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Shamir Blames Arab Propaganda for Decline in Tourism to Israel

Dismayed hotel owners who complain that the Palestinian uprising is playing havoc with Israel’s tourist industry got a lecture on national unity Tuesday from Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.

Shamir attended the annual hoteliers convention, where he was told that after a dismal tourist season last summer, tourism has decreased by 30 percent in the past few months.

The prime minister blamed a sophisticated propaganda campaign that depicts Israel as an aggressor. Israel’s image in world public opinion has changed from “David facing Goliath” to Israel as Goliath, he said.

But despite their propaganda success, the Arabs have not deviated from their original intention to “throw the Jews into the sea,” Shamir insisted.

He claimed that the Arabs’ new negotiating stances are attempts to cover up their evil design. Therefore, only a steadfast, united stand by the people will enable Israel to cope with the problem, he said.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin was reported to have told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday that a political solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict and suppression of violence in the administered territories are separate matters.

He said he disagreed with the assumption that the Palestinian uprising would continue as long as there is no political solution.

But a spokesman for Rabin later denied that the defense minister had made comments to that effect.

ANOTHER YOUTH KILLED

Violence continued in the territories Tuesday, though on a smaller scale than last weekend.

One Palestinian youth was shot to death by Israeli security forces in Habla village, near Kalkilya in the West Bank.

According to military sources, an Israel Defense Force unit on duty near the village encountered six masked youths who refused to obey orders to halt.

The soldiers opened fire, killing Issam Hashem Ghanen, 19, and wounding another youth. The remaining four fled, but soldiers continued to search for them.

Military sources said a terrorist cell was active in the Habla area against residents suspected of collaborating with Israeli authorities.

Curfews were imposed on Habla and on the Tulkarm and Danage refugee camps. Several refugee camps in the Gaza Strip were also put under curfew.

The IDF said the curfews were intended to prevent rioting as Palestinians observed another general strike to protest the demolition of their houses by security forces.

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