P.A. Arabs, Unhappy With Size of Apartments, Fire At Builders

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, | updated: 23:15

Terrorists in the Palestinian Authority-controlled town of Jenin, in northern Shomron (Samaria), opened fire at and inside the local United Nations office, in protest of the small size of the apartments being built for them. The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is in the process of building the new houses to replace the slums damaged during the IDF's anti-terror Operation Defensive Shield in 2002. The operation is being funded by a $27 million contribution from the Persian Gulf Emirates,

Although the houses are much fancier and sturdier than the old houses, they are 15% smaller, in order to make room for wider streets. At least nine new streets, each about seven meters wide, have replaced the narrow alleyways of the camp. Much of the original damage to homes in the Jenin slums was caused by IDF tanks forced to squeeze through small alleyways, and by booby-trap bombs planted by terrorists.

UNRWA's spokesman in Judea and Samaria said that five Arab gunmen approached UNWRA offices and fired at the building last week before entering the offices and firing shots into the rooms. This was the third such attack on UN offices and crew in Jenin camp in the past half year. Complaints dealt not only with the size of the housing, but also with the slow speed and accusations that senior Palestinian Authority officials had stolen some of the financial donations to the camp.

One of the gunmen complained that the 180-square-meter (1,900 square feet) apartment he had been given - much larger than the typical Israeli apartment - was too small for his wife and him. "When we have children, this apartment will be too small," he reportedly told the UN staff.

The UNRWA clerks, contractors and planners have halted all construction until their security can be guaranteed.