SLUG: 2-287442 Israel / Palestinians
TITLE=ISRAEL / PALESTINIANS (L)
INTRO: Israel's military has launched a major offensive in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Palestinian officials say at least 20 Palestinians have been killed and 50 others wounded. V-O-A's Michael Drudge has more from Jerusalem.
TEXT: Israeli Army tanks rumbled through the sprawling Jabaliya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, early Tuesday, in a major assault on suspected Palestinian weapons factories.
The attack came after Palestinians fired mortars at a Jewish settlement.
Gaza hospitals and mortuaries were flooded with victims of the Israeli attack.
In separate action, Palestinians say Israeli soldiers fired on the West Bank compound of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. One of his security men was wounded.
The fighting has intensified in the aftermath of last week's bloodshed, which left more than 100 Palestinians and 50 Israelis dead.
In Tel Aviv, more than 50-thousand Israeli demonstrators turned out for a rally to demand more punishment against the Palestinians.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, has called for the violence to end.
It is unacceptable that this continues. It must be addressed politically, seriously. There must be willingness to end this terrible, terrible situation of violence, of intrusion in refugee camps, of terrified women, and children and elderly. I've been there, I know the situation on the ground. And also, there must be political momentum to stop violence on all sides and have a political solution.
The American Middle East envoy Anthony Zinni is to begin a mission Thursday aimed at achieving a cease-fire. His two previous attempts at negotiations failed to curb the violence. (Signed).
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