Sunday, May 21, 2006

Israelis Kill 4-Year-Old Palestinian Child, 3 Women, an Activist, in an Assassination Air Raid on Gaza, Amir Peretz Orders Grab of More Occupied Land

by Palestine Media Center – PMC Israelis Kill More Palestinian Women, Kids and Activists? Amir Peretz Orders Grab of More Occupied Land for Settlement Expansion Israel has grabbed 100 acres more of occupied Palestinian land for the expansion of illegal Jewish colonies as the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed three Palestinian women and a four-year-old son, acknowledged the extra-judicial assassination of a top-ranking anti-occupation activist on Saturday, but denied any attempt on the life of the Palestinian intelligence service chief, Gen. Tareq Abu Rajab, who survived a bomb blast on the same day. The IOF signed last week an order for the expansion of the illegal Israeli settlement of Beitar Ilit, built on occupied Palestinian land, near Jerusalem by 100 acres, the leader of the Israeli “Peace Now” group, Yariv Oppenheimer, said on Saturday. Israel Radio reported on Sunday that, in addition to Beitar Ilit, the illegal Isrsaeli settlements of Givat Zeev, Oranit and Maskiot in the West Bank have been expanded by order of the Israeli “defense” ministry, the radio said. The orders were signed by “Defense” Minister, Amir Peretz, the radio said. Oppenheimer condemned the expansions, saying they were apparently an attempt to take more Palestinian land ahead of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plan to unilaterally lay down Israel’s final borders by 2008. 3 Women, Son and Activist Killed Meanwhile, the IOF acknowledged they had extra-judicially assassinated top-ranking Palestinian anti-occupation activist, Mohammad Sha’ban al-Dahdouh (Abu Obaydah), in an air raid that also killed Hanan Aman, 32, her four-year-old son Mohannad and female relative Naima Hamdi Aman, 25, in Gaza city on Saturday. The killing of al-Dahdouh, who was identified as a leading Islamic Jihad activist, “is certain to further exacerbate the anarchic security situation in Gaza, already tense following an attempt on the life of the Palestinian intelligence chief,” The Guardian said on Sunday. Yossi Beilin, the leader of the Israeli Meretz party, called for the government to stop its policy of assassination strikes that kill innocent people as well. He said on Israeli radio that the killing of al-Dahdouh was insufficient justification for the killing of a small boy, his mother and grandmother. Beilin was referring to the fact that the females and the son were bystander victims of the assassination of al-Dahdouh. Separately the IOF sporadic gunfire overnight Sunday killed another Palestinian woman in the northern West Bank refugee camp of Balata, near Nablus. Palestinian witnesses said the 48-year-old woman was shot by IOF troops who were patrolling the camp after she left her home to see what route her husband, a cleaner, should take to avoid the soldiers. Medics later pronounced her dead. An IOF spokeswoman denied the troops killed the woman and said the incident” will be investigated. Palestinian Intelligence Chief Survives Assassination The IOF missile strike on Gaza city occurred hours after Palestinian General Intelligence chief, Tareq Abu Rajab, 59, survived an assassination attempt. Israel denied any involvement. He was hit in the chest in an explosion that tore through his heavily-guarded headquarters in Gaza city Saturday and was first taken to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where doctors requested that he be transferred to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv due to the severity of his wounds. Abu Rajab, is a senior member of Fatah and survived another attempt on his life in August 2004, when he was hurt in a drive-by shooting. Abu Rajab’s bodyguard and nephew, Ali Abu Hassira, was killed in blast while more than ten others were wounded. Abu Rajab was appointed to his current post by President Mahmoud Abbas in April 2005. Last week, Abbas sent him to Jordan to look into accusations by its government that the ruling Hamas movement was trying to smuggle explosives into Jordan and carry out attacks there, charges that Hamas has denied. Attack’s Aim: ‘Civil War’ Abbas, attending the Economic World Forum in the Sinai resort on the Red Sea in Sharm e-Sheikh, Egypt, condemned the “assassination attempt,” and said that it “threatens the Palestinian Authority with grave danger.” “This a very unfortunate incident and annoying at the same time and threatens (the Palestinian authority) with grave danger,” Abbas said as he emerged from a meeting with US deputy secretary of state Robert Zoellick. Palestinian lawmaker, senior Fatah legislator and former deputy premier and information minister of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), Nabil Shaath, who was accompanying Abbas, told the Israeli daily, The Jerusalem Post, the attack was an attempt to push Palestinians into a civil war. “Some people want us to accuse Hamas,” he said, adding: “They want to push us into a civil war with Hamas. I don't know if Hamas did it, but if someone from Hamas did it they should be put on trial.” There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion, which hit Abu Rajab as he entered an elevator with his aides and bodyguards. Al-Tirawi: We Are All Being Threatened Abu Rajab's deputy, Tawfik al-Tirawi, said that “mercenaries” had infiltrated the PNA security forces and were planning to kill top Palestinian leaders, including Abbas. “We are all being threatened,” he said. He said he was concerned for President Abbas’ safety. “We're concerned about the safety of the president and all the leaders and senior officials because of the anarchy and lawlessness,” al-Tirawi said in the West Bank town of Ramallah, where three vehicles of the Arabic satellite TV station Al-jazeera were torched at its offices on Saturday evening. Strongly dismissing claims by Interior Ministry spokesman, Khaled Abu Hilal, to the effect that the explosion may have occurred when Abu Rajab's bodyguard accidentally dropped a hand grenade, al-Tirawi confirmed the explosion came from a home-made bomb that had been planted beneath the private elevator of Abu Rajab. Abu Hilal later retracted his hand grenade theory. “This is a foolish and irresponsible statement,” al-Tirawi said, adding: “He (Abu Hilal) should have refrained from issuing such statements as long as the circumstances were unclear.” The assassination attempt was linked to “incitement and irresponsible statements” made in mosques over the past few weeks, he added. The Palestinian Minister of Interior, Saeed Siyam, said the ministry will launch an investigation into the incident and pledged to bring those responsible to justice, regardless of their factional affiliation. Ghazi Hamad, the spokesman for the Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, said also the explosion would be investigated: “We are asking not to make early judgments, accusations or responses that might lead to tension in the Palestinian streets,” Hamad said.

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