JERUSALEM (Aug. 25)
A triple stabbing in Jerusalem and mounting unrest in the West Bank mobilized security forces over the weekend.
Police set up roadblocks at exits from the city as they searched for a knife-wielding Arab who wounded a policewoman and a teen-age couple near a bus station in the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood of Jerusalem on Saturday night.
Four suspects were reported in custody by Sunday morning. The assailant, described by witnesses as a tall, heavy-set young man, attacked his victims with a long knife, shouting “Allahu akhbar” (God is great).
The policewoman, who was not immediately identified, was stabbed in the stomach and collapsed. She was reported in “good” condition at a hospital.
The couple, Assaf Sharon, a 19-year-old university student, and Sigalit Ben-Yehuda, also 19, were the next victims in the area.
They wrestled with their assailant, who inflicted light wounds and fled in the direction of Nablus Road, a main thoroughfare linking Jerusalem with the West Bank.
In the West Bank itself, the weekend was marked by a spate of gasoline bomb attacks.
Two of the bombs were thrown Saturday night at an army lookout post near the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron. There were no casualties or damage.
Shots were fired Friday at the civil administration headquarters in Jenin, and a gasoline bomb was thrown at an Israeli vehicle there Saturday. Jenin was placed under curfew.
A gasoline bomb was thrown at an Israel Defense Force patrol in Nablus without causing casualties or damage.
ANOTHER BUILDING IN THE OLD CITY
Meanwhile, six Arab women were wounded Saturday when Israeli soldiers fired on a private clinic. The soldiers claimed stones were thrown at their vehicle from the direction of the clinic.
The escalation of Arab violence seems to be in response to provocative moves by Jews in the Old City of Jerusalem and in Hebron.
Last week, yeshiva students took over another building in the Moslem Quarter of the Old City. It is adjacent to the apartment purchased some years ago by Ariel Sharon, Likud’s hardline housing minister.
Sharon rarely occupies the apartment, but his acquisition of it was viewed as a deliberate provocation and encouragement to other Jews to encroach on the Moslem enclave.
Similar occurrences in Hebron have increased tension there. A bus station in the Arab town, confiscated by the army several years ago, has been turned into a temporary dormitory for about 120 students of the Shavei Hebron yeshiva.
The Defense Ministry, meanwhile, has allowed 15 Jewish families from nearby Kiryat Arba to settle in what was formerly a military post at Eshkolot in the Hebron hills.
The Jerusalem police normally take extra security measures just before the High Holidays. Owing to the deteriorating situation, they are now beefing up security two weeks before the holiday season, which starts with Rosh Hashanah at sundown, Sept. 8.