Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

10 Ellul 5761 - August 29, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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IDF enters Beit Jalla
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

The IDF was holding positions at press time that it seized Monday night in the West Bank village of Beit Jalla in retaliation for renewed shooting at the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. Despite the incursion into Beit Jalla, Palestinian gunmen were still firing sporadically at Gilo on Tuesday morning.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was expected to convene the security cabinet to discuss whether to maintain Israel's presence in Beit Jalla or to withdraw the troops positioned there.

As helicopters hovered overhead, IDF tanks and bulldozers entered Beit Jala at around 1 A.M. Tuesday, and took control of several homes and positions from where Palestinian gunmen were firing on Gilo. IDF paratroopers and the engineering corps participated in the operation.

The political echelon authorized the strike Monday evening, with Foreign Minister Shimon Peres the only dissenter saying that the way to halt the shooting at Gilo was by talking to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, Israel Radio reported.

One source said it was possible that the IDF would stay in Beit Jala, "for several hours, possibly even several days." Justice Minister Meir Sheetrit (Likud) said Tuesday the army would "stay in Beit Jalla as long as is needed." If the shooting at Gilo continued, he added, "we will seize the whole town if necessary."

Transport Minister Ephraim Sneh (Labor) was more circumspect, saying that the plan was "not to conquer Beit Jalla."

IDF troops and tanks also thrust into the Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza overnight, and tore down eight homes which gunmen were using to fire from at IDF positions. The forces withdrew after completing the operation.

Heavy exchanges of fire between gunmen in Beit Jala and IDF troops in Gilo began Monday evening. A 62-year-old Gilo resident was lightly wounded by Palestinian gunfire and was taken to hospital. A synagogue and five apartments were also damaged in the shooting.

Meir Lichsenberg, a 35-year-old Israeli, was murdered Monday when the car he was travelling in was shot at, on the road between the West Bank settlements of Elon Moreh and Itamar.

Lichsenberg, an Itamar resident who was travelling in the car with four other people, was shot in the head and driven to a nearby IDF post. He was taken by helicopter to Tel Hashomer Hospital, where he later died of his injuries.

In retaliation for the attack, IDF tanks destroyed a Palestinian Authority roadblock in the Nablus area.

The Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine, whose leader Abu Ali Mustafa was killed in an Israeli assassination earlier Monday, took responsibility for the attack saying it was a response to the killing of its leader. However, observers said that it had probably been planned earlier.

This is the third shooting attack in which Israelis have been killed in the West Bank in the first two days of this week.


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