Two Palestinians killed as Israel's top officer criticizes Sharon policy towards Palestinians

Published October 29th, 2003 - 02:00 GMT

Palestinians wounded an Israeli man and woman as they drove on a highway in the northern West Bank Wednesday, Israeli police said. The man was in serious condition following the shooting. The woman was very lightly wounded.  


Also in the West Bank, a 13-year-old boy was shot and killed by Israeli gunfire in the Balata refugee camp, near Nablus, while Palestinians were throwing rocks, residents said. They added the boy was a distance away from the confrontation and was not involved.  


Earlier, one Palestinian man was killed by Israeli gunfire and a second was wounded Wednesday morning when they approached the fence surrounding the Nahal Oz kibbutz along the border of the Gaza Strip, Israel's Army Radio reported.  


Meanwhile, the mass-circulation Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported in its Wednesday's headline that senior Israeli military commanders were severely critical of government policies regarding the Palestinians, saying that Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, acceding to strong Shin Bet opposition, last week rejected a direct request by the Israeli Army Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon to ease closures and blockades placed on Palestinian population centers.  


According to this report, the army's senior command, including Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon, believes that "orders of the prime minister to ease the closures have been stopped at (the level of) Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz."  


Ya'alon was quoted as saying in reference to easing restrictions on Palestinians, "We acted with stinginess regarding Abu Mazen (former Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas), and we must not repeat this 

mistake with Abu Ala (current Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia)."  


Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon expressed his anger at the comments made by Ya'alon. According to Israel's public TV, Sharon told his aides that he should fire Ya'alon. 


After the publication, Ya’alon told Mofaz that he did not intend for his comments - made before a forum of senior journalists and commentators on Tuesday night - to be presented as they were. He added that he convened the briefing to explain to reporters the source of the differences of opinion between the military and the government on the issue of easing conditions for the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. (

© 2003 Al Bawaba (

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