Israelis, Palestinians trade blame for new wave of violence
Hamas threatens more attacks
March 22, 1997
Web posted at: 1:29 p.m. EDT (1329 GMT)
HEBRON, West Bank (CNN) -- The streets of Hebron were littered
with rocks Saturday after the second day of clashes between
rock- and firebomb-throwing Palestinians and Israeli
soldiers. (899K/22 sec. QuickTime movie)
The soldiers responded with tear-gas, rubber bullets and
finally live ammunition. Officials at Hebron hospitals said
at least 20 Arabs had been shot in the conflict, and another
80 treated for other injuries.
Five Israeli soldiers were also injured by flying rocks, and
several Palestinian policemen caught in the middle of the
fracas were injured as well.
The violence in Hebron followed Friday's suicide bombing at a
cafe in Tel Aviv. The radical Islamic group
Hamas took responsibility for the blast, which killed three
Israeli women and wounded dozens during the annual Purim
The explosion at the Apropo Cafe, three days after Israel
broke ground for a Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem,
followed days of warnings by intelligence sources that
militants were planning attacks in Israeli.
On Saturday, Hamas threatened more attacks.
"The persistence of the Zionists to build the dirty
settlement ... will commit us to continue our attacks,
striking against the Zionists," said a statement faxed to an
international news agency by Hamas' military wing.
Palestinian officials blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu's hard-line policies for fomenting the violence.
"Netanyahu must stop his crazy policies in East Jerusalem,"
said Brigadier Jibril Rajoub, commander of West Bank
security. "The reaction, the riots, the demonstrations are
the result of these policies."
But Netanyahu blamed Palestinian President Yasser Arafat for
the blast, pointing to the freeing of Hamas militants who had
been arrested after a spate of suicide bombings killed 59
people last year.
Ibrahim Maqadmeh, a 47-year-old dentist, was one of those
released earlier this month. But Palestinian police took him
back into custody late Friday at his home in the Bureij
refugee camp. Hamas sources said five other members of the
group were arrested, but Palestinian officials did not
confirm those arrests.
Arafat condemned the bombing and telephoned Netanyahu with
his condolences. He also said Saturday he was shocked that
the United States vetoed, for the second time, a U.N.
resolution condemning the Israeli construction
In the wake of Friday's bombing, Israel closed the West Bank
and Gaza Strip, keeping the Palestinians out of Israel.
In Zurif, the West Bank hometown of the man who bombed the
Tel Aviv cafe, Israeli troops maintained a tight
curfew, and arrested 13 residents as part of their
investigation of the Tel Aviv bombing.
The home of assailant Mohammed Abdel Khader Abu Deiyah in
sealed, according to Israeli radio, and witnesses said
soldiers were preparing to blow it up. Zurif is an
Radio reports said that Deiyah had an Israeli work permit,
and that he had been arrested several times on suspicion of
being a member of Hamas.
The army also arrested four residents of Nuva near Hebron.
In talks held after Friday's bombing, Israeli security
officials pressed Palestinian authorities to crack down on
"The peace process is in jeopardy at this point," said
Netanyahu's communications director David Bar-Illan before
the Palestinians rearrested Maqadmeh. "If the Palestinians do
not do what we are asking them to do by way of fighting
terrorism, it is very doubtful that the process can continue.
Mohammad Dahlan, the Palestinian security chief in Gaza, said
that his forces would do their part, "but Israel has to
understand that for security measures to succeed there must
be peace and the right environment has to prevail."
Correspondent Jerrold Kessel and Reuters contributed to this report.
- Palestinian security arrests Hamas leader - March 22, 1997
- U.S. again vetoes U.N. resolution on Israeli housing - March 21, 1997
- Bomber, 3 women killed in Tel Aviv blast - March 21, 1997
- Israelis, Palestinians clash near Bethlehem - March 20, 1997
- Court lets disputed Jerusalem home-building continue - March 19, 1997
- Netanyahu defends Jerusalem
housing project - March 18, 1997
- Israelis to begin work on Jerusalem settlements - March 17, 1997
- With condolence visit to Israel, King Hussein spurs talks - March 16, 1997
- Netanyahu accuses Palestinians of creating 'crisis' - March 11, 1997
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