TEL AVIV (Apr. 27)
The Israeli army blocked West Bank settlers Thursday from entering Beita village, where they planned to hold a “first anniversary memorial hike” for an Israeli girl killed there a year ago.
Israel Defense Force troops allowed about 150 youthful West Bank settlers and right-wing supporters to walk in the vicinity of the Arab village, but not to enter it, fearing a repeat of last year’s incident.
On April 6, 1988, 15-year-old Tirza Porat was killed in the confrontation that ensued after a group of Israeli teen-age hikers on a Passover outing entered the Arab village, which lies south of Nablus.
News reports first indicated that she had been killed by village residents. But an army report later revealed that the bullet that killed her came from the gun of an Israeli chaperon escorting the hikers.
Two residents of Beita were slightly injured in a clash with soldiers Thursday morning, while the Jewish hikers were in the vicinity.
At least four Palestinians were killed in other clashes during the final days of Passover and scores of others were reported wounded.
On Tuesday, passengers of three Israeli vehicles that were stoned in Hebron got out of their cars, smashed windows of local cars and stores, and traded blows with Palestinians, the police reported.
A similar incident occurred in Hebron on Monday, when buses carrying Israeli tourists on Pesach holiday outings were stoned.
The IDF said that three persons, including an 8-year-old boy, were killed and 23 injured by soldiers responding to riots during the holiday period. But Palestinian sources said that the IDF had killed four people and wounded another 80.
A fifth Arab death is believed to have been carried out by Palestinians who claimed their victim was “liquidated” for having collaborated with the Israeli authorities.
During the past week, Palestinian assailants have killed 10 West Bank and Gaza Strip Arabs, either for collaborating with the Israelis or for carrying out “criminal activities,” such as drug trafficking.