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Two Dead in Protests; Two Israelis Held For Stockpiling Weapons

March 19, 1988

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Israeli troops fired on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Friday following noontime Moslem prayers, killing two Arabs, the army said.

At least 25 protesters were wounded in the clashes, hospital officials reported.

Two Israeli civilians were detained for allegedly stockpiling an arsenal of weapons intended for anti-Arab attacks, according to police.

Israeli military authorities detained a prominent attorney from Gaza and four Arab journalists, prompting an outcry from Israeli liberals. Authorities also ordered foreign journalists out of the Gaza Strip and many areas of the West Bank.

Chief of Staff Dan Shomron called on Israel’s leaders to reach an accord with the Arabs to end more than 14 weeks of unrest.

In an interview with the daily Davar newspaper, Shomron said the Israeli army ″cannot endure this situation forever. The matter has to be solved.″

The latest deaths brought to 102 the number of Palestinians killed during the violent uprising, according to U.N. figures. Most of the deaths were caused by gunfire or beatings.

U.N. officials in Nicosia, Cyprus said that more than 400 Palestinian refugees had been injured in Gaza this week, bringing to more than 900 the number of casualties in March.

Protests erupted at the Shati refugee camp in Gaza after hundreds of worshipers streamed from the camp’s Al-Gharbi mosque and saw soldiers scuffling with three youths, witnesses said.

Troops dropped tear gas canisters from helicopters and fired rubber bullets before using live ammunition to restore order, the witnesses and the army said.

The army said one Palestinian was killed there. Officials at Shifa Hospital identified him as 24-year-old Hani Abu Hamam.

At the Ein Beit Ilmah refugee camp near Nablus, the largest city in the West Bank, a youth was fatally wounded when he attacked a soldier during a protest, an army spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman, not identified in line with military rules, said the victim had assaulted the soldier with ″a dangerous object,″ but did not say what the object was.

″In saving himself, the soldier shot the boy, and that resulted in death,″ she said.

Officials at Nablus’ Ittihad hospital said the victim, identified as Muhamed Mahmud Suleiman Khaled, 19, was dead on arrival. Jehad Alawni, a nurse, said Khaled was shot in the left thigh and bled to death.

The nurse said Khaled was shot at a military outpost and not during a protest, but the army spokeswoman denied that account.

In the West Bank city of Ramallah, 10 miles north of Jerusalem, troops confronted about 200 Arab youths outside Ramallah Hospital.

In an apparently new tactic, troops dumped gravel from helicopters on protesters below before using live ammunition. Two Palestinian men were shot and wounded. One was in serious condition with a wound to the abdomen, hospital officials said.

Two 44-year-old Israelis, identified by the Haaretz newspaper as Moshe Vinokor of Rishon Lezion and Gershon Luxemburg of Jerusalem, were detained after police discovered they had stockpiled a large arsenal of weapons, apparently for use in attacks against Arabs, police said.

Investigators determined the two had acted alone and were not part of a larger ring, Haaretz said.

The army also rounded up scores of suspected Palestinian activists this week in a crackdown aimed at curbing riots on Land Day, a traditional Palestinian nationlist day that falls on March 30, Israel radio and Arab reports said. The Arab-owned Palestine Press Service set the number of detainees at about 400.

Mohammed Abu Shaban, the vice president of the Gaza Bar Association, was picked up late Thursday after participating in a gathering at Tel Aviv University protesting Israeli policies in the territories.

Abu Shaban has represented several Gazans in appeals to the Israeli Supreme Court. Tel Aviv University professors and the left-wing Citizens’ Rights Movement sent a telegram to Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin demanding Abu Shaban’s release.

Israeli army officials alleged Abu Shaban was involved in subversive activities, but Israeli liberals contended he was picked up because of his participation in the Tel Aviv gathering.

″It’s devastating to believe that people cannot talk freely on our campus,″ university professor Moshe Shaked said on Israel radio.

Four Arab journalists also were detained, according to Arab reports.

Chief of Staff Shomron said Israeli leaders should open peace talks even before calm returns. He said demonstrations could be ended immediately if the army ordered soldiers to open fire on protesters, a move he would oppose.

″If someone wants to achieve calm at the cost of ordering the army to ... go against the basic norms of the Israeli army,″ he said, ″then it will have to be without me.″

Update hourly