Funeral sparks fierce clashes in West Bank
Palestinian police come between protesters, Israeli troops
April 9, 1997
Web posted at: 10:05 a.m. EDT (1405 GMT)
HEBRON, West Bank (CNN) -- Palestinian police moved in to
restore order in Hebron Wednesday, where another day of
stone-throwing and rubber bullets followed the funeral of a
Palestinian killed by Israeli troops.
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Palestinians threw rocks and petrol bombs at Israeli troops,
who responded with rubber bullets and tear gas before
Palestinian police wearing red berets arrived on the scene
and literally pushed back the protesters.
Hospital officials said more than 30 Palestinians were
wounded in the latest of fierce daily clashes that began
March 18 when Israel began construction on a controversial
housing project in East Jerusalem.
Israeli army radio said three Israeli soldiers and two
Palestinian policemen were injured.
Wednesday's protests began after the emotional funeral of
Nader Isseid, one of two Palestinians killed by Israeli
troops during Tuesday's protests, which broke out after two
Israeli settlers shot to death another Palestinian.
Islamic militants marched behind Isseid's flag-shrouded
body through the streets of Hebron, shouting for revenge
and more suicide attacks against Israel.
"The olive branch is down and the Kalashnikov (rifle) is
raised," marchers chanted.
Palestinian police fired 21 shots into the air as Isseid's
body was lowered into the grave. The second Palestinian
killed in Tuesday's riots, 16-year-old Yacoub Julani, was
given a similar salute at his funeral Tuesday.
Tuesday's riots were sparked by the shooting death of Assam
Rashid Arafeh by two Israeli settlers, but accounts of the
incident differ. The Israeli settlers, identified as seminary
students, say they fired in self-defense, while the
Palestinians say Arafeh was shot without provocation.
The two were arrested after the incident, arraigned and
released on bail. They were ordered to stay out of Hebron for
the next 60 days.
Palestinian officials were outraged at the shooting, with
some calling the Hebron settlers -- who number about 500 in a
town of 130,000 Palestinians -- "terrorists."
"We consider the presence of the settlers in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip illegal," said Ahmed Qureia, speaker of the
Palestinian parliament and former chief negotiator with
Israel. "Until the time that they will leave, they should be
David Bar-Illan, a top aide to Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu, called the suggestion "nothing short of
"In the vast majority of cases, the settlers used arms only
to defend themselves," he said.
The rift between Israel and the Palestinians was no closer on
Wednesday, after Netanyahu's trip to discuss the situation
with U.S. President Bill Clinton in Washington.
Sources said Clinton asked Netanyahu to halt construction on
the 6,500-unit housing project at the East Jerusalem site
known as Har Homa in Hebrew and Jabal Abu Ghneim in Arabic,
but the Israeli leader refused.
A Palestinian delegation planned to travel to Washington on
Wednesday for talks with U.S. officials, but the Palestinians
have been adamant in their insistence that Israel stop the
Correspondent Jerrold Kessel contributed to this report.
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