'BUSH'S BLATANT ONE-EYED SUPPORT OF ISRAELI MURDERS AND AGGRESSION IN TERRITORY THEY HAVE NO RIGHT TO - 22 JUN 2002'
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22 June 2002
'Nazi' Undertones In Israeli Escalation: Palestinian Leadership
The Palestinian leadership has condemned Israel's reoccupation of several West Bank towns as an escalation with "racist and Nazi" undertones.
"The pursuit of the aggression by the Israeli occupation forces and the ugly crimes committed against our people, land and holy sites, and the imposition of this destructive war is a new form of racism and Nazism," the leadership said in a statement.
"The occupation forces are exploiting the silence of the international community and the Arab countries... in a bid to bring our people to their knees."
On Friday, the leadership called for swift US and international intervention amid concern over Israel's vow to pursue its reoccupation of Palestinian self-rule towns on the West Bank.
"We ask for the urgent sending of a international observer force in the territories to ensure the safety of the population," the leadership said.
Israel's Security Cabinet decided on Friday to pursue its reoccupation of all Palestinian self-rule towns "as long as necessary" in retaliation for anti-Israeli attacks.
"I think that within a few days we will control all the West Bank and that we will stay there for a long time," an Israeli official said.
The director of the Israeli Defence Ministry, Amos Yaron, says this could mean Israel might have to take over the civil administration of the reoccupied territories.
"If the outcome
of the operations underway is a long-term presence of the army on the
ground, and if [the army] must answer the needs of the civilian population,
then we will examine this and provide the answers," Mr Yaron said.
US Stands By Israel's 'right' To Defend Itself
United States President George W Bush says he fully respects Israel's right to defend itself against what he calls an "outrageous series" of Palestinian attacks.
Mr Bush says he strongly condemns the recent series of suicide bomb attacks in Jerusalem.
Earlier the United States State Department said the Israeli Army's killing of Palestinian civilians in the past 24 hours is tragic and demands investigation.
In the attack, Israeli tanks shelled a busy marketplace killing three children.
At first Israel's Army claimed the tanks opened fire with shells and heavy machine guns in Jenin after being fired on themselves, but later admitted there was no gunfire from the Palestinian side.
It says the killings were a mistake.
Three children, two of them aged six-years-old, died in the assault along with a 50-year-old man.
The market area was crowded with residents of Jenin seeking food in the belief an Israeli curfew had been lifted.
US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said those deaths and the deaths of three more Palestinian children and a pregnant woman in the West Bank and Gaza at the hands of Israeli forces, were tragic.
Israel's Army says it will investigate the Jenin incident.
Meanwhile the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, has given an interview to an Israeli newspaper in which he says he now endorses a Middle East peace plan put forward by the former American President, Bill Clinton, two years ago.
The newspaper, Haaretz, quotes Mr Arafat as saying he accepts the plan under which the Palestinians would be given sovereignty over 95 per cent of the West Bank and Gaza, as well as Arab districts in Jerusalem.
Mr Clinton's plan collapsed, largely because of Palestinian reluctance to scale back their demand that about 4 million refugees be given the right to return to their original family homes.
Six Israelis, including a mother and three of her children, were killed in a Palestinian attack on a Jewish settlement near Nablus.
It was the third attack targeting Israelis in three days, which has left 30 people dead.
One militant was shot dead by soldiers who had stormed the house in which he had barricaded himself.
A second gunman was shot by a sniper as he tried to escape the settlement.
Dozens of Israeli tanks and armoured vehicles have now rolled into Nablus.
Witnesses say the troops entered Nablus from three directions, but there are no immediate reports they have met any resistance from local Palestinian gunmen.
An Israeli Army spokesman declined to comment on the reports.
The radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has claimed responsibility.
An anonymous caller has told Reuters the attack "was a reaction to Israeli fence-building...and to challenge the repeated Israeli incursions into Palestinian territories".
Israel has begun building a 110-kilometre fence on its West Bank frontier.
Israeli Defence Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer says he believes the actions of the Israeli Army, while necessary, can kindle the despair that leads Palestinians to carry out suicide bombings.
Mr Ben Eliezer's comments were carried in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, following a visit to an Israeli prison to meet two failed Palestinian suicide bombers.
He claims people taking part in such missions are pressed into doing so by militant groups.
But the Minister says Israel is also partly responsible because of its military campaign in Palestinian-ruled areas.
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