Israeli forces launched a raid into the normally quiet West Bank town of Jericho.


According to the Bible, this was the territory
God once pledged to Abraham and his descendants...
There is one problem: the country is already inhabited by Canaanites.

Israeli forces shoot Palestinian boy dead as he plays football
By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem, Independent, Jul 2, 2004

A nine-year-old Palestinian boy was shot dead by Israeli forces yesterday as he played football, local residents said after armoured vehicles once again entered the southern Gaza town of Rafah. A few hours later five Palestinian gunmen were killed in Gaza by Israeli forces protecting the approach road used by Israelis from the Jewish settlement of Netzarim. The army said its unit returned fire from one gunman and then shot four others who subsequently approached the "structure" occupied by the troops.

The boy killed in Rafah, named as Omar Za'ran, was pronounced dead by medics at the local hospital, after he was brought in from the Brazil section of the town's refugee camp. Bashir Abu Jlidan, 18, said: "We were playing football when Israeli tanks ... started firing inside the camp and towards us." He said that the boy had fallen to the ground, bleeding. Palestinian sources said a force of 15 armoured vehicles backed by Apache helicopters had entered the town. The army said it was a mission to find and destroy tunnels used by militants to smuggle weapons. It added that it was still checking reports of the boy's death. The army, which was still operating in Rafah last night, said it had discovered the shaft of a tunnel under abandoned stores near the Brazil camp. Palestinian sources said the force had begun to destroy houses in the area.

Meanwhile, witnesses said Israeli helicopters had fired two missiles into Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, injuring several people, one critically. Israeli military bulldozers began destroying olive groves and orchards in Beit Hanoun to strip militants of cover. And in a third Gaza incident, the sources said last night that at least one Palestinian gunman had been shot dead by an army patrol protecting the Jewish settlement of Netzarim.

Earlier yesterday Israeli forces launched a raid into the normally quiet West Bank town of Jericho. The army said it had arrested 30 wanted Palestinians and had found weapons, including rifles and grenades.

Joshua & the Battle of Jericho. BBC Religion & Ethics
Joshua and the walls of Jericho is one of the most violent stories of the Bible. An army of nomads emerges from the desert and destroys a heavily fortified city... not by force, but by faith. The story of how Joshua destroyed Jericho using only trumpets is one of the Bible's most memorable, and most dramatic. The story is set in the Middle East, some 3000 years ago. An area that, even then, was plagued by war. Successor to the famous leader, Moses, Joshua is the Bible's most famous warrior. The story begins with Joshua and his army preparing an attack in the mountains to the north-east of the Dead Sea. From the mountains, Joshua looked West, across the river Jordan toward his destination. According to the Bible, this was the territory God once pledged to Abraham and his descendants. At Joshua's command were some 40,000 Israelite men, descendants of the Hebrew slaves who fled Egypt. There is one problem: the country is already inhabited by Canaanites....The Bible tells how the army walked around the walled city of Jericho once a day for six days. Each time they walked priests blew trumpets. On the seventh day they circled seven times and the walls of the city came crashing down. Joshua and his army conquered the city, massacring every person they found. Only Rahab and her family were saved. The once mighty city of Jericho had been set alight. Joshua and his people then continued to destroy other towns and cities and Joshua succeeded in conquering Canaan.

...Jericho was the first Israelite conquest in Canaan and is thus very important....This area is popularly known in political circles as the West Bank. These mountains are vitally important to Israel. They are of great strategic worth since their heights provide a listening ear for intelligence concerning their Arab neighbors, many of whom are still very hostile. They provide a great natural barrier to frontal military offensives. These frontal armor attacks have been both common and devastating in past wars. Of course, anyone with the slightest knowledge of military tactics would immediately grasp the strategic military importance of the high mountains. Not only are these mountains of strategic value, but they also contain the aquifer that provides a large percentage of Israelís fresh water.

But these natural considerations are hardly of importance at all when we consider the spiritual significance of these ancient heights. Geographically, they represent the very heart of biblical Israel. In Bible times, the people of Israel lived mostly in the mountains and not so much on the plains. In fact, it was the Philistines who lived on the plains. Ezekiel gives us some interesting information concerning this central range of mountains, which incidentally includes Israelís most ancient and holy cities. In Ezekiel the Lord speaks of this mountain area as the area to which dispersed Israel will return: " I speak in my jealous wrath because you have suffered the scorn of the nationsÖ But you, O mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home" (Ezek. 36:6, 8)...

Building walls of their prison. BBC, Jul 2, 2004
Israel's mammoth separation barrier is carving a path through occupied East Jerusalem. It is dividing Palestinian neighbourhoods, separating workers from their jobs, children from their schools, farmers from their fields. In some places, reinforced concrete slabs eight metres (26 feet) high cut Palestinians off from the city which has been the centre of their lives for generations...There is an unprecedented economic crisis in the occupied territories after nearly four years of conflict. Two-thirds of Palestinians have dropped below the poverty line. They live on two dollars a day or less. The main reason is Israel's closure policy. It not only blocks Palestinians from work inside Israel, it also isolates Palestinian communities from each other with roadblocks and checkpoints...This severe economic hardship deepens well-established labour patterns. "When Israel is looking for labour to build the new fence, it is looking for cheap labour," says Mr Arnon. "So they look around and find they can have very cheap labour on the Palestinian side, so they use it. In this sense it is nothing new or novel. It may be more extreme now, because now they are building the walls of their prison, the walls for the new siege, which is ironic." Palestinians are protesting against the barrier not only because it makes their life more difficult, but because it is confiscating more and more of their land. Most of it is being built on territory Israel occupied in 1967, rather than along the internationally recognised boundary between Israel and the West Bank...Palestinians regard the barrier as the biggest threat to their dream of an independent state.


Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~