JERUSALEM (Dec. 5)
Israel is beefing up security forces in Jerusalem and the territories amid weekend disturbances on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising known as the intifada.
At the same time, settlements on the northern border have reacted angrily to a planned cutback in army guard duty in the wake of military budget cuts.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli troops on Sunday shot at rock-throwers in the town of Khan Yunis and killed 17-year-old Issam Barbah. Thirteen others were injured, including a 3-year-old child.
In inter-Arab violence, a masked man shot and killed a suspected collaborator in Khan Yunis.
Stepped-up security measures were announced after incidents Saturday injured four Israelis and gutted government offices.
The Israelis were injured when their cars were stoned in the predominantly Arab eastern section of the city. Seven other Israeli cars were torched.
An arson attack gutted the offices of the vehicle licensing bureau in Jerusalem. But a greater disaster was averted when police removed two gas canisters placed at the scene to magnify the scope of damage.
Police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators waving flags of the Palestine Liberation Organization in the Old City of Jerusalem, some of whom were masked and carrying axes.
Similarly, eight people were arrested during disturbances at a protest march in Gaza.
The Israeli police chief said stepped-up security measures would provide enhanced protection during the anniversary of the intifada and the upcoming Chanukah and Christmas holidays.
Helicopters will join increased ground patrols in monitoring crossing points into Israel from the territories, said Police Inspector General Ya’acov Terner.
He also called on the public to report any suspicious objects to the police.
A spokesman for Israelis in the north called on Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to maintain army guard strength at border settlements. Rabin also holds the defense portfolio.
Metulla Mayor Yossi Goldberg, who heads the Forum of Border Settlements, said, “We are entitled to live like every other citizen in the country.”
Settlement leaders said they lacked the manpower to replace soldiers now standing guard over their communities.
The army will continue to supply guards to small settlements with limited manpower, an army spokesman said.