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With Shultz Gone, Quiet Reigns in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

March 2, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Unfamiliar quiet reigned in the West Bank and Gaza Strip Tuesday. In contrast to the almost daily violence of the past 12 weeks, there were no reports of riots or attacks on Israeli security forces, and only a few minor incidents of tire-burning.

The calm that descended after a particularly bloody week was attributed by observers to the departure of U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz from Israel Tuesday morning, and with him the concentrated media attention that accompanied his four-day visit.

Another reason given is the fact that five refugee camps, the worst trouble spots in the territories, remain under tight curfew. But most Israelis consider the lull temporary and are far from believing the disturbances have ended.

Leaflets were distributed in the territories Tuesday exhorting Palestinians to prepare for more strikes and demonstrations next week.

Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Force continued to blockade Kabatiya village, near Jenin, where a local Palestinian employed by the West Bank civil administration was lynched by a mob on Feb. 24 for collaborating with the Israelis.

The victim was Muhammad Ayed A-Ragheb, 29, whose mutilated body was hanged from an electric power pylon. The IDF demolished the pylon, leaving the village without electricity. No one is allowed to enter or leave Kabatiya.


Debate continued, meanwhile, over barring the news media from the territories, a move demanded by right-wing and nationalistic elements, who blame press and television coverage of the disturbances for Israel’s badly tarnished image abroad.

Premier Yitzhak Shamir said Monday that he favored a media ban under certain circumstances. But an IDF spokesman, Brig. Gen. Ephraim Lapid, told an audience of high school students in Ramat Hasharon Tuesday that it would be a bad move.

Lapid admitted that the presence of television cameras encourages rioters. But without media coverage, rumors would flourish that would make the situation appear worse than it is, he said. He also noted that it was impossible to close off every road in the territories and that enterprising reporters would find their way in.

Nevertheless, the daily television newscasts of armed soldiers battling stone-throwing Palestinians are doing Israel considerable harm all over the world. Denmark, which until recently was regarded as the most pro-Israel of the 12 member states of the European Community, is a case in point.

A major Danish consumer marketing cooperative and the Irma retail chain in Denmark, major importers of Israeli agricultural products, have announced they will curtail their purchases of Israeli fruit and vegetables because of events in the Israeli-administered territories.

The two marketing groups, which account for 75 percent of Israeli farm exports to Denmark, said their customers no longer will buy Israeli products.

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