JERUSALEM (May. 15)
The military took tough measures Monday against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip while legislators considered constraints on terrorist organizations allegedly inciting Israeli Arabs with money.
A group of Jewish hikers came under a barrage of stones Monday when they deliberately entered the West Bank Arab village of Beita and had to be rescued by soldiers.
Authorities clamped a blanket curfew of indefinite duration on the Gaza Strip on Monday, only two days after a similar curfew was lifted.
There was no explanation for the move, which surprised many, inasmuch as the territory had been quieter than usual in recent days. Some observers suggested the tactic was intended to seize the initiative from the leadership of the Palestinian uprising.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Dan Meridor announced that legal amendments are being considered by the ministerial legal committee to allow the authorities to seize money terrorist organizations are funneling into Israel and the administered territories.
REPRISE OF BEITA INCIDENT
Also under consideration is an amendment to enable the courts to disband groups that cooperate with terrorist organizations.
The incident in Beita was a reprise of one that took place during Passover week in 1988, but without the tragic consequences.
On April 6, 1988, a group of teen-age hikers, affiliated with the militant Gush Emunim settlers movement, entered Beita after an armed guard accompanying them shot and killed two young Arab stone-throwers.
The guard was surrounded and beaten by the enraged family of one of the slain youths. He accidentally fired his rifle, fatally wounding a hiker, 15-year-old Tirza Porat.
On Monday, a similar group of hikers, with firearms, traced the route taken a year before and entered Beita. They failed to coordinate their plans with the local military authorities and, as expected, came under a hail of rocks.
This time, the settlers fired into the air and summoned the army by radio. They were extricated by soldiers. No one was hurt.
Benny Katzover, chairman of the Samaria Regional Council, criticized the hikers afterward, not for their unauthorized outing, but because they did not shoot their rifles “to hit.”