Territories Reported Mainly Quiet, but Arab Arson Has Israelis Worried

The Israel Defense Force is investigating the death of an Arab farmer, found shot in the forehead Monday morning outside Abucin village, near Nablus.

The victim was identified as Dib Mahmoud Mohammad Hussein, 43. His body was taken to the government hospital in Ramallah.

Arab sources said Israeli soldiers entered the village early Monday morning to carry out searches. Some villagers fled and were chased by soldiers who shot at them, villagers said.

A mail carrier and two other employees of the civil administration in the West Bank were attacked in Hebron on Monday with a sharp object. The same assailant was believed responsible for the three assaults. The victims were hospitalized for minor wounds.

Aside from these incidents, Palestinian unrest in the territories appeared to have abated Monday, following a week of violence and a general strike. Schools reopened and Arab day-laborers went to their jobs in Israel.

But the Israeli authorities are growing increasingly concerned over the upsurge in forest fires and brush fires in Israel proper this year, which they attribute in large measure to Palestinian arsonists.

Zeev Schiff, military correspondent of Haaretz, wrote Monday that the Palestinian uprising has been brought inside Israel. He said arson has become a facet of anti-Israel terrorism that the authorities do not know how to cope with. Schiff urged stiff punishment for arsonists.

Minister of Commerce and Industry Ariel Sharon, a prominent Herut hard-liner, wants the homes of arsonists demolished. The ultranationalist Tehiya Party would deport even Arab citizens of Israel if found guilty of arson.

Premier Yitzhak Shamir said in Tel Aviv on Monday that every effort would be made to apprehend and punish those responsible for setting fires.

Three Arabs suspected of attempted arson in the Jerusalem suburb of Givat Shaul were detained over the weekend. They reportedly confessed. Two other Arabs were apprehended Saturday as they allegedly tried to set fire to the forest adjacent to Kibbutz Ma’aleh Hahamisha.

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