JERUSALEM (Feb. 20)
The brutal murders of Arabs by fellow Arabs is fast becoming a staple of the intifada.
The Israeli authorities say the Palestine Liberation Organization cannot control it, but neither can they.
At least 13 people have been murdered just in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the year. There were 88 murders in 1989, compared to 12 in 1988. The Palestinian uprising began at the end of 1987.
The victims fit roughly four categories: so-called “collaborators,” criminal elements, victims of blood feuds within the Palestinian community and victims of mistaken identity.
Neither the intifada’s Unified Command nor its PLO directors approve of the killings.
Salah Khalaf, PLO chief Yasir Arafat’s deputy also known as Abu Iyyad, went on the Arab-owned Radio Monte Carlo recently to urge the local population to put an end to the wanton killings. But his appeal had no visible effect.
The murder spree is expected to be mentioned in the U.S. State Department’s annual report on human rights around the world, to be issued Wednesday. The report is also expected to criticize Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The Israeli authorities say that many murders committed in the name of the intifada are criminally motivated. Others may stem from the power struggle between the PLO and Hamas, the Islamic fundamentalist group competing with it for control of the uprising.