JERUSALEM (Jul. 11)
Kiryat Arba Jews who ransacked and burned the Arab market place in Hebron following the stabbing of a yeshiva student there last Thursday, are demanding that the area be turned over to them for Jewish settlement.
The militants are supported in the Cabinet by former Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and Science Minister Yuval Neeman, leader of the ultra-nationalist Tehiya faction. Sharon, now a Minister-Without-Portfolio, proposed at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting that much of the market and the central bus station be made into a Jewish settlement because, he claimed, the land had been Jewish property before the 1929 Arab riots.
Sharon also proposed building a wide road through the center of Hebron to link Kiryat Arba with the Machpela cave, the Patriarchs’ tomb sacred to Moslems and Orthodox Jews. While the Cabinet endorsed plans to greatly expand the Jewish presence in Hebron, there was little support among the ministers for Sharon’s far-reaching proposals. Sources here said that while the Kiryat Arba demands appear to have been blocked, Sharon and Neeman will continue to press them on the government.
The curfew clamped on Hebron after the stabbing last Thursday was lifted this morning but tension between Arabs and Jews ran high. Violence almost erupted at the Machpela cave where Jews who claimed to have been “threatened” by Arabs cocked their rifles. They army moved in quickly to end the confrontation.