Sixty prominent Palestinian officials and intellectuals yesterday urged the public to refrain from retaliation for Israel's assassination of Hamas' founder, saying it would ignite a new round of bloodshed that would only hurt Palestinian aspirations for independence. \nThe half-page advertisement in the PLO's Al-Ayyam newspaper called on Palestinians to lay down their arms and turn to peaceful means of protest to end Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. \nThe ad reflected growing sentiment among many Palestinian leaders and intellectuals that military struggle is not helping the Palestinian cause. Thousands of Palestinians have died during three-and-a-half years of fighting with Israel. Similar calls in the past have had little impact on public opinion, and yesterday's ad was greeted with little enthusiasm by ordinary Palestinians. \nHamas' founder, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, was killed in an Israeli air strike on Monday, prompting an unprecedented outpouring of outrage on Palestinian streets. Hamas has promised to strike back, saying even Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is a target. \nIsraeli troops have engaged Palestinian militants in isolated gunfights since Yassin's killing, but there has been no major escalation in violence. \nStill, Israelis are jittery, and security has been beefed up throughout the country and at diplomatic missions abroad. \nOn Wednesday, Israeli soldiers stopped a 16-year-old Palestinian youth with a suicide bomb vest strapped to his body at a crowded West Bank checkpoint, setting off a tense encounter with soldiers. \nPictures of the boy, identified as Hussam Abdo, appeared on the front pages of all major Israeli newspapers yesterday, and the incident dominated radio newscasts. Overnight, Israel arrested two of Abdo's classmates, Palestinian sources said. \nSeveral teenagers have carried out suicide bombings, and there has been recent concern in Israel that militant groups were turning to younger attackers to try to frustrate Israeli security checks. \nAbdo's family said he was gullible and easily manipulated. Many Palestinians yesterday said they believed the incident had been staged by Israel. \nIn new violence, several Israeli tanks moved back into an areas of the Khan Younis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip late on Wednesday, where some structures were razed earlier in the day. \nMilitary sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was a similar, limited operation. An Israeli helicopter fired a missile at a group of militants, residents said, and a policeman was wounded. Palestinians said 15 buildings were wholly or partly demolished. \nThe Israeli forces withdrew early yesterday, a military spokeswoman said. \nThe intellectuals who signed yesterday's ad -- including lawmaker Hanan Ashrawi and Abbas Zaki, a leading member of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement -- said revenge attacks would lead to strong Israeli retaliation and further hurt the Palestinian cause. \nThe group called on the public to "rise again in a peaceful, wise Intefadeh [uprising]." \nSome Palestinians said they were skeptical that the ad would be greeted with a similar call for restraint by Israelis, noting that Israel has announced plans to kill all militant leaders. \n"We had many previous experiences with the Israelis," said Ahmed Radi, 32. "There was a truce with Israel, but Israel has not stopped its aggression."
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly