Tuesday, March 5, 2002

Israeli-Palestinian violence continues to escalate, leaving 1 Israeli civilian, 1 Jewish settler, at least 6 Palestinians dead. A package bomb planted by a Jewish vigilante group called Revenge of the Innocent Babes (in reference to the 3/2 Beit Israel attack) explodes on a playground at a Palestinian school in East Jerusalem, injuring 2 teachers, 24 children. In response to the 3/4 AMB attack in Tel Aviv, IDF F-16s rocket Palestinian targets across Gaza and in Bethlehem, Nablus, Ramallah, Tulkarm; helicopters fire a missile at a car in Ramallah, killing 3 Palestinians, including 2 wanted AMB members, Muhannad Abu Halawa and Fawzi Murrar. The IDF also makes incursions into Palestinian areas nr. Bayt Lahia, Jabaliya, Khan Yunis, Tamun; direct shells, heavy machine gun fire at residential areas of Bethlehem, al-Khadir, Qalqilya; demolishes greenhouses in Issawiyya. Nr. Gush Etzion settlement, Palestinian gunmen fire on a Jewish settler vehicle, killing 1 settler. A Palestinian suicide bomber detonates a devices on a bus in Afula, Israel, killing 1 Israeli. Palestinians also launch 2 Qassam-2s fr. Gaza into Israel, for the 1st time hitting an apartment building in Sederot, injuring 2 children. Jewish settlers attack a PSF post in Qalqilya, stone a Palestinian car nr. Ramallah. (HP, MM 3/5; XIN 3/5 in WNC 3/6; LAW, MM, NYT, PCHR, PMC, WP, WT 3/6; MA 3/6 in WNC 3/7; AYM 3/7 in WNC 3/8; MEI 3/8; JP 3/15)

     Sharon convenes his inner cabinet, then his full cabinet to discuss how to respond to the 3/4 Tel Aviv attack. Participants reportedly debate launching massive "mopping-up" operations in refugee camps, incursions into a list of villages in areas A and B, escalating attacks on Ramallah (including removing Arafat). The cabinet gives the IDF "free rein to further intensify military pressure on the PA, especially in Ramallah," bars all Palestinian vehicular traffic in the West Bank. (MM 3/5; NYT, PMC, WP, WT 3/6) quote in PMC 3/6