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Three Arrested for Suspected Arson; Order is Restored in East Jerusalem

Two residents of the West Bank and one from the Gaza Strip have been arrested on suspicion of arson in Israel.

Two of the suspects, from Azoun village, near Kalkilya, are accused of setting a brush fire north of the Ra’anana industrial zone and may have been involved in a series of fires in the Sharon region.

The third suspect, from the Gaza Strip, was apprehended after a fire at Moshav Porat was determined to have been arson. He was found in the area.

Education Minister Yitzhak Navon said Wednesday that parents are to blame for their children’s involvement in arson.

He said he did not favor punishing parents, but would demand that they discipline their offspring. He said he was pleased that the heads of Arab municipalities in Israel have condemned arson.

Meanwhile, the situation in the territories seems to be easing. The number of terrorist attacks in the West Bank has dropped considerably in the last few days, Gen. Amram Mitzna, commander of the central region, told reporters Wednesday.

He said the number of gasoline bomb attacks also has declined. Mitzna visited Yona Heikin, an American immigrant hospitalized after he was stabbed last week in Hebron. He also visited soldiers burned by gasoline bombs.

Police Inspector General David Kraus reported Wednesday that the situation in East Jerusalem was well in hand.

He said the police have achieved their main goal, which was to restore order in the city. But “because of legal limitations,” they have not been able to cope with commercial strikes and school shutdowns.

Kraus complained that the police are facing severe financial burdens because of the continuing unrest in the administered territories. The additional budget they received was not enough, he said.

Nevertheless, the police are redeploying their forces in the territories and have set up special units to deal with “internal security.”

Several dozen Arab schoolgirls demonstrated outside the American Consulate in East Jerusalem Wednesday. They were dispersed by tear gas, and several were arrested on suspicion of incitement.

The students were protesting the closing of four schools in East Jerusalem by the Israeli authorities.

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