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Lull Israeli style: 22 Palestinian killed

[After a few days of good news for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the situation is turning darker again. This morning [2 February] Ed O’Loughlin reported in the Age: “Cracks are appearing in the Middle East ceasefire after the fatal shooting of a Palestinian schoolgirl in Gaza, the latest in a series of killings Palestinians attribute to Israeli gunfire.

“Ten-year-old Norhan Deeb died in her Rafah school yard on Monday after being hit in the face by a single bullet. In retaliation the Islamist militant group Hamas broke its 10-day-old ceasefire to launch six mortars at a Jewish settlement in Gaza, causing no casualties.”

Ironically it appears as if this particular shooting wasn’t carried out by the Israeli army. But the grim fact remains that the Palestinian death toll hasn’t stopped climbing. Hopefully cooler heads will regain control and the dying on both sides will stop. But if it doesn’t, then we might see a repetition of what happened when a more formal hudna collapsed in 2003.

Einyan Merkazi, while quite critical of the settlers, is a rather nationalist web site and quite critical of the Israeli peace movement. –Sol Salbe]

[The independent Middle East News Service concentrates on providing alternative information chiefly from Israeli sources. It is generously sponsored by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the AJDS. These are expressed in its own statements]

Lull Israeli style: 22 Palestinian killed; 47 injured and 200 arrested

By an Einyan Merkazi correspondent

The Palestinian security forces have arrested on Tuesday the Palestinian whose weapon fired the shots that killed the ten year-old-girl who died at her school yard. The Hamas had maintained that it was IDF soldiers that shot her. But later on it became apparent that the death was caused by a stray bullet discharged while pilgrims were celebrating their return from Mecca. The weapon was confiscated.

During Tuesday six mortar bombs were lobbed at settlements in the Gaza Strip. There were no casualties but they caused light damage.

Simultaneously, contacts between the Israeli military and Palestinian Authority security officials have continued. The contacts are taking place in order to facilitate the orderly transfer of several West Bank towns to Palestinian control and to continue monitoring the lull.

Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz and Muhamad Dahlan, Abu Mazen’s Security Adviser, are scheduled to meet on Thursday. Following the last meeting Mofaz said that Israel’s demands that the Authority act against terrorism were reasonably well received.

At the same time both the Erez and Karni border crossings [ between the Gaza Strip and Israel] and the Rafah crossing to Egypt were opened.

The IDF is continuing to show restraint and is not carrying any arrests on the West Bank bar a few exceptional cases a scenario accepted in principle by Muhamad Dahlan.

The Palestinians are maintaining that the last 11 relatively quiet days do not show a lull at all as during this period Israel killed 22 Palestinians. A further 47 were wounded and about 200 arrested.

Eight organisations including the Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Fatah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs brigades and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine have threatened to resume their operation if Israel will not cease its offensive operations.

[Translated by Sol Salbe Hebrew original:]

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