Sharon slams Qurei as soldiers launch incursion into northern Gaza Strip; six Palestinians arrested in West Bank

Published February 24th, 2004 - 02:00 GMT

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon accused Palestinian premier Ahmed Qurei [Abu Ala] of heading a "government of murder and lies," which is "incapable of negotiating a peace deal with Israel", according to an interview published Tuesday. 


The strong criticism seemed to set the stage for Sharon to push forward with his plan to dismantle some settlements and impose a boundary on the Palestinians if peace efforts prove fruitless in the upcoming months.  


Sharon's comments came in response to Abu Ala's condemnation of a suicide bombing of an Israeli bus Sunday in Jerusalem that killed eight people. 


Qurei had criticized the bombing, "especially its timing and place," saying it hurt efforts to persuade the world court at The Hague to rule against the separation barrier Israel is constructing in the West Bank.  


The Palestinians "expressed regret about the timing of the attack because it could hurt them at The Hague," Sharon was quoting as telling the mass-circulation Yediot Ahronot newspaper.  


"The government of Abu Ala is a government of murder and lies. With such a government it is impossible to reach any agreement."  


Meanwhile, Israeli forces swept early Tuesday into the northern Gaza Strip after another Israeli troop contingent had been stationed overnight Monday at the eastern part of the Gaza city. 


Palestinian security sources confirmed that an Israeli contingent including 10 armored vehicles had thrust early Tuesday dawn into the eastern part of the northern Gaza Strip refugee camp of Jabalia. 


Moreover, an Israeli tank was stationed earlier Tuesday near the Al-Ashram Palestinian-owned factory, to the east of Gaza city, the sources added, confirming no casualties. 


Also, the sources reported that some six Israeli tanks have been moving to the south of Gaza city, mainly near the settlement of Netzarim.  


In the meantime, Israeli soldiers launched earlier in the day several arrests in different parts of the West Bank, leading to the detention of at least six civilians, local Palestinian sources confirmed. Among those arrested were four from Ramallah and Albeireh, with two others from Hebron, the sources added. (

© 2004 Al Bawaba (

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