From Wire Reports
Oct. 30 - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak won a reprieve for his
minority government in a long-awaited session of parliament today, but
warned that a window of opportunity for peace was closing.
Addressing a hostile parliament, Barak said his hand was still
stretched out in peace, but that he would not make concessions to the
Palestinians under the threat of guns and stones. "There will be no reward
for violence," Barak said.
Israel launched helicopter attacks today against the offices of
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction in the West Bank and
Gaza, calling it "a warning operation" that Palestinians would "pay a
price" for guerrilla warfare.
There were no immediate reports of casualties after the raids.
"Since the Palestinians are beginning to wage something that
approximates a guerrilla war, our helicopter attack was a signal that if
there is one, we have the answer to it," Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim
Sneh told Israel Television.
Barak opened parliament's winter session as the leader of a minority
government, but he was in no immediate danger of being toppled as the
ultra-Orthodox Shas Party said it would support him for the next month,
and hawkish opposition leader Ariel Sharon told parliament he still hadn't
given up on the idea of joining an emergency coalition with Barak's
His temporary support came even as violence persisted as scores of
Palestinians were wounded by army fire and an Israeli died in Jerusalem -
the first Israeli killed in the city since the recent violence began.
In a speech that was greeted with protests and some walkouts, Barak
called on Arafat to break the cycle of violence that has lasted more than
a month and has claimed more than 145 lives, mostly Palestinians. "You
should know you will achieve nothing through violence," Barak said during
a 30-minute speech.
"You will find us united against violence. Negotiations are conducted
around a table, not in the streets and not with shooting and stones. There
will be no prize for violence," Barak said.
Barak, who controls only 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset, has been
courting Sharon, whose visit to a disputed Jerusalem shrine last month has
been cited by the Palestinians as the trigger for the current violence.
Sharon has said he would oppose a resumption of peace negotiations
based on concessions Barak is reported to have offered Arafat at the
failed Camp David summit in July.
Barak suspended the peace process last week, accusing Arafat of
failing to honor an agreement they reached at an emergency summit in Sharm
el-Sheikh in Egypt to halt the violence.
But Israel's acting foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami today said Barak
would not accept forming an emergency government that closed the door on a
peace deal with the Palestinians.
"Any government in Israel will be judged, by the prime minister and
by members of the Labor Party, according to the space it leaves open to
continue the peace process," Ben-Ami told reporters in Paris.
Ben-Ami, a prominent moderate in Barak's Labor Party, is expected to
be in Washington Wednesday to discuss ways to end the current round of
Both party leaders faced a restive and often hostile parliament as Arab
members of the Knesset held up photographs of 13 Israeli Arabs killed in
the recent unrest after their request to maintain a moment silence for
those who lost their lives in violence was rejected by parliament.
Sharon fared no better as Mohammed Barakei a member of the left-wing
Hadash Party yelled: "You started the fire, the fire and the blood." He
was referring to Sharon's controversial visit to a disputed Jerusalem
shrine last month that has been cited as the trigger for the current
"Go back to the Palestinian parliament, then," countered a member of
the Shas Party.
Barak's address came the morning after he had a 35-minute phone
conversation with President Clinton to work out concrete steps to end the
But the violence showed no signs of abating. An Israeli guard shot at
close range by a gunman in predominantly Arab East Jerusalem today died of
He was a victim of the first shooting attack in Jerusalem since
fighting began last month. The attack came when a youth shot at two guards
at a branch of the Israeli government National Insurance Institute before
The second guard is in serious condition, a hospital spokesman said
Elsewhere, two bodies were found in the West Bank - one an Israeli
man who had been stabbed repeatedly, the other a 20-year-old Palestinian
shot in the head during clashes the night before. Heavy gun battles
erupted overnight in several locations, including the West Bank resort
town of Jericho.
The violence came as Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh today
announced the army is changing its tactics in dealing with Palestinian
Sneh said troops would no longer only respond to Palestinian fire,
but would take the initiative.
"Now we are saying that instead of following a method which is
somewhat mechanical, we will use a method which uses our advantages …
small units, units well-trained in guerrilla warfare," Sneh told Israel
Israel's response to gunfire has included firing missiles from
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
Back To Dark Savant Ministries