BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Middle East
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 



The BBC's Stephen Gibbs reports from Jerusalem
"Not a question of 'if' but 'when' the attack starts"
 real 56k

EU High Representative Javier Solana
"We have to ask Mr Arafat to give 100% effort"
 real 28k

Dr Hanan Ashrawi, of the Palestinian council
"The Palestinians are still under occupation, we are still in a state of siege"
 real 56k

Dan Meridor, Knesset foreign affairs committee
"We want to judge (Mr Arafat) by his acts"
 real 56k

Sunday, 3 June, 2001, 17:17 GMT 18:17 UK
Brittle Mid-East truce holds
Israeli soldiers detain Palestinians at a checkpoint near Ramallah
Palestinians have been barred from entering Israel
A ceasefire between Israelis and Palestinians is on a knife-edge following Friday's deadly bomb attack in Tel Aviv, the worst such attack in eight months of violence.

Israeli military forces are on full alert, poised for retribution if militants in the West Bank and Gaza do not heed Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's promise of an immediate cessation of violence.


Our people have a right to defend themselves against aggression, occupation and settlements

Militant Palestinian factions
Radical factions have dismissed his plea. They have called on Palestinians to continue their uprising against Israeli occupation, failing to mention the word ceasefire.

But the hardliners also made no threat of attacks inside Israel itself, which BBC correspondents say may be a sign Mr Arafat has won the breathing space he so badly needs.

The emergency meeting in Gaza was attended by more than a dozen groups, among them Hamas and Islamic Jihad which see attacks on Israel as legitimate forms of resistance.

The former is reported to have said it carried out Friday's attack on a nightclub in Tel Aviv.

Israeli restrictions
Border closed with Egypt and Jordan
Palestinian workers to be deported from Israel
Oil and gas supply stopped
Mail halted
Money transfers stopped
"Our people have a right to defend themselves against aggression, occupation and settlements, and to pursue the popular intifada [uprising] as a legitimate means against the continuing occupation of our land," the factions said in a statement.

Overhead flights

At one point, the militants had to abandon their talks when the sound of F-16 jets flying overhead forced an evacuation from the building.

The Israeli military has apparently already selected its targets and only needs to be given the green light to attack.

Anti-Palestinian feeling amongst Israelis has been running high since the Friday's bombing.

On Sunday, the first of the funerals for the dead were held.

Many of the 90 Israelis injured by the nails and shrapnel from the bomb remain in hospital, several in a critical or serious condition.

'Real test'

Mr Arafat announced the ceasefire on Saturday. Palestinian media have since announced a series of measures being taken to implement it.

Palestinian security forces say they have told the militants that further attacks inside Israel will not be tolerated.

Mr Arafat insists that by bowing to international pressure for a ceasefire, he is acting in the higher interests of the Palestinian people, hundreds of whom have lost their lives over the past nine months.

Yasser Arafat
Arafat: Ceasefire order followed warning from Israeli ministers
But his offer does not satisfy a key Israeli demand - the re-arrest of militant leaders released from Palestinian jails at the beginning of the Palestinian uprising.

"The real and only test will be the cessation of terrorism, the arrest of those involved, the inciters, the perpetrators and those behind them," said Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.

But so far there have been no major incidents, only reports of scattered shooting incidents.

Israel's restraint has been commended by the United States.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell said he understood the pressure Israel was under to retaliate with force, urged it to maintain its "measured response" to Friday's attack

On Saturday, the Israeli Government decided on a series of what Israeli newspapers are describing as suffocation measures aimed at making life difficult for Palestinians.

The West Bank and Gaza have again been sealed off until further notice, and Palestinians, including thousands of workers, have been barred from entering Israel.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

03 Jun 01 | Media reports
Disco bombing prompts fierce debate
03 Jun 01 | Middle East
Palestinians face new sanctions
12 Mar 01 | Middle East
Analysis: Hardship of the blockade
02 Jun 01 | Middle East
Israel scorns Arafat promise
25 May 01 | Middle East
Blasts test Israel's 'ceasefire'
28 Mar 01 | Middle East
Israel's history of bomb blasts
12 Mar 01 | Middle East
Gaza under siege
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Middle East stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Middle East stories