Israel: July 19, 2002

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: 10.0pt"> After two terrorist attacks in two days, Israel has cancelled peace talks with Palestinian officials, re-imposed restrictions on West Bank Palestinians and begin rounding up and deporting to Gaza 21 male relatives of the two suicide bombers from the July 17th attack. The deportation gambit has been tried in the past, but Israeli courts declared it illegal. The courts will have to decide again. This group punishment, which also includes destroying the homes of the families of the bombers, is meant to counteract the $25-40,000 in payments families of suicide bombers receive from foreign countries (mainly Iraq and Saudi Arabia.) Israel was planning to allow 5,000-50,000 Palestinians to return to their jobs in Israel, but this has been cancelled as well. The economic situation in Palestinian areas is acute, with over 50 percent unemployment. The people get by with foreign aid from Persian Gulf countries. While most Palestinians still support the terror attacks, this support has been eroding as the attacks, and Israeli countermeasures, continue.

Yasser Arafat, the long time Palestinian leader, is under increasing pressure to step down. He was elected once, in a rigged election, and current proposals are for him to be kicked upstairs to be a ceremonial president while the Palestinians elect a prime minister, who would have real power. But first, the Palestinians have to deal with Palestinian terrorists, who want Israel destroyed and are dedicated to using violence to achieve this goal. Of course, most Palestinians agree with this, but are more realistic. Still, as long as the terrorists are operating, Palestinians will be under military occupation.

The two attacks were the first since June 20th. They occurred when after Israeli troops began to loosen restrictions on Palestinian civilians. 

 

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