JERUSALEM (Nov. 18)
The wave of pro-terrorist disturbances that swept the West Bank over the weekend spread to East Jerusalem today resulting in injuries to at least 10 persons including demonstrators and police, and the arrest of 80 Arabs, 50 of them high school students. At one point, student demonstrators closed the heavy wooden gates of ancient Damascus Gate,’ one of the main entries to the old walled city. Police trying to re-open the gate were pelted with stones from the ramparts.
Arab bus drivers lined up their vehicles to block the main road between East and West Jerusalem outside the central bus terminal. But they drove off after being warned by police. Several hundred demonstrators who tried to march on the Christian quarter of the Old City were dispersed by police.
According to Jerusalem Police Chief Heinz Breitenfeld, the trouble began when students at several Arab high schools surged into the streets in a demonstration of solidarity with PLO chief Yasir Arafat. Police rushed to the schools and drove the demonstrators back into the school yards. Several students resisted and were detained.
Some East Jerusalem shopkeepers obeyed the demonstrators’ exhortations to close as a sign of protest. But most of the shops reopened during the day after warnings by police that they would be shut down permanently. Despite the disturbances, tourists and Israeli shoppers strolled the streets of East Jerusalem and hunted bargains at the shops and stalls.
WEST BANK UNREST CONTINUES
Unrest continued in the West Bank towns of Ramallah, Bethlehem and Bet Jalla today where students chanting PLO slogans hurled stones at Israeli soldiers. School strikes continued for the third consecutive day in Al Bira. Youngsters attempting to march on a local school were dispersed by Israeli police. In Ramallah, Halhul, Dura and Kalkilya many pupils did not show up for classes today. Others gathered outside the schools shouting slogans and waving Palestinian flags. No clashes were reported.
Israeli authorities said the unrest, sparked by Arafat’s inflammatory speech to the UN last Wednesday, was intended to destroy the image of peaceful Jewish-Arab co-existence on the West Bank and in Jerusalem which Israel has worked hard to build during the past seven years.
In an attempt to curb the unrest on the West Bank, students demonstrating outside of Jerusalem were brought before military courts during the past two days. Of 132 that were tried, 59 received sentences of up to six months In Jail, two were acquitted and 71 paid up to IL 1000 In fines. Some 150 high school students were detained in various West Bank towns, 90 of these in Bethlehem which until now was considered one of the more tranquil West Bank communities.
TERRORIST ATTEMPTS IN JERUSALEM
Meanwhile, three terrorist attempts against civilians in Jerusalem were reported over the week, end. Yesterday, residents of a large apartment I building on French Hill in the city’s northern outskirts were evacuated after two bazooka rockets were found in a stairwell. They were removed by police sappers. Earlier in the day, two small explosive charges detonated in the adjacent Ramot Eshkol district causing minor damage but no injuries. One charge exploded behind a stone wall, searing the stones and making a small crater in the ground. The other charge exploded in the stairwell of a residential building causing some damage to the gas and electrical systems. Ramat Eshkol was the first Jewish suburb built after the Six-Day War on former non-Israeli land.