JERUSALEM (Jun. 19)
The murder of an American immigrant who lived in the West Bank town of Ariel has touched off a furor among Jewish settlers.
Dozens of them demonstrated Monday outside the Prime Minister’s Office, demanding tougher measures to suppress the Palestinian uprising.
The victim, Steven Rosenfeld, 48, formerly of Washington, D.C., was a computer expert. He rented an apartment in Ariel and enjoyed hiking in the vicinity each Saturday.
He was found stabbed to death Sunday evening in a deserted area between the Arab villages of Burkin and Salfit. The Arab residents of the area who found the body notified the Israel Defense Force.
An empty holster and a pair of binoculars were found on the body. Rosenfeld was armed, and it is assumed his assailant snatched his pistol.
Security forces clamped curfews on both villages, sealed off the area and commenced a manhunt. They arrested 30 suspects, but the search for the killer continued Monday.
As soon as news of the murder spread, hundreds of Jewish settlers in the territory formed motorcades and drove into Israel proper.
They demonstrated at the Morasha intersection, outside Tel Aviv, and at the Tel Aviv residence of Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
SHARON TAKES UP SETTLERS’ CAUSE
Industry and Trade Minister Ariel Sharon took up the settlers’ grievances, apparently intending to use them as a weapon against the peace plan advanced by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.
He said Rosenfeld’s murder was further proof that peace initiatives had to wait until the Palestinian uprising is crushed.
The Council of Jewish Settlements met Monday to discuss the situation. Its secretary, Uri Ariel, railed against the government, the justice minister and the attorney general for being soft on Palestinian troublemakers.
He charged that the government failed to bring leaders of the uprising to trial, although there was allegedly ample evidence.
Ariel was referring apparently to Dr. Sari Nusscibeh, a Palestinian writer and philosopher accused by the Israeli authorities last week of association with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
His East Jerusalem press office was ordered closed for two years. But no action was taken against Nusscibeh, whom many Israelis consider to be a moderate.
The National Religious Party’s Knesset faction insisted the best answer to Palestinian violence is to accelerate the construction of the planned settlement of Bruchin, near the scene of the crime.
Rosenfeld will be buried Tuesday. Prime Minister Shamir will attend the funeral.
The victim was born in the Bronx, but lived most of his life in Washington. He has a brother, William Rosenfeld, who lives in Dover, Del.