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Curfews Ordered in East Jerusalem to Avert Unrest During Baker Visit

April 8, 1991
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Jerusalem police are taking extensive security precautions in preparation for the second visit of U.S. Secretary of State James Baker in less than a month, mindful of the bloodshed that preceded his arrival here March 11.

As one security precaution, police extended a ban on the entry of West Bank Arabs into Jerusalem that had been in effect during the Passover holiday, which ended Saturday night. The ban will be lifted after Baker’s departure Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Palestinians observe the start of the 40th month since the intifada broke out in December 1987, the kind of anniversary invariably accompanied by violence.

The police accordingly clamped a curfew Friday on parts of the Wadi Joz neighborhood at the foot of Mount Scopus in East Jerusalem. Its proximity to the Jewish neighborhood of French Hill makes it a probable source of trouble.

But two Israeli Arab residents of Wadi Joz appealed to the High Court of Justice on Sunday to revoke the curfew. They argued that it is illegal to impose curfews on areas where Israeli citizens reside.

A skirmish broke out in Wadi Joz on Sunday, when young Arabs blocked traffic on the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare with barricades of trash bins. Masked youths stoned border police who came to remove them.

The police measures are being taken with fresh memories of the carnage in Jerusalem on March 10, the day before Baker’s first visit to Israel.

A Palestinian from the Gaza Strip fatally stabbed four Jewish women at a bus stop in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood in the western part of the city. The assailant, who shouted “Allahu Akhbar” (God is Great) as he slashed his victims, told police later that he wanted to send a “message to Baker.”

The high tension between Jews and Arabs caused by the killings prompted Baker to cancel a tour of the Old City. It was not clear Sunday whether he would go there on this trip.

But Baker has indicated he is ready to meet again with the same delegation of 10 Palestinian notables he met in Jerusalem on March 12. That group was headed by Faisal Husseini, a prominent activist whom the Israelis consider an instigator of the intifada and agent of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir was later rapped by the White House for stating that Israel would never talk to any of the Palestinians received by Baker.

The Palestinians themselves are locked in debate over whether it would be worthwhile for them to meet again with the secretary of state.

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