The command of the Israeli army decided to resume its policy of the total isolation of the West Bank town of Tulkarem, Palestine. The Israelis explained their decision with several armed incidents that took place on Monday and Tuesday in the West Bank. An Israeli soldier died and two were wounded as a result an assault on an Israeli patrol not far from the Palestinian village of Kuchin, which is situated between the Palestinian towns of Nablus and Tulkarem. The radical Palestinian organization the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which is connected with Yasser Arafat’s movement Fatah, claimed responsibility for the action.
Representatives of the group made a statement, which was faxed to the world media, that they took revenge for the death of Raed al-Karmi, one of the leading Palestinian figures and leader of the local department of Fatah movement.
Raed al-Karmi died Monday morning as a result of a car explosion. Palestinian sources informed Reuters that Karmi left his home in Tulkarma, where he was hiding, and then there was a blast several seconds after.
“The Israelis put a bomb near the fence. Somebody called Karmi and asked him to go out. As soon as he got close to the fence, the bomb blew up, and he died. It is clear that the assassination was planned by the Israelis.”
After the explosion, local citizens carried Karmi’s body along the streets, shouting that they were going to take revenge. The reaction of the official authorities was not that emotional. Security service chief Jabril Rajub said in one of his interviews that Karmi’s assassination had been performed by the Israelis in order to provoke a reaction from the Palestinians to break the truce that was announced single-handedly a couple of weeks ago. Rajub stressed that the Palestinian government is intending to maintain the cease-fire anyway.
It seems there is the new stage in the nerve-racking war between Israel and Palestine. Israel is expecting Arafat to loose patience and cancel the cease-fire that was introduced on December 16.
The leaders of both countries have actually become hostages of the situation. The local electorate is pressing Sharon, who is absolutely against any negotiations with the Palestinians. Arafat is in the similar situation: his political career, his life maybe, depends on whether the Palestinians have their own state or not. There is no way back.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
Reuters photo: A file picture taken September 7, 2001 shows Fatah militant leader Raed Karmi after he survived an Israeli missile attack on his car last year in the West Bank town of Tulkarem