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Four West Bank Houses Demolished

November 17, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Angry demonstrations took place today in Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem, in protest against the demolition of three houses in that town and another house in Ramallah by the Israel Defense Force to punish the owners for throwing Molotov cocktails at IDF patrols and participating in terrorist acts.

The demonstrators claimed that in the past, houses were demolished only in cases in which hand grenades were thrown only from them or their inhabitants were directly involved in acts of terrorism. This was the first time that houses were demolished following the throwing of Molotov cocktails by residents of the towns. The IDF patrols were attacked Nov. I and Nov. 10.

The anger in Beit Sahour was particularly intense because the demolition of the houses came as punishment for acts in which no one was killed and because in one of the incidents a cocktail was tossed by a 14-year-old youth. The mayors of Beit Sahour and Bethlehem participated in the demonstrations during which youths burned tires. The IDF did not interfere. Only when an IDF truck was surrounded by Arab demonstrators did one of the soldiers shoot in the air. No one was hurt.

During the hour-long demonstration youths marched around the demolished houses chanting: “PLO — Israel no.” Mayor Elias Freij of Bethlehem, who is considered a moderate, called on Premier Menachem Begin to prevent “the law of the jungle in the territories.” Mayor Hanna Al-Atrash of Beit Sahour termed the demolitions “collective punishment” and called on “all men of conscience” in the world and in Israel to prevent such acts.

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