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NEWS: Israel Storms West Bank Prison - UK & EU Sites Attacked in Retaliation

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posted on Mar, 14 2006 @ 10:14 AM
Israeli troops have stormed a Palestinian prison in an attempt to capture Ahmed Saadat, the imprisoned leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Saadat is accused of assassinating an Israeli cabinet minister in 2001. The attack on the prison has sparked a wave of reprisal attacks, protests and kidnappings including a British Council cultural centre in Gaza being set alight and the abduction of the director of International Red Cross in Gaza.
Israeli troops have taken control of a prison in the West Bank town of Jericho, firing on the jail, destroying its walls and killing a guard.

They are trying to seize militant Ahmed Saadat, blamed for the killing of a minister. He is refusing to surrender.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has blamed the withdrawal of UK and US prison monitors for the raid.

The raid has sparked a series of clashes, protests and kidnappings of foreigners in the West Bank and Gaza.
A BBC correspondent at the prison says there has been Israeli tank and helicopter fire on the jail.

Mr Saadat remained defiant, saying in telephone interviews to the media that he would rather die than surrender to Israeli forces. "The occupation are planning a massacre in the Jericho complex. There is shelling from all angles and destroying the prison from all sides," he told the BBC Arabic Service.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Ahmed Saadat is still holed up in the prison with other prisoners and refuses to surrender. Israel troops have reportedly said they will kill the prisoners if they do not surrender. An EU compound has also been attacked, and two French members of the Medecins du Monde charity have also been kidnapped.

Apart from the Israeli overkill to capture an already confined prisoner, the aspect causing the most controversy is that US and UK prison monitors who agreed with the Palestinians to oversee Saadats imprisonment were withdrawn before the attack for "security reasons". They obviously knew this was coming.

Abbas, and by the looks of it the Palestinians, are blaming the withdrawal for the raid. The US and UK are saying the Palestinians negated their side of the bargain by not providing ample security for the monitors and by not keeping Saadat in seclusion.

Related News Links:

[edit on 14-3-2006 by kegs]

posted on Mar, 14 2006 @ 07:44 PM
I can't believe this. This is a blatant attack on Palestine. It almost seems like they're provoking a new Hamas govt.

posted on Mar, 14 2006 @ 08:10 PM
I was shocked when I read this news on the BBC early this am. It seems like blatant complicity on the part of the US and UK. The prison was struck by missles and bulldozed. The prisoner they wanted finally surrendered. This is one time I cannot imagine the world saying the Palistinians don't have a reason for their anger. Israel went WAY over the line IMHO, and while I personally think they've been crossing that line for a very long time, I hope this finally shows the world that Israel is NOT the innocents they always claim to be.

Now...having made that last statement, I'm not going to be labeled an anti-Semite. I loathe racism in any way, shape or form. But Israel is NOT completely innocent, and it makes me angry when I see the continuous tit-for-tat game playing that goes on...on BOTH sides. It makes me angry and sad. BUT I cannot see why we close our eyes to atrocities committed by Israel. BOTH sides in this conflict are guilty, but we cannot continue to blame one side only and excuse the other if we ever expect it to end.

posted on Mar, 14 2006 @ 08:54 PM
Well said maidenwolf, there are indeed wrongs being committed by both sides. I think it is wrong to blame the U.S. & the U.K. for the current state of affairs though--they did not attack the prison, they simply got out of the way. It is debatable whether or not the attack would have taken place had they stayed anyway. It sounds like they were told of the attack and advised to vacate the area if they did not want to become casulties. They were likely given very little warning in advance.

posted on Mar, 14 2006 @ 09:08 PM
um, nobody seems to mention that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said, last week, that he was ready to free Saadat.

Now, that doesn't make this right or wrong but it does provide a reason for doing this.

also, it should be pointed out that the monitors left after repeated complaints to Abbas about the prisoners having free reign inside the prison.

letter to abbas

[edit on 14-3-2006 by Crakeur]

posted on Mar, 14 2006 @ 11:45 PM
I wasn't "blaming" the US or the UK for what happened... I said they were complicit. I think they knew exactly what was going on, and let it happen. If that is true (and I could be wrong, but I'd be willing to bet on it), then that is sick and shameful.

As for Abbas announcing they were releasing him making it somehow OK for what Israel did....baloney. There was no reason for this. They threatened to KILL every prisoner if they did not strip and come out. They struck the prison with missles, too! They didn't care about loss of life...period. AND, they have a very long history of this behavior....BOTH sides do. It is inexcusable and unjustifiable IMHO.

posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 02:00 AM
The U.S. and the U.K. were leaving because the P.A. were making a mockery of the whole notion of imprisonment. Providing a murderer with everything from cell phones to weapons sounds pretty fishy to me. Put it in context with a prisoner in your country or state.
The U.S. and the U.K. are complicit in that? Yeah, ok.

The P.A., on top of making their heroic murderer as cozy and comfy and armed and in commo as possible, was on the verge of releasing this Boy Scout. Again, it seems that no matter what, the Israelis are wrong and the bad guy is Santa Clause.

Makes no sense to me, but I'm beginning to get used to that.

Edited due to my typing skills are definitely on the decline.

[edit on 15-3-2006 by Thomas Crowne]

posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 02:36 AM
Timeline of events since Rehavam Zeevi, then-minister of tourism murder in 2001

  • October 2001

    - Israeli cabinet minister Rahavam Zeevi was gunned down by terrorists as he enters his room at Jerusalem's Hyatt Regency Hotel ; the PFPL (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) claimed responsibility for the assassination shortly following the attack.

  • January 2002
    Ahmed Saadat, Secretary-General of the PFLP, was arrested on Tuesday January 14, 2002 by the Palestinian Authority's general intelligence service at a meeting of the Palestinian parliament Ramallah / West Bank. Four other PFLP members involved in Zeevi's murder seeked refuge in Arafat's Mukata compound in Ramallah.

  • March 2002 - IDF troops imposed a blockade on Ramallah and the Mukata headquarters where Arafat and the 4 PFLP members were located. They demanded that the fugitives be handed over to stand trial in Israel. But Arafat refused to meet Israel's demand.

  • April 2002 - In "kanagaroo court" trial in Ramallah- nominally a military court headed by Brig.Gen. Ribhi Arafat - four Palestinians (Hamdi Koran, Basel Al Asmar, Majdi Rimawi and Ahed Gholam) involved in Zeevi's murder, were sentenced to between 1 to 18 years in prison. Saadat never stands trial.

  • May 2002 Sa'adat, along with Karine A weapons ship paymaster Fuad Shubaki and the four cell members involved in Zeevi's murder, is transferred from Ramallah to the Jericho prison as part of an agreement to lift the siege on the Ramallah headquarters of Yasser Arafat..Under the terms of the deal, bokered by the U.S. the wanted men would be moved to a jail in Jericho, where their imprisonment would be monitored by U.S. and British security officials to ensure that the PA would not release the six fugitives.

  • October 2002 - The Jerusalem District Court convicts Mahmud Rimawi and Salah Alawi, two members of the cell involved in Zeevi's murder, who were later arrested by security forces.

  • January 2006 - Following Hamas' win in the Palestinian Authority's parliamentary elections, the (Hamas leadership declared it would release Ahmed Saadat, the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the other PFLP members jailed in Jericho.

  • March 7th 2006 AP reports, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday he would free from prison the mastermind of an Israeli Cabinet minister's assassination.

  • March 8th, 2006 British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw informed the Israeli government and the PA the UK would pull out of the Agreement "with immediate effect". The timing of the withdrawal, Straw said, had been withheld for "security reasons".

    A statement by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that, "The Palestinian Authority has consistently failed to meet its obligations" under the agreement reached over the internment of Saadat. As result, the statement continued, Britain "terminated our involvement with the mission."

    The monitors had previously said that they would leave the Jericho jail in mid-March, apparently following a decision by the Palestinian Authority to release the prisoners being held there. (source)

    U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack also confirmed, the Palestinians were warned in advance, in a joint British-US letter from March 8. (see here a pdf of that letter, source: NYT) The U.S. was alerted that Israel planned to raid Jericho Prison.

  • March 14 2006 -
    An official at the British embassy in Tel Aviv confirmed Tuesday morning that the British monitors had left Jericho jail.

    "We saw them pass through the checkpoint and then realized that the prisoners including Saadat were left unguarded," a senior IDF officer is quoted - In the moment the monitors left the prison, Yamam (the Israeli elite police SWAT team) backed by bulldozers, tanks and helicopters, stormed the jail in Jericho to demand the handover of the six militants including PFLP- leader Ahmed Saadat

    Giving the prisoners the option to voluntarily exit the prison and surrender themselves to Israeli custody, Israeli security forces surround the building.

    Some 200 prisoners turned themselves in to IDF troops and were taken to the nearby Jewish settlement of Vered Jericho for interrogation. 76 of them, who were not of interest to security forces, were returned to the custody of the PA.

    While the Yamam troops surrounded the prison, Saadat found time to hold a chat with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in a live broadcast on al-Jazeera, wo called the masses to assemble in front of the Jericho prison (which did not happen) .
    But following a nine-hour IDF siege, Saadat and five other terrorists involved in the murder of former Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi left the prison with their hands up and turned themselves over to IDF Tuesday evening.

    Finally, Zeevi's killers are behind Israeli bars

    [edit on 15-3-2006 by Riwka]

posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 02:49 AM
To all those who are outraged at the Israeli operation in the Jericho jail I would like to include a bit more information that was missing from the news story posted.
1- The prisoners in question were responsible for the assassination of tourist minister Rehavam Zeevi during 2001 (I think thats the date).
2- In an agreement signed by the Palestinians, US and UK it was agreed that the prisoners be kept in Jail under UK and US supervision. The PA had a tendency to use a rotating door policy were prisoners were arrested to appease Israel and subsequently quietly released. This was a blatant violation of the OSLO accords. Moreover the Oslo accords required that Palestinians extradite to Israel people who Israel suspected of terrorist activities. Not one palestinian was ever extradited.
3- As part of the Fatah-Hamas negotiations in forming a government it was decided that these prisoners be released and Abu-Mazen ordered their release. I mean after all, their crime was that they killed a Jew, why do they need to do time.
4- The US and UK, who are passive supervisors had no choice in the matter and therefore left the prison. Israel knowing that after the US and UK supervisors leave the prisoners would all of a sudden disappear.
5- The Fatah-Hamas negotiations for forming a government fingered Saadat for a senior government post. Saadat is an extremist. Israel could not allow this.
6- Saadat and his cohorts repeated that they would rather die then surrender. Probably thinking that international pressure would force Israel to stop the operation and that would give him a better standing in his political career. Turns out that he surrendered like a coward.
7- As a response, terrorists like terrorists, Palestinian militants kidnapped numerous foreigners from the West Bank and Gaza and threatened to kill them. I think THIS should anger everyone since a korean reporter, American professor and Italian teachers have nothing to do with these events and are not combatant civilians. This shows the true face of the Palestinians.
Israel's operation was to capture the prisoners responsible for the assassination of minister Zeevi (RIP) before they disappear in blatant violation of agreements signed with Israel, UK and US.

I would like to congratulate the IDF on an operation well done.

posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 04:05 AM
After reading all the background on this situation (provided by Riwka), I can now understand why the IDF attacked the prison--although that is too strong a word for what really happened. Had the PA kept their word this would not have happened. In my mind, the IDF was fully justified in their actions.

posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 04:16 AM
Good move Israel. If the Palastinians won't bring their murderers to justice then Israel has a justifiable right to do so.

In the same situation, if a terrorist murdered a high ranking American, then fled to a foreign country to be freed, just what would you expect America to do, just watch the person walk to freedom?

No, same story here.

posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 08:39 AM

Originally posted by Netchicken
Good move Israel. If the Palastinians won't bring their murderers to justice then Israel has a justifiable right to do so.

In the same situation, if a terrorist murdered a high ranking American, then fled to a foreign country to be freed, just what would you expect America to do, just watch the person walk to freedom?

No, same story here.

And what if an American killed a high ranking member of ANY government and fled to the U.S. for protection, would that country have the right to attack our prisons and seize him? You cannot have it both ways. I know the Bush administration asserts that is the case, doesn't make it right however. Isreali and American blindness in regards to hamas never ceases to amaze me...the best and most productive way to defang them is to engage them fully in the political process, to refuse to do so only gives them fuel.

posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 12:00 PM
Grover you want to play that game?
What if ANY government fired rockets into the U.S. and then pretended to be the victim when the U.S. responded?

Two Quassam rockets were launched into Israel yesterday, from what I saw, and so far one today, as far as I saw. How would one expect the U.S. to respond?

Israel did not invade another country anyway, so that makes no difference. Furthermore, as Israel is being attacked daily by their enemy, the enemy that refuses to denounce the violence and the enemy that is NOW the government of the P.A.

posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 01:07 PM
I am not going to argue this point, its not worth my energy but in case you misunderstood my retorical question here it is again:

And what if an American killed a high ranking member of ANY government and fled to the U.S. for protection, would that country have the right to attack our prisons and seize him?

posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 01:24 PM
Your question, Grover, is not pertinent.
The point of the matter is that the enemy PFLP, assassinated a former Israeli cabinet member. The Palestinian Authority then wants to keep them in their prison. For good reason, there are international monitors to insure they are imprisoned and treated like prisoners. Why is that? Because the PA does not act like a legitimate government and supports the activities of groups like PFLP.
The U.S. and U.K. notifies the P.A. that they will be leaving because of the fact that they do not imprison him properly. The letter notifying the PA is dated 8 March. The Israelis are also notified that this is the situation, and the PA's even discuss releasing him.

these are the facts, Grover; there is no reason to make some hypothetical scenario.
As far as how we respond, it depends upon the president; for example, Reagan response or Carter response?
There is nothing wrong with their resonse and there was ample reason for their response.
Again, rather than scream, "Mean ol' Israel!", why not look at the provocation? Oh yeah, because Israel-bashing is the sport.

*Most of the typos edited out.*

[edit on 15-3-2006 by Thomas Crowne]

posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 01:49 PM
As far as I see it, Israel is in the wrong. You cannot just fire missles into a prison and threaten to kill EVERYONE inside. Period. There are other ways to go about these things. BOTH sides (which I have repeated several times now) need to learn some damn diplomacy and common decency, but putting that aside, and ONLY speaking to the specifics of THIS incident (which is what I, personally, was doing without trying to drag up the whole history of it all)...Israel crossed the line. Yes, the guy is a bad guy, yes, he should be in prison. Where's the argument there? You won't get one from me about that. Israel does NOT have the right to just wantonly kill people and destroy buildings as they seem to think they do. THAT is the point here. Yes, Palastine has a long history of releasing people they shouldn' what? That's beside the point. For Israel and Palastine to EVER get along, BOTH sides MUST learn tact and diplomacy. They should have tried other methods...extensively. There were (obviously) US and UK monitors there that could have been used as mediators (while that was not their job, it could have been tried...I could suggest about a hundred things right now, but that is outside this thread so won't). Back to the issue...Israel cannot continue along its current path either if they expect continued support. This was atrocious IMHO, and uncalled for terror.

posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 02:15 PM

Originally posted by Thomas Crowne
Your question, Grover, is not pertinent.

Of course my question is pertinent and it goes right to the heart of why so much of the rest of the world thinks that we have a double standard, one for the United States and Isreal nd one for everybody else. How we view things doesn't matter so much, it is how we are precieved. Understanding that would go a long way towards repairing our relations with the rest of the inhabitants of this planet.

posted on Mar, 15 2006 @ 02:19 PM

Originally posted by maidenwolf
As far as I see it, Israel is in the wrong. You cannot just fire missles into a prison and threaten to kill EVERYONE inside. Period. There are other ways to go about these things.

Other ways like Diplomacy?
So when you have 4 very dangerous terrorists are roaming free in the West Bank, with active assistance from the PA which by the way is now led by their brethren Hamas, the Israelis sit down with the Palestinians and talk to them about getting this guy back in jail ? Why did they not do their job of keeping him locked up in the first place ?

The Palestinians would with typical nonchalence claim they know nothing about his where abouts. What then ? Another wild hunt in the West bank for these 4 terrorists ?

The IDF did exactly what it should have to the prisoners, they were inside the jail with weapons and add to that their tendency to blow themselves up. The IDF are right to ask them to strip and come out.
The jail compound would in actuality provide a perfect fortress for the prisioners to ambush the IDF and thus they needed to break down the walls to get access which is understandable.
If you claim that the IDF has been too aggressive then just look at the statistics of the raid, how many palestinian prisioners were killed ? Compare that to the fate of all those westerner aid workers that are in Palestine to help the palestinians.

If you are going to claim some sort of nefarious collusion between the Israelis and US-UK then I would like to point out that the Jericho jail is surrouded in almost all sides by the IDF which are deployed in the Jordan border and also the very nature of the exit of US-UK inspectors meant that the deal was now in effect over and Sadaat would be a free man.
Just suppose that Lee Harvey Oswald was imprisioned in Cuba and the cubans let him go, do you think the US would just sit back and start negotiations to get him back in jail ??

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