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2002-03-04

Inside the State of Siege: Israeli Troops Raid Palestinian Refugee Camps and Palestinian Suicide Bombers and Snipers Step Up Attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank

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Backed by tanks and helicopter gunships, Israeli troops carried out assault raids on two densely populated Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank today. This came just hours after Ariel Sharon’s government said it was intensifying its campaign in the occupied territories. Scores of Palestinians have been killed in what are now regular assaults on refugee camps.

More than a dozen Israeli tanks and troops tore through the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank today. This weekend, ground troops backed by tanks and helicopter gunships moved from house to house in the Jenin and Balata camps.

Despite Israeli claims to be hunting down what it calls militants or terrorists, reports from the camps say the assaults have indiscriminately killed civilians including children. Refugees say 20 Palestinians have been held hostage in the Balata camp by the Israeli army in one building for 10 days. Neither the United Nations nor the International Committee of the Red Cross have been able to reach the building.

Early yesterday, a lone Palestinian sniper armed with an antiquated rifle opened fire on an Israeli military checkpoint in the West Bank, killing 10 people, seven of them soldiers. On Saturday a suicide bomber blew himself up in an ultra-orthodox west Jerusalem neighborhood as residents poured out to celebrate a bar mitzvah. Nine people were killed.

Guests:

  • Michel Warschowski, Israeli peace activist, journalist, and former director of the alternative information center, a joint Palestinian-Israeli organization.
  • Queeva Butterly, activist with the International Solidarity Movement, in Balata refugee camp.

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