Jewish Settlers Stone Arab Cars After Israeli Slain
YAKIR, Occupied West Bank (AP) _ Jewish settlers stoned Arab cars after an Israeli was fatally shot near this West Bank settlement, and police said today the killing may have been carried out by nationalist Palestinians.
Elsewhere in the West Bank, Palestinians in Bethlehem and surrounding Christian villages observed a general strike today as Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas. Graffiti painted on buildings called for an escalation of the 13-month Palestinian uprising.
On Thursday, troops shot and wounded two Palestinian teen-agers during disturbances in the West Bank’s Kaddoura refugee camp and the village of Beit Likiya, Arab hospital officials said.
Israel radio said security forces suspect Palestinians killed Tel Aviv taxi driver Shmuel Edri, 42. Security forces believe Palestinians may have forced him at gunpoint to drive to a junction near the Jewish settlement of Yakir, 25 miles north of Jerusalem.
His body was found near there Thursday night, and a police spokesman said he was shot twice in the chest.
Police chief Haim Malka, head of the West Bank’s northern section, said police believe nationalists were involved but they are still investigating.
At first police noted Edri had a criminal record, implying the slaying may have had crime links. But Malka later told Israel radio: ″His criminal record was from the 1970s, not the 1980s, and his crimes were not that great.″
Police spokesman Yosef Faris said police found 850 shekels ($480) and an undisclosed amount of money in dollars in a wallet found on Edri’s body. It is illegal for Israelis to hold foreign currency.
Faris said troops also found two spent 9mm cartridges and two live rounds near the body. At the site of the slaying, bloodstains could be seen for about 30 feet along the road.
Ruth Scheih, a 28-year-old resident of Yakir, said she and her husband discovered Edri lying on the ground waving his arms.
″We saw there was blood. He didn’t say anything, he made one more hand movement and then nothing,″ Mrs. Scheih said.
She said that immediately after the slaying, settler leaders issued calls for protest demonstrations in this isolated, hilltop settlement.
Residents of the nearby settlement of Ariel took to the streets early today when they heard the news, Israel radio reported. It said the settlers burned a tire in the road and hurled rocks at Palestinian cars, copying the tactics used by Arabs in their anti-Israeli protests.
The army closed off the area and clamped curfews on the Arab villages of Kifl Harith and Deir Istiya while searching for suspects, the radio said. It said troops ousted several settlers who entered Arab villages.
Merchants today shuttered their businesses and all public transportation was halted in Bethlehem and the nearby Christian villages of Beit Jalla and Beit Sahour in compliance with orders for a general strike issued by PLO- backed leaders of the Arab uprising.
The strike was called to coincide with today’s celebration of the Orthodox Christian Christmas.
A leaflet from the underground uprising leaders ordered a similar strike on Dec. 24 to mark the suffering of Palestinians in the revolt against Israeli rule in the occupied territories.
At least 347 Palestinians have been killed in the uprising, most by army gunfire. Fourteen Israelis also have died in the unrest, not counting Edri.