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Tension Abates in Two West Bank Towns

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Premier Yitzhak Shamir visited the Arab town of Kalkilya and the Jewish settlement of Alfe-Menashe in the West Bank Thursday to see if tension has abated since an Alfe-Menashe resident was killed by a firebomb April 11.

The victim, Ofra Moses, 35, died in the blaze and her husband, three children and a young friend were severely burned when a Molotov cocktail struck their car. Infuriated Jewish settlers rampaged through Kalkilya and nearby Arab villages destroying property and burning fields. But Mayor Abdul Rahman Abu-Sneineh of Kalkilya assured Shamir that the “good relations” between Arabs and Jews in the area were not permanently harmed.

In Alfe-Menashe, the Premier was confronted with a list of demands for improved security in the area. The settlers want to establish a “civil guard” along the lines of those in Israel, with the power to detain suspected terrorists. The army has long opposed such groups in the administered territories on grounds they would become the nucleus of civilian militias which would conflict with the operations of the security forces.

Shamir was non-committal on that proposal, though he promised to improve security in the area. He sympathized with the settlers and told them recent events would lead to more Jewish settlements in the territory.

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