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Update from Palestine        Thursday, February 7, 2002

In the early hours of this morning, Feb.7th. Israeli F16 Jets launched an air strike on the city of Nablus, north of West Bank. Several missiles hit the HQ of Nablus Governarate, which was later, completely destroyed. The Palestinian police station and prison is located next to the Governarate HQ. As soon as the first missile was fired, Palestinian Police in the next building decided to free all prisoners fearing for their safety. Obviously, Palestinian police officials want to avoid any accusation or blame if any death or harm inflicted on prisoners by Israeli jets. The same took place in Jenin, another major town in West Bank, north of Nablus. Soon, after news of Israeli jet attack on Nablus, Police authorities of Jenin released prisoners. Jenin City, in particular, has witnessed numerous attacks by Israel in recent months, including total re-ecoupption of the city for few days. Jenin City is an adjacent to the Green Line, which divides the West Bank with Israel proper.

Repots say that many of the prisoners belong to the military wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Some were taken to other locations and others had no choice but flee the bombardment.

Also, in other news, a Palestinian gunman penetrated security lines of a settlement called Hamra in the West Bank today, Feb 7th., hours after midnight. Four Israelis were killed as a result. The brigades of Al Aqsa Martyrs, belonging to Fatah, claimed responsibility for that attack.

Prime Minister Sharon is on his way to Washington. Political observers agree that Sharon is on a mission to convince President Bush about the irrelevant role of President Arafat. Sharon will push his argument in an attempt to convince the Americans of searching for an alternative leadership instead of Arafat.

Sharon Coalition government Partners, the Labor party, do not necessarily agree with Sharon's objectives. Labor officials still consider Arafat a leader, representing the Palestinian people and refuse to look for an alternative leadership. Or at least, as one Labor party officials put it, We do not want to face a new Palestinian leader brought over on top of Israeli tanks where the Palestinians will never accept. For the last forty years Israel has tried to create an alternative leadership to meet Israeli demands but never such a thing succeeded.

Gaza City,
Feb. 7th. 2002


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