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Arabs Stage Commercial Strike As Civil Disobedience Continues

Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip observed another commercial strike Tuesday, as the Palestinian underground issued a new communique urging an intensified civil disobedience campaign.

The strike shut down shops and businesses, but many Arab workers reported to their jobs in Israel.

The territories generally were quiet, partly because the Israeli authorities ordered the 1,200 Arab schools closed until next Saturday as a security measure. About 300,000 students are affected.

There were scattered disturbances in East Jerusalem, however. Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse stone-throwers, who had set up barricades in the Jabel Mukabar neigh borhood. Roadblocks were also erected in the Shuafat neighborhood.

Meanwhile, about 500 pine trees went up in flames Tuesday around Ilut village near Nazareth in Galilee. A preliminary investigation indicated arson.

Efforts by fire brigades and the Jewish National Fund to put out the blaze were hampered by road blocks set up around the forest by unknown parties.

Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that terrorism has declined in the territories.

He said the armed forces have successfully reduced the level of violence, particularly on the main roads, and the local population understands that it they turn to terror they will lose public sympathy.

HOMES BLOWN UP IN BETHLEHEM

On Monday night, the Israel Defense Force blew up several buildings in the Bethlehem region that housed Arabs who had participated in gasoline bomb attacks.

In another development, the military prosecutor of the IDF’s southern command rejected a finding by an international association of jurists, who ruled that a 13-year-old resident of the El-Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip was beaten unconscious in prison by soldiers.

The prosecutor said Tuesday that an investigation by the military police determined that the alleged victim was admitted to a local hospital for a hernia and bore no signs of beatings.

Meanwhile, an administrative detainee from the Gaza Strip appealed to the Supreme Court Tuesday, because he is still being held in custody despite a recommendation by a military advisory committee that he be released.

The committee made the recommendations because the man had suffered a heart attack while in prison, where he has been for four months.

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