TEL AVIV (Nov. 6)
As Israeli politicians of all political stripes denounced the murder in New York of Rabbi Meir Kahane, security officials were investigating to see if the shooting early Tuesday morning of two West Bank Arabs might be an act of revenge.
Israeli soldiers and police were searching for a man, apparently Jewish, who gunned down two elderly Palestinians in the West Bank village of Lubban Sharkiya, halfway between Nablus and Ramallah.
Eyewitness said a man driving a Peugeot automobile with an Israeli license plate stopped near the Arab village’s school at about 5:45 a.m., then continued along the road until he shot and killed Mohammed el-Khatib, 65, as he rode his donkey to work.
The driver then continued past the roadside village houses, where he shot and killed a 60-year-old woman, Marian Hassan, as she left her house.
After firing several shots into the air, he drove away.
A curfew was clamped on the village to reduce the risk of further violence, and the Nablus area was declared a closed military zone with no access to reporters.
The killings took place less than two hours after Kahane’s killing, and the news of it had not yet been broadcast in Israel.
But security circles say the perpetrator may have heard the news from a foreign radio transmission or may even have received a telephone call from a supporter of Kahane’s Kach movement in New York.
News of Kahane’s killing was first broadcast here on army radio at 6:30 a.m., some 45 minutes after the murder of the two Arabs.
‘THERE WILL BE A RIVER OF BLOOD’
Israel Radio reported later that one of its reporters had received a telephone call at about 8 a.m. from a man speaking fluent Hebrew who said, “If you search the villages south of Nablus, you will find the bodies of two Arabs.”
One Kach activist, Baruch marzel, expressed “hope it was revenge.”
Another Kach activist, Yoel Ben-David, said, “I promise you there will be a river of Arab blood.”
A number of prominent Israeli Arabs and West Bank Palestinian leaders joined Tuesday in deploring Kahane’s murder. They said political assassinations should be denounced no matter what one thought of Kahane’s policies.
Avi Pazner, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s spokesman, said “Israelis of all political persuasions deplore the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane, even though the great majority of the them do not support his political views.”
Even Ariel Sharon, Likud’s fiery housing minister, called on the public to show restraint and not be drawn to retaliation.
Labor leader Shimon Peres said he is “categorically opposed to everything Kahane stood for,” but that he does not think assassinations are the way to solve political differences.
Elyakim Haetzni of the Tehiya party, which favors annexation of the West Bank, said Kahane’s murder was merely an extension of the intifada, though it took place in New York.