TEL AVIV (Mar. 16)
Israeli authorities cut off direct overseas telephone communications from the West Bank and Gaza Strip Tuesday night, the latest in series of punitive measures against Palestinian civil disobedience.
But violence continued unabated in the territories Wednesday. One Palestinian died and at least six were injured when the Israel Defense Force acted to break up a riot in the Nur esh Shams refugee camp, near Tulkarm in the West Bank.
The fatality was identified as a man in his early 60s, who reportedly suffocated from tear gas fired at the rioters. The riots began when local residents tried to dismantle a fence the IDF erected along the main road to prevent stone-throwing at Jewish vehicles. The riots spread to Tulkarm.
A curfew was imposed on the Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah after violent demonstrations.
Curfews also were clamped on refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, after rioting broke out Wednesday. The entire territory was placed under a 24-hour general curfew Sunday and Monday.
Israeli sources claimed that as a result, there were fewer robberies and fewer complaints that nationalist activists were intimidating Arab laborers going to their jobs in Israel.
Israel, meanwhile, is resorting increasingly to punitive sanctions against Palestinians who are in the second day of a total general strike in the West Bank. Last week they cut off gasoline supplies to the territories, barred visitors from Jordan, halted export licenses and tightened road checks on cars traveling from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip.
The authorities said the cutoff of overseas telephone connections was a way to prevent instructions from the Palestine Liberation Organization abroad reaching Palestinian activists in the territories.
Meanwhile, the IDF is investigating the possibility that a young Palestinian, Arafat Abdul Aziz Hayouh of the West Bank village of Ein Yabrud, was killed by Jewish settlers.
His body was found in the nearby village of Deir Jarir, near the settlement of Ofra. According to military sources, he was killed by an Uzi machine gun, a weapon used by Jewish settlers. There have been no arrests.