Thursday, October 18, 2001

Israel cuts off all contact with the PA; gives Shin Bet, the IDF the "green light" to step up assassinations. Some MKs say Sharon should banish Arafat fr. the West Bank, Gaza. The PA arrests 3 PFLP leaders, but says it has not identified Ze'evi's assassins, will not extradite them to Israel once it does. Israel says if the killers are not extradited, it will treat the PA as a sponsor of terrorism. (The State Dept. refuses to back Israel's extradition demand.) Sharon declares that "Arafat has 7 days to impose absolute quiet in the territories. If not, we will go to war against him. As far as I'm concerned, the era of Arafat is over." (HP, MM 10/18; MENA, XIN 10/18 in WNC 10/19; NYT, WP, WT 10/19; MM 10/23)

The IDF reoccupies areas A in Jinin, Nablus, and Ramallah, sending in tanks and troops, shelling buildings, killing 3 Palestinians. In Bethlehem, 3 Palestinians, including Fatah tanzim leader Atif Ubayyat, 1 of Israel's most wanted, are killed when an explosion destroys their car. The deaths, which Palestinians claim were an assassination, spark a serious gun battle around the city; Palestinians in Bayt Jala also fire a mortar at Gilo for the 1st time in 2 mos., causing no damage. Palestinian gunmen fire on a group of Jewish settlers hiking in the Jordan Valley, killing 1 Jewish settler, wounding 2. (HP, MM, PMC 10/18; AP, HP, NYT, WP, WT 10/19; WP 10/20; PCHR 10/24)