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Situation Worsens in West Bank with Killing of Two More Arabs

February 2, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The situation in the West Bank deteriorated rapidly Monday as Israel Defense Force units fought pitched battles with Arab rioters and curfews were clamped on Nablus and on eight Palestinian refugee camps in the territory.

Two Arabs were shot to death and three were wounded in a clash at Anabta, where the IDF encountered roadblocks on the Jenin-Nablus road. Three IDF soldiers were injured in several rock-throwing incidents.

Army vehicles and Egged buses were pelted with rocks in the Jerusalem’s Old City and on Saladin Street, the main thoroughfare of East Jerusalem. The strike by merchants and shopkeepers there entered its fourth week.

Nablus, the largest Arab city in the West Bank, with a population of 100,000, was under total curfew Monday, after IDF troops, using bulldozers to break through barriers of rubble, battled Palestinian youths, armed with rocks and bottles, for the third consecutive night in the narrow streets and winding alleys of the Nablus casbah.

Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin conceded Monday that conditions in the West Bank have worsened. He told reporters after appearing at a meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, that security forces are determined to restore order to the area, however long it takes.


But Rabin acknowledged a new, dangerous element — the seething fury of Jewish settlers in the territory over a firebombing Sunday night that hospitalized a settler, Dov Kalmanovich from Beit-El, with severe burns all over his body.

Rabin met with the mayors of Jewish settlements later Monday. They told him if Jewish residents of the territory continue to be targets of attack, it would be impossible to control settlers bent on vengeance.

The defense minister responded with a warning that he would not tolerate anyone who took the law into his own hands.

Kalmanovich was burned when his car was hit by a gasoline bomb on a road near Ramallah, north of Jerusalem. The vehicle was gutted.

Gasoline bombs were thrown in the Arab town of Kalkilya and at Egged buses in East Jerusalem, but caused no injuries.


Defiance of curfews has posed another problem for Israeli security forces. They are using helicopter surveillance of areas under curfew to spot curfew violators.

These include the El-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah; the Dahaishe camp near Bethlehem; the Askar, Ein Beit, lima and Balata camps in the Nablus area; and the Jalazoon camp near Ramallah.

On Sunday, police forcibly broke up a protest march by Christian Arabs in Jerusalem after church services. It was the first time Christian Arabs as a group have engaged in demonstrations.

Six people were arrested as tear gas wafted through the streets of the Christian Quarter of the Old City. Tourists visiting East Jerusalem swiftly returned to the western part of the city.

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