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Frustrated West Bank Settlers to Stage a Strike on Thursday

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Jewish settlers in Samaria plan to stage a general strike Thursday to vent their anger and frustration against the government, which they blame for the deteriorating security situation in the territory.

All 32 settlements in the northern West Bank region are to shut down. No one will go to work and classes will be suspended at schools.

The strike will coincide with the end of the 30-day mourning period for Yaacov Parag, a settler killed near Bracha last month.

It will also mark the end of shiva for Shimon Edri, an Israeli taxi driver whose murder near Yakir settlement a week ago the police say was politically motivated.

The settlers plan a mass protest rally near the Yakir road junction where Edri’s bullet-riddled body was found. The Defense Ministry said no permit was requested for the rally and none was granted.

In striking, the settlers acknowledge they are borrowing a tactic of the Palestinian uprising. But they say they have come to the end of their patience.

“The readiness of Jews in Judea and Samaria to exercise restraint has reached the zero point,” said Benny Katzover, head of the militant Samaria Regional Council.

The settlers say they are fed up with the defense establishment’s failure “to put an end to the intifada and to increase the safety of the settlers.”

WILL TAKE LAW INTO OWN HANDS

They are threatening to take the law into their own hands. “We, as heads of settlement, will not sit and watch the developing activism, but will encourage large-scale actions,” Katzover said.

A settler from Efrat, near Bethlehem, was quoted by Yediot Achronot Wednesday as threatening to “punish” the neighboring Dehaishe refugee camp by “breaking everything in sigh.”

The IDF chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Shomron, has been assailed by the settlers in recent weeks for expressing his belief that the Palestinian uprising cannot be quelled by military means.

Shomron made that point to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.

“There is no such thing as eradicating the intifada, because in its essence it expresses the struggle of nationalism,” Shomron said.

The violence is continuing. At least 10 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with security forces Tuesday, and an Arab was murdered, apparently for alleged collaboration with the Israeli authorities.

Kaid Tmeiza, 27, was shot to death Tuesday standing outside his home in Idna village, near Hebron. An IDF spokeswoman said he was killed “probably as a result of a dispute between Arabs in the village.”

It was the second attack this week on a suspected Arab collaborator. On Sunday, a 35-year-old Arab woman, Shuhurat Abu Diyab, was stabbed by masked attackers inside her home in Habla village.

Diyab, a schoolteacher, was taken to AlIttihad Hospital, in Nablus, with moderate head wounds.

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