Tuesday, March 14, 2006
JERICHO, West Bank - Palestinian prisoners surrendered to Israeli forces after the soldiers burst into their jail in the West Bank town of Jericho on Tuesday in a deadly bid to gain custody of militants convicted of killing an Israeli Cabinet minister. But the targets of the siege apparently refused to come out despite
Israel's threats to kill them.
The operation was the most high-profile Israeli incursion into a Palestinian town in months and came just two weeks before Israel holds hard-fought national elections. Palestinians condemned the raid as a campaign stunt, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blamed the United States and British governments.
U.S. and British observers who had monitored the jail for the past four years withdrew early Tuesday morning — just before the raid — citing security concerns. The Israeli government ordered the raid because the monitors were withdrawn, the army said, blaming the Palestinians for violating the agreement regarding the prisoners.
Sometimes Israel does very stupid things. Stupid to the extent of inexplicability.