Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Israeli 'Indiscriminate' Use of Weapons Questioned ; Saturday, Three Palestinians Were Killed with Flachettes

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Israeli 'Indiscriminate' Use of Weapons Questioned ; Saturday, Three Palestinians Were Killed with Flachettes

Article excerpt

The damage spread widely in this tiny Palestinian community, as befits the Israeli weapon that killed three civilian women Saturday night and deepened the mistrust that is hanging over efforts to reach a durable Middle East cease-fire.

The weapon was a tank shell packed with flachettes: small, deadly darts that spread out in an arc of dozens of meters with such force that they can penetrate concrete blocks.

The use of the weapon in populated areas, which the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem says violates the Fourth Geneva Convention, highlights the continued risks faced by Palestinian civilians despite Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's declaration late last month of an Israeli cease-fire.

Israeli army chief of staff Gen. Shaul Mofaz says that the deaths here were possibly the result of "a mistake in which they used the wrong range. It is night, it is dark, you are fired upon, and it is possible to make a mistake."

The unabated mistrust and only partially reduced violence means that the contacts the two sides are maintaining through CIA Director George Tenet, currently visiting the region, have more to do with their relations with Washington than any inherent belief that a lasting cease-fire will actually come about. The two sides are far apart on Israel's demand that the Palestinian Authority re- arrest dozens of militants from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, which Israel holds responsible for bombing attacks and who were freed at the start of the uprising eight months ago. The PA is refusing to make the arrests.

"If the Israelis are killing our people daily, are we supposed to make arrests?" asks Industry Minister Saadi Krunz. "What would we say to our people? Will the Israelis arrest the soldiers responsible for killing these women? Do they do anything to stop these killings?"

Dore Gold, an adviser to Mr. Sharon, says that the arrests are the "litmus test" for a de-escalation. "We are working to help Tenet have his best shot to make the cease-fire work. And if it does not work, it will be because of [Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat, not Tenet."

According to a report published Sunday in Ha'aretz, flachette shells have been banned in the West Bank by Yitzhak Eitan, the local commander, because of the risk they pose to civilians. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.