Arab terrorists stabbed to death a Jewish farmer in northern Israel on Thursday as Palestinians in East Jerusalem rioted over the death of a security prisoner who had been on a hunger strike.
Violent riots erupted in both Jabel Mukaber and the northern neighborhood of Isawiya, and a three-day general strike was called. Schools were closed. Rioters threw stones at Israeli vehicles, but no one there was hurt.
The killing and riots were the latest violence emanating from the prisoners’ two-week hunger strike, which ended earlier this week.
On Thursday, angry farmers in the north demanded that security authorities restore law and order following the brutal murder of Shimon Avraham.
Avraham, 33, was repeatedly stabbed from behind as he repaired water lines in the fields of Moshav Prazon, about five miles north of the West Bank town of Jenin.
His assailants drove off in his car, which was later found abandoned in the nearby Arab village of Mukeibila.
The killing occurred not far from Moshav Gadish, where another farmer was shot and seriously wounded last month. Security forces last week detained three suspects in the West Bank in connection with that shooting. Jewish farmers had believed the arrests would restore calm. But the new killing, five days after the murder of a kibbutznik on a working visit to the Gaza Strip, has unnerved residents of the area.
That victim, Amatzia Ben-Haim, 45, had been bludgeoned to death with a hoe.
Moreover, escalating terrorist activity in the West Bank town of Jenin has also led to an increase in attacks on property in the Ta’anach region, which borders the pre-1967 lines with the West Bank.
Avraham, who lived in the neighboring village of Meitav, apparently struggled with his assailants. A farmer working in a nearby orchard heard his screams but arrived only after the attackers escaped.
In East Jerusalem, unrest continued after the death Wednesday of the security prisoner, who came from the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood. Hussein Nimer As’ad Obeidat, 26, had ended his hunger strike together with other prisoners when he took sick and was brought to the hospital, where he died of a heart attack.
Reserve Brig. Gen. Shaike Erez, former commander of the Civil Administration in the West Bank, said Thursday that contrary to popular opinion, the intifada has not been renewed in the past few weeks. It simply never ended, he said.
The intifada has merely changed patterns, as it has frequently done since its outbreak in 1987, Erez wrote in the daily Yediot Achronot. Israeli experts are saying the sudden upsurge in the intifada differs from its spontaneous outbreak five years ago in that it is now being carefully orchestrated from the top.