JERUSALEM (Feb. 8)
A night of rioting in the Gaza Strip left two Palestinian youths wounded from Israel Defense Force rifle fire, one of them in the city of Gaza and other in Khan Yunis.
Eighteen Palestinians were treated at local hospitals for beatings at the hands of IDF troops. A curfew was imposed on the Shati refugee camp, which Premier Yitzhak Shamir visited less than a week ago during a lull in the violence.
East Jerusalem was relatively calm Monday night after a day of fierce rioting. Police used tear gas to disperse dozens of rock-throwing youths near the Herod’s Gate entrance to the Old City.
Two Jewish youths were injured by rocks while walking in the Old City. Police detained 18 Arab suspects.
Meanwhile, the commercial strike continued in East Jerusalem.
The curfew imposed on the Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem after rioting there Saturday night remained in force. But residents were allowed to leave their homes for two hours to shop for food.
Shuafat is the second site within the Jerusalem municipality ever to be placed under curfew. The Arab neighborhood of A-Tur on the Mount of Olives was under curfew for 24 hours on Jan. 23 and 24.
WEST BANK MOSTLY OUIET
Much of the West Bank was under tight curfew Monday, including Nablus, Tulkarm, Kalkilya, Anabta and Beit Umar, where three Palestinian rioters were killed Sunday. Refugee camps in the Nablus and Ramallah areas also remained under curfew.
Violent outbursts were reported from several localities in the territory, but by and large the West Bank was quiet Monday, though tension ran high. A general strike was called to mark the 60th day since the current wave of disturbances began in early December.
Many Arab workers did not report to their jobs in Israel. Public transportation was irregular throughout the territory. Arab municipal governments, one of the few symbols of self-rule, seemed about to fall apart.
Members of the town councils of Ramallah and El-Bireh announced their resignations. A week ago, three members of the Nablus city council resigned. Observers say it is a matter of time before Arab mayors and other council members succumb to Palestinian nationalist pressure to quit.
Most West Bank mayors were appointed to office by the Israeli authorities. There has not been an election in the territory since 1976.
Meanwhile, Premier Shamir took sharp issue with Gen. Dan Shomron, the IDF chief of staff, who told the Cabinet on Sunday that reprisals by Jewish settlers in the West Bank were escalating the violence.
SHAMIR DEFENDS SETTLERS
Shamir insisted Monday that there have been no confrontations between the IDF. He said the settlers are cooperating fully with the security forces.
The IDF suspects that the vandalizing of 50 Arab-owned cars in Hebron over the weekend was the work of Jewish militants from the adjacent township of Kiryat Arba. The army also blamed settlers for a motorcade demonstration and smashing windows in the Arab town of Anabta last week.
Shamir rejected comments by Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem that Jewish-Arab coexistence in the capital is now dead. He said he was confident that in the long run, Jews and Arabs would live peacefully together “in Eretz Israel,” the biblical term for the Jewish state, which often connotes a “Greater Israel.”
Reserve Gen. Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, a former coordinator of government affairs in the administered territories, told Voice of Israel Radio on Monday that the territories are presently under the rule of young mobs.
But he warned that the IDF’s “iron fist” policy has only accelerated the unrest. Ben-Eliezer suggested that Israel engage immediately in political talks with Palestinian leaders in the territories.
Meanwhile, Gen. Uri Saguy, head of the IDF’s ground forces command, told military correspondents Monday that the need to suppress the violence in the territories has interrupted the training of regular soldiers.