PA: Israel Says 'Evacuate Civilians, We're Going to Bomb'

By Patrick Goodenough | July 7, 2008 | 8:08 PM EDT

London ( - Israel reportedly has warned the Palestinian Authority to evacuate all civilians from PA government buildings in Ramallah as it plans to "shell them from the air" following this morning's Palestinian attack on two Israeli reserve soldiers in the town.

Prominent PA politician Hanan Ashrawi, a former spokesperson and Education Minister, told the BBC the warning caused consternation in Ramallah, a PA-ruled town north of Jerusalem.

"My home is close to the headquarters of the president [Yasser Arafat] and of the government ... and security forces. Israel has delivered an ultimatum in the morning. They said they should evacuate all these places from civilians and a little while ago they informed officially that they are going to bomb these places, they are going to shell them from the air.

"The helicopters that have been flying overhead are now joined by ... spy planes [unmanned drones] that are circling the area. The town is in a state of complete siege. Nobody is walking in the streets anywhere with the exception of a few Palestinian police or security people who are expecting the worst now since we have been told that these places will be the targets."

After two Israelis were killed by a Palestinian mob at the Ramallah police station this morning, Prime Minister Ehud Barak warned that Israel would know how to respond. Government reaction to Ashrawi's claims is being sought.

Television footage shown in the United States at 8:45 a.m. EDT showed Israeli tanks moving into the West Bank town. More to come.

Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow