British and US Collusion in Jericho Jail siege

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British and US Collusion in Jericho Jail siege

Postby Trifecta » Wed Mar 15, 2006 5:51 am

<br><br>This article does not express the real culprits in this viasco, namely the US and British pulled out of international monitors protecting the prison.<br><br>Abbas rushes home after jail raid <br><br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href=""></a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br> <br>Mr Abbas' visit included a trip to France, Austria and Belgium <br>Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has cut short a trip to Europe after a raid by the Israeli army on a prison in Jericho that sparked violent protests. <br>The Israelis seized a number of inmates, including a man prisoner blamed for killing an Israeli minister. <br><br>Mr Abbas condemned the raid - as well as the international monitors who had been guarding the jail but had pulled out because of security concerns. <br><br>He was on the first day of a trip aimed at securing aid for the Palestinians. <br><br>"I have interrupted my visit to return to my country," Mr Abbas told journalists in Strasbourg, France. <br><br>The BBC's Alix Kroeger in Strasbourg said the trip - which was to include a speech to the European Parliament on Wednesday - was an important one. <br><br>The EU, as the single largest donor to the Palestinian Authority, donates around $340m each year. <br><br>But since the election victory of Hamas - a listed terrorist organisation by the EU - it has been reconsidering its position. <br><br>"Retaliation" <br><br>An Israeli foreign ministry official said Tuesday's prison raid was necessary because several militants were about to be freed. <br><br> <br><br><br>Profile: Ahmed Saadat <br><br>They included Ahmed Saadat, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). He is wanted by Israel in connection with the killing of Israeli minister Rehavam Zeevi five years ago. <br><br>Mr Saadat's British lawyer, Daniel Machover, told the BBC that his client had been unjustly detained for four years. <br><br>"Our client, has not been charged, tried, convicted of any offence," Mr Machover said. <br><br>The PFLP warned that the seizure would "not pass without retaliation". <br><br>All Palestinian factions later called for a general strike on Wednesday. <br><br>Condemnations <br><br>The prison raid provoked angry protests and a wave of attacks against Western interests. <br><br>Gunmen set fire to a British Council cultural centre in Gaza City, and attacked other UK-owned property. At least eight foreigners were kidnapped. <br><br>Although some were later released, reports say one Korean and two French hostages are still being held in the Gaza Strip. <br><br>The EU condemned the actions by both Israel and the Palestinians. <br><br>"We strongly condemn the attack on the prison in Jericho by Israeli forces as well as the resulting kidnappings and acts of violence in the Palestinian territories," Josep Borrell, president of the European Parliament said in a statement. <br><br>But the EU warned Mr Abbas that funding to the Palestinians could be cut back if attacks on EU property and kidnappings of Westerners did not stop. <br><br>However it said funding agreed last month of 120m euros ($143m) would not be affected. <br><br>During his trip, Mr Abbas met EU officials in Strasbourg and the Austrian chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel in Vienna. <br><br>He was then to travel to Brussels and Paris after addressing the European Parliament on Wednesday. <br><br><br>The Palestinian Authority is on heightened alert after a day-long Israeli siege of a West Bank jail prompted an unprecedented wave of abductions and threats of revenge against the Jewish state.<br><br><br><br>Three foreign captives - two French and a Korean - were being held by Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip after the Israeli raid on the Jericho jail, which succeeded in its aim of netting a resistance leader but sparked a violent reaction in the territories, much of it directed at British and US interests.<br><br> <br><br>Ahmed Saadat, the leader of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), along with other Palestinian political activists jailed with him for their role in the 2001 murder of a far-right Israeli minister, surrendered to Israeli troops late on Tuesday.<br><br> <br><br>A US State Department spokesman urged both sides to exercise "calm and restraint" amid mounting questions over why the international monitors at the prison were removed just minutes before the raid. The UN Security Council also called for calm.<br><br> <br><br>The president of the European Parliament roundly condemned Israel's massive raid on the prison and the wave of kidnappings of foreigners that followed it.<br><br> <br><br>Borrell, the president of the European Parliament, said in a statement: "We strongly condemn the attack on the prison in Jericho by Israeli forces as well as the resulting kidnappings and acts of violence in the Palestinian territories today." <br><br> <br><br> <br><br>Retaliation <br><br>The PFLP vowed that the seizure of its jailed leader and other members would "not pass without retaliation" and all Palestinian factions later united in calling for a general strike on Wednesday.<br><br> <br><br> <br>Abbas (L) cancelled his European <br>tour after the Israeli raid <br> <br>Palestinian security forces, issued with orders to respond with live fire to attacks against Western interests, were on high alert to prevent a repeating of the security anarchy.<br><br> <br><br>Israeli troops had pounded the prison compound with tank and missile fire throughout the day in an attempt to force the armless prisoners out of their cells. <br><br> <br><br>Two Palestinian security guards were killed and 26 others wounded, five of them critically.<br><br> <br><br>The operation came minutes after the three British monitors, part of a team that normally also includes Americans, were withdrawn from the prison, prompting furious charges of collusion from the Palestinians.<br><br> <br><br>Monitors' safety <br><br>Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary, denied the charges, saying the monitors were pulled out for their safety, but Palestinians argue that those monitors were initially installed to provide safety.<br><br> <br><br>Hundreds of Palestinian fighters reacted to the Israeli action by storming the British cultural centre in the Gaza Strip and setting fire to it, while angry Palestinian activists stormed into an American centre for teaching English in Gaza City.<br><br> <br><br>In the West Bank town of Ram Allah, the British cultural centre and a branch of HSBC bank were also attacked.<br><br> <br><br>Palestinian security forces said all foreigners still at liberty had now left the Gaza Strip after being gathered at the police headquarters in Gaza City for their own safety.<br><br> <br><br>Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, abandoned a European tour late on Tuesday, and flew back from Strasbourg as the unrest flared.<br><br> <br><br>Saadat and three other PFLP members had been jailed in Jericho, a prison under US and British supervision since August 2002, after his resistance faction claimed the 2001 killing of the Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi.<br><br> <br><br>Kidnappings<br><br>Amid security chaos that threatens to deal a further blow to the moribund peace process, one South Korean and two French journalists were taken captives from a luxury Palestinian hotel on the Gaza City seafront.<br><br> <br><br> <br>Israeli troops stormed a Jericho <br>prison on Tuesday <br><br> <br>The two French journalists were identified as Caroline Laurent, a correspondent for Elle magazine, and SIPA agency photographer Alfred Yacobzadeh, who was facing his second hostage ordeal after being kidnapped in Beirut during the 1975-90 Lebanese civil war.<br><br> <br><br>The Foreign Ministry in Seoul named the abducted Korean as Yong Tae-young, 41, a correspondent for public broadcaster KBS.<br><br> <br><br>Five other foreigners were kidnapped in Gaza on Tuesday but were released unharmed, while a US professor captured in the West Bank was also later freed.<br><br> <br><br>Gideon Ezra, the Israeli public security minister, said the prison raid was undertaken to prevent the resistance leaders from going free after Abbas repeatedly suggested he would be ready to release them in recent weeks.<br><br> <br><br>Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat condemned what he described as a "kidnapping operation" and held Britain and the United States responsible for the safety of the PFLP leader, whose predecessor Abu Ali Mustafa was assassinated by Israel in 2001.<br><br><br>Aljazeera + Agencies <br><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK START--><a href=""></a><!--EZCODE AUTOLINK END--><br> <br> <p></p><i></i>
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