JERUSALEM (Sep. 14)
A Nablus resident found stabbed to death in the local onion market Tuesday appears to be the latest victim in the rising tide of violence against Arabs suspected of collaborating with the Israeli authorities.
The man reportedly was dragged out of his home at midnight by masked intruders. Soldiers who went to the onion market Wednesday to investigate the crime were pelted with stones. They fired rubber bullets, wounding a 12-year-old.
Violence against suspected collaborators has emerged as the newest pattern in the 10-monthold Palestinian uprising. Another Nablus resident was found murdered in the same market a few days ago, apparently because he was suspected of collaboration.
Alleged collaborators in Nablus, Jenin and Sinjil village, near Ramallah, were killed last week, probably by neighbors.
Palestinian sources say the reprisals are in response to large-scale operations by the Israel Defense Force against nationalists exposed by collaborators to be leaders of the uprising.
Such an operation was carried out in the West Bank town of Kalkilya last week. Soldiers conducted house-to-house searches and arrested more than 200 suspects.
Although Arab sources said collaborators were targeted because they helped the IDF make mass arrests, the police reported that many of the recent murders had a criminal background. The uprising was used as a cover to conceal criminal intent, the police said.
NUMBER OF INCIDENTS DOWN
A curfew in Kalkilya was lifted Wednesday. But curfews remained in force in Tulkarm, the nearby Nur as-Shams refugee camp and in Azoun and Husan villages, near Kalkilya and Bethlehem, respectively.
Seven residents of the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip were wounded in a clash with security forces Wednesday. All were hospitalized.
Nevertheless, the IDF chief of staff, Gen. Dan Shomron, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Wednesday that violence in the administered territories has decreased in recent weeks.
He said the IDF recorded 612 incidents in the West Bank in the past two weeks, compared with 1,019 incidents in the previous two-week period. He said there was a similar decline in incidents in the Gaza Strip.
But Shomron stressed that this does not mean the uprising is over.
The IDF was reported Wednesday to have requested a special increment to the defense budget next year to cover the extra costs of maintaining order in the territories.
This year, the Cabinet provided the army with an extra $180 million, though more than $400 million had been requested.