ALERT! Just received from Mohammed in Rafah:
ALERT! Just received from Mohammed in Rafah:
Rafah Refugee Camp is under incursion at these moments by Apaches planes and over 25 bulldozers and tanks, many houses were demolished.
The first estimation 37 families became homeless up till these monuments (More later on) http://www.rafahtoday.org
This is an alert to give you all a heads up about the developing situation in Palestine. Activists throughout the West Bank and Gaza have reported an increase in Israeli military activity since the Bush-Sharon summit in Washington and the situation seems ready to escalate even further. In recent days, the following developments have occurred:
- 14 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza strip town of Beit Lahiya, 9 of these were unarmed civilians, - In Nablus, there's been a heavy military buildup in Mesakin il-Shabiya including hummers and Apaches, continued/regular nightly operations in the Old City and the Balata Refugee Camp and an increasing tendency to stage large operations in Nablus during the day, - Foreign journalists have been specifically barred from entering Nablus by the Israeli Occupation Forces citing spurious security concerns (included below); these have been roundly denied by the Palestinian factions in the city through official publications, - Foreign nationals are being told to evacuate Nablus specifically and a full closure is being imposed, - A man was shot near Ramallah, three were killed in Tulkarem and another Palestinian was shot near Hebron in recent days; also 2 Palestinians where killed during non-violent anti-wall demos in the Jerusalem/Ramallah area, - Ramallah seems to be under some type of closure and Arafat has just ejected 21 members of the Kitayeb Shuhada Al-Aqsa from the Muqata in the city; it also seems that a similar order about foreigners is being applied to Ramallah as it is to Nablus (but this has still not been confirmed)
In short the situation on the ground seems to be escalating. Evidently Sharon received some type of 'green-light' for a renewed mopping up operation in Washington, and is pressing ahead with plans to impose his vision on the region.
Whether or not the current military activities will escalate to the level of April 2002 or not, we have yet to see, but the closure on the territories is in effect and it is possible that Sharon will seek to score some major 'victories' – i.e. killing Palestinians in order to parade 'dead terrorists' in front of the Israeli media - before ordering a pull out along the lines of his unilateral annexationist scheme. The situation is particularly dire in Nablus where the Israeli military hold is particularly tight and may be a target for a large scale incursion given the presence of resistance forces.
IT IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE THAT PALESTINIAN SOLIDARITY ACTIVISM BE STEPPED UP AT THIS CRITICAL JUNCTURE. PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO ALL YOUR LISTS. If nothing happens - and we hope it doesn't - then things will continue along the lines of the horrendous 'normalcy' that prevails here. Nonetheless, we need to be proactive in order to begin planning for a potential Israeli military assault and also to highlight the fact that the Israeli military is clamping down on the territories. Occupations and sit-ins and other non-violent direct action methods of resistance targeting US and Israeli interests should be considered to underline the global opposition to the Washington Declaration (denying the Right of Return and abrogating the international consensus on full-Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967).
The possibility that a 'mega suicide attack' may take place in the coming days or weeks should be taken into consideration as well in the wake of Israel's assassination of top Hamas leaders in the past few weeks. The strikes are part of a long-standing Israeli pattern of escalating hostilities during Palestinian pushes for peace, and come on the heels of Hamas' acceptance of a two-state solution to the conflict. An abhorrent suicide attack could be used as a pretext for launching a widescale military assault (which is already evidently being planned by the Israeli military). We need to act now to roll-back Sharon and Bush's attacks on the self-determination struggles of the peoples in the Middle East
Your solidarity is critical at this juncture!
INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT www.palsolidarity.org
Alert about foreign journalists in Nablus:
IDF: Terrorists plan to hurt reporters in Nablus
The IDF on Tuesday said that the security establishment has received warnings on the intention of terrorists in Nablus to hurt Israeli and foreign television crews entering the West Bank city. The army therefore is banning reporters from entering Nablus. Israeli reporters are also banned from entering the Gaza Strip since the assassination of Hamas leader Rantisi.
Shin Bet occasionally warns reporters not to enter Nablus,
after receiving warnings on the intention to hurt specific
journalists. However, apparently due to the Rantisi
assassination and the wave of kidnappings in Iraq, the
warnings have increased.