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The Cost of Occupation: Palestinian Cities and Towns Still Under Seige

Despite the latest corporate news reports of another ceasefire in the works, Palestinian cities and towns remain under attack by Israeli occupation forces.

For the past two weeks, Israeli occupation forces, equipped with heavy tanks, armored personel carriers, and helicopter gunships have attacked six major Palestinian cities and towns in the West Bank, killing over 50 Palestinians, and leaving hundreds wounded, in what appears to be an all out effort to crush the Palestinian uprising.

On Wednesday, Oct. 24, Israeli tanks, infantry, and special forces units stormed into the West Bank village of Beit Rima in the early morning hours, killing at least 8 people, (several are missing and feared dead) injuring dozens more and arresting 60 villagers. Palestinian emergency medical teams, journalists and human rights activists were banned by Israeli troops from entering the village, despite earlier demands from the US administration for an immediate Israeli withdrawal.

The latest attacks came in the wake of the death of Israeli right wing politician, Minister of Tourism and proponent of ethnic cleansing, Rehavam Ze'evi, who was shot on Oct 17th in retaliation for the Israeli assassination of of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's General Secretary, href="">Abu Ali Mustafa on August 27th.

At least 60 Palestinian activists have been the victims of extra-judicial assassination at the hands of Israeli security forces since the beginning of the Intifada.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society reports that the number of Palestinian deaths in the West Bank and Gaza since Sept.29, 2000 has topped 766, with injuries soaring to over 16,460. (Figures inclusive to Midnight, October 24, 2001.) According to the Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute (HDIP) of Ramallah, the current unemployment rate for Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has soared to 48%. Over 1.3 million Palestinians now live in abject poverty..earning less than $2 /day.




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