Hamas: We killed 16 “settlers”

June 11, 2003

CONTENTS

1. "16 Zionist settlers killed, 74 injured in Jerusalem blast" (Hamas web site, June 11, 2003)
2. "Hamas praises bus bombing" (Jerusalem Post, June 11, 2003)
3. "Arafat phones Rantissi, wishes him quick recovery" (Xinhua, Chinese State news agency, June 11, 2003)
4. "Arafat may be expelled soon, Mofaz warns" (Ha'aretz, June 11, 2003)
5. "Israel 'knows' 53 attacks planned" (Australian news agency, Sydney, June 11, 2003)
6. Official statement by President Bush
7. "Abbas' new car cost half a million dollars" (By Palestine Information Center, London, England, June 10, 2003)
8. "PM Abu Mazen refuses to meet the Italian PM Berlusconi" (Palestinian Authority Website, June 11, 2003)
9. "Abu Mazen doing nothing about it" (Israel National News)
10. "Death from the skies strikes Gaza again" (Reuters Financial News website, June 11, 2003)


16 ISRAELI CIVILIANS MURDERED BY A HAMAS SUICIDE BOMBER

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach 9 pieces, mainly relating to the murder today of 16 Israeli civilians on a bus in Jerusalem by a Hamas suicide bomber, dressed as an ultra-Orthodox Jew (and the maiming and injuring of 154 others on the bus, in the street and in a nearby shopping center). Or as The Guardian (London) called the victims in its 4.15 pm update bulletin, "A bomb killed 'bystanders'".

Among those slightly injured were Bridges for Peace staff, Ron Cantrell and Gordon Howel-Jones from Australia.

Also today, three Kassam rockets were fired at the southern Israeli town of Sderot. A terrorist bomb again exploded by a passenger bus near Gush Katif (no one was hurt.) Another bomb was found, unexploded, on the roof of a home in Kfar Darom. Yesterday's shelling in Sderot sent 8 people to hospital.

The Mideast peace "roadmap" calls on the Palestinian Arabs to "undertake an unconditional cessation of violence" by May 2003.

There are summaries of these pieces first for those of you who don't have time to read them in full:

1. "16 Zionist settlers killed, 74 injured in Jerusalem blast" (Hamas web site, June 11, 2003). TG adds: Needless to say the murdered Israelis were in the heart of Jewish Jerusalem and were not settlers. Note the way Hamas even states on its web site that "Israeli police sources said 16 settlers were killed."

2. "Hamas praises bus bombing" (The Jerusalem Post, June 11, 2003). Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a Hamas co-founder and target of Israel's botched attack on Tuesday, praised today's Jerusalem bombing.

3. "Arafat phones Rantissi, wishes him quick recovery" (Xinhua, Chinese State news agency, June 11, 2003). Chairman Yasser Arafat today telephoned Hamas leader Abdul Aziz al-Rantissi, who had escaped an Israeli assassination attempt a day ago to wish Rantissi quick recovery from the injuries he sustained.

(TG adds: Rantissi is responsible for the murder of over 200 Israeli civilians.)

WASHINGTON POST: “MR. RANTISSI IS NOT HIMSELF A COMBATANT”

(James Taranto adds: Rantissi told the Washington Post "There will be no single Jew in Palestine [Israel]. We will fight them with all the power that we have." In an editorial so fatuous it could have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post adds that "Mr. Rantissi is not himself a combatant." He "represents a movement that engages in terrorism," the Post allows, "but his specialty is media interviews, not suicide bombings." And Osama bin Laden is but a video star.)

4. "Arafat may be expelled soon, Mofaz warns" (Ha'aretz, June 11, 2003). There "may be no choice" but to expel Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat in "the very near future," Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday. Mofaz said Arafat is making every effort to foil the Israeli-Palestinian rapprochement and the reforms that Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is trying to effect. Arafat still controls some of the PA security services, he noted. Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser, head of Military Intelligence's research division, said the army has foiled some attacks, including suicide bombings, over the last few days.

5. "Israel 'knows' 53 attacks planned" (Australian news agency, Sydney, June 11, 2003). This story was posted minutes before today's suicide bomb.

6. Official statement by President Bush in Chicago on Middle East Violence, Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Q: Would Israel be justified in going after Hamas, sir?

Bush: (No answer.)

7. "Abbas' new car cost half a million dollars" (By Palestine Information Center, London, England, June 10, 2003).

Occupied Jerusalem Zionist occupation forces refused entry of Palestinian Authority premier Mahmoud Abbas' new car at the crossing bridge with Jordan on the same day of the Aqaba summit. Zionist sources said that the Zionist officials refused to allow Abbas' new black Mercedes-600S to cross the bridge because its custom dues were not paid.

8. "PM Abu Mazen refuses to meet the Italian PM Berlusconi" (Palestinian Authority Website, June 11, 2003). Palestinian Information Minister, Nabil Amr, declared that the Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), would not meet his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi, in his office in Ramallah for the latter's refusal to meet with President Yasser Arafat. (Noteworthy, it is the first time that a European official refrains from meeting with Arafat, who the United States and Israel have been attempting to sideline.)

9. "Abu Mazen doing nothing about it" (Israel National News). Defense sources report that there are no signs that PA chief Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is taking any actions against terrorism. In the course of the past month, Israel has arrested 20 suicide terrorists including one yesterday before they could carry out their murderous crimes. Ten of them were caught after the Aqaba summit. Israeli security elements are dealing today with 55 terrorist warnings around the country.

10. "Death from the skies strikes Gaza again" (By Nidal al-Mughrabi, Reuters Financial News website, June 11, 2003). This extraordinary piece begins: "Peace didn't stand a chance on Wednesday on a Gaza street where sudden death struck two Palestinian militants after a bomber from their Hamas group ended the lives of 16 Jerusalem bus passengers in a flash." As the correspondent who sent me this says: "Where to start on this? I guess on the byline. Nidal al-Mughrabi seems to have a point of view."

-- Tom Gross



FULL ARTICLES

“16 ZIONIST SETTLERS KILLED, 74 INJURED”

16 Zionist settlers killed, 74 injured in Jerusalem blast
Hamas web site
June 11, 2003

Occupied Jerusalem In an apparent retaliation for the failed assassination attempt on Hamas leader Abdul Aziz Rantisi, a Palestinian guerilla blew himself aboard an Israeli bus in downtown West (al-Qods) Jerusalem, killing and injuring dozens of Jewish settlers.

The blast ripped the bus, reducing much of it to charred, twisted metals.

Israeli police sources said 16 settlers were killed and as many 74 others were injured in a preliminary count.

The Israeli state-run radio quoted medics as saying that several people died in the blast.

Hamas on Tuesday vowed to retaliate for the failed assassination attempt and also for killing by Israeli forces of six Palestinian civilians, including three members of the same family at the Refugee camp.

 

HAMAS PRAISES BUS BOMBING

Hamas praises bus bombing
The Jerusalem Post
June 11, 2003

Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a Hamas co-founder and target of Israel's botched attack on Tuesday, stopped short of claiming direct responsibility for the Jerusalem bombing.

Speaking to The Associated Press from his hospital bed he said that "the Zionists will pay an expensive price for all of their crimes."

Rantisi said the bus bombing "took place at a time when the Zionists were on utmost alert, more evidence that our people will not be defeated."

 

ARAFAT PHONES RANTISSI, WISHES HIM QUICK RECOVERY

Arafat phones Rantissi, wishes him quick recovery
Xinhua, Chinese State news agency
June 11, 2003

Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Chairman Yasser Arafat on Wednesday telephoned Hamas leader Abdul Aziz al-Rantissi, who had escaped an Israeli assassination attempt a day ago.

During the phone call, Arafat wished Rantissi quick recovery from the injuries he sustained during the Israeli helicopter attack that targeted his car in one of the most crowded streets in Gaza City, the PNA-run WAFA news agency reported.

The agency said Arafat had strongly denounced the assassination attempt, in which Rantissi and one of his sons were moderately injured, but one of his aide and two bystanders were killed. Arafat asserted that such military operations "could never lead to peace or achieve security and stability for either side."

"The PNA will keep up its efforts and contacts with the international parties concerned in order to halt such Israeli crimes," Arafat said.

 

MOFAZ WARNS “MAY BE NO CHOICE” BUT TO EXPEL ARAFAT

Arafat may be expelled soon, Mofaz warns
By Gideon Alon
Ha'aretz
June 11, 2003

There "may be no choice" but to expel Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat in "the very near future," Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.

"My opinion in the past was that we should deport Arafat," he said, responding to questions from MKs Benjamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) and Ehud Yatom (Likud). "At this moment, it would not be right to do so, but it is very possible that in the very near future, there will be no choice but to do so."

Mofaz said Arafat is making every effort to foil the Israeli-Palestinian rapprochement and the reforms that Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is trying to effect. Arafat still controls some of the PA security services, he noted.

Terrorist organizations are also trying to disrupt the process and are, therefore, instigating attacks, he said. This creates difficult problems but there is now a chance for peace that must be fully explored, he said. However, he added, the process is likely to take years and be studded with many ups and downs.

Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser, head of Military Intelligence's research division, said the army has foiled some attacks, including suicide bombings, over the last few days, but new warnings of planned attacks keep pouring in. Most of the attacks are being planned by organizations affiliated with Fatah, the faction to which both Arafat and Abbas belong, he said.

Kuperwasser noted that Abbas initially refused to condemn Sunday's attack at the Erez Junction, which killed four soldiers. Even after he was pressured into doing so, his condemnation was not reported by any of the Palestinian media. It was evidently purely for external consumption, he said.

Brigadier General Eli Yaffe, head of the General Staff's Operations Directorate, said that in the 40 days since Abu Mazen's government was established, there has been no change in the level of terrorist activity. During this period, the IDF killed 75 terrorists and arrested 650, he said.

 

ISRAEL “KNOWS” 53 ATTACKS PLANNED

Israel 'knows' 53 attacks planned
Australian news agency, Sydney
June 11, 2003

Israeli security services have intelligence on plans for 53 attacks, military radio reported today, a day after Israeli forces failed in a bid to assassinate Abdul Aziz al-Rantissi, a leader of the hardline militant group Hamas.

Half of the attacks were planned by Hamas, which has been responsible for the bulk of anti-Israeli attacks in recent years, the radio added.

Rantissi and other Hamas officials vowed bloody retaliation yesterday after the helicopter strike in central Gaza.

According to the intelligence material gathered by Israel, Rantissi had recently advocated resuming suicide attacks inside Israel during a recent meeting with the movement's spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin.

Rantissi's intention was also to force Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas to go back on his statement at last week's peace summit in Aqaba, Jordan, in which he promised to put an end to the armed struggle.

 

PRESIDENT BUSH: “THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE MIDDLE EAST WHO HATE PEACE”

Statement by President Bush
Subject: Middle East Violence
Chicago
June 11, 2003

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, today there was a terrible bombing in Jerusalem. I send my heartfelt condolences to those who suffered and lost life.

The it is clear there are people in the Middle East who hate peace. There are people who want to kill in order to make sure that the desires of Israel to live in secure peace don't happen; who kill to make sure the desires of the prime minister from the Palestinian Authority and others of a peaceful state living side by side with Israel do not happen.

For the people in the world who want to see peace in the Middle East, I strongly urge all of you to fight off terror, to cut off money to organizations such as Hamas, to isolate those who hate so much that they're willing to kill to stop peace from going forward.

I strongly condemn the killings, and I urge and call upon all the free world, nations which love peace, to not only condemn the killings but to use every ounce of their power to prevent them from happening in the future.

Thank you.

Q Would Israel be justified in going after Hamas, sir?

(No answer.)

END.

 

THE PA PREMIER DID NOT FIND IT STRANGE TO BUY SUCH AN EXPENSIVE CAR

Abbas' new car cost half a million dollars
By Palestine Information Center, London, England
June 10, 2003

Occupied Jerusalem Zionist occupation forces refused entry of Palestinian Authority premier Mahmoud Abbas' new car at the crossing bridge with Jordan on the same day of the Aqaba summit.

Hebrew sources said that the Zionist officials refused to allow Abbas' new black Mercedes-600S to cross the bridge because its custom dues were not paid.

The Palestinians should pay custom dues to the Zionist authorities on any imported commodity according to the economic agreements between the two parties then part of those duties would be transferred to the PA.

The half a million dollars bullet-proof and fire-proof car was considered one such commodity, the sources said, noting that driver of the car protested the treatment saying that he had a VIP identity card.

Directors of the custom departments consulted Zionist finance minister Benjamin Netanyahu due to the political sensitivities involved.

The minister refused to allow entry of the car without paying the money so the custom officials proposed a "creative solution" asking the Palestinians to choose either to pay the dues or the "Israelis" would deduct the sum from the money transferred from "Israel" to the PA each month.

The Palestinians chose the second option after which the driver was allowed to drive the car into the West Bank, according to the sources.

The Palestinian people are experiencing their worst ever economic hardship, yet the PA premier did not find it strange to buy such an expensive car at such hard times!

 

PM ABU MAZEN REFUSES TO MEET THE ITALIAN PM BERLUSCONI

PM Abu Mazen refuses to meet the Italian PM Berlusconi
Palestinian Authority Website
June 11, 2003

Palestinian Information Minister, Nabil Amr, declared Monday that the Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), would not meet his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi, in his office in Ramallah for the latter's refusal to meet with President Yasser Arafat, in compliance with Israeli demands.

Amr made clear that the Palestinian leadership views Berlusconi's position as a derogation form the European Union's policy line, in terms of the EU-Palestinian diplomatic relations, asserting that such a stance does not represent the European Union.

Palestinian representative to Italy, Nemr Hammad, was reported by "Republica Daily" as saying that Berlusconi would not meet with any Palestinian official during a visit to the Middle East region

Noteworthy, it is the first time that a European official refrains from meeting with President Yasser Arafat, who the United States and Israel have been attempting to sideline.

Prime Minister Abu Mazen said yesterday in a press conference in Ramallah that "President Yasser Arafat will remain on top of the Palestinian Authority and he will also resume our struggle until we establish our Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital."

Berlusconi started Monday a Middle East tour that commenced by a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

 

ABU MAZEN DOING NOTHING ABOUT IT

Abu Mazen doing nothing about it
Israel National News

Defense sources report that there are no signs that PA chief Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is taking any actions against terrorism. In the course of the past month, Israel has arrested 20 suicide terrorists including one yesterday before they could carry out their murderous crimes. Ten of them were caught after the Aqaba summit. Israeli security elements are dealing today with 55 terrorist warnings around the country half of them from Hamas, which is hankering to retaliate against yesterday's attempted assassination of terrorist leader Abdel Rantisi. Police in Wadi Ara (Nachal I'ron, between Hadera and Afula) and in the Netanya region have been on high alert all day.

In Gaza and the Shomron, the intense Palestinian violence of this morning continued this afternoon with a terrorist bomb against a passenger bus near Gush Katif; no one was hurt. Another bomb was found earlier in the same area, and Arabs fired at an IDF position near Ganei Tal. A mortar shell was found, unexploded, on the roof of a home in Kfar Darom; no one was hurt. In the Shomron, there were at least two incidents of Arab gunfire at Israeli targets; no one was hurt.

This morning saw several Kassam shells fired at Sderot and environs, and Palestinian shooting at soldiers in Gush Katif was the name of the game for most of the night. Close to ten anti-tank missiles were fired and over 25 grenades were hurled at the Israelis. At least two people were treated for shock in Gush Katif, and the shells in Sderot caused some damage. Yesterday's shelling in Sderot sent 8 people to the hospital to be treated for shock.

News of a shocking terrorist murder a month ago was revealed today. An Israeli-Arab from Kfar Kassem, outside Rosh HaAyin, has admitted murdering his girlfriend, 26-year-old Tali Weinberg. Her mutilated body was found on May 4, and police originally said that the crime occurred on a criminal or romantic background. Arutz-7's Kobi Finkler reports that the Arab, who lived with Weinberg in a room in a garage, reenacted the crime, saying he murdered her in order to prove to the terrorist organizations that he can meet their standards. He was caught last night by Shabak agents in Jericho, and was ordered remanded for ten days.

Matan Gadari, the soldier who was killed in a firefight with terrorists in Hevron on Sunday, was buried in his hometown of Moledet late this afternoon. His sister arrived this morning from South America.

 

REUTERS: “PEACE DIDN'T STAND A CHANCE ON WEDNESDAY”

Death from the skies strikes Gaza again
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
Reuters Financial News website
June 11, 2003

Peace didn't stand a chance on Wednesday on a Gaza street where sudden death struck two Palestinian militants after a bomber from their Hamas group ended the lives of 16 Jerusalem bus passengers in a flash.

Swooping down on a car, an Israeli helicopter fired three missiles, killing Tito Masaoud a senior commander of Hamas's armed wing his deputy and five passersby.

It was deja vu for Palestinians angered by an almost identical attack a day earlier in Gaza City in which Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi, a senior Hamas leader, was wounded by missiles fired from Israeli helicopter gunships.

"This is the kind of peace the road map will bring us," said a witness, his eyes brimming with tears, as he gave his assessment of a new U.S.-backed peace plan already battered by a wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Around 35 people were wounded in the Gaza strike, several seriously, hospital officials said.

"Pools of blood, cut-off body parts, cut-off heads this is what I saw," another witness said.

The strike took place shortly after a Palestinian suicide bomber disguised as an ultra-Orthodox Jew blew up a bus in downtown Jerusalem, killing at least 16 people and wounding more than 100.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the blast that followed hard on the heels of the assassination attempt against Rantissi.

Amid the dizzying cycle of violence, thousands of Gazans rushed into the street calling for more revenge.

"No for Abu Mazen's peace, yes for resistance," hundreds chanted, referring to Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, who affirmed the peace plan with Israeli leader Ariel Sharon and President Bush at a summit in Jordan a week ago.

Witnesses said the helicopters continued to hover until it was clear the two militants their bodies charred by fire that engulfed their car were dead.

"Helicopters fired a fourth missile at the crowd that ran toward the Hamas car to help, and many were hit," said the owner of a nearby store.

Women wept as they ran behind an ambulance carrying their children to hospital.

"Death to Israel, death to America," cried a Gazan as he watched a stretcher being loaded into a rescue vehicle.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.