JERUSALEM (Feb. 4)
Premier Yitzhak Shamir conferred with Israel Defense Force commanders as well as a local Palestinian leader during a visit to an unusually quiescent Gaza Strip on Thursday.
The premier said later he was impressed by the “quiet restored by the IDF.” He also told reporters there was no connection between the unrest in the administered territories and political efforts underway to seek Mideast peace.
“In any case, we shall see to it that there will be no such connection,” Shamir said, an allusion to reports that the peace initiative of the United States was a result of nearly two months of Palestinian rioting.
Shamir visited the Shati and Nusseirat refugee camps near Gaza in a motorcade. Shehade Nabwani, chairman of the local council, asked Shamir for Israeli government help to improve housing in the camps.
Shamir replied that Israel was willing to help, but that the Arab states continued to oppose any attempt to rehabilitate the camps.
The Gaza Strip remained paralyzed on Thursday by a commercial strike. All shops and businesses were shuttered.
Relative quiet prevailed in the West Bank, too, although one injury was reported. According to military sources, one Palestinian youth who allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail at a border police patrol when the curfew was lifted at the Balata refugee camp near Nablus was shot and slightly wounded.
Rioting broke out at the camp and the curfew was promptly reimposed.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians remained under strict curfew in Nablus and in several other West Bank towns and refugee camps.
The civil administration in the West Bank decided to close all schools and colleges for an indefinite period.
Attempts to reopen them earlier this week touched off a new wave of riots.