JERUSALEM (Sep. 27)
Three Palestinians were killed and more than a score wounded in confrontations with Israeli security forces in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem over the Sukkot holiday.
The rioting was acknowledged to be among the worst since the Palestinian uprising began last Dec. 9.
A resident of the Nur es-Shams refugee camp, near Tulkarm, died of wounds inflicted in an encounter with the Israel Defense Force four months ago.
The Palestinian youth shot to death in Jerusalem was the first such Arab fatality in the capital since the beginning of the unrest. Until now, the police here have managed to subdue rioters without killing anyone.
Another youth was fatally shot by IDF troops in Beit Surik village, near Ramallah. The troops had entered the village to make arrests.
A third Palestinian died in a clash with the IDF in Gaza.
The worst of the violence broke out in the West Bank towns of Nablus, Tulkarm and Jenin, and their neighboring villages and refugee camps.
PLASTIC BULLETS A FACTOR
Security sources placed the number of wounded at 30. But local hospitals reported treating more than 50 wound victims.
The large number of injuries was attributed to the IDF’s switch from rubber to plastic bullets as a non-fatal weapon in riot control. The plastic bullets cause much more serious injuries than the rubber variety.
Under recently issued orders, they have been used freely by soldiers to disperse demonstrators. The use of live ammunition remains restricted to officers. Soldiers can use live bullets only on orders of a superior officer or if their lives are in immediate danger.
Those restrictions do not apply to plastic or rubber bullets.
Palestinian rioters were not the only ones who kept the IDF busy over the weekend. Two groups of Jewish extremists attempted to set up illegal settlements near Jericho and Ramallah in the West Bank on Sunday and Monday.
Both times they were removed physically by IDF troops. One group staged a sit-in protest near the Prime Minister’s Office.
The army on Tuesday closed off two areas claimed as settlement sites. One is at Yakir, near the highway crossing the Samaria region, and the other at Ofarim, northwest of Ramallah.
In another development, the military court of the IDF southern command issued orders Sunday to hold in custody four soldiers accused of beating an Arab to death last month at the Jabalya refugee camp. The order applies “until the end of legal proceedings.”
Meanwhile, a magistrates court in Acre released five Israeli Arabs on bail Tuesday. They are suspected of illegal fund raising for the Palestinian uprising and “nationalist incitement” during a wedding party.