Israelis open fire to halt deportees' march: Palestinians risk death on march to oppose Middle East peace process
Saturday 17 April 1993
In south Lebanon, at least one Palestinian was wounded by shrapnel as Israeli shells crashed within 100 yards of the deportees as they marched towards the Zemraya checkpoint, about two miles south of their camp between Israeli and Lebanese lines.
The Palestinians are demanding they be granted the right to return to their homes in the occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank. As dusk fell the deportees halted about 600 yards from Israeli tanks to reconsider the wisdom of their defiant but highly dangerous mission.
They had already achieved one prime aim: to win back some of the limelight which they have lost in recent weeks, and to embarrass Palestinian and Arab leaders, meeting this weekend in the Syrian capital, Damascus, to discuss the Middle East peace talks. It was because of Israel's unprecedented act of deportation that the talks were abandoned.
Israel, however, remains just as defiant as they are. As the march began yesterday, Israeli troops fired a few warning shots from an anti-aircraft battery high over the camp. About 35 Israeli soldiers then advanced about half a mile north of the Zemraya gate with an armoured troop carrier and took up combat positions near a sand barricade studded with landmines.
The deportees interrupted their march for Friday prayers, setting their prayer-mats on the road. Israel's answer was to shower more shells on the hills around and set off mines by remote control near the deportees.
''Allahu Akbar (God is most great),' shouted the deportees with each explosion, while smoke billowed up. The men smeared their faces with onions in case tear-gas was used as they sat in the road about 200 yards from a gate manned by about 20 Israeli soldiers with a water tanker.
'God, let your mercy save us from the Jews,' the men chanted as they walked on towards Zemraya, holding up copies of the Koran and wearing white headbands bearing the slogan: 'Dying for the sake of God is our purest wish. We are heading towards Palestine ready to die for our religion.'
Faisal al-Husseini, head of the Palestinian delegation to peace talks with Israel, told the United States conditions were not yet right for his side to attend the next round of negotiations in Washington, his spokesman said. Mr Husseini conveyed this to the US Consul-General in East Jerusalem, Molly Williamson, shortly after he returned from Cairo on yesterday.
'Mr Husseini had explained to Miss Williamson that the conditions do not help our attendance of the negotiations on 20 April,' spokesman Salah al-Zuhaikeh said.
Mr Zuhaikeh said this was the common feeling at the meeting in Damascus.
The start of each new round of peace negotiations has often been preceded by violent attacks by extremists who oppose the talks. Yesterday, two Palestinians were killed and eight Israeli soldiers slightly injured in an explosion at a roadside cafe in the West Bank. Israeli radio said the attack was an Arab suicide bomb that was detonated outside a snack bar, near the Jewish settlement at Mehola, about 60 miles north-east of Jerusalem.
The car, packed with gas canisters, had been parked between two buses, one for civilians and the other for soldiers. Both went up in flames. One of the Palestinians killed was a restaurant employee; the other victim was not identified.
The attack will stir up new Israeli anxiety about Palestinian militancy, after a lull in violence following the government's decision to prevent Palestinians in the occupied territories from entering Israel. The closure does not, however, prevent Israelis travelling through the West Bank.
- 4 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Who should I vote for in the general election? Take The Independent's interactive quiz to find out which party is the right choice for you
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Met Gala 2015: Jason Derulo falling over in epic fashion, the event's most talked about moment, wasn't what it seemed
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...