Palestinians furious at 'lukewarm' world reaction to Gaza raid05/10/2004 - 07:40:43
Palestinians are furious over what they see as the world’s forgiving response to Israel’s unprecedented raid in northern Gaza that has killed dozens.
Israel said the world now understands Palestinian terrorism, but analysts felt Iraq is distracting attention from Gaza.
As the fifth day of the operation ended, at least 68 Palestinians had been killed, including nine on Monday.
Early today, one Palestinian gunman was killed and three wounded in an Israeli air force attack, Palestinians said. Israeli military sources confirmed that armed Palestinians were the target but would not relate to reports that a pilotless drone aircraft fired a missile.
In West Bank violence, meanwhile, Israeli undercover agents raided the city of Ramallah and killed two Palestinian security officers, the military said. Israeli media said one of the Israelis, a border policeman, was also killed, possibly by misdirected Israeli fire. The army refused to comment on that.
Israel raids West Bank cities and towns every day, arresting suspects. The two killed in the shoot-out were members of the elite Force 17 security arm. Israel charges that Force 17, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s elite guard, is involved in attacks against Israelis.
Israel moved into northern Gaza last week after a Palestinian rocket attack killed two children in the Israeli town of Sderot. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has said the operation will continue until the rocket attacks stop.
Israeli forces have carved out a five-mile buffer zone in northern Gaza in an attempt to move its towns out of rocket range.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said in a radio address yesterday that the people of Gaza will never surrender. But he hinted that the militants should halt the rocket fire.
“I call on the factions to put the Palestinian high interest above everything … not to give the occupation any excuse against us,” he said.
The operation has exacted a heavy price on the Palestinians, leaving a wide swath of destruction in the Jebaliya refugee camp and leaving dozens homeless.
Qureia, speaking before a meeting of the Palestinian Cabinet in the West Bank town of Ramallah, criticised the ”massive destruction” and called for heavy international pressure on Israel.
“This ugly Israeli crime is taking place in full view of the world, and so far, we have not heard a strong word from the world community that can bring an end to this aggression,” he said.
The United States, European Union and a number of European countries have urged restraint by Israel and raised concerns about civilian casualties.
France condemned the Israeli operation on Monday, while Egypt’s foreign minister urged Israel to stop its “policy of assassination and destruction,” the semi-official Middle East News Agency reported.
Early today, the UN Security Council started an emergency meeting at the request of Arab nations to consider a resolution demanding an immediate halt to the offensive.
But much of the international reaction has been directed at the Palestinians as well, urging an end to rocket attacks and recognising Israel’s right to defend itself.
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