Israeli Army Cracks Down on Violence in Occupied Areas With PM-Israel-Why The Violence?, Bjt
GAZA CITY, Occupied Gaza Strip (AP) _ Israel’s army today staged a major show of force in the Gaza Strip, and Arab reports said at least three Palestinians, including an 8-year-old girl, were shot and wounded. An Israeli soldier was stabbed.
The army sent hundreds of soldiers and several tanks through the streets of Gaza City, the largest city in the Gaza Strip.
Soldiers opened fire during protests at the Jabaliya and Nusseirat refugee camps, wounding the girl and two 25-year-old men, officials at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City said.
One of the men was in serious condition after being shot in the back, the officials said. They said five teen-age Jabaliya residents suffered injuries from beatings. Army officials said they could not confirm the reports.
The army said an Israeli soldier patrolling the town of Rafah near the Egyptian border was stabbed when residents attacked his unit. The officials said soldiers opened fire and injured two attackers.
The army crackdown followed riots Tuesday in which soldiers shot and killed at least four Palestinians. Two protesters died in a clash at Shifa Hospital.
The Arab-run Palestine Press Service said today that soldiers fatally shot a fifth Palestinian, 17-year-old Najua al Masri, on Tuesday as she attended a protester’s funeral.
Army officials said they could not confirm the report.
It was the ninth straight day of violence in the occupied Gaza Strip, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war, along with the West Bank. The violence has been among the worst in 10 years.
About 30 proesters gathered outside Shifa Hospital, throwing stones at soldiers and burning tires. Soldiers kept out of the range of the stones, and tossed some of them back to the demonstrators. At one point, a soldier dropped his gun, smiled and said ″I surrender.″ The protesters laughed.
Elsewhere in Gaza City, soldiers using crowbars and chains tied to the backs of jeeps forced open stores that were shuttered in a strike against the ery.
Soldiers arrived almost immediately after about 50 schoolchildren set fire to a makeshift barricade. The soldiers waved their automatic rifles to frighten away the children. They then stopped several Arab motorists, seized their identity cards and forced them to remove the burning debris.
Columns of smoke rose from the Jabaliya refugee camp near Gaza City. About 40,000 Palestinians live in the camp’s shacks.
Amar Khamis Abu Takiya, whose 22-year-old son, Khalid, was killed Tuesday, sat barefoot on a mat outside his house in the Jabaliya camp.
″It is better to use tear gas and rubber bullets instead of killing my son, but it’s bests of all for the army to stay away,″ he said, adding that two other sons, ages 12 and 14, were previously killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers.
Another camp resident, 20-year-old Mabid Ahmed Asbeh, lay on a mat on the floor of his shack, his arm in a sling. Asbeh, a student at Islamic University in Gaza, said his arm was broken, but that he didn’t want to be treated at a Gaza hospital for fear of being arrested by security forces.
Israel’s parliament today began debating five left-wing motions of no confidence against the coalition government’s tough handling of the unrest, which began Dec. 8.
The army released its first comprehensive figures on the violence, saying eight Arabs were killed and 29 wounded in the Gaza Strip, and four killed and 19 wounded in the West Bank.
Arab reports say at least 15 Palestinians have been killed and more than 100 wounded.
Israeli leaders vowed to continue to crack down on the protests, despite U.S. appeals for less use of live ammunition and other harsh measures.
″There’s no other way but to make it clear to the Arab world, to the residents of the territories that by terror or disturbances, they won’t get a thing,″ Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin said on Israel radio from Washington, where he has met with his U.S. counterpart, Frank Carlucci.
Arab leaders criticized the army’s tough measures, especially the shooting of demonstrators.
″Some outside force is needed, a force to protect the civilians, a multinational force,″ said Jonathan Kuttab, a lawyer and cofounder of Law in the Service of Man, an Arab human rights group based in the West Bank.