JERUSALEM (Oct. 13)
Despite the end of a two-week hunger strike by jailed Palestinians, riots continued in the administered territories over the Sukkot festival, leaving three Arab youths dead.
Israeli forces responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire as hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets in violent demonstrations that spread from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.
Political analysts believe the unrest will subside only after peace talks resume in Washington on Oct. 21, when new openings for progress may restore the relative calm prevailing in the territories until a couple of weeks ago.
Two 15-year-old youths were killed and dozens of others wounded after the Israel Defense Force opened fire Monday to disperse a violent demonstration at the Nuseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. Another 15-year-old was killed in a similar confrontation in the West Bank town of Salfit.
The wave of demonstrations followed the brutal murder Sunday of a Jewish computer technician on a working visit to the Gaza Strip settlement of Ganei Tal.
Security forces detained a resident of Khan Yunis who works at the moshav as a suspect in the murder of Amatzia Ben-Haim, 45, of Kibbutz Yad Mordechai. The victim had been bludgeoned to death with a hoe.
Analysts said the sudden upsurge in the intifada differed from its spontaneous outbreak five years ago in that it is now being carefully orchestrated from the top.
Palestinian leaders visited sit-down strikers before the eyes of television cameras at International Red Cross headquarters in the territories and East Jerusalem over the holiday. Foreign consuls and other media also visited the strikers, mostly women relatives of prisoners.
An end to the strike came Sunday night following negotiations with representatives of the jailed Palestinians. But news reports said some prisoners were still on strike at the Napha prison in the Negev. And Palestinian leaders claimed it was continuing in other prisons as well.
Defense authorities have deployed reinforced troops in the territories as Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin announced Israel would use “every legally available means” to quell the disturbances.
At the same time, Police Minister Moshe Shahal said he will investigate prisoners’ complaints about conditions in the prisons. He has appointed Levy Shaul, former commissioner of the Prisons Service, to carry out an inquiry promised in negotiations with strike leaders.