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Source: Division for Palestinian Rights
30 November 2002
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P a l e s t i n i a n
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Chronological Review of Events Relating to the

Question of Palestine


November 2002


Dozens of IDF vehicles and jeeps briefly entered the village of Al-Araqa, west of Jenin, arresting seven Palestinians, including a wanted Islamic Jihad militant accused of helping plan suicide car bombings in northern Israel. (AFP)

Nine Palestinians were injured, some of them seriously, by IDF tank fire near Khan Yunis, in the Gaza Strip. (Ha’aretz)

The Strategic Planning Branch of the IDF, headed by Brig.-Gen. Eival Giladi, said the US “road map” for peace in the Middle East “for the most part answer[ed] Israel’s security needs,” and recommended accepting the blueprint. (Ha’aretz)

Human Rights Watch released a new report entitled “Erased in a Moment: Suicide Bombing Attacks Against Israeli Civilians.” The 170-page report analyzed Palestinian groups that had taken responsibility for suicide attacks and detailed international standards prohibiting attacks against civilians, stressing that international law and the rules of war imposed an absolute, unconditional ban on harming civilians. It stated that those responsible for planning and carrying out suicide bombings that deliberately targeted civilians were guilty of crimes against humanity and should be brought to justice. “These things are completely illegal no matter what the other guy is doing,” said Joe Stork, one of the authors of the report. Also according to the report, “Even though Israel’s policy of maintaining and expanding civilian settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is illegal under international humanitarian law, a person who resides in an illegal settlement continues to be a civilian unless he or she directly participates in hostilities. Except in those circumstances of direct participation in armed conflict, these residents are entitled to full protection as civilians.” Chairman Arafat’s advisor Nabil Abu Rudeineh criticized the report, stressing that “the occupation [was] entirely responsible for everything that occur[ed] and it must be ended.” (AFP, Ha’aretz, HRW press release, full text at

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights called on international humanitarian groups and the world community to “intervene quickly” with Israel to open the checkpoint leading to the Al-Mawasi area of Khan Yunis, where more than 200 Palestinians had been stuck for several days. (AFP)

The IDF imposed a curfew on Hebron, as thousands of Jews had arrived for religious services at the Tomb of the Patriarchs. (AFP)


Israeli troops shot dead four Palestinians in two separate incidents in the Gaza Strip. An 18-year-old Palestinian, known to many as a mentally disturbed person, was killed by Israeli soldiers in Rafah, when he approached the border fence with Egypt. Three other Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli troops stationed between the passages of Karni and Nahal Oz, near the border between the eastern Gaza City and Israel. It was not known if the three Palestinians were armed or were just workers passing by. Separately, the IDF demolished the homes of two Palestinian militants in the West Bank village of Burkin, near Jenin. The Israeli security services arrested 12 Palestinians near Nablus. Two of them were arrested in Tubas and were Hamas members. The other ten were members of Fatah, some of them accused of having carried out deadly attacks on Israelis, and were arrested around Salfit. They included members of the PA military intelligence unit and Force-17. (AFP, DPA)


An Amnesty International report entitled “Shielded from Scrutiny: IDF Violations in Jenin and Nablus” said acts such as killing of civilians, torturing prisoners, using civilians as human shields, destroying homes and blocking humanitarian aid to Palestinians had been committed during the Israeli spring offensive on Jenin and Nablus. Amnesty said 54 Palestinians had been killed in the fighting in Jenin, including “seven women, four children and six men over the age of 55… Six people had been crushed by houses”. In Nablus, at least 80 people had been killed last April, including seven women and nine children under the age of 15. “Amnesty International believes that some of the acts by the IDF described in this report amount to grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention and are war crimes”, the report said, and called for “a full, thorough, transparent and impartial investigation into all allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law”. Javier Zuniga, Amnesty’s Director of Regional Strategy, said Israel should accept responsibility for its actions and cooperate with an investigation into the IDF’s conduct during the offensive. “The culpability goes from the soldier who shot somebody with no necessity to those in the line of the command who ordered or condoned or covered up and to the highest authority of the State because they are politically responsible – that would be the Prime Minister”, Mr. Zuniga said, noting that this was not a court of law and the first thing that had to happen was a proper judicial investigation. Amnesty’s report was based on petitions to Israeli courts by rights groups, medical files, and interviews with Palestinian victims and their families and local and international officials, with testimony cross-checked for accuracy. “The relationship of the conflict to the deteriorating human rights situation has led to a growing understanding that there can be no peace in the region until human rights are respected”, the report noted. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

The IDF said it would comment on specifics of the Amnesty report after examining them, but noted that its operations aimed to pre-empt attacks from “terror infrastructures situated in the heart of the innocent Palestinian population, which is used as cover for them”. It added that 646 Israeli soldiers and civilians had died in more than 14,000 “terrorist attacks” since the intifada had begun. “The State of Israel is exercising its basic right to defend its inhabitants”, an IDF statement said. (AFP, Reuters)

In response to the Amnesty report, Israeli opposition legislators demanded that the appointment of former IDF Chief of General Staff Gen. Shaul Mofaz to the Cabinet be delayed, Israel Radio reported. However, t he Knesset later voted in favour of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s choice (69 MKs in favour, 39 against and three abstained) and Mr. Mofaz was sworn in as new Defence Minister. (DPA, Ha’aretz)

An explosion killed two persons in a van in Nablus. Palestinian witnesses first said an Israeli helicopter had fired a missile at the vehicle, but an official later said an Israeli aircraft flying overhead had detonated a bomb inside the vehicle by remote control. Palestinian security sources said one of the dead was Hamad Saddar, 32, a prominent Hamas member, wanted by Israel for alleged involvement in attacks on Israelis. The other victim was not immediately identified. Four passers-by had been wounded, hospital officials said. (DPA, Reuters)

At least two people were killed and 32 injured, one seriously, when a suicide bomber blew himself up at an open-air shopping mall in Kfar Sava, in central Israel. Police believed one of the people killed was a security guard who prevented the bomber from entering an electronics store at the mall. Four people suffered moderate injuries and 28 were lightly wounded. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility and identified the suicide bomber as Nabil Sawalhe, a resident of the Balata refugee camp in Nablus. (AP, Ha’aretz)


A Palestinian had been killed and another left clinically dead when Israeli tanks opened fire at stone-throwing youths in Rafah, on the Gaza Strip border with Egypt, the head of Rafah hospital, Ali Mussa, told AFP . Fifteen other people had been wounded, two of them critically. (AFP, DPA, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post)

During talks in Amman, Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb and PA Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said that “All the ideas that are being made to push forward the peace process, including a US ‘road map’, must contain an [international] control mechanism and guarantees for their implementation.” “All the agreements concluded in the past [with Israel] did not include an international mechanism of control and this is a tragedy,” Mr. Rabbo told reporters after the meeting. (AFP)

A “ceasefire directive” sent from the office of the head of the counter-security mechanism, Mr. Zuhair Manasra, working under PA Interior Minister Hani Al-Hassan, had reportedly been passed on to all Fatah activists at all levels, stating that “In accordance with the instructions of President Yasser Arafat, all activists who belong to the Fatah movement, politicians and military personnel, are strictly forbidden to open fire for any reason whatsoever.” (Ha’aretz)

The IDF arrested three wanted Fatah members in the village of Arura, north of Ramallah. The army confirmed the arrests, saying it had detained three “ terrorists”, including the head of a local militant cell and his deputy, without specifying any charges. (AFP)

Upon being asked about the US position with regard to targeted killings, after a US attack against alleged Al-Qaeda members in Yemen, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the US still opposed Israel’s policy of targeting Palestinian militants for assassination. “Our policy on targeted killings in the Israeli-Palestinian context has not changed,” Mr. Boucher said. “We all understand the situation with regard to Israeli-Palestinian issues and the prospects of peace and the prospects of negotiation and the prospects of the need to create an atmosphere for progress. A lot of different things come into play there,” he added. (AFP, Reuters)


In his first statement after being sworn in as Israeli Foreign Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu announced that a likely strike on Iraq had taken the US road map for peace in the Middle East “off the agenda.” Earlier, Mr. Netanyahu had said he believed Chairman Arafat should be expelled from the Occupied Territory. In reponse, Mr. Arafat told journalists in Ramallah that no one could “expel [him] from his homeland”. (AFP, DPA, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post)

An armed Palestinian killed two settlers before being shot dead near the settlement of “Rafiah Yam”, in the southern Gaza Strip. The IDF said the gunman was a Palestinian worker in the settlement’s greenhouses. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. (AFP, DPA, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post, Reuters)

A military court in Israel sentenced two junior officers to 28 days imprisonment because they had used Palestinian civilians as “human shields”, Israel Radio reported. A platoon sergeant who had made a navigation error and ended up in a Palestinian village with his soldiers had forced a villager to drive them to a safe place, the radio said. During the sergeant’s investigation, a similar incident had come to light in the same battalion, during which a squad commander had made a Palestinian drive him and his soldiers to safety. (DPA)

The Vatican announced that Pope John Paul II would be sending an envoy to the Middle East to help stem the flow of people fleeing the troubled region because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In his weekly address, the Pontiff called for “a reign of peace, justice and serenity that restores the original harmony of the creation” in the Holy Land. German Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, President of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, would deliver US$400,000 in aid to people in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, the Vatican announced. “The continuous acts of violence between Israelis and Palestinians are a persistent threat to all inhabitants of the region," it said in a statement. (AFP)

Early in the day, IDF forces surrounded the villages of Beit Rima, 15 kilometres north-east of Ramallah, Silwad and Mazraa al-Sharqiya, both some 10 kilometres north of the city, and prevented people from leaving or entering. However, at some point in the morning, the IDF allowed a group of women to leave Beit Rima to shop in Ramallah, on the opening day of Ramadan. But when the women returned in the afternoon, troops refused to let them back in to the village. Some of the more than 30 stranded women went to stay at neighbouring villages, while others attempted to sleep in their cars outside the village’s two entrances until the army let them back in, shortly before midnight. A military spokeswoman confirmed that there was ongoing activity in the villages, as a result of military intelligence warnings. (AFP)


Pointing to comments by Foreign Minister Netanyahu that the US/Quartet “ road map” for Middle East peace was not on the agenda, Chairman Arafat’s senior adviser Nabil Abu Rudeineh said “Israel [was] officially shunning and frustrating international efforts” and noted that the Israeli stance was “not only damaging the Quartet’s efforts” but was “also hampering any future US and international efforts in the region”. Mr. Rudeineh asked that the US stop “Israel’s new negligence and its continuing rejection” of international peace endeavours. (AFP)

Following talks with President Emile Lahoud in Beirut, EU Middle East envoy Miguel Angel Moratinos said he had told Mr. Lahoud that “the time has come to renew the peace offer launched in Beirut at the Arab Summit”. Mr. Moratinos had told the Lebanese President that the EU was “working within the Quartet for the Middle East to help push forward the ‘road map’ so that it is adopted by the end of December”. After a meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud, Mr. Moratinos stressed that “ the ‘road map’ [was] a European idea and not an American idea. It is an instrument to push the peace process forward, not a substitute for existing peace plans, or UN resolutions” and underlined the need to reach a global and just peace in the Middle East. (DPA)

Israeli undercover units had arrested 38-year-old Abdel-Nasser Sweif, Islamic Jihad leader in Tulkarm, eyewitnesses said. An IDF source confirmed the arrest, saying Mr. Sweif had been taken away for questioning. Separately, two militants of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) had been arrested by the IDF in the village of Hussan, near Bethlehem, “over suspicions of involvement in terror attacks” and had been taken away for further questioning, according to a military spokesman, who said he did not know of their PFLP affiliation. The arrest had taken place in an area under Israeli military control and Palestinian civil administration. (AFP, Reuters)

Several Palestinians were wounded during clashes with IDF soliders in the eastern neighbourhoods of Nablus, including the Balata refugee camp. According to Palestinian sources, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy had been seriously wounded in the chest, when an Israeli tank had opened fire on a group of young stone-throwers. Earlier in the day troops had demolished the Nablus home of Hamas member Firas Fidi, believed to have been involved in the planning of deadly attacks on Israelis and wanted by Israel. (AFP, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post)

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Foreign Minister Netanyahu said he thought it was “easy to persuade the international community of what the majority of Israelis understand: namely, that Arafat is not a partner”. Asked about Palestinian statehood, Mr. Netanyahu said: “I think we have to resist and I think we can and must resist the Palestinians’ efforts to achieve powers that would endanger the State of Israel, like the fielding of an army.” (Reuters, The Jerusalem Post)

The IDF lifted curfews in Jenin, Qalqilya and Tulkarm. Curfews, however, remained in Hebron and Ramallah. (Ha’aretz)

A suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt was killed along with another Palestinian as the device went off at a checkpoint near the “Kedumim” settlement, west of Nablus. The IDF had ordered a suspect-looking taxi to stop and all passengers to get out with their hands in the air and shirts up. When the soldiers saw one of the men running towards them wearing an explosive belt, they opened fire and the man fell, triggering an explosion, an army spokesman said. (AFP, DPA, The Jerusalem Post)


The Israeli army, supported by dozens of tanks, armoured vehicles, bulldozers, jeeps and helicopter gunships, had entered the neighbourhood of Al-Ammal, west of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, security sources said. The troops had destroyed a three-storey house belonging to the family of Ismail Ashur Brif, 25, who had been shot dead on 6 November after killing two people at the “Rafiah Yam” settlement where he worked. During the incursion two Palestinians had been wounded, one of them critically. In a separate incident in the village of Tel, near Nablus, a 32-year-old Palestinian had been killed and another wounded when troops fired on their car. Witnesses said the passengers had violated an IDF imposed curfew. Tel Mayor Adnan Aseifeh told AFP that “The troops [had] fired directly on the vehicle without warning.” The IDF had arrested at least 14 suspected militants across the West Bank overnight, five of them in Tulkarm. (AFP, DPA)

The European Commission announced it was providing UNRWA with €55 million to support education, health, relief and social services programmes. The Commission said the financial assistance also took account of higher costs incurred by UNRWA in trying to get aid through Israel’s blockade of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This latest donation was part of a 237-million-package announced by the EU in September 2002 to fund UNRWA for a period of four years. (AFP, DPA)

The World Bank released a report entitled “Long-Term Policy Options for the Palestinian Economy”, where it said the Palestinians could break their economic dependence on Israel by substituting their predominantly labour exports to Israel with sales of goods and by opening up to the rest of the world. World Bank economist Sébastien Dessus told AFP the Palestinians had already absorbed the political and economic shock of diminished labour exports to Israel since the start of the Al-Aqsa intifada , though at a very high cost, and “should thus seize this opportunity to rethink their development strategy.” (AFP)


Israeli troops, in a pre-dawn man hunt in Jenin, shot dead Iyad Sawalha, 28, head of Islamic Jihad’s military wing in the northern West Bank and wanted by Israel for allegedly planning suicide attacks that had killed more than 30 people. Witnesses said scores of Israeli soldiers had entered Jenin, some of them proceeding from house to house, breaking down walls and dynamiting doors until they found Mr. Sawalha holed up with his wife in a cave dug under one building. They said soldiers had called on him to surrender, but he had only sent his wife out of the house and then opened fire at the troops, sparking a gunbattle, in which he was killed. Chairman Arafat said Mr. Sawalha’s killing was a “crime”. Islamic Jihad vowed to avenge his killing. The killing later in the day of IDF Sergeant-Major Medin Gerifat, 23, who was on patrol near the “Netzarim” settlement in the Gaza Strip when an explosive device blew up, was claimed by Islamic Jihad, as “an initial response to the assassination of the martyr Iyad Sawalha”. (DPA, Reuters)


IDF forces withdrew from the centre of Jenin. The troops and armoured vehicles took up new positions in the city’s outskirts. Palestinian children attended school for the first time in two weeks, as the curfew was lifted. An Israeli army commander said 55 Palestinian militants and three would-be suicide bombers had been detained during the two weeks of the latest Jenin operation in search of militants. (DPA, Reuters)

Fatah and Hamas representatives began talks in Cairo, with the “aim to unify the Palestinian front, support the intifada and overcome existing difficulties between the two parties to achieve ... the creation of an independent Palestinian State”, MENA reported. (Reuters)

Arab League Foreign Ministers, meeting in Cairo, examined “the aggressive, extremist policy” of the new Israeli Government towards the Palestinians and looked into the fact that the “leaders of the new Government [had] cancelled the peace accords signed with the Palestine Liberation Organization”, according to a resolution adopted at the meeting, which focused on the Iraqi and Palestinian questions. The Foreign Ministers decided to “undertake an intensive Arab action to boost international efforts for application of the UN resolutions, notably resolutions 1397 and 1435 calling on Israel to withdraw immediately from the occupied Arab and Palestinian territories”. They affirmed their “commitment to the Arab peace initiative” adopted at the Arab League Summit in Beirut late last March, which they said represented “the best way to reach a just, global solution to the Middle East problem”. (AFP)

A Palestinian gunman infiltrated Kibbutz Metzer, across the Israeli-West Bank border from Tulkarm, and opened fire outside a dining hall, killing a woman visitor and the kibbutz’s chief administrator who had been on guard duty. The attacker then burst into a house and shot dead a 34-year-old woman and her two children, aged four and five, before fleeing. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack, reportedly in retaliation for the killing of Islamic Jihad militant Iyad Sawalha the previous day in Jenin. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)


Following the killing of five Israelis in Kibbutz Metzer, Foreign Minister Netanyahu said that Chairman Arafat was responsible for the attack and reminded that he had been calling for some time for “the expulsion of Arafat’ s terror regime”. He told Army Radio that Israel “would find the proper time to do so”, but taking such action depended on “international developments currently under way”, in an apparent reference to the situation regarding Iraq. (AFP, Reuters)

In a statement issued in Gaza City, the Palestinian leadership condemned the attack at Kibbutz Metzer and expressed its regrets for the civilian deaths. “We urge the Israeli people to do all it can to stop the occupation and the destruction of our land and people, because the Israeli aggression will not give them safety”, the leadership also said. In Ramallah, Chairman Arafat announced that he had set up a committee to probe whether the attack was a bid to sabotage talks between Fatah and Hamas taking place in Cairo. A statement issued by Fatah said it had “no link” with the kibbutz attack “nor with the statement from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claiming it” and reiterated its “condemnation of all actions targeting civilians, whether they be Palestinians or Israelis”. (AFP)

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

(UN Press Release SG/SM/8481 of 11 November 2002)

An Israeli helicopter gunship fired rockets and destroyed a metal foundry in Gaza City. The foundry was used for the making of mortar bombs, Israeli security sources alleged, something denied by the workshop’s owner. As a result of the attack, the two-storey building housing the workshop was demolished and five neighbouring houses were hit. Three Palestinians were injured. An IDF spokesman said the attack was linked to Palestinian mortar fire a few hours earlier against the “Gush Katif” settlement block. A mortar shell had landed there but no one had been hurt, the spokesman said. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

A 16-year-old Palestinian was in critical condition after having been hit by a bullet fired from an Israeli tank in Tulkarm, Palestinian medical sources said. The teenager had been injured when Israeli tanks responded with heavy machine-gun fire to a group of young stone-throwers defying an army curfew, the sources said. Also, four Palestinian children had been injured when an Israeli tank opened fire on a house in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian medics said. One of the children, a two-year-old, had been initially reported in critical condition and later pronounced dead. All four children belonged to the same family, living close to the Israeli-controlled border with Egypt. (AFP)

A joint statement issued after the EU-Russia Summit in Brussels expressed the hope that the Middle East road map could be adopted at a ministerial-level meeting of the Quartet in December. The statement “urge[d] both parties to show maximum restraint and to do their utmost to bring an immediate end to violence”, holding out the vision of Israel and a democratic Palestinian State “living side by side in peace and security”. The EU and Russia called on the Palestinian Authority “to promote all necessary reforms, including within its security services”, uphold the rule of law and fight “the terror that has severely undermined the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians”. Israel, in turn, should improve the lives of Palestinians “consistent with its legitimate security concerns”. Curfews and border closures should be lifted, normal economic activity allowed and the building of Jewish settlements on the Occupied Palestinian Territory should end, the statement added. (AFP, DPA)

Prime Minister Blair, speaking at the Lord Mayor’s annual Banquet at Guildhall in London, called for rapid progress in Middle East peace talks saying that “Above all we need to understand the passion and anger the state of the Middle East peace process arouses. The only answer according to Mr. Blair was “an Israeli State, recognized by all, and a viable Palestinian State”. (AFP, Reuters; full text available at:


In retaliation for the attack on Kibbutz Metzer the night of 10 November, some 30 Israeli armoured vehicles staged a brief incursion into the Tulkarm refugee camp, where Israeli security services believed the assailant was from, and destroyed the house of the suspected mastermind in a nearby village. Witnesses confirmed that the army had dynamited the home of Mohammed Naifeh Abu Rabya in the village of Shuweikeh, north of Tulkarm. Two Palestinians had reportedly been arrested amid heavy gunfire during the operation and a nine-year-old boy had been moderately injured. The troops later withdrew from the Tulkarm refugee camp but imposed a curfew on Tulkarm city. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

After meeting Russian Middle East envoy Andrei Vdovin in Ramallah, Chairman Arafat told reporters that the Palestinian side had accepted “in principle” the proposed “road map” for peace and would give its final response after the conclusion of consultations with the Arab States. (Ha’aretz, Reuters)


More than 100 Israeli tanks and armoured personnel carriers entered Nablus early in the day from three directions, as soldiers warned over loudspeakers that anyone who would come out of their homes would be shot, eyewitnesses said. The IDF imposed a curfew on Nablus and began house-to-house searches. The troops took up positions in the Old City and the city’s Askar and Balata refugee camps. By early afternoon, the troops had arrested 33 suspected militants throughout the northern West Bank, the IDF said. Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz said the operation, code-named “Wheels of Momentum”, would proceed without a time limit, in order to deliver an “unprecedented blow to the human and material terrorist infrastructure” in Nablus. Although planned several weeks ago, the operation had been sparked by the killing of five Israelis in Kibbutz Metzer on 10 November, the IDF said. (AFP, DPA, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post, Reuters)

Israeli helicopter gunships raided Gaza City early in the morning, targeting a metal workshop that had already come under attack two days earlier in the eastern Al-Zeitoun district. Palestinian security sources said that five rockets had been fired. A generator was also hit in the raid. The IDF confirmed the attack, saying the workshop had been used to make arms. (AFP)

During a meeting in Jericho, PA Ministers presented US envoy David Satterfield with their reservations about the US “road map”. Local Government Minister Saeb Erakat said the Palestinian side had accepted the “road map” in principle but could not accept some parts of it. In their view, the plan put a heavy onus on the Palestinians in its first stages, particularly with regard to security measures. Mr. Erakat added that he had informed Mr. Satterfield that at the current stage what was needed was an IDF withdrawal from the Palestinian-controlled areas, lifting of the siege and curfews, and putting an end to assassinations and arrests by Israel. (AFP, DPA, Ha’aretz, Reuters)

IDF gunfire killed a two-year-old Palestinian boy and wounded his mother in the Rafah refugee camp, in the southern Gaza Strip. Palestinian sources said that the child had been killed while in his house with his mother. (AFP, Reuters)

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a speech prepared for the annual Anwar Sadat Memorial Lecture at the University of Maryland, said that “an atmosphere of gloom and defeatism has descended” on the Middle East. Mr. Annan noted that reliance on force was a fundamental misreading of the situation, as neither side would ever yield on its core concerns, which were, on the one hand, the continued existence of the State of Israel, and on the other, an end to the occupation of Palestinian lands. “The only way to settle this conflict remains the solution envisioned by the United Nations Security Council and indeed by Anwar Sadat, 25 years ago: Two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognized borders,” the Secretary-General said. As growing mutual mistrust was now blocking peace efforts, “somehow, we have to restore hope to both peoples,” he added, noting that the “road map” was being prepared with great care, and that it was nearly finalized. He also said that “without a clear promise of the end result, and visible political progress towards it, neither side [was] likely to summon the will to take the risks that each must take right from the start to improve the security and living conditions of the other.” (Reuters)

Head of Hamas Politburo Khaled Meshaal told Reuters by telephone from Damascus that Hamas would not stop the bombings while Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He said that would be akin to surrendering, while Israel was led by “a real war Government” which was the “the most extreme in [its] history”. He also said he doubted an earlier Fatah proposal that suicide operations be halted would bring about the end of occupation or give peace plans a chance to be realized. A joint final communiqué issued after the talks between the two groups in Cairo said, according to MENA , that they had agreed to stay in touch through a permanent bilateral committee, continue dialogue inside and outside the Palestinian areas, and work towards strengthening national unity “by all means possible.” “ The two delegations affirmed that political struggle and resistance to stop the occupation and face its aggression is the natural and legitimate right of the Palestinian people in the service of the Palestinian national interests,” the communiqué said. (Reuters)

A UK Government document accompanying a speech to parliament by Queen Elizabeth II, setting out the Government’s legislative agenda for the year ahead, said the UK was “pressing tirelessly” for the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions in the Middle East. “In the case of Israel and the Palestinians, the priority is implementation of [resolution] 1402, which calls for action from both sides, including Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian cities and a meaningful ceasefire leading to the resumption of political negotiations,” the document said. Officials said the UK wanted to challenge the perception that steps to peace in the Middle East had to be put on hold until after the Israeli elections in January. In her speech to parliament, the Queen said the UK would “continue to work with the international community to ensure the implementation of all United Nations Security Council resolutions.” The Foreign Office document accompanying her speech said the UK found it “unacceptable that certain States consistently flout the authority of UN resolutions.” (Reuters)


About 50 Israeli tanks and armoured vehicles backed by helicopter gunships entered Gaza City before dawn. Two Palestinian policemen and a local resident were wounded in the raid and four men were arrested before the tanks withdrew to a nearby Israeli settlement, according to witnesses. The IDF said it had arrested three Palestinians involved in making mortar bombs and other weapons used in attacks against Israelis. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

A senior Fatah official said that the Hamas leadership had promised to give serious thought to halting terror attacks against Israeli civilians, following talks between the two groups held over the week in Cairo. However, sources in both parties denied reports claiming that Hamas had agreed to suspend terror attacks for a period of three to four months. The issue would be discussed by the Hamas leadership, as well as by a joint Fatah-Hamas committee established as a result of the talks. A joint statement issued by the two groups at the end of the Cairo talks contained four main points:


In an announcement, the leadership of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades said that “all attacks in Israel will be halted once the Israeli troops withdraw from [Palestinian] areas.” The announcement did not claim to represent other militant groups. “Terrorism is indivisible and they can’t put geographical boundaries to it,” Prime Minister Sharon’s spokesman Ra’anan Gissin said in response. “The only reason we are in and around the Palestinian cities is because the Palestinian terrorist groups, particularly the Al-Aqsa Brigades and other militants financed by the Palestinian Authority, continue to launch terrorist attacks from these places,” he said. “If they stop then there will be no reason for us to be there,” Mr. Gissin added. (Reuters)

Israeli troops opened fire on stone-throwers in central Nablus, killing a 17-year-old Palestinian who the IDF said had thrown a petrol bomb at them. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

The IDF arrested a senior Fatah militant accused of masterminding the Kibbutz Metzer attack on 10 November. Israeli troops surrounded and shelled a neighbourhood in the West Bank village of Shuweikeh. The militant, Mohammed Naifeh, got human rights activists to negotiate his surrender after a stand-off that had lasted for several hours. (AFP, DPA, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post, Reuters)

According to a report published by B’Tselem, the IDF continued to use “Palestinians as human shields and ordering them to execute military acts that pose a real danger to their lives for an extended period of time.” The report detailed five cases in which the practice had been used, four in the West Bank and one in the Gaza Strip, since the Israeli Supreme Court had issued a temporary injunction against the practice last August. The IDF in a statement denied it had intentionally violated the court order. It reaffirmed a “complete ban” on the use of “human shields” and hostages and said civilians would not be used “in another way that might endanger their lives,” adding that the IDF had opened 30 investigations into reported violations of the ban, including the five cases cited by B’Tselem. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

The IDF had made 35 arrests at a Ramadan gathering in Ramallah, Palestinian security sources said. Troops from a special unit had burst into a hall where almost 800 people had gathered for a communal iftar . After almost four hours of identity checks, the soldiers had detained 35 of the participants, the sources said, adding that the IDF had imposed a curfew on the surrounding area. In a statement, the IDF said that 17 wanted Hamas activists had been rounded up in Ramallah and Birzeit. (AFP)

A 36-year-old Palestinian had been shot dead by the IDF, as soldiers had opened fire with machine-guns in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip late in the day, Palestinian security and medical sources said. (AFP, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post)


The IDF continued its operations in the West Bank. Tanks, backed by armoured vehicles and two helicopters, rolled into the village of Az-Zababida, south of Jenin, wounding and arresting a Fatah militant, and arresting seven PFLP members. A 17-year-old youth was shot dead by Israeli soldiers during violent clashes in Nablus. According to Palestinian reports, soldiers had opened fire on a group of stone-throwing youths, but Israelis reported that the youths had been attacking soldiers with petrol bombs before the soldiers started shooting. (AFP, DPA)

The IDF soldiers detained nine international protesters, who had joined some 100 Palestinians trying to disrupt construction of the security fence near Tulkarm. (Ha’aretz)

Palestinian militants attacked Israeli troops and settlers in the Israeli-controlled section of Hebron (H2), killing 12 Israelis, including nine soldiers and policemen and three settlers, and wounding 14, four critically, eleven of them reportedly soldiers and policemen. The commander of the IDF Hebron Brigade Col. Dror Weinberg was among those killed. The attack took place near the so-called “worshippers’ lane” leading from the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a shrine in downtown Hebron, to the “Kiryat Arba” settlement. Three Palestinian gunmen were shot dead in firefights that continued for more than 90 minutes. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was avenging the killing of its northern West Bank commander, Iyad Sawalha, on 9 November. According to an initial investigation by the IDF the Islamic Jihad fire had not been directed at worshippers but at the security forces escorting them. All of the dead were from the IDF, Border Police or emergency security team of the “Kiryat Arba” and Hebron settlers. According to Ha’aretz, the attack actually began several minutes after all of the worshippers had already returned safely to “Kiryat Arba.” (AFP, AP, Ha’aretz, Reuters)

A statement issued by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Mr. Annan “condemn[ed] this latest terrorist act against Israeli civilians in the strongest possible terms” and “reiterate[d] his appeal to all Palestinian groups to stop all such acts of senseless violence, which are extremely harmful to the Palestinian cause”. The Secretary-General remained “firmly convinced that there is no alternative to a political solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To this end, the road map of the Quartet, to be completed in December, deserve[d] the most serious consideration by both parties.” (UN Press Release SG/SM/8498 of 15 November 2002)

Late at night, undercover Israeli border policemen killed a Hamas activist and arrested another in Kafr Anza, near Tulkarm. (Ha’aretz)


UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello condemned the Hebron attack, urging Israel to respond “in a measured manner in accordance with international law.” French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin urged Prime Minister Sharon “not to give in to the temptation of massive retaliation which plays into the hands of those who committed these terrible attacks.” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said on Moscow Echo radio: “Moscow resolutely condemns this new criminal act by terrorists, which further exacerbates the atmosphere of Israeli-Palestinian relations.” ; US State Department spokesman Frederick Jones said that the Bush Administration condemned “in the strongest terms” the killing of Jewish worshippers in Hebron, calling the attack a “reprehensible and heinous act of terrorism.” Foreign Minister Netanyahu said he expected the world to “back any action that Israel decides to take against the Palestinian Authority and its leader Arafat in order to protect the lives of its citizens.” (AFP)

IDF troops, backed by four armoured vehicles, set up a checkpoint just outside Chairman Arafat’s compound in Ramallah, hours after the attack in Hebron. (AFP)

IDF forces returned to large parts of the Palestinian-controlled section of Hebron (H1), destroying four houses in the city and two more in the nearby Yatta and Dura villages and conducting house-to-house searches, in which at least 40 Palestinians were arrested. IDF also closed a liaison office in Hebron, ordering Palestinian officers who coordinated activities with Israelis to leave, Israel Army Radio reported. (AFP, AP, Arutz 7, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post)

IDF helicopters fired two missiles into Gaza City, hitting a metal workshop in the densely populated Daraj neighbourhood. There were no immediate reports of injuries. (AP)

A Palestinian teenager belonging to Islamic Jihad had been shot dead when Israeli troops stormed into Jenin and its neighbouring refugee camp, a spokesman for the group told AFP . A military spokeswoman confirmed that a Palestinian had been shot dead in the camp, saying troops had noticed three armed men and opened fire on them, killing one. But she denied it had occurred during a reentry of troops into Jenin and its camp, saying “This was a regular patrol force. Such patrols have never stopped [since the army pulled back].” (AFP)

A Palestinian woman had been killed inside her house when an Israeli tank opened fire with heavy machine-guns in the city of Nablus, Palestinian medical sources said. (AFP)


Prime Minister Sharon, while touring Hebron with Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz and top army commanders, said it was time to “take advantage of the opportunity” to make a territorial connection between several small settler enclaves in the city and the neighbouring “Kiryat Arba” settlement, just to the east of Hebron, Israeli radio stations reported. Prime Minister Sharon told leaders of the defence establishment to reassess his 1996 proposal for “territorial contiguity” encompassing “Kiryat Arba” and the Hebron settler enclave. According to the Prime Minister's proposal, the Israeli zone would extend from “Kiryat Arba” to “ Tel Rumeida” and “Beit Hadassah,” and would include the ancient Karaite and Sephardi cemeteries, creating contiguity between “Kiryat Arba” and the Tomb of the Patriarchs (Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi), through the eastern casbah. Prayer arrangements, under which Jews and Muslims share the Tomb, would not be affected. The Israeli area would be surrounded by a wall. The Palestinians remaining in the Israeli sector would be able to enter and leave through gates in the walls, but there would be no Palestinian commercial activity inside the walled area. Israeli Housing and Construction Minister Natan Sharansky told Israel Army Radio: “We have to change the situation in the field… We have to build settlement contiguity between Kiryat Arba, the Cave of the Patriarchs and the settlement community in Hebron.” Israeli settlers placed three shipping containers to be used as makeshift homes in a vacant lot near the scene of the 15 November ambush, saying they were establishing a new outpost in Hebron. “Death to Arabs,” read the graffiti spray-painted on one of the containers. “We have created a new settlement outpost, and it would have been a historic sin not to have made use of this occasion,” said settler leader Zvi Katsover. (AFP, AP, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post)

Foreign Minister Netanyahu said on Israel Radio that the Oslo agreements were effectively cancelled, including the Hebron Protocol, which he had signed as Prime Minister in 1997. Mr. Netanyahu also said that Chairman Arafat should be expelled, but the timing should be decided by a committee with limited members. He also called for the Government to abandon the “Judea First” plan, initiated by former Defence Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer. Housing and Construction Minister Sharansky indicated his intention to request a formal nullification of the 1997 Hebron Protocol. (Arutz 7)

According to Israel Radio , the IDF had demolished two buildings, one in Nablus and one in the Balata refugee camp nearby, belonging to three suicide bombers. (AFP, Arutz 7)


At least 35 IDF tanks and APCs, accompanied by a bulldozer, entered southern Gaza City around midnight, halting about 700 metres from the residence of the spiritual leader of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Israeli tanks and helicopters fired shells and missiles at the Palestinian preventive security forces HQ in the city, damaging all eleven buildings in the compound and completely destroying several rooms inside. Five Palestinians had been lightly injured – two police officers, a cameraman for a foreign news agency and two civilians, Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza said. The IDF forces withdrew before dawn, four hours after arriving. (AFP, DPA)

IDF troops arrested a Fatah activist in Nablus, who reportedly intended to carry out a suicide attack in Israel, and a leader of the Tanzim in the village of Saida, north of Tulkarm. Overnight, Israeli security forces had also arrested 15 wanted Palestinians in the areas of Tulkarm, Nablus and Hebron. Near Tulkarm, IDF troops shot dead an arrested Palestinian, as he attempted to flee. (Ha’aretz)

Israeli Minister without Portfolio Danny Naveh said the plan to create a “ safe passage” between the Israeli enclave in Hebron and the nearby settlement of “Kiryat Arba” would decrease the number of Palestinians living under Israeli security control in Hebron from nearly 20,000 to 2,000. He said Prime Minister Sharon had asked security officials to consider creating a “Jewish space” which would grant enhanced security to the Jewish residents and “significantly reduce” the Palestinian population in the area, Ha’aretz reported. Chairman Arafat called the plan an attempt to “Judaize” Hebron. (DPA)

US State Department spokeswoman Anne Marks said the US believed that “ consistent with the Mitchell Committee recommendations, Israeli settlement activity should halt.” (Reuters)

International condemnation of the 15 November attack in Hebron was based on “distortion and deception” by the Israeli authorities, the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations said in a statement. “Israeli authorities spoke of a ‘massacre’ and ‘aggression against civilian worshippers’ and so on. The fact in this regard is that all of those killed or wounded were Israeli military or security personnel,” the statement said. (AFP)

The UK urged Israel to avoid expanding existing settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the UK had “long considered such settlements illegal and an obstacle to the peace” for Israelis and Palestinians. If implemented, Mr. Straw said, the plan “would further aggravate an already dangerous situation.” (Ha’aretz)

UNRWA said in a press release that it aimed to distribute food parcels to 1.3 million people in Palestinian areas during the first half of 2003, compared to just 11,000 families before the start of the current intifada. Commissioner-General Peter Hansen was quoted in the press release as saying that “Recent reports show that about 22 per cent of Palestinian children are suffering from acute or chronic malnutrition. They are suffering for purely man-made reasons. No drought has hit Gaza and the West Bank, no crops have failed and the shops are often full of food. But the failure of the peace process and the destruction of the Palestinian economy by Israel’s closures policy have had the effect of a terrible natural disaster”. (

Kuwaiti Minister of Education Musaed Al-Haroun said in a statement carried by the official KUNA news agency that Kuwait had donated US$1 million to the Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem. The donation had been made in the presence of visiting Al-Quds rector Sari Nusseibeh. (AFP)


Israeli soldiers in Tulkarm had shot and killed five Palestinians, including a 13-year-old boy who had climbed on top of an armoured vehicle, Palestinians said. Two Palestinians had been killed near Tulkarm, when their car had crashed after attempting to ram an Israeli army roadblock, Israel Radio reported. A special IDF unit, whose members were disguised as Palestinians, had reportedly killed 25-year-old militant Tareq Mohammed Zagal in his home in Tulkarm. The Radio reported that the IDF had entered the town before sundown and had been conducting searches for suspected militants. The military had no immediate comment. (AFP, DPA, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post)

Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller of Denmark, holder of the EU Presidency, told reporters following a meeting in Brussels that the EU Foreign Ministers were determined to secure adoption of the “road map” at a scheduled meeting of the Quartet in Washington on 20 December. The same message was conveyed after talks in Berlin between German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and UN Special Coordinator Terje Rød-Larsen. Mr. Rø d-Larsen said that the “road map” would be completed by December and would “sketch a political way out” of the crisis. He also warned of a humanitarian disaster if the conflict dragged on. (AFP, DPA)

The “Kiryat Arba” Council and the Council of Hebron’s Jewish enclave announced a plan to build 1,000 housing units between “Kiryat Arba” and the Tomb of the Patriarchs (Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi), in the area where 12 Israelis had been killed on 15 November. According to Ha’aretz, Hebron area settlers had started to lobby with government ministers in a bid to win approval for the construction plan. Housing and Construction Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky supported the Hebron building plan and had ordered his Ministry to review the possibility of expropriating lands in the city and using them for Jewish residential purposes. Meanwhile, the IDF had allowed settlers to set up a temporary mourners compound at the site, where tents and huts had been erected. Although the IDF had given its clearance for use of the site by mourners for seven days, the settlers had declared that they had no intention of vacating the area. (Ha’aretz)

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Rivasseau said in Paris that “ plans announced by the Israeli Government that aim[ed] to establish a territorial continuity between three Israeli colonies and the Palestinian city of Hebron would contravene international law.” “We hope they will be postponed,” he noted, adding that “all territorial changes must be the result of negotiations between the parties and not a unilateral decision.” (AFP, DPA)

Head of the Palestinian Central Elections Committee Ali Jarbawi announced that Palestinian legislative and presidential elections were unlikely to be held in January 2003. The Committee would “not be able to prepare election lists, guarantee electoral campaigns and organize a free vote, if the reoccupation, the blockade and the restrictions on the Palestinians’ movements continue”, Mr. Jarbawi said, pointing out that the Committee had only been able to meet once by video conference since it was formed, because of the IDF restrictive measures. (AFP)

Former IDF General and Haifa Mayor Amram Mitzna, 57, was elected to the leadership of the Israeli Labour Party by 53.9 per cent of the votes cast, against 38.17 per cent for former Defence Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and 7.24 per cent for MK Haim Ramon. In the run-up to the vote, Mr. Mitzna said that, if he became Prime Minister, he would remove the Gaza Strip settlements, rein in settlements in the West Bank and unilaterally separate from the Palestinians if peace talks failed to produce results. (AFP, BBC, DPA, Reuters)


A 15-year-old Palestinian had been killed and another teenager moderately wounded in clashes between Israeli troops and armed Palestinians in Tulkarm, Palestinian medical sources said. An IDF spokeswoman said a Palestinian had thrown a molotov cocktail at troops operating in the town and they had returned fire, hitting him. In overnight searches in the West Bank, Israeli forces arrested 36 Palestinian men. Six of them were reportedly Hamas members arrested in Qalqilya. In Hebron, the house of one of the Palestinian militants involved in the 15 November attack in the city was demolished by the IDF. In a statement the IDF referred to the demolition as “a legal means” that was “part of Israel’s ongoing fight against terror” and sent “a clear message to potential suicide bombers and those who support them to that terror will not go unpunished”. (AFP, DPA)

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

The Secretary-General deplores the violence that killed at least seven Palestinian civilians, including three teenage children, and wounded a dozen more yesterday and today in the West Bank town of Tulkarm. Six of the deaths came during an Israeli military raid last night which killed a suspected militant. The Secretary-General once again urges the Government of Israel to desist from the use of excessive force in civilian areas.

The Secretary-General calls on the parties to refrain from acts of violence, provocation and retaliation. He remains convinced that the use of force, irrespective of its target, will not yield victory for either side of this terrible conflict. Violence only deepens anger, bitterness and distrust, while making more distant the prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. In accordance with their obligations under international law, both sides must adopt every possible measure to protect civilian life.

The Secretary-General again emphasizes that a political settlement remains the only viable solution to the conflict.

(UN Press release SG/SM/8511 of 20 November 2002)

Seven Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups filed suits against the IDF and the Israeli Government for contempt of court, accusing the IDF of using Palestinians as human shields despite a High Court of Justice injunction against the practice. The groups said the motion was based on a 14 November report by B’Tselem listing five separate incidents of the army using human shields since the High Court of Justice had frozen the practice through an 18 August ruling. (AFP)

Speaking to reporters in Amman, before his departure to Damascus for a two-day meeting of the follow-up committee of Arab League Foreign Ministers for the Arab Peace Initiative, Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher said a “ road map” for a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had not been finalized and was far from perfect. “All parties have reservations about it, including us”, he said, noting though that, following comments from all sides, it was now “a much better document” that contained “the basic elements for a solution”. Referring to the Israeli position on the document, he said Israel had indicated its “acceptance in principle but [had] objections to the three-year framework, to a settlement freeze and to the monitoring and assessment mechanism being done by anyone other than the United States”. However, he noted, Jordan had “ successfully argued” for an international mechanism to monitor and assess each step of the implementation of the document and insisted that it be part of the first phase of implementation, adding that “clearer language” for a settlement freeze had also been included, despite the Israeli reservations. “We believe a settlement freeze must be affective immediately ... and not include any natural growth because this is an excuse that successive Israeli Governments have made to expand settlement activity”, Mr. Muasher said. “Our position is that once [the road map] is made public it has to be accepted as a package. No one can be allowed to say ‘yes, I accept it, but I have... reservations’”, the Foreign Minister noted. (AFP, Reuters)

Speaking to reporters after talks with US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage in Washington, Israeli Minister of Housing Sharansky told reporters that the election campaign in Israel would make it “very difficult" to have “serious ... or fruitful discussions” on the “road map”, because it would “become part of the political issues for the electoral debate”. “That’s why we feel that it is better ... to have these discussions after the elections”, he noted. Mr. Sharansky added that Israel had reservations about the possibility that the plan would include a “timeline”, a fixed timetable for each side to take specified steps, and noted that Israel had a bad experience with timelines in the negotiating process that began with the 1993 Oslo agreement. (AFP, Reuters)

More than 40 Israeli tanks, bulldozers and armoured cars had rolled into four locations in the Gaza Strip overnight, leaving three people injured, including a teenaged boy and an ambulance driver, Palestinian security sources said. The IDF had destroyed two houses: the home of a suicide bomber killed in a recent attack and that of a wanted activist from the DFLP. A third house was said to have been set ablaze, as the troops proceeded to search for suspects and arms. A total of six Palestinians had been killed in the course of the day by the IDF in West Bank raids. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)


A Palestinian suicide bomber killed 11 people and injured more than 40 when he blew himself up on an early morning rush-hour bus travelling through West Jerusalem. All but one of the 11 people killed were women and children, Israeli public radio reported. Hamas and later Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack. In a statement carried by WAFA , the PA condemned the bombing saying attacks against civilians were “ morally reprehensible”. (AFP, DPA, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post, Reuters)

The Israeli Government, after several hours of emergency cabinet talks chaired by Prime Minister Sharon, agreed on a “comprehensive army operation” in reprisal for the latest suicide bombing. I t was decided that Israel would no longer recognize the “Bethlehem first” understandings reached with the PA, which had led to the IDF’s withdrawal from the city in August 2002. A senior security official told Army Radio that, if reports that the suicide bomber came from Bethlehem were correct, the IDF would “operate” in the city. (DPA, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli President Moshe Katsav called on the international community to threaten to sever all ties with Chairman Arafat if he did not act to curb attacks on Israel, Israel public radio reported. “A threat like that is the only way to change [the situation]. It will be much more effective than military operations and Government policies,” he said. (AFP)

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

The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest possible terms the Palestinian suicide bombing in Jerusalem today that killed at least eleven Israelis and injured dozens more, including many children. He expresses his profound condolences to the families of the victims. As he has made clear repeatedly, the Secretary-General believes that such attacks are utterly reprehensible and only serve to spur further hatred and mistrust.

The Secretary-General appeals to all concerned not to allow the scourge of terrorism to blind them to the pressing need for an intensive effort to bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians. He continues to believe that the roadmap for achieving a two-State solution being developed by the Quartet can play a vital role in breaking the cycle of violence and promoting a peaceful settlement. Stressing again that the conflict can only be resolved through negotiations, the Secretary-General urges all sides to desist from all forms of violence – as demanded in Security Council resolution 1435 (2002).

(UN press release SG/SM/8517 of 21 November 2002)

At the NATO Summit in Prague, President Bush and Prime Minister Blair jointly denounced the bombing. Mr. Bush said he was “greatly disturbed” by the news and noted that all parties in the region should “do their best to fight off terror.” “We are going to continue to work toward peace in the Middle East. Two States living side by side is the vision. And we will continue to work with those who share that vision,” he added. Mr. Blair called the attack a “terrorist outrage.” “First of all, we need the action on security and action against terrorism, and secondly, to make progress in building a lasting peace in that region, based, as [Mr. Bush said], on the two-State solution,” Mr. Blair noted. (AFP)

EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana said in response to the suicide bombing in West Jerusalem: “Words alone cannot express the depth of my condemnation of the terrorist attack committed in Jerusalem this morning.” “The spilling of innocent blood is intolerable and must stop,” he added. European Parliament President Pat Cox condemned the “callous act of unqualifiable atrocity”. “Our condemnation of this unspeakable act, and all so-called suicide bombings, is total,” he said, noting that “no solution can be brought to the conflict in the Middle East by this deadly spiral of inhumane atrocities.” (AFP)

French Foreign Ministry spokesman François Rivasseau said with reference to the suicide bombing that the French Government “wholly condemn[ed] this heinous act of terrorism which aim[ed] to sabotage current peace efforts.” A French secondary school student was among the seven people hospitalized in critical condition, he said. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer in a statement said that “terror and violence” could not be justified in advancing the Palestinian cause. In a statement released in Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that “regardless of all difficulties it is essential the Palestinian Authorit[y] wage a decisive battle against the terrorist infrastructure,” while urging the Israeli Government to show restraint in response to the attack. Italy and Sweden also condemned the attack. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Ron Prosor said the attack precluded any discussion of the “road map”. Prime Minister Sharon’s spokesman Raanan Gissin said on BBC that “as long as that [Palestinian] Authority [was] in power there [would] be no chances of achieving a Palestinian State.” (AFP)

Palestinian security forces evacuated their positions in Bethlehem, anticipating a possible Israeli strike after the Jerusalem bus bombing. Earlier in the morning, before the bombing had occurred, several Israeli jeeps and a tank had moved into Bethlehem, arresting six Palestinian militants. An IDF spokeswoman said two wanted “terrorists” linked to Fatah had been arrested. The Israeli media later said the bomber had been a 23-year-old Palestinian man from Bethlehem. (AFP)

The IDF arrested the brother and a cousin of the man thought to have been the suicide bomber in the West Jerusalem attack. The two were arrested in the village of Dura, southwest of Hebron. (AFP)

Heavy clashes in Nablus left eight Palestinian youths wounded after the IDF opened fire on stone throwers. One of the youths, a 17-year-old, was in critical condition after having been hit in the stomach by bullets. (AFP)

The IDF had occupied 25 homes in the village of Al-Khader, west of Bethlehem, Palestinian security sources said. The residents had been ordered out of their homes and onto the street without having been given any reason, the security sources said. (AFP)


Iain Hook, an international employee of UNRWA, was killed in the Jenin refugee camp. Palestinian doctors said initial reports suggested the man was in his office when he was hit by gunfire after a gun battle broke out between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen. According to a report on Israel Radio , Foreign Minister Netanyahu had spoken on the phone with his British counterpart Jack Straw, as well as with Peter Hansen, Commissioner-General of UNRWA, to say he was sorry for the killing. The Director of Jenin Hospital, Mohammed Abu Ghali, however, said the bullets retrieved from the victim’s abdomen were of the kind generally used by the IDF. (AFP, DPA, Ha’aretz, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post)

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

(UN Press Release SG/SM/8521 of 22 November 2002)

The IDF swept into Bethlehem before dawn, declared the city a closed military zone, began arresting suspected militants and sealed off the Church of the Nativity. The nearby villages of Hussan, Beitin and Al-Khader were placed under curfew. “We are currently controlling the whole city”, a local military commander said. Troops were searching for 30 militants, while 20 suspects had been rounded up in Bethlehem and 16 elsewhere in the West Bank, most of them Hamas members. The IDF also blew up the home in Al-Qurara, near Bethlehem, of a 23-year-old bomber accused of having been behind the suicide bombing in West Jerusalem on 21 November, and a house belonging to a wanted Islamic Jihad militant. The US State Department Spokesman Philip Reeker told a daily press briefing that the Israeli troops should end their operations in Bethlehem as soon as possible. “We are also urging the Israelis, in the course of their operations, to keep in mind the consequences of their actions, to complete these operations as quickly as possible and to take steps to avoid further civilian casualties”, he said. (AFP, DPA Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post, Reuters)

In different incidents in the Jenin refugee camp, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy was killed and an Irish aid worker was shot in the leg during clashes between Israeli soldiers and stone-throwing youths. Elsewhere in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in the Rafah refugee camp, two Palestinians had been wounded by Israeli fire, Palestinian medical sources said. The IDF had demolished seven houses in the camp, five of which had been uninhabited, Palestinian witnesses said. A Palestinian police officer was killed by a tank shell near the settlement of “Netzarim”. An Israeli soldier had also been killed by Palestinian gunmen early in the day in Gaza, according to the IDF. Palestinian security officials said Israeli tanks had fired seven shells into southern Gaza City overnight. No injuries were reported. (AFP, DPA, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post, Reuters)

French Foreign Ministry spokesman François Rivasseau condemned Israel’s military action in Bethlehem and Jenin, noting that “this type of operation [did] not contribute to the establishment of the climate needed to restart [peace] talks.” (DPA)

The PLO Central Committee met in Ramallah and, in a statement carried by WAFA , appealed for an immediate halt to “all military operations…, especially those aimed at Israeli civilians” . It called for a dialogue with “peace-loving forces” in Israel noting that “While recognizing the level of violence, and murder, and settlements, and occupation against the Palestinian nation, the Committee calls on our people and the national Islamic forces to be aware of the needs of the current period and not to be dragged into a trap set by the Israeli leadership intended to broaden the war and take advantage of the elections to mislead the Israeli public.” The PLO also called for a halt to “all operations by the occupation forces in the Israeli colonies against Palestinian civilians.” (AFP, Ha’aretz)

Four Israel Navy personnel were injured late in the day, when a fishing boat laden with explosives blew up close to the Dabur gunship off the northern coast of the Gaza Strip. Two Palestinians on the boat were killed. Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the attack. In response to the attack, the IDF had imposed a total naval closure on the Gaza Strip coastline the following day, Palestinian sources said, adding that the army had also rescinded all fishing licenses until further notice. (CNN, Ha’aretz)


Israel in a statement admitted that it had been a shot fired by an IDF soldier that had killed UNRWA official Iain John Hook, but said Palestinian gunmen had been firing at soldiers from inside the UN compound. The soldier had then fired at Mr. Hook inside the compound when he saw “an object which resemble[d] a pistol” in his hand, the statement read. Earlier, Israeli Army Radio had reported that the soldier had mistaken a cellphone Mr. Hook had been carrying for a hand grenade. UNRWA spokesman Paul McCann said Mr. Hook was in contact with Israeli authorities trying to arrange evacuation of his staff after a gunfight erupted near the agency’s compound and that, based on the agency’s preliminary inquiry, “the report of firing from the compound [was] totally incredible.” Later Mr. McCann said “We are absolutely sure that there was no shooting coming from inside the UNRWA compound.” He explained further that three shipping containers serving as UNRWA offices were situated in a relatively small compound, measuring 50m by 25m and enclosed by a 3-metre-high stone wall, topped by 1.5 metres of chain link fencing. AFP sources in Jenin said it appeared that Mr. Hook had been shot by a soldier from an upstairs window in a building that faced the compound and had a view over the compound’s walls. “There was no firing from inside the compound – it is so small that it’s easy to know exactly who was there,” the source said, adding that Mr. Hook had been shot at around 1:15 pm but an ambulance had not been permitted to reach him until 25 minutes later. A UN investigator from UNHQ in New York was due to arrive in Israel on 24 November to examine events surrounding the death of Mr. Hook. (Financial Times, The New York Times, Reuters)

A 15-year-old Palestinian, wounded by Israeli bullets in Hebron on 20 November, died from his wounds in hospital. (AFP)

New Israeli Labour Party leader Amram Mitzna, said in an interview with the German weekly news magazine Focus : “On the day I am elected, I'll begin negotiations. Without preconditions.” Mr. Mitzna also said that Israel faced “some very hard decisions”, including evacuating settlements in the occupied territories. Asked if he would use force to achieve that, Mr. Mitzna said, “I’m sure that the residents will obey decisions of a democratically elected Government. Most will be just happy to get out of the area and have a house or apartment elsewhere in Israel to move into.” (DPA)


Israeli troops cordoned off the square around Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, preventing worshippers from attending services and only allowing about 15 monks to enter the compound. After imposing curfew on 22 November, the IDF had been conducting house-to-house searches for militants, and more than 30 Palestinians, three believed to be connected to suicide bombing operations, had been arrested, army officials said. An Islamic Jihad leader had been among those arrested. Israeli forces also blew up three homes belonging to Palestinian militants and raided the offices of Bethlehem Governor Muhammed Madani, with Palestinians complaining later about acts of vandalism by Israeli soldiers during the search. (AP, Ha’aretz, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli forces arrested Force-17 officer Lt.-Col. Khaled Maraka and three others in Beit Omar, between Hebron and Ramallah. Israeli soldiers also surrounded and searched four mosques in the West Bank village of Tubas, north-east of Nablus, while looking for a suspected militant. According to a muezzin at one of the mosques, the troops had called over loudspeakers for the militant’s surrender, and, when he failed to emerge, the troops blew down two large mosque doors, entered and searched the mosque, throwing tear gas canisters into a water well inside the mosque, but did not find the militant. (AP, The Jerusalem Post)

Israel decided to transfer about US$15 million of frozen PA funds to Israeli companies to cover Palestinian debts to them, the Finance Ministry said. Almost all of the money would go to the Israeli Electric Corporation to cover unpaid bills, according to an agreement reached between Israel and the Palestinians, PA Finance Minister Salam Fayad said. Some US$200,000 would go to the Israeli Agriculture Ministry to pay for vaccinations supplied to Palestinian farmers that had not been paid for. Israeli Finance Minister Silvan Shalom said in a statement that the deductions did not cover the total dues owed by the Palestinians to Israel and further deductions could be made at a later date. (AFP, AP)


Eight Palestinians were wounded, two of them seriously, in clashes with Israeli soldiers in the reoccupied Nablus. A 39-year-old woman and an 18-year-old man were seriously injured by Israeli tank fire, as teenagers and children threw stones at armoured vehicles. An 8-year-old Palestinian child had been shot dead earlier in the day in a similar incident. (AFP)

The IDF arrested 22 suspected Palestinian militants throughout the West Bank. (AFP)

IDF troops withdrew to the outskirts of Bethlehem. Witnesses said the only Israeli presence by late morning consisted of two border police jeeps patrolling the city and making spot checks, as well as a tank and an APC on a hilltop in the southern outskirts. (AP, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post, Reuters)

Israeli Army Radio reported that a document recently prepared by IDF intelligence outlined steps Israel should take to change the “road map”. Among the most immediate concerns were the stated intention to bring the final version of the initiative up for approval at a meeting of the Quartet principals on 20 December, ahead of elections in Israel, and a Russian proposal to seek the UN Security Council’s approval for the final version of the plan, thus giving it binding international validity. (Ha’aretz)

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it was drafting an international convention setting down some rules of warfare in fighting suicide bombers. Possible clauses in the convention would include a ban on financial support making such attacks possible, said legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry Alan Baker. He added that the Ministry might try to persuade countries friendly to Israel to adopt its draft convention and sponsor it at the UN, adding that the US, Russia, India and Turkey had already shown interest. Col. Daniel Reisner, head of the IDF’s international law department, said at a briefing for journalists and foreign diplomats that “The rules of warfare differentiate between combatants and civilians... The law breaks down when civilians take up weapons.” Col. Reisner said there were grey areas not covered by international law, such as whether troops could legally shoot dead a would-be suicide bomber after spotting his explosives belt. (Reuters)

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told Parliament in London that he had spoken to Israeli Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as soon as he had heard the news about the killing of UNRWA employee and UK national Iain Hook in Jenin on 22 November. Mr. Netanyahu had promised him “an immediate investigation”, Mr. Straw said, adding that the UK Government was also seeking an investigation by the UN. (AFP)

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the US was “deeply concerned about recent civilians casualties resulting from Israeli military actions” and referred specifically to the “tragic deaths” of UNRWA staff member Iain Hook and a young Palestinian boy over the weekend. “We’re urging the Israelis to keep in mind the consequences of their actions and to complete their operations as quickly as possible and to take steps to prevent further civilian casualties”, he further said, “ urg[ing] both parties to investigate these civilian deaths fully and take immediate steps to ensure that tragic incidents such as these are not repeated”. Mr. Boucher noted that the US was “solidly behind Israel’s efforts to combat terrorism” and “recognize[d] Israel’s need to take legitimate anti-terrorist action”, as it saw “no excuse for such attacks”. He added that violence and political developments in Israel would not slow efforts to promote Palestinian reform and the “road map” for Middle East peace. To that end, he said, the Quartet would meet on 20 December in Washington, at the ministerial level, to discuss their joint efforts. (AFP, DPA)


Israeli tanks and bulldozers, backed by helicopter gunships, entered the town and refugee camp of Deir El-Balah in the central Gaza Strip before dawn. They blew up the four-storey home of a Hamas militant accused of shooting attacks against soldiers and settlers, and later withdrew. There were no initial reports of injuries in the sporadic exchanges of fire, which took place during the incursion. In the West Bank, the IDF arrested dozens of suspected militants in the towns of Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus, Hebron and Bethlehem. Among those arrested were a senior Fatah member in Ramallah, over his suspected involvement in the 17 January bombing of a ballroom in northern Israel which had left 7 people dead, and a senior member of Hamas at the Dheisheh refugee camp, near Bethlehem. Israeli forces also bulldozed the home of a wanted militant in the West Bank village of Kufr Khalil. (AFP, DPA, Reuters)

The PA Health Ministry said in a statement that an ambulance driver had been critically wounded by the IDF and his vehicle riddled by 104 bullets earlier in the day, when troops had fired on it during the evacuation of injured Palestinians in the Gaza Strip town of Deir El-Balah. The Ministry urged the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross to “ intervene urgently to press Israel to respect accords and to ensure the protection of medical teams, and ambulance crews belonging to health establishments”. Palestinian security forces said three people, one a 15-year-old boy, had been wounded, as Israeli tanks carried out their operations in Deir El-Balah. (AFP)

Bethlehem was declared a closed military area by the IDF. The decree meant journalists would no longer have access to the city, reportedly until 30 December. (AFP)

A report in Yediot Aharonot said that one of five contractors clearing land for the Israeli security barrier in the West Bank had been selling olive trees to Israeli nursery owners, instead of replanting them in locations chosen by the Palestinian tree owners or compensating the latter. In response, the Israeli Defence Ministry said in a statement that it condemned “the phenomenon ... of trees being stolen” and was “carrying out an internal investigation to examine whether there is something to the claims in the article”. The Ministry added that if that proved to be the case, that would be “criminal activity that will be investigated by competent bodies”. (Reuters)

Iain Hook, the British UN staff member killed on 22 November by Israeli troops, had been shot in the back with a single bullet inside the UN compound, at a time when no military activity was taking place in the area and “certainly no activists of any kind [were] inside the UNRWA compound”, UNRWA spokesman René Aquarone told reporters in Geneva. Mr. Aquarone said an investigation had been launched by the United Nations in New York but noted that “certain elements” were “quite clear at this stage already”. He described the incident as a tragedy and said it gave “ rise to concern, serious concern at the agency at the attitudes which we see vis-à-vis international law and international humanitarian law in this particular case”. “We feel that there is a lack of respect, in fact almost some kind of disdain vis-à-vis the framework in which we render, and others render humanitarian assistance”, he continued, noting that “UNRWA wishes to make an earnest call for respect for the immunities of its staff, for the safety of its staff, and respect for the freedom of movement of its ambulances”. (AFP, DPA)

In an interview published in Yediot Aharonot, Foreign Minister Netanyahu said Israel should recapture Palestinian territory, “cleanse” it of militants leading the uprising, and deploy troops along a demarcation line, which “would not be that of the 1967 Middle East war”. (Reuters)

“It is important that the Israeli army withdraws as quickly as possible from Bethlehem and other Palestinian cities”, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that “restrictions on visits to the Church of the Nativity must be lifted”. “The Israeli Government certainly has the right to take measures to ensure the security of its citizens. But it is essential to exercise restraint so as to avoid victims among the civilian population”, the statement noted. “At the same time, the Palestinians must take effective measures against terrorism by acts and not just words, most notably by bringing to justice those who carry out terrorist acts”, it said. The Ministry also called for an Israeli inquiry into the death of British UN staff member Iain Hook. (AFP)

A survey of the Palestinian public conducted by Birzeit University showed that “Two years after its inception, 63 per cent express dissatisfaction with the way the intifada is proceeding. This is a 17-per cent increase from last year”. The survey also revealed that 54 per cent of West Bank residents felt attacks against Israeli civilians had no impact or a negative impact on the Palestinian cause, compared with 39 per cent in the Gaza Strip. Eighty-one per cent of those questioned believed reforming institutions of the Palestinian Authority was a “pressing matter”, while 74 per cent said properly implemented reforms would benefit the Palestinian cause. The poll said 28 per cent of the respondents reported their families had lost all sources of income, as a result of Israeli measures, while 26 per cent said they would emigrate if they could. The poll was carried out on a representative sample of 1,200 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and had a margin of error of 3 per cent. (AFP)

Following a meeting with Chairman Arafat in Ramallah, EU Middle East Envoy Miguel Angel Moratinos told reporters that he had called upon both Israel and the Palestinians to bring to an end the ongoing violence, adding that the EU did not “differentiate between civilians and non civilians.” (DPA)

A Palestinian militant was killed when he tried to infiltrate the settlement of “Rafiah Yam”. Israeli troops stationed at the settlement opened fire and killed him. Later two other militants were killed north-west of Rafah, near the settlement of “Atzmona”, during an exchange of fire. (DPA)


Israeli authorities provided Reuters with a recording of a voicemail message they said Iain Hook, the British UN staff member killed in the Jenin refugee camp, had left on the phone of an Israeli liaison official shortly before he was shot on 22 November, saying that Palestinians were breaking into the UN compound. (Reuters)

The following statement was issued by UNRWA, in response to the IDF’s release of the voicemail message from Iain Hook:

UNRWA is aware that at some point in the morning before he was killed Iain Hook realized that non-UN persons were trying to break a hole in the wall at the rear of the UN compound in Jenin. We understand he approached them and told them they were jeopardizing the safety of his staff and jeopardizing the neutrality of a UN facility. The group then left the area of the back wall. At no time did any guns or gunmen enter the UN compound.


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan wrote to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon conveying his “sense of outrage” at the killing of UNRWA staff member Iain Hook and saying he “expected Israel to carry out a rigorous investigation of the incident, share its results with the United Nations and hold accountable those responsible.” (Reuters)

Two Palestinian militants were killed overnight in an exchange of fire with the IDF in Jenin, after a strike by Israeli helicopter gunships or fighter jets. The two were identified as Imad Mashraki, considered the military commander for the Hamas, and Alah Saber, a military leader with the the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, according to Palestinian sources. The two were responsible for the killing of many Israeli civilians in bombing attacks, according to the IDF. (AFP, DPA, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post)

Israeli helicopter gunships attacked targets in the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, badly damaging a local school and a nearby house. There were no reports of injuries. Witnesses said the raid came shortly after Palestinian militants had been seen firing mortars against the nearby settlement of “Neve Dekalim”. The IDF also shot dead a Palestinian who was going from door to door in Nablus’ Askar refugee camp, waking up fellow Muslims for Ramadan prayers. Another Palestinian man was shot dead by the IDF near Bethlehem. (AFP, DPA, Ha’aretz, The Jerusalem Post)

Secretary of State Powell, speaking to reporters after meeting Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou in Washington, in response to a question, said he believed the Palestinian intifada was “clearly a mistake”, which had not “brought the Palestinian people any closer to a State of their own or to peace.” (AFP)

Prime Minister Sharon, in an interview published in Yediot Aharonot, said that a future Palestinian State would be “completely demilitarized” and “unarmed”. “It will have only police forces, with Israel controlling its external borders and its airspace.” “If you ask me about the future, if within the framework of a broad agreement that brings quiet, the complete cessation of terrorism and a real diplomatic agreement, we have to be fair: I don’t think there is a single statesman who will oppose the establishment of a Palestinian State,” he said in the interview. (DPA)

Addressing a joint press conference in East Jerusalem following an hour-long meeting, Israeli Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg and Palestinian Council Speaker Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala) said that both peoples were dissatisfied with the current situation and wanted a resumption of peace talks. “Our goal is to work together as elected parliamentarians and responsible leaders in order to put a stop to the mistakes of the past and give the peace process and negotiations a chance,” Mr. Qurei said. Mr. Burg noted that there had been “ concern that extremism and despair [had] replaced the political party process,” adding that the two sides “should meet together to put an end to the mistakes and accusations against each other and work for negotiations, improve communications, and better [their] relationship.” (AFP, DPA, The Jerusalem Post)


Two Palestinian gunmen opened fire in the northern Israeli town of Beit Shean at a Likud Party office, where voting in the party’s primaries was taking place, and at passengers in a nearby bus terminal, killing six Israelis and wounding 43, 13 among them in serious condition. The gunmen were killed in an ensuing exchange of fire with police, security guards and armed bystanders. Initial witness reports said a third gunman had fled to a nearby building but searchers did not find anyone else. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack, saying in a telephone call to Reuters that its gunmen had carried it out to avenge the killing of its two commanders in the Jenin refugee camp the previous day. “The Palestinian leadership reiterates here that these attacks and bombings don’t at all serve the just cause of the Palestinian people. It leaves us the worst damages and reinforces the position of those who call for wars, extremism and settlements in Israel,” said a statement released by the PA. The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Mr. Terje Rød-Larsen, issued a statement condemning the attack “in the strongest possible terms”. (AFP, AP, DPA, Ha’aretz, Reuters, UN News Service)

An opinion poll conducted by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research during 12-22 November 2002 said some 76 per cent of the Palestinians surveyed supported a mutual cessation of violence. A similar poll in August 2002 had found only 48 per cent in support of a gradual ceasefire. At the same time, 56 per cent said they believed the PA should take measures to prevent armed attacks against Israelis inside Israel after the conclusion of an agreement on mutual cessation of violence. In May 2002, 86 per cent had said they opposed stopping Palestinians suicide attacks inside Israel. (DPA)

A four-year-old child was killed in Hebron. Palestinian reports said the child had been shot by an Israeli soldier. IDF reports said the child had been hit by splinters from a hand grenade thrown at soldiers by Palestinian youths. (DPA)


Early in the morning, a number of Palestinians tried to infiltrate the “ Neve Dekalim” settlement in the “Gush Katif” block, in the southern Gaza Strip, lightly wounding two IDF soldiers at the “ Yakinton” outpost, then fleeing to the nearby town of Khan Yunis. Less than two hours later, two Palestinians infiltrated the hothouse area of the “Bedolah” settlement. One of the Palestinians opened fire, wounding two Thais working in a greenhouse, as well as a soldier who returned the fire, before being shot dead by Israeli soldiers. An automatic weapon and several hand grenades were reportedly found next to the Palestinian. (AFP, Arutz 7, DPA)

Police arrested two Israelis after they had stabbed and lightly wounded a Palestinian working in a grocery store in the Kiryat Menachem neighbourhood in Jerusalem. The attack was the latest in a series of acts of revenge carried out by Jewish youths in response to the suicide bombing on a city bus on 21 November 2002. (Ha’aretz)

Israeli forces arrested the Nablus commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and his assistant during a search of the nearby town of Rafidiyeh. (DPA, Reuters)

The IDF demolished the houses of the two Beit Shean attackers ( see 28 November above ) in the village of Jalbun, about 10km east of Jenin, and arrested eight of their brothers. (AFP)


A 16-year-old Palestinian boy was fatally shot and a second wounded by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip. Witnesses said Israeli troops had fired on the youths as they walked home from school with other children 700 metres from the IDF outpost at the “Karni” border crossing. The IDF spokesman said that the “Karni” border encompasses a 700-metre “no man’s land” and that the group had come to within roughly 10 to 20 metres of that security strip, near a gravel road that leads from Gaza into Israel. “Forces at the area fired warning shots into the air to get them further from the fence,” he said. (The New York Times)

Israeli troops and 30 armoured vehicles, backed by three helicopter gunships, raided the town of Beit Lahya in the Gaza Strip, killing a local man during clashes and wounding 20 others, as well as razing the family homes of three militants before leaving three hours later. The body of an elderly Palestinian was found under the rubble of one of the demolished houses. (Reuters)

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