JERUSALEM (Mar. 22)
A Palestinian stabbed five students and a principal outside a high school here Monday, adding to an ongoing wave of violence and triggering attacks by angry mobs against Arabs in the neighborhood.
Unrest also continued in the Gaza Strip, where a 10-year-old Palestinian boy was shot and killed and two other Arabs were seriously wounded, the army said.
Palestinian sources said three Arabs were killed in violent clashes between rioting residents and Israeli troops.
In the Jerusalem stabbing attack, eyewitnesses said the Palestinian assailant burst into the yard of the ORT John F. Kennedy Apprenticeship Center in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Talpiyot early Monday morning.
Twenty students and the school principal were in the yard as the man charged at them, yelling “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is Great,” and stabbing people with what looked like a long kitchen knife.
The school’s guard, who was unarmed, and the principal apparently used a chair to subdue the 22-year-old attacker.
School authorities then prevented students, who had begun to hit him, from beating him to death.
The Palestinian assailant reportedly came from an Arab village close to Talpiyot.
The man was identified as Hamdan Shkeirat, who was released from jail a year and a half ago after serving a two-year sentence for torching cars and throwing fire-bombs, sources said.
Students, parents and residents, shaken and angry, gathered outside the school afterward, blasting the Rabin government and shouting anti-Arab slogans.
Dozens of residents and workers in the area’s nearby industrial zone, threw stones, bottles and other objects at Arab-owned cars, injuring, at least two Palestinians and lightly injuring an Israeli border policeman.
ARAB BEATEN BY MOB
One Arab was beaten by a mob that fled before police arrived.
In New York, the president of the American ORT Federation, Murray Kopelman, said: “This attack is particularly painful. I recently met with the principal and students at ORT Kennedy and they are wonderful kids.
“Most of the 450 students at the school, 50 of whom are Arabs, are hard-luck kids who have a history of failure at other schools.”
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was visiting the Gaza Strip to pump up the army’s morale and calm the country over the security situation, called the morning stabbings an “atrocity” that should have been prevented by the government-financed school guard.
Rabin was forced to defend the government’s security policy in the Knesset on Monday during two no-confidence motions from right-wing parties following the school yard attack.
“We’ll cope with all the measures that are allowed to us by Israeli law,” he said in Gaza, adding that the army and all the security branches of the police “are operating with one goal: to reduce to a minimum the violence.”
At the same time, Rabin said it was unrealistic to hold the government accountable for providing its citizens with absolute security.
Rabin added that the nation is in a “violent confrontation” with Palestinians in the territories that can be solved only at the negotiating table and not through military means.
But Rabin also emphasized “We have to make it clear that violence, terror, will not change our position.”
The government has decided to beef up the nation’s police force by adding 1,000 to 2,000 extra recruits to deal with the rising tide of violence.
Right-wing Jewish groups protested against Arab violence at demonstrations in the city center and outside the Knesset.
Police broke up a protest in downtown Jerusalem, after demonstrators refused a police request to disperse.