Wednesday, July 24, 2002

This Hebrew Yediot Ahronot article has "Palestinian and Israeli sources" claiming that the Tanzim and Fatah militia were just about the announce a unilateral ceasefire but that the Shehade killing has torpedoed it. The article also claims that an unofficial ceasefire with Hamas was being arranged. None of the sources of this information are named, and there is not a single point in the article that has the potential to be verified independently. If I'm not mistaken, author Ofer Shalah is mainly a sports writer.

So once again we hear mysterious reports that the Palestinians were just about to turn the corner, but then we provoked them (cf. the Malley/Agha version of Sharon's Temple Mount visit).

Update: The BBC quotes from the above article here, while getting some details wrong:

Yediot Aharonot, meanwhile, reports that Tanzim, Hamas and Islamic Jihad had agreed to declare a ceasefire only hours before the attack.
The Yediot article says it was the Tanzim and Fatah who were supposedly going to make the declaration. Hamas were going to assent silently. Islamic Jihad is not mentioned.
It says that Israel's political and military establishment knew of the ceasefire initiative.

The Yediot article quotes an anonymous Defense Ministry spokesperson as saying it was unaware of any ceasefire announcement. The Yediot article includes no statement that the political or military establishment knew of the supposed ceasefire.

This article has some info about the IDF's operational judgment etc. Only four of the 15 people killed (and more than 100 wounded) were actually in the house: Shehadeh, his wife, daughter and a Shehadeh aide from the Hamas. The rest of the casualties were residents of surrounding buildings.

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