Worthy Christian News » Israel-Palestinian Conflict » Middle East Crisis Headlines - 1/15/2001
Middle East Crisis Headlines - 1/15/2001
A 32-year-old Jewish resident of the Gaza community of Kfar Yam was found dead today in an onion field on his farm, after he was abducted and killed by Palestinian terrorists while working at his greenhouses. Roni Tsalah went missing lasting night prompting a major search by the Israeli army. His car, carrying a locating transmitter, was tracked to the Palestinian city of Khan Yunis where it was set on fire. The army discovered later that the terrorists stole the car and drove it to Khan Unis after the murder. Israel radio said there were two claims of responsibility: the Moslem fundamentalist group Hamas and an offshoot of Yasser Arafatâ€™s Fatah faction. In response to the killing, the army sealed Gaza off; tanks blocked roads, borders were closed and the Gaza airport was shut down. The settlers retaliated by burning Palestinian greenhouses in the area.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak sharply condemned the killing, calling it a "murder in cold blood" and a "base crime that will not be forgiven. "The murderers will not be let off," Barak said in a statement. "Israel will reach them and they will be punished as others have been punished for attacks in the past against Israeli civilians and soldiers...Israel views the Palestinian Authority as the body responsible for acting...against initiators of attacks." The killing prompted Israel to cancel peace talks set for today. The talks are not expected to resume for a few days, meaning the chances of reaching an agreement before President Clinton leaves office are practically nil. However, security talks aimed at reducing the violence will take place.
Barak has also condemned the Palestinian Authority's execution of two "collaborators" convicted of helping Israel assassinate Palestinian militiamen. The two men were executed by firing squad on Saturday after lightning trials. One of the condemned men died hooded and tied to a stake in the parade ground of a Gaza police station. Israel's Channel Two broadcast graphic videotape of the execution, which ended with loud cheers from a crowd and a final bullet to his brain from a lone rifleman.
According to a new government report, Israel is likely to experience an apocalyptic earthquake in the next 50 years. The estimates, which had been kept secret, are shocking: 10,000 dead, 22,000 injured, 250,000 made homeless and $50 billion in damage! Israel is located on a major faultâ€”the Syrian-African riftâ€”that runs through the Jordan Valley. Experts say thousands of homes are subject to severe damage because they were not constructed to withstand a strong earthquake.