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Special News Bulltein:
At Least 65 Killed in Continuing Israeli Asault, most of them civilians. Accurate figures still unavailalbe as rescue teams are unable to reach victims

Thousands of Palestinians inside Israel Take to the streets, and call for a general strike Sunday. Mass protests in Italy, and France. Protests in NYC, SF, and Taibe (Israel). Palestinians inside Israel call A General Strike. Below is a comprehensive report from Law Society, a report from Shirabe Yamada on the situation in the Bethlehem area, and a report from Uri Blau/Kol Ha'ir on the Israeli Army's plans for controlling the newly reoocupied Palestinian Territories

The Bloodbath in the West Bank and Gaza continues while Israeli plans for controlling the newly reoccupied Palestinian Territories are revealed. Densely populated refugee camps all over the West Bank are under assault by combined Israeli air force, artillery, tanks and infantry, as well as shelling from the sea on Gaza. At least 55 Palestinians, most of them civilians have been killed. Exact casualty figures reamin unknown as ambulances and rescue workers are prevented from entering "battle" zones, indeed some have been killed trying to save lives.

Badil has sent the following report:

ISRAEL'S ASSAULT ON REFUGEE CAMPS AND THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE CONTINUES UNABATED
DEHEISHE REFUGEE CAMPS FEARS ATTACK TONIGHT
Update: Bethlehem, 9 March, 6 p.m.

Despite mounting international criticism, Sharon's government seems determined to inflict maximum losses and damages on the Palestinian refugee camps and the Palestinian people, before it will be compelled to halt its military assault - most likely no more than temporarily - next week, when US envoy General Anthony Zinni will revisit the region.

Fifty hours after the military incursion into the Bethlehem district, Israeli armed forces have shot and killed nine Palestinians, all except two residents of the local refugee camps of Aida, Azza, and Deheishe. Among the dead are a 14-year old girl and a 32-year old woman shot in their homes, and a pharmacists, director of the Yamama hospital in Bethlehem (see list of names and details below). The number of Palestinians injured in the Bethlehem area has reached more than 30.

In the night of 8 to 9 March, residents of Bethlehem witnessed for the first time the use of surface-to-surface missiles by the Israeli army. Three of these missiles were shot from Israeli tanks, and hit and caused substantive damage to St. Josheph's Girl School, a private home next to the school, and the premises of Bethlehem university. Throughout the day, the Israeli soldiers continued house-to-house searches in the refugee camps of Aida and Azza, causing more damage to civilian homes and properties. No arrests have been reported, no weapon-stores or -factories were discovered.

At noon, Palestinian refugees of the Aida and Deheishe camps defied the Israeli-imposed curfew and laid four of their dead to rest in the martyr's cemetery at Irtas village. While some 4,000 mourners proceeded from Beit Jala's King Hussein Hospital via the Deheishe refugee camp to the graveyard, the Israeli army took-up position in a yet unfinished hotel building overlooking the camp. By the evening hours of 9 March, Deheishe refugee camp is encircled by Israeli tanks from four sides, and tension is mounting as a night-time military assault on the purely civilian population in the camp appears imminent.

Israel's war on the Palestinian people in the Bethlehem district has followed a pattern similar to the assaults on Balata refugee camp (Nablus) and the town and refugee camps of Tulkarem. The yet unexplained and tragic circumstances of the killing of hospital director Dr. Ahmad Othman, shooting at ambulances, and massive damages to civilian properties have been accompanied by the willful destruction of communal infrastructure. In Bethlehem, Israeli army bulldozers have torn-up main streets, piled-up rocks and sand on the main Bethlehem-Deheishe-Hebron road, and destroyed one of the main water pipes carrying water for the whole Bethlehem district.

Given the massive scale of obstruction of medical emergency services and the serious damages caused to civilian property and infrastructure during the current Israeli military assaults on the refugee camps and towns of the northern and southern West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, BADIL Resource Center calls upon international human rights organizations to form an independent expert commission to investigate Israel's violations of the protection rights of the civilian Palestinian population. Such an expert commission should also investigate the Israeli allegation that Palestinian ambulances are commonly abused for the transport of arms and "wanted" persons.

Palestinian's killed during Israel's military assault on the Bethlehem district: Suleiman Al-Dibbs (37), Aida refugee camp, 8-3- 2002; Ibrahim Al-'Araj (24), Aida refugee camp, 8-3-2002; Sa'ed S'oud 'Id (17), Deheishe refugee camp, 8-3-2002; Dr. Ahmad No'man Othman (60), al-Khader village, 8-3-2002 (killed by Israeli sniper fire shot from a tank, despite the fact that he had obtained clearance, via the Red Cross, from t he Israeli army command to pass with his car, in order to fetch urgently required medical staff and drugs for his hospital). Huda Al-Khawajeh (32), Aida refugee camp, 8-3-2002. (mother of six children, killed by shrapnel while working in her kitchen.) Issa Faraj (23), Deheishe refugee camp, 8-3-2002; Jad Atallah (24) Deheishe refugee camp, 8-3-2002; Imad Al-Soufi, resident of Gaza, member of the Palestinian National Security Forces; died on 9-3-2002 from injuries sustained yesterday in Aida camp; Nida' Al-Azza (14), Azza refugee camp, 9-3-2002 (shot in her chest by live ammunition next to her home).

BADIL Resource Center aims to provide a resource pool of alternative, critical and progressive information on the question of P alestinian refugees in our quest to achieve a just and lasting solution for exiled Palestinians based on their right of return.
PO Box 728, Bethlehem, Palestine; tel/fax. 02-2747346; email: info@badil.org; website:www.badil.org

Law Society has sent this update:

Forty Palestinians killed within 36 hours Israeli forces target densely populated Palestinian areas

March 8, 2002
Israeli forces continue their assault on Palestinian civilians. LAW Society calls for immediate international intervention to put an end to continuing atrocities. Early this morning Israeli forces entered Khuza'a village, near Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip, killing 14 Palestinians. Also this morning Israeli forces entered Bethlehem and surrounding areas and refugee camps. Nine Israeli armored vehicles accompanied by a military bulldozer came from the Israeli settlement Gilo, northwest of the city and moved towards Aida refugee camp. At around 1.30 am, twelve tanks broke into the northern part of the city and moved up to the Caritas hospital.
At around 1:50 am, five tanks entered Beit Jala's housing project and moved up to the Khulafa' al-Rashidin mosque, near al-Doha. Ten minutes later, six tanks and four armored vehicles entered al-Khader and moved towards Dheisheh refugee camp. An hour later, ten tanks and military bulldozers, backed by two Apache helicopters entered Beit Jala while opening heavy fire. In the morning, Israeli forces were positioned in Beit Jala, Aida refugee camp, and along the main street in Bethlehem up to Bab al-Zqaq, Doha, and Dheisheh refugee camp. Four Palestinians were killed, including a 35-year old mother of five, who was killed inside her home. Eighteen others were injured.
At 2 am, Israeli forces killed 16 Palestinians, including Ahmad Mufrej ("Abu Hmeid"), a senior commander of the Palestinian National Security Forces. According to information recorded by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza (PCHR), Israeli forces, equipped with heavy weaponry, entered the village of Khuza'a, near Khan Yunis. Israeli forces, after capturing Palestinian residents, ascended the roofs of buildings and turned them into military outposts. Then they opened fire at any movable object in the area. Once the Palestinian senior commander heard the news, he went to the area, accompanied by two Palestinian security officers. When Israeli soldiers saw them arriving they opened fire, hitting Mufrej with gunshots in the left thigh, killing him instantly, due to artery laceration. Palestinian ambulances were not allowed to evacuate the injured until the Israeli forces withdrew from the area. Eyewitnesses stated to PCHR that an Israeli tank drove over an injured Palestinian, Khaled Qdeih (35), smashed his head and killing him instantly. In total, Israeli forces killed 16 Palestinians during this military assault.
Early today, Israeli naval gunboats, backed by Apache helicopters, shelled a Palestinian police station, in the western part of Jabaliya refugee camp. This attack lasted a few hours. Israeli forces used heavy artillery. Two Palestinian policemen and one paramedic, Sa'id al-Shalayel (26) were killed. The paramedic had just arrived to rescue possible injured Palestinians. Near the outpost, a Palestinian civilian was killed and four others were injured.
Early today, Israeli forces killed Yihia Ishtayeh (26), from Salem village, near Nablus. At 2 pm, gunfire was heard coming from a street passing the southern part of the village and which leads to the Elon Moreh settlement. Few minutes later, Israeli forces entered the village from the south and opened fire at residential homes. Israeli forces shot at Ishtayeh while standing at his veranda, hitting him with three gunshots in the chest and killing him instantly.
In Tulkarem and its nearby refugee camps, Israeli forces continued to shell and break into Palestinian homes. Since yesterday until noon today, Israeli forces have killed nine Palestinians in this area, including a ten-year-old child that was shot from close range while standing in front of the house.
Israeli forces, which were positioned at the Riyad Bdeir building, killed Adel Abu Safaqa (32), when he went outside to get his children inside his home. His home was located 200 meter from the building where the Israeli forces were positioned. He was taken to the Dr. Thabet Thabet Hospital, by residents because ambulances were prevented from evacuating him. He was a father of four.
In the village of Yamoun, near Jenin, an Israeli tank opened fire with heavy ammunition and killed Sayyed Abu Sayfein (14). He was in the yard of his home, which was 300 meter away of the tank. Fifteen Israeli armored vehicles had surrounded the village.
According to LAW, the number of Palestinians killed since Thursday early morning, March 7, 2002, until today reached forty of whom three paramedics and a doctor killed in cold blood.
In view of the urgency of the present situation, LAW Society strongly condemns the on going violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, including those acts that amount to war crimes perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces with impunity and urges the international community to immediately fulfill their legal obligations to ensure Israel's respect of the Fourth Geneva Convention and end its occupation of the Gaza strip and West Bank (including East Jerusalem), and to provide immediate and effective international protection for Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. LAW Society additionally calls for a thorough, independent, and effective international investigation into violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including war crimes, and calls for those found responsible for such actions to be tried before an international court. ___________________________
LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to preserving human rights through legal advocacy. LAW is affiliate to the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the Federation Internationale des Ligues de Droits de l'Homme (FIDH) and the World Organisation Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).
LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, PO Box 20873, Jerusalem, tel. +972-2-5833530, fax. +972-2- 5833317, email: law@lawsociety.org, web: http://www.law-society.org

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Human rights worker Shirabe Yamada has sent the following report:
March 8, 2002 New York
Dear Friends,
40 Palestinians have been killed today.
Here are some updates from my friends in Bethlehem, reported on the phone to me in New York, while helicopter gunship, surveillance planes, and fighter jets circulated above them.
7 people have been killed in Bethlehem area, since the incursion started early this morning. Tanks are positioned around the area. Many houses in strategic locations have been taken over by the Israeli army. Roads are destroyed in different locations to severe Palestinian movement between communities.
A correction on my last report: Saed Saoud (19) was not killed in Aida Camp but in Dheisheh camp when Apache helicopter struck him with 800mm shell early this morning. 4 people were injured in the attack, including his brother Motasem who is in critical condition.
The other death in Dheisheh was about one hour ago. Earlier in the afternoon, Issa Faraj (25) was looking out of the window of his house holding his daughter in his arms, when an apparent sniper fire struck him. Ambulance had great difficulties reading the camp to rescue critically wounded Faraj, who subsequently was transferred to a Jerusalem hospital after a lengthy negotiation with IDF. He died in the hospital, leaving 2 young children behind.
Ahmad Noaman (37), director of Al-Yamama Hospital in Al-Khader village was killed by tank fire this afternoon. He had just negotiated a passage to his hospital for his staff and patients with IDF, which had been blocking the way. As he was approved and walked passed the first tank, the second tank fired at him. His death has come as a hard blow to the community, as the hospital has been operating all throughout these difficult times as the only medical facility serving villages and refugee camps in the south of Bethlehem.
Friends reported that curfews have been imposed in different areas, and Bayt Sahour village lost phone connection after IDF dug trenches around the village and cut off phone lines last night.
It seems that Israelis are pounding hard on Aida camp. There have been 4 deaths in the camp, including a child, from tank shell and missiles from helicopter gunship. The camp has been attacked throughout the day, while the electricity has been cut off. IDF is conducting house-to-house search in the camp, causing destructions and terrorizing the residents.
IDF demolished 2 houses in Doha village, belonging to families of suicide bombers who operated in Jerusalem a couple of days ago.
A local news reported that IDF is requesting men in Dheisheh to come out of the school yard, to submit themselves if the camp wanted to spare military attack.

Middle East Children's Alliance P.O. Box 250706, New York, NY 10025 Tel/Fax: 212-666-8512 www.mecaforpeace.org

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Kol Ha'ir's Uri Blau reported Friday that plans for entering the refugee camps have been under work for over a year. A brief by the Nahal Brigade commander that was recently distributed included a section regarding the next step in the fighting, defined as "controlling a city after its occupation." This included "division into quarters and performing thorugh searches; Controlling civilian movement - check points, monitoring points; Handling humanitarian needs and the resumption of civili life; basic intellignece mapping.

Blau also reports on the Israeli attack on Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip, on 12 Feb, as an indicator of how the army operates: "The soldiers entered houses in search of men from a wanted-men list, but the wanted men were not found in the houses where intelligence reports supposed they would be. This did not stop the IDF from arresting people who were in the houses, mostly male relatives of the listed men. Even though the army knew that the people arrested are not the wanted men, the arrests continued.

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Protests

[Inside Isarael] Call for a General Strike
Thousands of Palestinians responded to a call from the follow-up Committee of the Arab population in Israelto protest the on-going massacre. The central dmonstratarion in Sakhnin was adressed by Yasser Arafat, who spoke to the protesters from under the siege in Ramallah. The follow-up Comittee has called for a general strike Sunday

[Taibe, Israel]
Please come to an urgent protest vigil at the machsom on the road to Tul Karm - Meeting point: the main entrance to Taibe (at the gas station), Taibe Junction, Road 444,
Today, Saturday, 4 p.m.
The initiative is of activists from Yesh Gvul, Ta'ayush, New Profile, Hacampus Lo Shotek and other organisations

[NYC] Silent Vigil Weekend
To mourn the victims and to call for an end to the occupation.
Where: Union Square
When: 6PM, Saturday AND Sunday
Bring flowers and candles
Photos from Saturday vigil

[San Francisco]
BAY AREA/NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY WIDE MEETING and WORKING SESSION
SUNDAY, MARCH 10, NOON (Note new time)
ADC-SF Office - 522 Valencia St (@16th) in San Francisco
RSVP requested: justiceinpalestine@yahoo.com

[Italy]
Tens of thousands demostrated in Rome and Milan calling to stop the massacre and end the occupation. More information on Indymedia Italy.

[France]
Manifestation de soutien au peuple palestinien
samedi 9 mars, Marseille
À 10h30, sur le Vieux-Port à Marseille
L'Association Médicale Franco-Palestinienne (Marseille) et l'Union Juive Française pour la Paix (Provence) organisent une manifestation de soutien au peuple palestinien.
Une marche sera organisée jusqu'à la Préfecture des Bouches-du-Rhône où nous avons demandé à être reçus. Nous y remettrons un courrier demandant au Président de la République, au Premier ministre et au ministre des Affaires étrangères, que la France prenne immédiatement toutes les initiatives nécessaires pour assurer

la protection du peuple palestinien, notamment à travers l'envoi d'une force de protection internationale. La France doit aussi prendre des sanctions contre l'État israélien, notamment, comme nous l'avons déjà demandé, à travers la suspension de l'Accord d'association Union Européenne - Israël et la condamnation des actes de guerre du gouvernement israélien d'Ariel Sharon et de son armée d'occupation.

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Eearlier Reports:

Shirabe Yamada
7 Mar., 2002

Dear Friends,

I am writing from my apartment in New York.

Israeli troops have entered Bethlehem area tonight. I have been on the phone all evening with my friends from Dheisheh Refugee Camp and Bayt Sahour, and wanted share the news that haven't been on the main stream media at this point yet - 1 killed, 5injuries, houses taken over by troops, and tanks rolling in from all directions.

About one hour ago, the troops began moving towards Bethlehem, from surrounding villages of Bayt Sahour, Bayt Jala, al-Khader, as well as Jerusalem-Bethlehem checkpoint. Currently there are about 75 tanks all around the area and apache helicopter gun ships are circulating above.

People in Bethlehem had anticipated tonight's invasion. Palestinian security building (al-Muqata) had been bombed by F-16 attack jets for three nights in a row. My friends told me that the likelihood of the invasion reached to them from both official and unofficial sources. Because in the last several days Israelis have been launching on extensive refugee camp raids in West Bank and Gaza Strip, the speculation had it that the Bethlehem area invasion would target Dheisheh and Aida camps, densely crowded neighborhoods packed with fragile houses and narrow alleys.

Dheisheh camp organized 22 emergency clinics set up in people's homes throughout the camp. People received training on first aid earlier in the day. A UN flag was raised high on top of UNRWA compound (clinic, administration, nursery school, and physiotherapy unit etc) in the camp, hopefully to avoid becoming a target.

Ibdaa Cultural Center has been closed for the last several days since the F-16 air raids began. Today, they took some of valuable equipment (computer sever etc) to a safer location.

My friend in Bayt Sahour village reported me that Israeli bulldozers were destroying roads near his house.

Apache helicopter already struck missiles into Aida camp. There has been one dead and at least 5 injured from a gun battle in the camp.

Dheisheh camp has been shelled from Efrat, a settlement that has expanded to right behind the camp. No injuries have been reported, but shells reached to the far end of the camp.

15 tanks have entered Doha village, across from Dheisheh. A house belonging to the family of one of Ibdaa dance troupe members has been taken over by the Israeli troop. They are friends of mine, and I am worried sick.

Tanks had entered al-Khader village yesterday, and now they are making their way towards Dheisheh. 2 of them have reached in front of Dheisheh and are currently parked near Taboo Zaman restaurant.

I will write as more news comes in.

Shirabe

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  Special Emergency Report:  Isareli Army Enters Bethlehem

oznik-news
7 Mar. 2002, 8pm EST

According to several sources the Israeli Army has began around 1am Friday morning to enter the Bethlehem area, a densely populated residential area which includes the city of Bethlehem, Refugee camps Dheisheh, Aida, and Azza, as well as the villages of Bayt Sahour, Bayt Jalla, El-Hader, and other neighborhoods of Bethlehem.

Heavy Artilery positioned in the settlement of Efrat is shelling Dheisheh Refugee Camp. Apache helicopters have reportedly started bombing Aida Refugee Camp, and the city of Bethlehem. Tanks have begun entering one of the camps.Military jet planes, helicopters, and dozens of tanks participate in the attack, while heavy construction vehicles and tractors are systematically destroying all roads leading to the area and connecting the neighborhoods.

Palestinians in the area have been preparing for the attack throughout the day. Dozens of emergency first aid clinics have been set up throughout the refugee camps. Camps residents have been training all day Thursday in first aid procedures.

Call your representatives now. This incursion, which aspires to a massacre, must be stopped.

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Patterns of Abuse

Ori Kleiner, Jun. 2004
 
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