Israel Widens War Against Palestinians

[June 28, 2002]

By Tuesday, June 25, the Israeli army had reoccupied 7 out of 8 major population centers in the Palestinian West Bank as part of its latest offensive, codenamed Operation Determined Path. Hundreds of Israeli tanks and tens of thousands of troops moved into Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem, Ramallah, Qalqilya, Bethlehem, and Hebron, and setup direct military rule.

The Israeli government is digging in for a long-term occupation, setting-up permanent base camps and declaring that it intends to replace the Palestinian Authority (PA) with its own direct military rule. Thousands of Palestinians have been detained and hundreds killed and wounded in this latest offensive, and hundreds of thousands remain under curfew.

Israeli cabinet minister, Effi Eitam, stated on June 24 that Israel was at war and that "for all practical purposes, Oslo died a long time ago [referring to the 1993 deal which led to the creation of the Palestinian Authority]...none of the agreements exist anymore."

Israeli radio and public officials are also stating that a "major Israeli assault" is being planned for the Gaza Strip, and Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, was quoted as saying on June 24th "we are preparing massive operations against Hamas in Gaza, which began with the events of this morning."