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700 Hard-core Activists Targeted As ‘instigators’ of the Intifada

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The Israel Defense Force is busy tracking down 700 hardcore activists of the intifada considered the “instigators” of violence against Israeli soldiers and Arabs they see as collaborators, Gen. Dan Shomron, the IDF chief of staff, told a Knesset panel Tuesday.

According to military statistics Shomron cited to members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, 468 Arabs have been killed by the security forces since the Palestinian uprising began more than 20 months ago, and another 100 were murdered by fellow Arabs for allegedly collaborating with Israeli authorities.

There are still 21 unsolved Arab murder cases, the chief of staff said.

Nasser Hospital in Rafah, at the southern end of the Gaza Strip, reported receiving the body of a local man dead on arrival Tuesday. It also admitted a badly injured youth.

A preliminary investigation indicated both were attacked by other Arabs. Gaza residents said the two were beaten by masked men who accused them of collaboration with Israel.

Shomron said the principal objective of the Palestinian uprising remains “attracting the sympathy of public opinion around the world, including Israel.”

He said public opinion was also a concern of Israel, which is one reason the Israel Defense Force refrains from using live ammunition to quell disturbances.

Live bullets would only “hurt the army’s reputation in its public relations battle,” Shomron said.

The military-run civil administration in the West Bank shut down eight local schools Tuesday because their pupils were involved in disturbances.

OPEN AND SHUT SCHOOLS

Since July 22, when West Bank Arab schools were reopened after a prolonged closure, 18 have been shut down again. But five were reopened after their student bodies were warned to stay out of trouble.

The civil administration’s policy is to close individual schools where disturbances occur instead of a blanket shutdown as in the past.

Unlike last year, schools will be closed for short periods, more as a warning than punishment.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, a leader of the militant Jewish settlement movement, Rabbi Moshe Levinger, says the IDF has provided him with armed guards because his life has been threatened by Palestinians.

Levinger, who lives in Hebron, was indicted for manslaughter on Aug. 28 in connection with the shooting death last year of an Arab shoe vendor in that town.

Free on bail, Levinger says “Arabs in Hebron” have warned him that his life is in danger.

He said the threats were repeated on Damascus radio, which warned that he could be kidnapped just as easily as Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid, the Hezbollah leader who was seized in southern Lebanon by Israeli commandos July 28.

Levinger said Damascus radio taunted that he would not be found alive like Shaul Mishanya, an Israeli jeweler who was kidnapped by Arabs in Tulkarm on Aug. 23 and found by a search party unharmed 36 hours later.

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