Israel's crimes continue... 

Israel's crimes continue...

Over the last ten years or so, the United Nations has tried many times to pass resolutions condemning Israel's ethnic cleansing activities against the Palestinian people. The USA continually blocks those resolutions. In fact, the majority of blocked resolutions fo the past ten years have been those the UN would have passed against Israel, all blocked by the USA.

Now Israel has attacked another sovereign nation. They bombed a site within Syria. At least fifty people wounded. The UN Security Council is in an emergency meeting. I would not be surprised to see a large war starting there, possibly spreading, in the years to come. The USA, based in Iraq, supporting Israel. And all the Arabic nations around them joining forces. Maybe.


Israeli strike sparks Arab outcry

By Jason Keyser in Majdal Shams, Golan Heights
October 6, 2003

ISRAEL yesterday bombed a target inside Syria that it claimed was an Islamic Jihad training base, striking deep inside its neighbour's territory for the first time in three decades and widening its pursuit of Palestinian militants.

Yesterday's airstrike - a retaliation for a suicide bombing on Saturday that killed 19 Israelis - alarmed the Arab world and deepened concerns that three years of Israeli-Palestinian violence could spread through the region.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for Saturday's bombing, in which 55 people were wounded.

Washington urged both sides to show restraint - but added pointed criticism of Syria, saying Damascus "must cease harbouring terrorists and make a clean break from those responsible for planning and directing terrorist action from Syrian soil".

On requests from Damascus, the UN Security Council and the 22-member Arab League held emergency sessions today as Syria's foreign minister Farouq al-Sharaa sought measures to deter Israeli "aggression".

Syria's UN Ambassador Fayssal Mekdad called on the council to adopt a resolution condemning the attack.

"Arabs and many people across the globe feel that Israel is above law," Mr Mekdad said.

Israel's Ambassador Dan Gillerman defended the attack. He accused Syria of providing "safe harbour, training facilities, funding, (and) logistical support" to terrorist organisations.

Syria's draft calls for Israel to stop committing acts that could threaten regional security. It was unclear when the council would vote on the resolution or whether the United States would veto it.

Camp 'abandoned'

Leaders of Islamic Jihad and other militant groups are based in Syria, but Jihad has denied having any training bases there.

Syrian villagers near the targeted site said the camp had been used by Palestinian gunmen in the 1970s but was later abandoned - and was now only used by picnickers and other visitors.

Israel said the bombing signalled it would pursue militants wherever they found support - and it added an accusation that Iran also backs Islamic Jihad.

"Any country who harbours terrorism, who trains (terrorists), supports and encourages them will be responsible to answer for their actions," Government spokesman Avi Pazner said.

In the West Bank, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat declared a state of emergency and installed an emergency Cabinet with Ahmed Qurie as prime minister.

The action was an apparent attempt to deflect possible Israeli action against Arafat following the suicide bombing since Israel had threatened to expel him.

'More to come'

The leader of Islamic Jihad, Ramadan Shallah, told Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV that the Israeli attack was "a grave development that exceeded all rules of the game."

He also warned Israel that the suicide bombing "will not be the last resistance operation" committed by his group.

The strike was launched just hours before the start of Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.

It also came on the eve of the anniversary of the 1973 war between Israel and Syria, when Israel fought off a Syrian attack aimed at reversing Israel's 1967 seizure of the Golan Heights, a strategic border plateau.

Sunday marked Israel's first military action deep in Syria since 1973.

The tiny Syrian-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command said it once used the camp, 22.5km northwest of Damascus, but that it is now deserted. A civilian guard was injured in the air strike, the group said.

Groups linked

However, a senior Popular Front member, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged that there is close cooperation between his group, Islamic Jihad, the militant group Hamas, and the Lebanese guerrilla faction Hezbollah.

All four train together, mostly in Lebanon, but also in Syria, he said.

In an understanding with the Syrian government, Hamas and Jihad leaders have been careful in recent months to give statements from Lebanon to avoid the impression that they still operate from Damascus.

Still, Syrian President Bashar Assad is on the defensive, with the United States accusing him of hosting extremist groups and sponsoring terror.

Assad, after meeting with US Secretary of State Colin Powell in May in Damascus, indicated that his government had closed certain offices of Palestinian militant groups.

However, last weekend, US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said Syria needed to do more.

It seemed unlikely Syria would retaliate. It has 380,000 active duty soldiers, but Israel holds a commanding technological edge.

Israel is more worried about Syria's growing missile program and its ability to launch chemical and poison weapons into Israel's cities.

Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon - three Arab countries border Israel - condemned the air strike. "It can drag the whole region into a circle of violence," said Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher.

The Associated Press,4057,7473991%255E401,00.html


Syria: Israel attacked civilian area

Sunday 05 October 2003, 19:36 Makka Time, 16:36 GMT

Syria has said Israeli forces attacked a civilian area near Damascus in a "grave escalation" of tensions in the Middle East.

Damascus is capable of deterring Israel but will practice restraint, Syria's Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara said in a letter to the United Nations on Sunday.

The Israelis had earlier claimed that it attacked an Islamic Jihad and Hamas training base in the Ain al-Sahab area, about 20km northwest of Damascus.

It did not say whether air or ground forces carried out the strike, but an unnamed security source was quoted as saying that it was an air attack early on Sunday.

Both the Islamic Jihad and Syrian sources have denied that the area housed a training base.

"Jihad has no combatants outside the Palestinian territories," the group's Beirut-based spokesman Abu Imad Rifai told Aljazeera.

Syrian analyst Dr Imad Shuaibi said the attack was aimed at sparking chaos in the region and send a message to Damascus that Israel was willing to take military action.

Shuaibi said the area housed refugees.


Islamic Jihad insists its activists in Syria are part of the group's media bureau.

Several civilians were injured in the strike, said a Lebanon-based official for Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC).

"The significance of the operation is more in terms of its symbolic message to the Syrians... It simply says that nobody is immune" - Eran Lerman, a retired senior Israeli military intelligence officer.

The attack is believed to be the first Israeli strike deep into Syrian territory since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. It took place on the eve of that war's 30th anniversary.

An anonymous source said the attack targeted "an abandoned training camp" that belonged to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Israel could launch more attacks in Syria if it continues to support what they said were "terrorist organisations" preparing anti-Israeli attacks, according to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's spokesman.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are spearheading the three-year old Palestinian Intifada against Israel's occupation.


Syria said it would complain to the UN Security Council. It also plans to ask the 15-member body to hold a special session to discuss the attacks, according to an unnamed diplomatic source.

Damascus is a member of the Security Council, but does not hold veto power.

Egypt's President Husni Mubarak condemned the strike, calling it an aggression against a "brother country".

Mubarak was speaking at a press conference in Cairo with visiting German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

For his part, Schroeder said the attack "cannot be accepted". The German Chancellor said regional peace efforts "become more complicated when...the sovereignty of a country is violated".

Gaza attack

The Israeli army said the attack was in response to Saturday's blast in the northern Israeli city of Haifa that killed about 19 people. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the blast.

In the occupied Gaza Strip, Israel launched two helicopter attacks on the homes of resistance fighters.

Helicopter gunships fired several missiles at al-Buraij refugee camp, shortly after 1am local time (23:00 GMT) on Sunday.

Witnesses said the target was the house of an Islamic Jihad activist, which was empty at the time. Israeli public radio said the target was an arms and explosives dump.

The attack came shortly after a similar strike on the Gaza City home of another resistance fighter, which left several people injured by flying glass.

Palestinian security sources identified him as Munthir Qanita, a member of the armed wing of the Islamist resistance group Hamas. His home was also reportedly empty at the time of the attack.

Haifa blast

The two Israeli missile attacks were an apparent reprisal for a bombing in Haifa in which a Palestinian woman from the occupied West Bank town of Jenin blew herself up and killed 19 others in a restaurant in the northern Israeli city.

Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack which followed continuing Israeli raids and killings in the Palestinian territories.

Israeli forces demolished the home of the bomber, Hanadi Jaradat, in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin during a dawn invasion.

Activists from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) tried to prevent occupation troops from destroying the house and were beaten by Israeli forces, reported our correspondent in Jenin.

Dozens of tanks stormed the city, as Israeli slapped a curfew on the population.

Fears for Arafat

Following the Haifa blast, Israel said the clock is ticking for Palestinian President Yasir Arafat.

An Israeli warplane was seen hovering over Arafat's Ram Allah compound in the occupied West Bank.

About 30 foreign and Israeli peace activists joined others at his headquarters in the West Bank town of Ram Allah to act as human shields.

The Israeli human shields reportedly include at least one former member of the Israeli parliament.

Clashes broke out in Ram Allah on Saturday night as deployed Israeli troops were confronted by stone-throwing Palestinian residents.

The Haifa bombing has renewed calls for Israel to carry out its decision to kill or remove Arafat.


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