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Tension, Violence Mount in Gaza Strip

April 21, 1986
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Tension mounted in the Gaza Strip over the weekend as Israel prepared to implement a little publicized aspect of its 1979 peace treaty with Egypt despite fierce protests by Jewish settlers, and terrorist incidents multiplied.

Molotov cocktails were hurled at Israel Defense Force patrols in the Shati and Nusseirat refugee camps last Thursday night, causing no casualties. A fire-bomb was thrown into a bus parking lot near Al-Azhar College in Gaza causing slight damage. An Israeli car set fire in a Gaza garage was damaged.

The settlers are objecting to the pending resettlement on Israeli soil of some 4,300 Arab refugees who presently live in the “Canada Camp” on the Egyptian side of the Sinai border which cuts through the town of Rafah at the southernmost point of the Gaza Strip.

The heads of the first 25 Arab families due for relocation were taken on a bus tour last Tuesday of the site on the Israeli side of Rafah where the government has already prepared 500 plots of land for refugee housing, in compliance with peace treaty terms.

This infuriated the settlers even though the Arabs, accompanied by a military escort and an Egyptian liaison officer, were not permitted to leave the bus. They were asked to fill out questionnaires about their families which will be examined by the Israeli authorities before the moves are made. The process of planning and preparation will take at least six months, after which construction will begin on the first refugees’ homes.

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