For the first time since the 1967 war, the Israeli army on Friday attacked the West Bank and Gaza Strip withAmerican-made F-16 fighter jets, killing 11 Palestinian police officers.
The attack came as part of the deadliest week of violence since the beginning of the Intifada. It began when Israelitroops shot dead five Palestinian officers in what officials later described as a mistake. On Friday, a 21-year-oldsuicide bomber killed 5 Israelis and wounded more than 100 in a shopping mall in Netanya, Israel. Then Israel bombedNablus and Ramallah.
The Arab League of foreign ministers expressed their outrage on Saturday, declaring that they were severing allpolitical contacts with Israel until the violence stopped. It effectively halts the tenuous Egyptian-Jordanianeffort to mediate a truce in the conflict and adds new pressure on the United States to intervene.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is expected to present today an American proposal to help bring the conflictunder control.
Yesterday, Israeli tanks fired shells yesterday into the home of Colonel Jibril Rajoub, the head of the PalestinianPreventative Security forces in the West Bank, only hours after he met with Israeli reporters in Ramallah. Rajoub wasunhurt, but five of his officers were wounded.
Palestinians accused Israel of trying to assassinate Rajoub. It was the second time in ten days that the IsraeliArmy struck his home.
The Bush administration considers Rajoub, who was in Washington last month for talks with Secretary of State ColinPowell and CIA Director George Tenet, to be one of the most moderate Palestinian leaders.
And today, Israeli helicopters fired missiles at Palestinian targets in the Gaza Strip, prompting new Palestiniandemands for international intervention.
- Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and Secretary-General of Miftah (aPalestinian civil society organization that monitors the human rights situation).
- Terry Greenblatt, Director of Bat Shalom, (the Israeli national women’s peace organization).
- Raji Sourani, Director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and human rights lawyer.
- Rabbi Arik Ascherman, Rabbis for Human Rights.