A sharp rise in Israeli military escalation: Palestinians see it as a testimony
to an Israeli "bankrupt policy"
Wed, February 20, 2002
This morning, about 4:00 AM, on February 20th., the Palestinian occupied
territories lived through a sharp rise of military attacks from air, ground
and sea. The result is unusually, a high number of a single days. 15 Palestinians
killed and more than 50 injured.
As resident of Gaza were asleep, all of the sudden, powerful sounds of
explosions rocked the city, especially the West Side. Israeli gunboats
fired missiles at guard posts next to Arafat office compound. At the same
time few rubber boats approached the beach of the Arafat office which is
only about 30 meters away from the waters. The boats fired silenced bullets,
immediately killing four of Arafat security guards.
On the south edge of Gaza city, one could see huge white flashes as tanks
kept shelling from the Settlement of Netzarim. F16s were flying low and
released a couple of missiles at the police training academy located in
middle of residential area.
Moreover, Apache helicopters, this time, several of them, kept firing missiles
at targets, again, on the West Side of the city. Also, gunfire was heard.
That was in response to an attack by Israeli rubber boats, which fired
from silenced guns. Palestinians police and guards fired back.
Sources in the ground explained that the rubber boats original mission
was to step down on the ground and attack a guard post with several Palestininas
posted there. However, the four Palestinians who were killed were going
for a regular check on the beach. One Palestinian guard said, ・when the
Israelis saw the four, they fired silence bullets and ran away. They could
not come down and continue the mission.
Many believe that this operation as a retaliatory in response to a successful
attack, last night on Feb. 19th. Palestinians fighters were able to attack
an Israeli military post stationed outside Ramallah and killed 6 soldiers.
In Ramallah, West Bank, Israeli jets pounded the city especially near the
HQ of President Arafat where the president is under siege right now.
Many local observers believe that the Palestinians have changed the tactics
and strategies in the current fight ( Intifadah ). Recently, the focus
is on the army and settlements present in the occupied territories. Yesterday's
attack on an Israeli military post where 6 soldiers were killed is considered
a testimony to such a new change of priorities. The Palestinians fighters
were able to escape. Sharon and military generals held a long meeting of
how to deal with the latest Palestinian daring and penetrating success.
In Israel, as several public polls show, the support for Sharon is dwindling.
Many voices on the left, inculding army reservists, are calling for a way
out of this 溺UD・ as one major Israeli paper called it.
Palestinians, in light of the latest quantative and sharp increase of military
escalation, see the situation as a proof that Shron is running out of choices.
He has applied, month after month, for a whole year, new tactics be it
siege, F16s, Apaches, arrests, tank shelling, etc・ Nothing has worked.
As one Gazan resident commented when he showed an F16 missile fragment
dropped in his home front yard a couple of days back, ・May be my generation
will not live in peace. But for the sake of my children to live normally,
in freedom and dignity with full rights and soverneghity, I can sacrifice
and take in all the punishment. I can wait. With patience, victory will
February 20th. 2002