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Sharon Diverts World Attention by Escalation


New Israeli Massacre in Gaza Claims 8 Palestinian Lives

Abed Rabbo: Sharon Diverting World Attention by Military Escalation

Four days ahead of the holy Islamic festivity of Eid Al-Ahda, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) shot dead at least eight Palestinians, most of them by sporadic machine gunfire, in a military invasion of Al-Zaitoun neighborhood, south east of the Gaza City.

Member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and co-author of the unofficial Geneva Initiative Yasser Abed Rabbo condemned the Gaza city “massacre.”

“The invasion of Gaza City at this timing and under the current circumstances comes within the context of the endeavors of the (Israeli) government of (Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon to foil the efforts of regional and international mediators to calm down the situation, as well as the peaceful efforts of both Palestinian and Israeli peace advocates,” Abed Rabbo said in a press release on Wednesday.

Abed Rabbo added that the “crazy” military escalation by Sharon’s government is also “a desperate attempt to cover up the series of corruption and bribe scandals embroiling Sharon and his sons.”

Sharon also aims “at diverting Israeli and world public opinion away from the Wall of settlement, annexation and expansion which his (Sharon’s) government continues to build despite escalating international criticism and protests,” Abed Rabbo added.

He further called on the world community, the United States in particular, to urgently intervene to put an end to the Israeli escalation and to pressure Israel into fulfilling its commitments stipulated in the “roadmap” peace plan, “instead of rewarding Sharon by extending an open invitation to him to visit the White House,” Abed Rabbo concluded.

IOF launched a separate invasion near the illegal Jewish settlement of Netzarim, in the heart of the teeming Gaza Strip.

Occupation forces claimed that Palestinians first fired anti-tank missiles and set off an explosive at the IOF troops who fired back. Two Palestinians were killed in the incident, said Dr. Moa’awiya Hasanain, a chief Palestinian hospital official.

Later, IOF invaded the Gaza City neighborhood of Al-Zaitoun near Netzarim, and a fierce battle flared between troops and a few Palestinian defenders.

Eight other Palestinians were killed in the invasion and several others were wounded, including an ambulance worker whose vehicle was struck by what medics said was Israeli fire while on the way to pick up casualties, Dr Hasanain said and the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported.

Palestinian medics said they had unconfirmed reports of more bodies not yet recovered from the embattled streets.


IOF Invasions, Detentions Continue in West Bank

In the West Bank, five Jewish Israelis tried Tuesday to pray in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied east Jerusalem, but were detained by Israeli police, Haaretz reported.

A day earlier, IOF Beer Sheva District Court ordered detained Palestinian MP Marwan Barghouti, 43, to be held isolated in solitary confinement in prison for another six months.

On Sunday, Israeli occupation troops stormed into and imposed curfew on the southern West Bank refugee camp of Al-Arroub as Jewish settlers assaulted Palestinians east of Hebron, wounding two people.

On Tuesday, IOF detained nine Palestinians in Al Arroub.

In central and northern West Bank the IOF stormed into and imposed curfew on the West Bank village of al-Mazra’ah al-Sharqiyah, north of Ramallah, early Monday, making arrests, and detained an 18-year Palestinian in Nablus in the north.

Early Sunday the IOF stormed into the West Bank village of El-Nabi Saleh, northwest of Ramallah, sealing off and imposing curfew on the village, taking photos and finger-printing all the population aged 9 – 90 after evacuating children, women and men into the winter cold.

IOF at dawn Saturday stormed into the village of Tormos A’yya, north of Ramallah, imposing curfew and evacuating children, women and elderly into the winter cold while conducting house-to-house searches.

Also on Saturday the IOF stormed into the northern West Bank village of Jaba’ south of Jenin and detained two Palestinians.

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