JERUSALEM (Jun. 26)
Extremism seems to be rising on both sides of the Palestinian uprising.
It is manifested by increased vigilantism among Jewish settlers in the administered territories and a literal reign of terror by the leaders of the uprising against Palestinians suspected of collaboration with Israel.
Rabbi Yehuda Amital, a moderate Orthodox leader and eminent scholar, is the latest Israeli public figure to voice concern over the behavior of hard-line settlers.
Amital, who heads a yeshiva in the Etzion Bloc, south of Jerusalem, warned this week that the formation of a new Jewish underground prone to violence against Arabs is imminent.
Such a group was broken up by the authorities in 1984, when nearly 30 Jews, mostly West Bank settlers, were convicted of violent crimes against Arabs and sentenced to prison terms.
Now, according to Amital, “a dangerous and fanatic new underground” is forming in the ranks of the militant Gush Emunim settlers movement.
Its members do not accept the rule of law or the authority of rabbis, but act according to their own laws, he said.
Amital’s was but one of several such warnings heard since the outburst of settler violence last week after the funeral of a settler from Ariel. The settler, Frederick Rosenfeld, was murdered by Arabs while hiking on June 17.
Knesset member Yossi Sarid of the Citizens Rights Movement claimed last week that Israel stands on the brink of civil strife.
Referring to the militant settlers, Sarid, said, “There are arms, there are arms-bearers and there is a sympathetic environment, there is a local leadership and a political lobby in the Knesset.”
Rabbi Yoel Bin-Nun, a Gush Emunim moderate from the West Bank settlement of Ofra, spoke of the need to end the “Jewish intifada,” in addition to curbing the Palestinians.
TWO SUSPECTED COLLABORATORS KILLED
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who was verbally abused and physically threatened by settlers when he tried to speak at Rosenfeld’s funeral, received a group of settlers at his office Monday.
The delegation, which included a local mayor and two rabbis, apologized for the misconduct of their colleagues.
Shamir stressed the need for unity at a time when the nation is, in his words, locked in confrontation with outsiders intent on Israel’s destruction.
On the Palestinian side, efforts to maintain unity include wanton murder.
Two Palestinians suspected of having collaborated with the Israeli authorities were brutally slain Sunday and Monday.
The body of a young woman was found Monday in the Nablus casbah — the walled-in, older part of town. Police said the woman, whose identity was not given, was killed Sunday night.
The body of a 22-year-old Arab man, identified as Nidal Salbub, was found Sunday night in the courtyard of school in Nablus.
People who knew him said that last year he had joined dozens of other Palestinian “penitents” who took an oath at the Nasser Mosque no longer to cooperate with the Israeli authorities. Nevertheless, he was killed.
Meanwhile, a Tel Aviv district court judge imposed a life sentence Monday on Mohammad Abdul Rahman of the Jabalya refugee camp for the murder of an Israeli pedestrian on a Tel Aviv street three months ago.
The victim, Dr. Moshe Schalinger, was stabbed to death. His assailant wounded two passers-by.