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2002-03-12

Sharon Says He Will End Arafat Blockade But Pushes Ahead with Punishing Military Campaign

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Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, said that Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, was free to move from his home inRamallah yesterday, where he had been held for three months under house arrest. The announcement came just daysbefore US Special Envoy, Anthony Zinni, arrives in the region to try to restart peace talks between the two leaders.

But as slight shifts took place at the diplomatic level, the Israeli army continued to sweep through Palestinianvillages and refugee camps, killing more than 30 Palestinians and rounding up nearly 2000 more for interrogation.

Early this morning, the Israeli army unleashed a storm of tanks, bulldozers and helicopter gunships on the Jabaliyarefugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip. The raid left seventeen Palestinians dead and dozens more wounded, manyseriously. The Israeli Army reportedly withdrew several hours later, declaring the attacks a success in fighting"terrorism."

The morning’s attack on Jabalya followed just hours after the Israeli Army moved into Deheishe refugee camp, outsidethe West Bank town of Bethlehem. The army surrounded the camp last Thursday, preventing all movement in and out ofthe area. Upon entering, it rounded up hundreds of men and boys, herding them, bound and blindfolded, to a quarry onthe camp’s edge.

Well, we go now to the West Bank town of Beit Jala, just outside Deheisheh refugee camp. We are joined by ShaukiIssa, a human rights lawyer and board member of Ibdaa, a cultural center for young Palestinians living in Deheisheh.

Guests:

  • Muna Hamzeh, refugee from Deheisheh refugee camp in the West Bank.
  • Shauki Issa, Executive Director of the Society of Law, a Palestinian human rights organization and a boardmember of Ibdaa, Deheisha Refugee Camp Youth Center.

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