TEL AVIV (Jul. 31)
Large parts of the West Bank town of Nablus, where Albert Buchris of Afula was fatally wounded when he was shot in the back yesterday, remained under curfew today. Israel Defense Force soldiers were conducting house to house searches for the small .22 caliber pistol used in the murder.
Buchris, 32, was buried in Afula today, the second funeral in the Jezreel Valley town this week of victims of terrorist murder. Afula school teacher Yosef Eliahu, a 35-year-old father of five children, was buried last Sunday. His body was found along with that of 19-year-old school teacher Lea Elmakais stuffed into a cave on the Gilboa hillside. Three West Bank Arab youths have reportedly confessed to the murders.
There were angry and emotional scenes at the Buchris funeral, with many of the some thousands of mourners fainting in the hot weather and crowds having to be taken away in ambulances. Over 500 police officers were present to maintain order and a police helicopter hovered overhead. Police, meanwhile, complained that the probability of demonstrations in Afula enlarged forces there while taking police away from other essential duties.
MOURNERS ATTACK REPORTERS
Angry mourners at the funeral attacked reporters and policemen were forced to form a human barricade between the crowds and the journalists. The reporters were warned by police “for their own good and safety” to remain some distance away from the crowds. Reporters were finally escorted away in police vans.
Journalists could watch the hysterical scenes but it was difficult to follow the words of former Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, who represented the government at the funeral. Sharon, currently the Minister of Trade and Industry, told the mourners that ways would be found to prevent continued attacks on Jews, warning “those with a PLO philosophy” that “we have reached the end of our patience.”
The media has come under frequent attacks by rightwing and nationalistic elements who have accused them of favoring leftwing policies-what they term the “pro-PLO sentiments and propaganda” of the local press, radio and television.
The 32-year-old Buchris was not, as first reported, a civilian employed by the IDF, but operated a food stand at the entrance to the military government headquarters building in Nablus. He had taken his nine-year-old son with him to work yesterday, and instructed him to “mind the shop” while he went to buy pitta from the Nablus bakery where he usually made purchases.
Buchris was apparently shot at close range by an unidentified male assailant. He staggered to his car, drove to the nearby military government building where he collapsed into the arms of soldiers, his back covered with blood in full view of his son.
Burly police forces were on patrol in Afula today, to prevent disturbances. After the funeral police units firmly dispersed a crowd of several hundred persons, mainly youths, who massed before the local police station. Afula, which usually has many Arabs working there, not only as construction workers but also as restaurant and cafe owners and lawyers, was empty of Arabs today. Arabs from both Israel and the West Bank have been keeping away from the town since a number of Arabs were attacked by enraged Jewish residents.
In a minor image of this phenomenon, no Jewish civilians were to be seen today in Nablus, where many Jews go to make purchases at prices cheaper than in Israel, partly because of the curfew but also from fear of further Arab attacks.