2 Arabs Die in Unrest Incidents; IDF Probes Troops’ Behavior

An Arab was killed by army gunfire in Burin village near Nablus Monday and another Arab died at a Haifa hospital from wounds he suffered during a clash with the Israel Defense Force in Jenin last week.

The latest deaths brought the number of Palestinian fatalities to 78 since disturbances began in the West Bank and Gaza Strip last Dec. 9.

The territories were relatively quiet Monday, but increasing unrest was reported in Arab villages in Israel. The Palestinian flag was raised twice at Barta’a village near Hadera, a violation of Israeli law.

Palestinian flags were drawn on the walls of a school in the nearby Arab town of Umm el-Fahm and the village of Jatt. Police detained four residents of Meghar village in lower Galilee on suspicion of stoning a police officer during a soccer match Saturday.

Meanwhile, acts of violence against Palestinians were under investigation by the military authorities. Four Israel Defense Force soldiers and an officer were released from custody Monday. They were shown on a CBS-TV news videotape beating and kicking two handcuffed Palestinians during an interrogation at a military prison near Nablus.

The decision to free them was made following consultations between Gen. Amram Mitzna, whose command includes the West Bank, and the chief military prosecutor, Amnon Strachnow. The prosecutor will decide whether to press charges.

On Sunday, Mitzna summoned his field commanders to view the video tape, which has been widely shown abroad.

Charges are being pressed against three IDF soldiers accused of burying four Palestinians alive following a riot at Salem village in the West Bank Feb. 5. They were covered with earth by a bulldozer whose driver reportedly refused to obey an order to run them over. The Palestinians were rescued by local villagers after the soldiers left.

A Jewish settler from Halamish in the West Bank, suspected of killing two Arabs in Abud village over the weekend, was released on bail by a Jerusalem magistrates court Monday. The suspect said he fired his rifle in self-defense when he was attacked while trying to remove a roadblock.

TEL AVIV DEMONSTRATION

Jewish settlers staged a motorcade demonstration in Tel Aviv Monday, snarling traffic on Dizengoff Street, a main shopping strip. They warned against any plan for an Israeli evacuation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and urged the government not to “surrender to the shower of stones.”

Deputy Defense Minister Michael Dekel said Monday that the riots in the territories would deescalate after U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz leaves the region. But they will not end, said Dekel, a Likud-Herut minister, until a solution is found, and that can only come after the general elections.

Meanwhile, Premier Yitzhak Shamir indicated Monday he favored barring the news media from parts of the administered territories under certain circumstances.

Blaming the media for Israel’s badly tarnished image abroad, Shamir said areas of conflict in other parts of the world have been closed to the press. “The question is one of possibilities and advantages. If we find out that this can limit damage, I would not rule out consideration of such a move,” Shamir said.

Several Likud ministers and Knesset members have already demanded that the territories be closed to the press. Chief of Staff Gen. Dan Shomron has rejected the idea.

NEXT STORY