TEL AVIV (Feb. 16)
The West Bank and Gaza Strip were generally quiet Tuesday, despite the circulation of leaflets throughout the territories exhorting Palestinians to “attack the Israeli settlements” and hold “the most violent demonstrations in every village and town.”
The instructions were contained in “leaflet No. 7″ issued Monday by the “Palestinian Uprising Committee” and were broadcast by “Radio Jerusalem,” a Syrian-based station operated by Ahmed Jabril’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.
Jewish settlers reacted with threats of their own. Uri Ariel, head of Emana, the Gush Emunim’s settlement branch, warned that “if any Arab dares attack a settlement or a Jew passing through the area, we will open fire in accordance with the army’s instructions, and all the results following such an event will rest with the attackers and rioters.”
A few isolated stone-throwing incidents were reported in the territories. Curfews were promptly imposed where they occurred. A commercial general strike was observed Tuesday in many towns in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In some localities, municipal councils observed the strike, as well.
Many Arab workers employed in Israel did not show up at their jobs. Their absence was attributed by Israeli sources to intimidation by Palestinian activists.
The activists resorted to threats by tele- phone and mail. In some instances, masked Palestinians warned Arabs they would be killed if they continued to work for Jews, the sources said.
The absentees Tuesday included employees of Israel Radio and Television’s Arabic language services, as well as Palestinians who work at restaurants and cafes north of Tel Aviv.
Meanwhile, Israeli police are reported to be using commandeered Arab vehicles to enter refugee camps and towns without being stoned, in order to make arrests. The police would not confirm the report.
An Arab-owned bus was stopped by police in Jerusalem Monday. Its passengers were ordered out and the seats were filled with armed police officers, who instructed the driver to take them to the Shuafat refugee camp, where they arrested Palestinian youths, the bus owner told reporters.
Other Arab vehicle owners reported similar incidents. The vehicles used are said to include an ambulance from the Arab Mokassed hospital, an East Jerusalem bakery van and a banana truck from Abu Tor.
Israel Television last week showed police using an Arab truck under attack by rioters. The police fled and the truck was set on fire.