JERUSALEM (May. 8)
An estimated 1million Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were under curfew Monday night and are likely to remain so for at least two more days.
A general curfew was imposed on the entire Gaza Strip “until further notice,” and the territory was sealed off from Israel.
Similar measures were taken in the West Bank. No blanket curfew was imposed, but curfews were in force in Nablus, Tulkarm, Jenin and near by refugee camps.
All Palestinian residents, including laborers with jobs in Israel, were forbidden to cross the “Green Line” into Israel from Monday through Wednesday night.
The Israel Defense Force acted to prevent an escalation of violence while Israelis observe Memorial Day for fallen soldiers Tuesday and Independence Day on Wednesday.
The leadership of the Palestinian uprising, meanwhile, declared Tuesday and Wednesday days of general strike to mark the start of the 18th month of the intifada.
On Saturday, three Arabs were killed and at least 77 wounded in clashes with Israeli security forces in the Gaza Strip.
Arab sources put the wounded as high as 400, a figure the IDF on Monday called ridiculous.
A senior officer attributed what he called an inflated casualty rate to the fact that the wounded receive generous compensation from the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The IDF said it checked Gaza hospitals thoroughly and counted no more than 77 wounded.
But Arab sources said not all wounded were taken to hospitals. Some preferred to be treated at home because they feared the Israelis might arrest them in the hospitals, the sources said.