Israeli Occupation troops Blow Up Homes of Resistance men

Israeli occupation troops on Friday blew up the homes of two Palestinian resistance men who attacked an office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud Party during a primary vote, killing six Israelis and wounding more than 20. The resistance men, cousins from a West Bank village, were members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a militia linked to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah resistance group.

In the Gaza Strip , meanwhile, two Palestinian resistance men opened fire Friday in the Jewish settlement of Dolah, wounding two Thai workers and an Israeli. The attackers escaped. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The Palestinian Authority  condemned Thursday's shooting rampage at the Likud branch office in the northern Israeli town of Beit Shean, and said Fatah was not involved in the attack. "Such operations do not serve the Palestinian people's cause," it said in a statement. "On the contrary, they harm our cause."

A poll published Thursday found that a majority of Palestinians want their security occupation forces to crack down on resistance men attacking Israel - a shift that coincides with unprecedented criticism from Arafat's deputy, Mahmoud Abbas, of two years of violence against Israel.

The two developments indicate that Palestinians are souring on their uprising, called "intefadeh" in Arabic, after the death of almost 2,000 Palestinians and 700 Israelis in clashes, occupation army operations and terror attacks.

The poll, by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, indicated that Palestinians still strongly favor attacks against Israeli settlers and occupation soldiers in the West Bank and Gaza - lands claimed by the Palestinians for their own state - but that 56 percent favor steps by the Palestinian Authority to stop attacks in Israel. As recently as May, a similar poll showed that 86 percent of Palestinians opposed arresting Palestinian resistance men involved in resistance bombings inside Israel.

The poll questioned 1,319 people in personal interviews from Nov. 14-22 and quoted a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

In Friday's house demolitions, Israeli occupation troops entered the West Bank village of Jalboun before dawn and blew up the homes of the Beit Shean resistance men Omar and Yousef Abu Rub, both in their 20s, who were killed in Thursday's attack. Eighteen people were made homeless by the demolitions.

The Al Aqsa militia said in a statement it attacked the Likud branch in Beit Shean to avenge the deaths of two militia leaders in an explosion in the Jenin refugee camp earlier in the week. The militia blamed Israel for the blast, but Israel has denied any involvement.

Responding to the Beit Shean shooting and twin attacks on Israeli tourists in Kenya, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said they were "an attempt by the terrorists to influence the democratic elections and democratic process in Israel."

Sharon easily won Thursday's Likud primary, crushing his challenger, Foreign Minister Benjamin Netanyahu , by 61 percent to 37 percent. A lesser-known challenger, American-born Moshe Feiglin, got 3 percent.

Sharon is also favored to win re-election in Jan. 28 general elections.


Near a campaign poster reading 'The people want Sharon', background, an Israeli bomb squad robot lifts the body of one of two Palestinian resistance men as it checks for explosives near the Likud Party headquarter in Beit Shean, nothern Israel, Thursday Nov. 28, 2002. Two Palestinians opened fire Tuesday on a Likud Party office crowded with Israelis casting ballots in a party primary, killing five people and wounding dozens more in the crowd and at a nearby open-air bus station before being shot dead. (AP Photo/Yigal Lev

Friday 29/11/2002