JERUSALEM (Feb. 2)
Unrest continued in the West Bank on Tuesday, but on a smaller scale than earlier in the week, probably because of severe wind and rain storms that kept most people indoors.
Nevertheless, three Israelis were injured by glass splinters in several stone-throwing attacks in the territory. Two Molotov cocktails were thrown at a bus causing slight damage, but no casualties. A truck and a bus were set on fire Monday night to prevent them from carrying Arab workers to jobs in Israel.
Several schools and colleges in the West Bank were ordered closed Tuesday because their reopening Monday after the semester break was accompanied by rioting. Curfews were imposed on the Arab town of Kalkilya and the nearby village of Habla.
East Jerusalem was quiet Tuesday, but the general strike by merchants and shopkeepers there continued into its fourth week.
Militant Jewish settlers opened a new front. A convoy of 20 cars from West Bank settlements drove through the Arab town of Anabta on Tuesday night with horns blaring.
They were protesting the roadblocks put up Monday and the stoning of Israeli vehicles on the Tulkarm-Nablus road. A resident of Anabta was fatally shot by Israel Defense Force soldiers Monday.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin affirmed Tuesday that his policy of ordering IDF troops to pursue and severely beat Arab troublemakers has proven effective and will continue. He told an audience of high school students that beatings were preferable to shootings.
But the IDF is still using live ammunition. Two Arabs were shot to death and three were wounded in clashes Monday.
DON’T BLAME SOLDIERS
Rabin stressed that as the minister in charge of security for the entire country, he and the government bore responsibility for his policies. He said individual soldiers should not be blamed by those who found the beatings distasteful.
The public debate over Rabin’s policies seems to have faded in recent days. But jurists here have pointed out that beatings are legal only in self defense or to disperse violent demonstrations. In any other instances, they are illegal and soldiers have the right to disobey illegal orders, they said.
The Gaza Strip was quiet Tuesday. A general strike was in force in Gaza and in Khan Yunis, at the southern end of the territory. The El-Bureij refugee camp remained under curfew. But schools were open as usual and thousands of Arab workers went to their jobs in Israel.
The IDF announced Monday that it recently uncovered four terrorist cells that were planning attacks in the Gaza Strip and in Israel proper. A military spokesman said 10 bombs and dozens of pounds of explosives were discovered.
According to the spokesman, one of the cells, made up of residents of the Jabalya refugee camp, bombed vehicles in Kiryat Malachi and Rehovot in Israel last year and attacked an IDF patrol in Gaza.
Another cell attacked an IDF patrol in Gaza last November. The remaining two are suspected of blowing up buses in Rafah in the Gaza Strip in December and January.