The official, PA Deputy Foreign Minister Abd Allah Abd Allah, told Aljazeera.net that the ongoing Israeli blitz in northern Gaza was "nothing but a Nazi-like rampage of murder and terror against a defenceless civilian population".
 
"Israel is simply slaughtering innocent civilians under the pretext of fighting terror. I don't know how much Palestinian blood would satiate Israel's thirst. I don't how many Palestinian children would have to be killed in order to make up for two Jewish kids who died last week," said Abd Allah.
 
So far, as many as 80 Palestinians, more than half of them children and non-combatants, have been killed in one of the most ferocious Israeli army campaigns since the outbreak of the current Palestinian uprising four years ago.

Slaughter
 
Abd Allah accused Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of wanting to slaughter "as many Palestinian children as it takes to enhance and consolidate his political standing in Israel".
 

"He [Sharon] knows quite well that the only thing that makes him popular among Israelis is Palestinian blood" 

Abd Allah Abd Allah,
PA deputy foreign minister

"He knows quite well that the only thing that makes him popular among Israelis is (shedding) Palestinian blood. This explains it all."
 
An Israeli foreign ministry spokeswoman denied charges that Israeli forces were deliberately killing Palestinian civilians.
 
Amira Oron pointed out that Palestinian fighters were hiding in homes and crowded streets, forcing the Israeli army to target them at the risk of killing and injuring innocent civilians.
 
"We know that civilians are killed in this conflict. We are sorry about that, but we have no choice but fight the terrorists."

Toll
 
When asked how many Palestinians would make up for the two Israeli children killed in a Hamas missile attack on the town of Sderot, Oron said: "We don't calculate it this way. We don't kill the civilians deliberately."
 
However, the Israeli spokeswoman's assertions seem to be at odds with casualty figures released by human rights groups, including the Israeli human rights organisation, B'tselem.
 
On Monday, B'tselem reported that as many as 31 Palestinian civilians, including 19 children, have been killed by the Israeli army since the onset of the army campaign in northern Gaza.
 
Three more Palestinians civilians, including a four-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl were killed by Israeli troops in the past 24 hours. The Israeli army said the two killings were carried out "mistakenly".

Rocket claim
 
Meanwhile, the Israeli foreign ministry has removed from its website a story containing Israeli allegations that Palestinian resistance fighters used an UNRWA car to move Qassam rockets during the weekend.
 

An UNRWA school lies destroyed
in the Jabalya refugee camp

The story was sent out in North America and Europe, along with Israeli accusations that the UNRWA was indulging in activities incompatible with its mandate.
 
However, it has now become clear that the story was false and that the elongated object which appeared in the Israeli aerial photograph was a stretcher.
 
This led the Israeli army spokesman to retract the story, saying "we can't swear that the object was a rocket".

Misinformation tactic
 
One Israeli commentator, Amos Ariel, suggested in an article published in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Tuesday that the story about the UNRWA car may have been a deliberate Israeli disinformation gimmick aimed at distracting international public opinion from the killings in Gaza.
 
The PA official Abd Allah Abd Allah accused Israel of seeking pretexts to discredit UNRWA and other international organisations operating in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
 
"They want to exterminate the Palestinian people but they don't to see any witnesses around."