It would seem that the Israeli military has taken advantage of the media focus on Iraq to enforce its campaign on the occupied territories.

While the Iraq situation is at the centre of media attention, the violence in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank city of Nablus amplifies. Reportedly 30 Palestinians dead in less than a week to include unarmed ordinary civilians and a medic who tried to reach a sick patient.

Was this surge in attack due to palestinian gunmen or a suicide bombing? that's usually the reason given, but this time apparently not, since it is reported that in Israel the situation has been at its most calm for months.

The escalation of violence has been so severe that it is becoming an international concern. The United Nations commissioner for Human Rights expressed his extreme concern, and said the following in a statement -
"Such indiscriminate use of force in civilian areas can never be justified,"

The Israeli military operation was looked on disparagingly even by the US State Department, a spokesman said -
"We remain very concerned about civilian casualties... especially among Palestinian children and young people,"

"These casualties continue to result from Israeli military actions."

A spokesman for B'Tselem, one of Israel's most respected human rights organisations said -
"As soon as it became clear to us that there were going to be elections in Israel followed by a probable war in Iraq it was very clear to us that these months would be very difficult in the occupied territories. One of the only things that can restrain Israeli policy in the occupied territories is international public opinion."