JERUSALEM (Apr. 4)
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s move to seal off Israel proper from the administered territories appears to have achieved its goal of stemming the bloody wave of violence that claimed 15 Israeli lives last month.
No Palestinian attacks on Israelis were reported over the weekend.
But the heightened tension in the territories resulted in the tragic killing of one Jewish settler in the West Bank. A policeman was shot to death by Israeli soldiers after he failed to obey orders to stop at two roadblocks.
The dead man, Eitan Massika, had left his home in Ma’aleh Efraim on Friday night and picked up three hitchhiking soldiers on his way west toward Tel Aviv.
Massika, 31, ignored soldiers’ orders to stop at one roadblock, apparently suspecting they were Arabs. The soldiers notified the next roadblock ahead about the “suspicious” car.
When he also failed to stop at the second roadblock, soldiers fired at the car, killing Massika and wounding two of his hitchhiking passengers.
According to an initial army investigation, the soldiers acted according to regulations, firing at a vehicle that refused to stop at roadblocks.
Meanwhile, the ban on allowing Palestinians from the territories to enter Israel was expected to last until the end of the Passover holiday next week.
And even then, political observers said, there will be greater restrictions than before the crackdown.
The Israel Defense Force has also taken advantage of the closure to capture a wanted Palestinian gunman.
Security forces said that over the weekend they caught the terrorist allegedly responsible for the murders last month of two Jewish settlers, Yehezkel Avraham and Simcha Levy, who were killed in separate attacks in the Gaza Strip.
The IDF said it found a cache of explosives at the Khan Yunis home of the suspect, Abdul Aziz Masri.