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An end to a prison brings an end to security arrangements
Tuesday, February 12, 2002

The streets in Gaza City were very quite and calm today. The main reason is due the isolation of the entire city from the rest of towns within the Gaza Strip. Israeli occupation forces divided up the Gaza strip into three separate entities today, Feb. 12th. To the south of Gaza City, Israeli tanks, coming from the Nitzarim Jewish settlement, crossed the main seaside road. By doing that, the city of Gaza is simply cut off from any link to the south. Some desperate individuals who cross either way take the risky and dangerous route of walking on the beach only tens of meters under the nose of Israeli heavy machine guns on top of tanks. Many incidents were reported in the past of tanks firing at pedestrians who walk to beach in an attempt to reach destinations in the city of Gaza or vise-versa.

However, despite the relative calm today, local Palestinians were talking passionately about a major issue concerning any future security arrangement with Israel. What Israel did yesterday by attacking the main security complex carried serious implications on matters of bilateral security arrangements. The Israeli F16s destroyed the main prison in Gaza City. It is the first time this compound was targeted by Israel since the beginning of the Intifadah. Of the so-called militants, many were jailed inside this compound.

Despite the intensity of the conflict, Palestinians and Israelis sometimes found room to meet and discuss points of urgency regarding security especially when it comes to arresting militants from Hamas, Islamic Jihad or others. Both sides know how important the Al Sarrya complex is to carry out whatever commitments agreed by both sides. Israeli intelligence understands very well what Al Sarrya measn to the Palestinians and hence any future act of arresting individuals accused of terror.

A top Palestinian security official announced hours after the air strike that the notion of arresting militants normally requested by Israel, is simply over. He said we could not work in such circumstances. He expressed his fear for the lives and well being of the detainees. The Palestinian Authority can not take on the responsibility of locking up militants and having Israel bomb them afterwards.

Another official added, that means Israel has crossed a new red line. Cooperation of arresting militants is simply impossible as a result of Israeli destructive tactics. Sharon is not trustworthy.

Gaza City,

Feb., 12th., 2002


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