Events in Uprising Escalating; Cabinet Minister’s Car Stoned

The 7-month-old Palestinian uprising seems to have escalated in the past two weeks, and the Israel Defense Force’s top-ranking officer admitted it is not likely to end soon.

A Cabinet minister’s car was stoned in the West Bank Thursday, while the deaths of two Palestinian youths, wounded in clashes with the IDF earlier in the week, triggered fierce rioting in Nablus Wednesday night in defiance of a curfew.

A separate curfew was clamped on Ein Yabrud village in the Ramallah region Thursday, after violent demonstrations there by Palestinian students.

Curfews remained in force in Kalkilya, Beit Sahur, Nablus, Anabta village, and at the Askar refugee camp near Nablus and the Aida camp near Bethlehem.

The civil administration in the West Bank shut down all Arab schools Thursday in Tulkarm and Kalkilya until the end of the school year.

Security sources said the drastic action was taken because of repeated disturbances at the schools, despite warnings that the students could lose a year’s work.

Yosef Shapiro, a minister without portfolio in the coalition Cabinet, came under a hail of stones Thursday as his car drove near the Arab village of Dahariya, south of Hebron.

The windshield was smashed and a woman aide was scratched by glass, but the minister and others in the car were unhurt.

Soldiers combed the area but found no suspects. “I don’t think it is any big deal,” said Shapiro, who is a member of the National Religious Party.

“It is good to feel once the experience which the people of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip feel daily,” he said.

According to Shapiro, more could have been done to suppress the Palestinian uprising much sooner, so that it would not have reached its present stage. He did not elaborate.

But the IDF chief of staff, Gen. Dan Shomron, said during a visit to the Bethlehem area Thursday that while the IDF’s task is “to reduce the violence to the level where we can live normally, there is no possibility of eliminating the problem.”

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