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IDF Investigating Beating Death; Rabin Regrets Infant Injuries

June 9, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Israel Defense Force is investigating the death of a 19-year-old Palestinian from the Gaza Strip, a military spokesman confirmed Wednesday.

It is also investigating the second case in a week in which an Arab baby lost an eye when soldiers fired rubber bullets to quell disturbances at the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza.

The Palestinian youth, Hussein Juma Abu-Jalala, died at Tel Hashomer Hospital in Ramat Gan. He had been treated initially at Shifta hospital in Gaza.

Voice of Israel Radio quoted hospital sources Wednesday as saying the youth was beaten to death by soldiers after his arrest Monday. But an army spokesman in Gaza said it was unclear how his injuries were sustained. Officials of Tel Hashomer hospital could not be reached for comment.

Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin expressed regret for the injuries to two Arab babies, both 9-month-old girls, who may have been struck by rubber bullets. He said the IDF would certainly draw lessons from these incidents, though he was sure the children were not shot on purpose.

Rabin seemed to blame the mothers. He said women who carry their children into areas of violence should realize the risk they are taking.

The most recent incident occurred Monday when, according to military sources, soldiers were stoned by Arabs in the Jabalya vegetable market during a break in the curfew to allow residents to shop for food. Their commanding officer ordered the soldiers to fire rubber bullets when other means failed to disperse the attackers, the sources said.


The soldiers claimed they saw no women or children in the target area. But a short time later, Safia al-Sharafi, 22, told doctors at Nasser hospital in Gaza that her daughter, Feda, was wounded while she was shopping in the market. The woman said she saw no soldiers at the scene.

The child underwent surgery, which reportedly required the removal of an eye.

An almost identical incident occurred at Jabalya a week earlier. The victim then too was a 9-month-old girl hit by a rubber bullet while in her mother’s arms. The mother also was injured.

Meanwhile, Israeli authorities and Palestinians alike reacted with anger to the attempted assassination Tuesday of Hassan a-Tawil, the Israeli-appointed Arab mayor of El-Bireh.

The mayor of Jericho, Jamil Sabri Khalaf, also a government appointee, condemned the attack on his colleague. He said Arab mayors in the administered territories are civil servants, not political figures.

Tawil, 75, was stabbed as he left his office at the El-Bireh town hall. He remained on the critical list Wednesday at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, but his condition was described as stable. Doctors said the knife punctured his lung and heart. The assailant escaped.

Gen. Dan Shomron, the IDF chief of staff, expressed hope Wednesday that the assassination attempt would not “start a wave of such phenomena.” He admitted, however, that such incidents are not “very exceptional given political realities in the territories.”

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