFP)

Foreign Minister Peres said Chairman Arafat first had to order an end to violence before a meeting between them could take place. Mr. Peres set this condition for the meeting with Chairman Arafat in telephone conversations with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and Secretary Powell. Chairman Arafat on his part has demanded that a EU representative be present for the meeting to record any agreements that might be reached, fearing otherwise, the source told Ha’aretz, that Prime Minister Sharon might later deny such agreements. (AFP, Ha’aretz) Israel has dug trenches across roads in East Jerusalem as part of measures it says are intended to prevent suicide bombers from reaching the city. The newly-dug ditches are about one metre deep and two metres wide. Trenches, boulders or mounds of earth have also cut off main roads near East Jerusalem frequently used by Palestinians, including Al-Eizariyeh. (Reuters)

Prime Minister Sharon instructed Foreign Minister Peres to cancel the meeting with Chairman Arafat, which had been scheduled for 16 September. (AFP, Reuters) Two Israeli tanks and one bulldozer moved 500 metres into the Palestinian-controlled territory in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. The tanks opened heavy machine-gun fire on Palestinian positions during their incursion. No injuries were reported, but farmland was destroyed by the bulldozer. (AFP)

15

Two 18-year-old Palestinians were shot dead by the IDF near the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip. (AFP) Israeli forces backed by tanks moved early into the Palestinian-controlled town of Ramallah, wounding three Palestinians. (AFP) The IDF launched an air, sea and land assault on Palestinian positions in the Gaza Strip, in Rafah in the south, the Nusseirat refugee camp in the centre and Gaza City in the north. Israeli helicopter gunships launched four missiles against Gaza City, destroying a Palestinian military intelligence headquarters. In Rafah, a Palestinian police station was struck by anti-tank missiles. In Nusseirat, Israeli warships fired three shells, destroying most of a Palestinian naval building on the beach. Seven Palestinians were injured in the attacks, three in Gaza City, including one seriously, three in Rafah, and one in Nusseirat. The IDF confirmed the attacks saying they had been carried out in retaliation for a grenade attack, which had injured two Israeli border guards near the Erez crossing point on 14 September. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

According to AFP, a French Foreign Ministry spokesman criticised Israel’s decision to cancel the planned meeting between Chairman Arafat and Foreign Minister Peres, saying “it would be deplorable if the planned meeting between Mr. Arafat and Mr. Peres was once more postponed,” adding that, “in this context, the actions undertaken by Israeli forces in Gaza [were] worrying. Anything which aims deliberately to weaken the Palestinian Authority [was] the opposite of what [was] needed.” (AFP, DPA) A 14-year-old Palestinian was shot dead by the IDF and another 20 were wounded during protests at a road checkpoint between Khan Yunis and the settlement of “Neve Dekalim”. (AFP, DPA)

16

Israeli tanks, in a three-hour-long pre-dawn raid, entered into the centre of Ramallah, firing rounds while helicopters launched missiles from the air, Palestinian witnesses said. Two Palestinians were killed and 39 injured in clashes with the IDF. A 21-year-old Palestinian ambulance driver was killed while trying to evacuate the wounded from Beit Sahur, and a 26-year-old who was shot when he went out on to the roof of his house after hearing Israeli tanks move into Ramallah. Twenty-four Palestinians were wounded in Ramallah, while 12 more were injured elsewhere in the towns of Hebron and Beit Jala, and another three were hit in Nablus, a West Bank hospital official said. The IDF said the attack had been launched in retaliation for the killing of an Israeli motorist in Jerusalem (AFP, DPA, The Washington Post)

Prime Minister Sharon in a speech to the Knesset called for 48 hours of “absolute calm” before lifting a veto on a meeting with Chairman Arafat, adding that he would order a halt to all military operations if Chairman Arafat declared a ceasefire. (AFP, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post)

The IDF announced in a statement, that “starting on 24 September, the entrance to this zone [the 30-km-long area of the West Bank adjacent to the Israeli border], [would] be off-limits to all residents of the West Bank unless they [were] supplied with a special permit”. The restriction was being imposed to “counter terrorist attacks” against Israel and prevent the “illegal entry of Palestinians,” the statement said. The zone will vary from several hundred metres up to between two and three kilometres, and would not include any Palestinian homes but mostly empty fields, the statement added. (AFP)

17

In a letter addressed to the Israeli Government on the occasion of the Jewish New Year, Chairman Arafat said he had “given strict orders for a total ceasefire and [he hoped] the Israeli Government [would] respond to this call for peace and [would] decide to cease firing”. Mr. Arafat also reiterated his willingness to meet with Foreign Minister Peres whenever the Israelis decide, in order to implement all “agreements and understandings we have signed for the sake of our children and your children”. (AFP, DPA, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post, Reuters)

Israeli tanks and helicopters moved into Palestinian-controlled territory near the Beitunya checkpoint, just south of Ramallah after an Israeli soldier had been hit by sniper fire. Thirteen Palestinians were wounded, one seriously. Heavy tank shelling by the IDF damaged a Palestinian fire truck and injured five firefighters, Palestinian security officials said. A mosque was also hit, injuring three civilians. Israeli machine-gun fire also hit two schools, forcing teachers to evacuate their students, witnesses said, although shells landing in the centre of Beitunya prevented them from returning home. Three houses, one of them used by Force 17 were destroyed and several others were damaged. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

Israeli tanks fired at a Jordanian company’s US-financed construction site in Jenin, wounding two Palestinians, one of them seriously, and causing heavy damage, the company said. “The worksite, where Jordanian flags are clearly visible, was shelled by Israeli tanks for almost 20 minutes,” Luay Omaish, a Vice-President of Site Group, told AFP. (AFP)

18

Before dawn, Israeli tanks rolled into a Palestinian-controlled part of the Gaza Strip and flattened a series of one-storey structures housing 80 administrative offices used for the Gaza sea port construction, funded by the French and Dutch Governments, international lending institutions and the PA. The operation was in response to mortar fire, an IDF spokesperson said. In another incursion into Palestinian-controlled territory, a house was destroyed in Rafah. No casualties were reported. In a separate incident near Nablus, Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian man and seriously injured another. (AFP, Reuters)

Chairman Arafat reissued orders for a ceasefire and told the PA not to fire on Israeli troops even in self-defence. Within hours, Defence Minister Ben-Eliezer responded with an order to the IDF not to open fire on the Palestinians unless attacked and the IDF announced its immediate withdrawal from Palestinian-controlled areas. PA Minister of Local Government Saeb Erakat said it was “the most significant thing that has happened in the last few months”, stressing that the Israelis “immediately had to convene talks and lift their stranglehold on the Palestinian areas”. A Palestinian security official confirmed that the IDF had withdrawn from areas around Jenin. The withdrawal was the first confirmation on the ground following the IDF announcement. (AFP, Ha’aretz, Reuters) Secretary Powell welcomed the Palestinian ceasefire announcement and Israel’s decision to withdraw troops from Palestinian-controlled areas. A German government press statement said Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder welcomed Chairman Arafat’s initiative in ordering a renewed ceasefire with Israel and called it an important step in the present Middle East situation. The German TV news channel NTV reported that the new ceasefire had been brought about through the efforts of German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. (AFP, Reuters)

Ten Palestinians were injured in an exchange of fire with the IDF in Hebron, hospital sources said. (AFP)

The Japanese embassy in Amman, Jordan, announced in a statement that it was contributing US$9.2 million to UNRWA to help it deal with the worsening situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. (AFP)

President Bush said the tentative Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire offered a “glimmer of hope” and vowed to “stay involved in the region” to help build on its potential. The Russian Foreign Ministry also welcomed the ceasefire, hailing Chairman Arafat for “a serious positive step”. In London, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw welcomed the ceasefire, saying he hoped Israel and the Palestinians would now “seize this opportunity to rebuild the peace process”. A spokesman for the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said “[t]he Secretary-General hope[d] that these constructive steps [would] pave the way for the resumption of security cooperation between the two sides and that it [would] contribute to an early and productive meeting between Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and President Arafat”, adding that “[i]n the Secretary-General’s view, the highest priority must be given to ending the current cycle of violence and resuming the peace process”. (AFP, ITAR-TASS, Reuters) Israeli tanks pulled out of areas “A” around Jenin and Jericho. Palestinian officials questioned the Israeli sincerity for failing to carry out a more extensive pullout and for maintaining blockades around Palestinian cities and towns. “The withdrawal from areas in Jenin and Jericho was not enough”, said PA Cabinet Secretary-General Ahmed Abdel Rahman, adding that “[a]ll acts of occupation, siege and closure, trenches, tanks, military checkpoints and seizure of people’s land and property must be ended”. (AFP, Reuters)

19

The 48 hours of calm demanded by Prime Minister Sharon before he would allow a meeting between Foreign Minister Peres and Chairman Arafat had not yet started, his spokesman Avi Pazner said, following sporadic Palestinian gunfire overnight with no injuries reported. He added that the decision on when the countdown could start would be taken by the Israeli Cabinet. Mr. Pazner admitted there had been a “significant decrease” in the number of Palestinian attacks since the afternoon of 18 September but warned that the Israeli Government would hold Chairman Arafat and the PA responsible for any attacks by radical Palestinian groups that might break the ceasefire. (AFP, Reuters) EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana told members of the European Parliament that pressure should be kept up on both sides in the Middle East to establish a lasting ceasefire. He said EU Middle East envoy Miguel Angel Moratinos had helped Mr. Arafat draft the ceasefire declaration and added that Israeli and Palestinian security personnel were expected to meet during the day as a prelude to a meeting between Foreign Minister Peres and Chairman Arafat, which he said should take place “as early as possible”. (Reuters) Chairman Arafat’s advisor Nabil Abu Rudeineh told reporters in Amman the Palestinian side was looking for “serious American intervention” to secure a ceasefire with Israel and pave the way for political talks between the two sides. “We are looking for a real and serious American intervention to put pressure on the Israelis to respect the past agreement and implement the recommendations of the Mitchell report” for a ceasefire to hold, he said. “The next step would be to see the implementation of the [ceasefire] agreement on the ground and the withdrawal of the Israeli troops from Palestinian cities”, Mr. Abu Rudeineh added, noting that this would entail “more American and European interference to help the Palestinians and the Israelis, in their [upcoming] political meetings and security meetings in order to advance the peace process”. He reiterated that the Palestinian leadership was ready for a much-anticipated meeting between Messrs Arafat and Peres, although no date had yet been fixed. (AFP)

20

The IDF shot dead a Palestinian and injured another at a Gaza Strip checkpoint shortly after a drive-by shooting wounded five Israeli soldiers. (AFP, Ha’aretz) Prime Minister Sharon would be convening an evening “kitchen” cabinet meeting to discuss Israel’s response to breaches of the ceasefire, a spokesman for Mr. Sharon announced. (AFP, Ha’aretz)

Foreign Minister Peres met senior Palestinian negotiator and PA Minister Saeb Erakat and Speaker of the Palestinian Council, Ahmed Qurei, as part of the preparations for the anticipated meeting with Chairman Arafat, Israeli television said. (AFP)

The IDF made a brief incursion into the southern Gaza Strip. A bulldozer, accompanied by two APCs, leveled 1.5 hectares of Palestinian farmland near the settlement of “Morag” before pulling out again, Palestinian sources said. An IDF spokesperson denied the charges, saying that the bulldozers cleared farmland in Area B, under Israeli jurisdiction, in order to find the location from which gunmen frequently fired on nearby settlements. In a separate incident in the West Bank, the IDF tore down tents in hills south of Hebron hills, where more than 100 Palestinians lived, Israeli public radio reported. The order, the radio said, had been issued by Israeli civilian authorities three months ago due to a lack of permits. (AFP)

Israeli authorities have reopened the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt after eight days of closure. (AFP) Israel’s security cabinet, meeting in response to the killing of a settler the same day, left in place the ceasefire with the Palestinians. Israeli sources said the cabinet made no decision after reviewing the ceasefire and hearing assessments from military officials. (AFP, Reuters) The Palestinian leadership, meeting under Chairman Arafat, accused Israel of “sabotaging” international efforts and the Palestinian initiative for a ceasefire and peace in the region, WAFA reported. A statement issued after the meeting said the Israeli Government wanted to “profit from the terrorists attacks in the US to continue its aggressions against the Palestinian people”. It called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to react “positively and quickly to the Palestinian initiative, by lifting the blockade, withdrawing its tanks, respecting the ceasefire and ending its military escalation”. (AFP)

21

Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar told a rally at the Jabalia refugee camp of about 1,000 people demonstrating against an anticipated US attack on Afghanistan that firing would not stop and the intifada would continue. (AFP) Interviewed on CNN, Prime Minister Sharon called Chairman Arafat “a terrorist” and reiterated that “one cannot compromise with terror, cannot negotiate under fire”. Nevertheless, he said he hoped that it would be “quiet and calm” and that the meeting between Foreign Minister Peres and Chairman Arafat would take place next week, without specifying a date. (AFP, Reuters) PA Minister and senior negotiator Saeb Erakat pressed for direct US involvement in preparations for the planned Arafat-Peres talks and for putting in place a mechanism to implement the Mitchell and Tenet plans. He said the Palestinians wanted “a full lifting of the siege” and not a gradual lifting of closures according to Israeli assessments of how quiet it was in each particular area. (AFP) Seven Palestinians were wounded, one seriously, in clashes between stone-throwing youths and Israeli soldiers in Ramallah. Several more Palestinians were shot in a clash near the Karni border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel. (AFP) A report released in London, following a 10-day visit to the Middle East by Amnesty International delegates, said all Palestinians were punished in the name of security through the closures, which nonetheless proved ineffective in stopping assassins. Closures were “simply increasing poverty and despair and creating a population which sees no future and no possibility for a better life”, while basic foodstuffs and water were not getting through and Palestinians died as a result of hospital access becoming increasingly difficult. The Amnesty delegates also said they had witnessed reckless Israeli shooting, which was not in response to any Palestinian attacks. “It is imperative that international observers with a human rights monitoring component be introduced into the Occupied Territories in order to ensure that international humanitarian law is respected and every killing is investigated”, Amnesty said. (DPA)

EU leaders meeting in Brussels called for an immediate resumption of dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, mutual restraint and a lifting of the Israeli siege on the Occupied Palestinian Territory. They also decided to send a top-level delegation to the Middle East on 24 September, in a renewed bid to promote peace efforts, seen as more urgent following last week’s terror attacks in the US. Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, told a news conference, the EU initiative had been taken in coordination with the US. (AFP, Reuters)

22

Israeli tanks penetrated 2 kilometres into Palestinian-controlled territory at Deir el-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, and shelled unspecified targets, Palestinian officials said. According to Israeli sources, the move came in reprisal for a Palestinian mortar attack on the nearby “Kfar Darom” settlement. The incursion sparked exchanges of gunfire but left no injuries. A Palestinian policeman died from wounds he had sustained during a clash near Ramallah on 17 September. (AFP, EFE, Reuters) In preparation for an eventual meeting with Chairman Arafat, Foreign Minister Peres held talks with top senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat and Palestinian Council speaker Ahmed Qurei, Israeli diplomatic sources said. The IDF head of planning, Major Giora Eiland, who took part in the talks, laid out plans for easing the blockade on the Occupied Palestinian Territory and further redeploying Israeli forces, the sources said. (AFP) According to a senior Hamas official quoted by Reuters, the militant group was willing to suspend suicide attacks inside Israel “in the coming period” unless “Israel continue[d] to initiate attacks against Palestinian civilians and pursue[d] its assassination policy”. (Reuters)

23 Prime Minister Sharon cancelled talks between Foreign Minister Peres and Chairman Arafat set for the afternoon of 23 September, because he said the PA had not met his precondition of 48 hours without violence for the talks to take place. However, pressure from Washington, along with the threat of a crisis in the Israeli governing coalition, meant the talks could be rescheduled for the following day, Israeli radio stations reported. Following a telephone conversation with Mr. Sharon, Mr. Powell said the former had “confirmed to me that he is interested in having talks”. He said he expected a Peres-Arafat meeting in the “near future”. Secretary Powell also spoke with Chairman Arafat on the issue, Palestinian officials said. PA Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo accused Mr. Sharon of not being serious and continuously coming up with new pretexts to block any possible dialogue between the two sides. (AFP, DPA, Reuters) “Israel wants to give the Palestinians what no one else gave them, a State. Not the Turks, the British, the Egyptians, or the Jordanians gave them this possibility”, Prime Minister Sharon said in reference to previous Powers that ruled over Palestine. “All Israel asks is that Arafat commits himself to stopping the terror, to live in peace”, Mr. Sharon added in a speech to school teachers at Latrun, near Jerusalem. He did not detail the borders he envisaged for a future Palestinian State. (Ha’aretz, Reuters) Israel asked the PA to extradite senior Fatah official and Palestinian Council member Marwan Barghouthi. The extradition request came after a Jerusalem Magistrates Court issued a warrant for Mr. Barghouthi in connection with a series of shootings, including the killing of a Greek Orthodox monk in June, the Justice Ministry said in a statement. Mr. Barghouthi responded that the move was “a cover for a future assassination attempt” and denied the accusations by saying he played a political role in the intifada and had no involvement in the actions of armed groups linked to Fatah. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

24

The IDF established a “closed military zone” along its border with the northern West Bank. The zone is at least 30 kilometres long and up to two kilometres deep and stretches between Tulkarm and Jenin. Entry into this zone is forbidden to Palestinians unless they have a special permit. The measure, which affects areas under full Israeli control and areas previously under joint Israeli-Palestinian control inhabited by some 24,000 Palestinians, was reportedly taken to prevent “terrorist attacks” in Israel and to prevent Palestinians entering Israel illegally to work without permission. PA Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo called Israel’s move “an illegal annexation aimed at preparing for the expulsion of people from their villages”. (AFP, Ha’aretz, Reuters) The following statement was issued by the Office of the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General is concerned by the announcement earlier today by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) that it has established a closed military zone in the northern part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The creation of such a zone will impose additional restrictions on the Palestinians’ movement. It is a unilateral and provocative act, contrary to the signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, and it can only undermine ongoing efforts to find a way out of the present crisis.

While Israel has a legitimate concern for its security, such concerns can in the end only be satisfied through a decisive effort to reach a peaceful settlement to the conflict in accordance with Security Council resolutions 242 and 338. An early and productive meeting between Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and President Yasser Arafat would be an important step in this direction. (UN Press Release SG/SM/7966 of 24 September 2001) A year of confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers has left 560 Palestinians dead, including 140 children, the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG) said. Presenting his organization’s report on a year of Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation, PHRMG director Bassem Eid told a news conference that the 560 dead did not include 13 Israeli Arabs killed in demonstrations last October or 27 Palestinians who had carried out suicide attacks against Israeli targets. In addition, over 15,000 Palestinians had been injured, the PHRMG said in its report covering the period between 29 September 2000 and 23 September 2001. The Palestinian death toll included 59 children below 15 years of age and 81 aged between 15 and 18 years, and 88 members of the Palestinian security forces. Some of those killed died in confrontations with Israeli soldiers, while others were innocent bystanders, or died as a result of Israeli shelling of their homes and neighbourhoods. The PHRMG report did not include 51 Palestinians killed in circumstances, which are still unclear but suspected of being killed by Israeli soldiers, and 11 whose reported death from tear gas inhalation has not been corroborated. The report said that Israel had assassinated 29 Palestinians in targeted attacks. (DPA) “For a meeting between Peres and Arafat to go ahead, Arafat must stop the terrorism”, a statement issued by Prime Minister Sharon’s office said, following a meeting between Mr. Sharon and French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine. The statement added that since Chairman Arafat declared a ceasefire on 18 September “there have been 99 terrorist attacks, in which nine people were wounded, some seriously, and two women were murdered”, concluding that “[t]his is not a ceasefire”. Mr. Védrine said the meeting had to take place urgently, “not to settle everything, but to start a de-escalation”. Foreign Minister Peres, referring to the killing during the day of a 24-year-old Israeli woman in the Jordan Valley, said it was an exception and should not derail efforts to relaunch talks. (AFP) UNRWA Commissioner-General Peter Hansen warned at the opening session of a two-day informal meeting of 25 donor countries that the agency’s “stabilizing” role in the Middle East was being undermined by a donation shortfall of US$31 million. Mr. Hansen said more funds were urgently needed to fix UNRWA’s “crumbling” schools and shore up the economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, as “almost 80 per cent of refugees [in the West Bank and Gaza Strip] have been forced under the poverty line by the severe economic downturn caused by Israel’s closure policy”. “Clearly this is an explosive situation that we all have a responsibility to avoid”, Mr. Hansen stressed. Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul Ilah El-Khatib, who chaired the meeting, called for a “collective effort” by donor countries to help back UNRWA “politically, financially and morally during this critical period”. (AFP)

A Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre (JMCC) survey found that 85.3 per cent of Palestinians polled supported continuing the intifada, up from 80.2 per cent five months ago. Fifty-three per cent of the 1,198 people polled said they were optimistic the uprising would achieve its goal of ending Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. The survey showed that 84.6 per cent of Palestinians supported using armed operations to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, a 14 per cent increase from June. “We see a general radicalisation of Palestinian society because the peace option is not working anymore”, JMCC director Ghassan Khatib said. (Reuters)

25

A three-phase plan, based on the Tenet understandings was drafted by Israeli and Palestinian officials and was expected to be signed at the meeting between Messrs Arafat and Peres. According to Maariv, the first phase of the plan would last seven days, starting from the moment the accord is signed by the two sides. Forty-eight hours into the first phase, the two sides would renew their cooperation in security operations. The two parties would commit themselves to publicly condemning any act of “terror” and to acting against the perpetrators. In the initial week, Israel would be obliged to lift its blockade of Palestinian towns, dismantle checkpoints and allow the free movement of goods and Palestinian security forces in areas, which are calm. It would also allow the traffic of business travellers and goods between the West Bank and Jordan. Similar measures would be undertaken to allow free movement between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. For their part, the Palestinian security forces would pledge to arrest the leading militants accused of terrorism and take charge of areas vacated by the IDF. The second phase, spanning four weeks, would start once the first phase has been successfully completed. This period would see the redeployment of the IDF, the total lifting of the blockade of Palestinian areas, the opening of the major roads to traffic, the withdrawal of Israeli armour from the edges of Palestinian-controlled areas, as well as the re-opening of Gaza International Airport. The Palestinians would respond by jailing all Palestinian militants accused of terrorism, as well as those who have been arrested according to lists provided by Israel. The Palestinians would also shut down secret arms factories and weapons depots. The third phase, not limited to a specific time frame, would be marked by confidence-building measures aimed at instilling a favourable atmosphere for peace talks; Israel would free up frozen Palestinian funds and goods and contribute to major infrastructure projects in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, whereas the Palestinians would be obliged to systematically put an end to terrorism and seize all clandestine weapons stored in their areas. (AFP)

Israel’s Public Security Minister Uzi Landau is considering a plan to physically separate settlements north of East Jerusalem from Palestinian villages. The Jerusalem police intends to erect up to 12 kilometers of fences, which will include night vision equipment, and other hi-tech defences. Settlements, which the police are considering fencing off reportedly include “Neveh Ya’akov”, which borders the Palestinian village of Dahiyat al-Bareed, and “Pisgat Ze’ev”, near the Shu’fat refugee camp. The Jerusalem Municipality has already erected one security fence behind “Pisgat Ze’ev”. (The Jerusalem Post.)

UNRWA, in a statement at the end of a two-day meeting of 25 donor countries and the EU, said EU representatives had pledged to put pressure on Israel to ease the blockades of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The statement further said “UNRWA has 42 truckloads of medical supplies stranded in the West Bank which are intended for distribution in Gaza,” and said Israel was violating an international convention by “insisting that supplies be unloaded and searched” and by refusing to grant local UNRWA drivers permits to drive through Israeli crossing points. As a result, “supplies to health clinics, schools and food distribution centers have all been delayed or stopped completely by the 72 checkpoints operating in the West Bank”. The statement added that, “UNRWA's humanitarian work [was] being choked by the Israel Defence Forces’ persistent mechanical recourse to ‘security’ ”, as a reason for imposing blockades, etc. Peter Hansen, Head of UNRWA, told reporters that the US, among several donor nations, had committed US$6, reducing the agency’s budget deficit for 2001, from US$31 million to US$20 million. (AFP) Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa called Israel’s 30-kilometre-long new military “buffer zone”, established on 24 September between Jenin and Tulkarm a provocative act, which would increase tensions in the region. Mr. Moussa urged the US, as the “official sponsor of the peace process in the Middle East, to take up its responsibility and ensure the immediate implementation of the Mitchell report”. (Reuters) Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah urged President Bush in a telephone conversation to give special attention to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, saying the conflict was a main cause of instability in the region. (AFP, DPA) The IDF made an incursion with three tanks into a Palestinian-controlled area of the Gaza Strip, near the Rafah crossing point, after an exchange of gunfire, a Palestinian source said. The tanks advanced some 100-150 metres into the area and fired, before withdrawing after about an hour. No casualties were reported. An IDF spokesman categorically denied that any incursions had taken place in the area. (AFP)

26

Former US Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk told a House International Relations Subcommittee that it was time for the US to appoint a special Middle East envoy to help end violence between Israel and the Palestinians. (The Jerusalem Post) During a two and a half hour meeting at the Gaza International Airport, Chairman Arafat and Foreign Minister Peres agreed to “resume full security cooperation and exert maximum efforts to sustain the declared ceasefire”, said Senior Palestinian negotiator and PA Minister Saeb Erakat, who read from a joint statement, adding that the two sides would “carry out all security obligations emanating from previous agreements and the Government of Israel [would] begin to lift the closure and the redeployment of its forces”. Mr. Erakat also told reporters that the two men would meet again “within a week or so.” Messrs Arafat and Peres reiterated their commitment to the Tenet understandings and the Mitchell Report. Mr. Erakat said a joint committee of senior officials would be established to deal “with any issue that may arise.” (AFP, DPA, EFE, Ha’aretz, ITAR-TASS, The Jerusalem Post, Reuters) A 16-year-old Palestinian boy was killed and eleven other Palestinians, including at least two children, were injured when the IDF opened fire with heavy machine-guns on a southern Gaza Strip refugee camp near Rafah. The assault came in response to an earlier attack by Palestinians who exploded a bomb apparently placed in a tunnel dug underneath an IDF bunker near Rafah, lightly injuring three Israeli soldiers. (AFP) According to a DFLP statement and following a meeting with DFLP Secretary General Nayef Hawatmeh, Syria’s Defence Minister General Mustafa Tlass “affirmed Syria’s support for the Palestinian uprising and the resistance [against Israel] and deemed it necessary to sort out Syrian-Palestinian relations”. (AFP) Israel completely sealed its borders with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for the Yom Kippur. The closure, which included the border crossing point of Rafah, linking the Gaza Strip with Egypt, and the Allenby bridge between Jordan and the West Bank would last until 28 September at 2:00 a.m. (0000 GMT), an Israeli spokesperson said. (AFP, The Jerusalem Post)

The following statement was issued on 26 September by the Office of the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
27

Secretary Powell told the pan-Arab Al-Hayat daily that the US Administration would work with its friends in the region to reach a fair peace on all issues conforming to UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 and the principles of the 1991 Madrid conference, including that of land for peace,” “The events of September 11 have not changed this objective, and our response to these attacks does not mean we have abandoned it,” he added, stressing that “Arabs and Israelis have long suffered disasters from violence and terrorism.” Mr. Powell said the US, while mobilising a coalition against all those who resort to terrorism to achieve their ends, was determined to do all it could to settle the Arab-Israeli conflict. (AFP)

Five Israeli tanks, accompanied by bulldozers, moved 100 metres into Palestinian-controlled territory near Rafah in the Gaza Strip, triggering a fierce gun battle. The tanks opened fire on a nearby refugee camp, killing three Palestinians and wounding some 30 others, 10 of them seriously. An IDF spokesman insisted the tanks had only entered a military sector under Israel’s total control under the autonomy accords with the Palestinians. “We destroyed several homes which were used to smuggle arms from Egypt as well as to shelter Palestinian grenade-throwers,” he said. The incursion was in retaliation for a bomb attack the previous day in which three Israeli soldiers were wounded as their post had been blasted from an underground tunnel. PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh called “the Israeli military operation … an attempt ... to torpedo the results of the meeting” between Chairman Arafat and Foreign Minister Peres. He called on the US Government and the world community to condemn the action as well, saying it had “erased world efforts to restore calm” in the Middle East. (AFP, EFE, Reuters)

Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian with psychiatric problems who approached them near the “Kfar Darom” settlement in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian hospital sources said. A 15-year-old Palestinian boy was also killed, struck by several bullets in the chest near Rafah. (AFP, Reuters)

US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher appealed on Israel and the Palestinians to “break with past practices” and abide by the agreed ceasefire. In light of the Israeli incursions and the killing of five Palestinians during the day, he called on Israel “to halt the demolition of Palestinian homes and to halt the incursions by [the IDF] into Palestinian-controlled areas”, adding that it was “important for Israel to refrain from provocative acts that can only escalate tensions and undermine efforts to bring about a lasting halt to violence”. He asked the Palestinians to “undertake sustained and effective steps to pre-empt violence, to arrest those responsible for planning and conducting acts of violence and terror”. Both sides should “not underestimate the challenges ahead”, Mr. Boucher noted. (AFP, DPA, Ha’aretz)

Six Palestinian organizations reiterated in Damascus their determination to continue the intifada and rejected the ceasefire agreement between Chairman Arafat and Foreign Minister Peres. They included Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). (AFP)

28

Three minutes of silence were observed at midday across the Occupied Palestinian Territory, to mark the first anniversary of the intifada. 10,000 Palestinians went to Al-Haram al-Sharif for the Friday prayers, where tight Israeli security prevented those aged under 40 or without an Israeli identity card from entering. In the Gaza Strip, about 6,000 demonstrators marched through a refugee camp holding pictures of Palestinians killed in the intifada. In Hebron, a 25-year-old Palestinian man was shot dead in an exchange of gunfire, which left at least 12 other Palestinians injured. A 10-year-old Palestinian boy was also later killed by Israeli forces in Hebron. A 17-year-old Palestinian was shot dead in a stone-throwing incident with Israeli soldiers at the entrance to the village of Al-Khader, near Bethlehem, while several others were injured, hospital officials said. In a refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, near Rafah, a Palestinian was in critical condition after an Israeli soldier had shot him in the head, hospital officials said. Another Palestinian, aged 17, died of his head wounds inflicted in clashes in Ramallah a week earlier. Dozens more Palestinians were wounded in protests and clashes around the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. (AFP, DPA, Reuters) As had been agreed at the meeting between Messrs Arafat and Peres, the joint Palestinian-Israeli security committee met in Tel Aviv for the first time since 25 July. Participants included senior security and intelligence officials form both parties, as well as a CIA representative. According to an Israeli Defence Ministry statement issued after the meeting, Israel promised to open the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on 30 September and allow the free movement of traffic in major Palestinian towns, if the situation was calm on the ground. The Palestinian side undertook to clamp down on regular attacks on Israeli army positions at Rafah, as well as mortar attacks on Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip, the Ministry statement added. (AFP, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post) In a statement published in the Palestinian press on the first anniversary of the intifada, Fatah said it would press ahead with the uprising and accused the US of “trying these days to exploit the events that took place in the US in order to circumvent and destroy the intifada through exerting pressure on the Palestinian Authority”. The statement dismissed any pressure put on Prime Minister Sharon as “tactical pressure” to push through a global coalition against terrorist networks. “Fatah affirms the legitimacy of the Palestinian struggle and the intifada and the resistance with all means against the invaders and occupiers”, the statement said. (AFP)

Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said in a statement that he had spoken by telephone with Prime Minister Sharon and Chairman Arafat, had welcomed the agreement reached on 26 September and had asked the two sides to avoid “allowing extremists to sabotage peace efforts”. (AFP, ITAR-TASS, Reuters)

Israeli policies in the Middle East are producing a Palestinian population that sees “no future” and “no reason to stay alive”, according to a report released in London by Amnesty International. Amnesty said the Occupied Palestinian Territory had become a land of barriers because of Israeli restrictions, with people in Gaza living in an effective prison. It said the restrictions were a “grave human rights violation” and a collective punishment against all Palestinians for killings committed by a few. Amnesty said that since the start of the intifada a year ago, more than 570 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli security services, the vast majority unlawfully. Hundreds of Palestinian homes had been demolished, and more than 1,500 Palestinians arrested, the group said. (AFP)

Dozens of Israelis destroyed Palestinian fields and hothouses in the Jordan Valley, near where an Israeli woman had been killed on 24 September, Israel Radio reported. (The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli soldiers killed eight Palestinians and wounded at least 100 others on 28 September, the first anniversary of the intifada. Violence erupted at demonstrations throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, leaving also at least eight Israelis wounded. (DPA)

29

Three Palestinians were shot and killed and more than 140 wounded, at least nine of them critically after thousands of protestors and stone-throwers continued to mark the anniversary of the intifada. A 12-year-old Palestinian was killed at the Karni border crossing from the Gaza Strip into Israel, a 18-year-old was fatally shot in the head in the southern Gaza Strip and a Palestinian man was killed in Hebron. Meanwhile, a 25-year-old Palestinian died in Gaza City of gunshot wounds he had suffered on 27 September in Rafah, al-Shifa hospital said. According to AFP, these deaths brought the toll since the beginning of the intifada to 838, including 646 Palestinians and 169 Israelis. (AFP, Reuters)

PA Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said that Israel had killed 14 Palestinians since the Arafat-Peres meeting on 26 September. “If this is called a ceasefire, then what is war?” he asked. “If the Israelis continue this policy, the ceasefire will collapse and no talks can salvage the situation”, he added. Minister Abed Rabbo said Israel had promised in security talks on 28 September to ease its blockade of the West Bank and Gaza Strip the same day, but there were few signs that the IDF had been easing its grip. Prime Minister Sharon’s spokesman Raanan Gissin said the closure would be eased only in areas where violence ceased. He said the PA had not carried out Israel’s demand for the immediate arrest of 10 people on a list of about 100 given to Chairman Arafat by Foreign Minister Peres. Senior Palestinian security officials said the issue of arrests had not been discussed at any of the meetings. They said they would not arrest people based on Israeli lists but would arrest those violating Chairman Arafat’s ceasefire orders. (Reuters)

Following talks in Doha between the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Abdelouahed Belkeziz and the Emir of Qatar and current OIC Chairman Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, it was decided that a meeting of OIC Foreign Ministers would take place in Doha on 10 October. An OIC official said in Jeddah that the Ministers would discuss “the issue of terrorism” following the recent attacks in the US, attempts to “associate terrorism with Islam”, and “the critical situation in the Palestinian territories”. The Ministers would also examine “the tragic situation of Afghan refugees and the consequences, which US strikes on Afghanistan would have on the population” of that country, the official said. Arab League Secretary-General Amre Moussa has said Arab Foreign Ministers would meet on the sidelines of the OIC session. The meeting could reportedly take place on 9 October. (AFP)

30

Israeli troops shot dead a member of the Palestinian security services in Hebron, as he was trying to prevent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers, Palestinian officials said. Two more Palestinians were killed at a checkpoint near Nablus, when Israeli troops opened fire on them. Palestinian officials said the two men were trying to cross illegally into Israel seeking work. Three other Palestinians were wounded in the shooting. The IDF said the Palestinians had tried to flee a mobile checkpoint set up after gunmen had targeted a Jewish settlement in the area. Three Israeli tanks entered some 700 metres into Palestinian-controlled area in the southern Gaza Strip, firing their machine-guns at the village of Al-Qarara, Palestinian security sources said. The incursion followed Israeli army reports that Palestinians had fired two mortar shells at the “Gush Katif” settlement block, injuring no one. The Palestinian security sources said tanks were also shelling the nearby refugee camp of Deir al-Balah and that gunfire was being directed at the village of Al-Zakhra. They said no injuries had been reported. (AFP, Reuters)

In line with the understandings reached at the Arafat-Peres meeting, the Israeli security cabinet decided to ease closures of the Palestinian territories, starting the same day with the autonomous Palestinian town of Jericho, Israeli public radio reported. The cabinet decided to continue to apply the ceasefire for at least 48 hours, the radio said, adding that if breaches continued after that period the army would be given free rein to reply. (AFP, Reuters)

After arriving in Cairo for a meeting with President Mubarak, Chairman Arafat told reporters that despite his “political meeting” with Foreign Minister Peres, there was “a deliberate escalation from military leaders and some political leaders on all fronts. (Reuters)

Israeli and Palestinian security officials held a series of joint meetings across the West Bank to gauge the implementation of the ceasefire accord, an Israeli army spokesman told AFP. The meetings between commanders on the ground were held in Jenin, Tulkarm, Qalqilya, Jericho and Ramallah, the spokesman said. He said similar talks were held in the Gaza Strip. A Palestinian security source later said the meeting aimed at lifting the blockade on Jericho had ended in failure. Israel had proposed opening a northwest road linking the city with the Ramallah area but insisted the southern one leading to Jerusalem would remain closed, the source said. (AFP)

Foreign Minister Peres met with PA Minister and senior negotiator Saeb Erakat and Palestinian Council Speaker Ahmed Qurei. Mr. Erakat described the meeting as “difficult”, saying it had not even touched on the issue of a second Peres-Arafat meeting, which was the main purpose of the session. He complained to Mr. Peres that 19 Palestinians had been killed by the Israeli army since the 26 September Arafat-Peres meeting. He also said Israel had maintained its blockade on Palestinian towns, notably Jericho, despite pledges to the contrary. (AFP, Reuters)

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