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Tension in the Territories

Arab terrorist attacks and apparent reprisals by Jewish militants raised tension in Israel and the administered territories during the Succoth festival.

Three Jews were arrested Monday for allegedly assaulting two Arab sanitation workers in Bat Yam, south of Tel Aviv. One was release after questioning. Another Arab street cleaner was slightly wounded by a knife attack in Ashdod Sunday and police are investigating to determine if Jews were involved. They are also investigating suspected arson at an Arab school in Acre last Thursday.

The Arab victims of attacks are all residents of the Gaza Strip where two Jews from Ashkelon were fatally stabbed in recent weeks. Anti-Arab sentiments flared anew after the grenade attack on Israeli soldiers and their families in the Old City October 15 which killed one man and wounded 69 soldiers and civilians.

Leaflets hailing the grenade attack and the downing of an Israel Air Force Phantom jet over south Lebanon were distributed in several towns in the West Bank last weekend. Border police dispersed rock-throwing students in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip Sunday. On Monday, school children burned tires and blocked roads near Rafah. Palestinian youths stoned Israeli vehicles near Nablus.

On Sunday, ultra-rightwing Jews who call themselves the “Temple Mount Faithful” visited the Temple Mount in groups of seven, under the watchful eyes of police. It was the first time in many years that Jewish militants were allowed on the Temple Mount, site of Islamic shrines. They were not permitted to worship there or to carry lulavs.

The visit was without incident but tension was evident as the “Faithful” were regarded with extreme suspicion by Moslem worshippers.

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