Youth Killed, 7 Wounded in Gaza; U.S. Senator Abandons Tour
One Palestinian was reported killed and at least seven wounded in new clashes with Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip late Thursday as the unprecedented unrest that has rocked the occupied territories continued with no sign of a letup.
On the West Bank, visiting U.S. Sen. John H. Chafee (R-R.I.) was forced to abandon a scheduled tour of the Kalandiyeh refugee camp near Jerusalem when his party was stoned by Palestinian protesters and Israeli troops dispersed the young attackers with tear gas. There were scattered clashes in several other areas, including the main shopping street in Arab East Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian editor announced the start of a civil disobedience campaign aimed at translating the street disturbances into political gain.
The army, still trying unsuccessfully to bring the situation under control, said at least 10 Palestinian activists from among the more than 2,000 arrested since the trouble began last Dec. 9 have been ordered detained for up to six months without trial. The government earlier announced plans to deport nine other activists.
Shamir Balks at Meeting
And Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who has dismissed international criticism of Israel’s use of lethal force and other methods of containing the violence, said he will refuse to meet with U.N. Under Secretary General Marrak Goulding, who left New York on his way to Israel to investigate the unrest.
Israel radio reported that the country’s U.N. ambassador, Benjamin Netanyahu, cabled Foreign Minister Shimon Peres urging him, also, to boycott Goulding’s visit.
The Israeli army command reported that “over 1,000 people” attacked an army patrol at the Nusseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on Thursday night. A military spokesman said the unit commander first ordered the demonstrators to disperse, then ordered his men to fire tear gas and rubber bullets. When these failed to work, the spokesman said, troops opened fire with small-caliber weapons, wounding seven.
The army spokesman said he knew of no fatalities in the incident, but U.N. and hospital sources in Gaza confirmed Palestinian reports late Thursday that a youth from the Moghazi refugee camp near Nusseirat was dead on arrival at a Moghazi clinic operated by the United Nations. It was not immediately clear if he was shot during the incident at Nusseirat or in a separate clash at Moghazi.
Dead Youth Identified
U.N. and Palestinian sources identified the dead youth as Zaki Mosalem, 15.
Sources at Gaza City’s Ahli Hospital said eight injured Palestinians were brought there after clashes at both Nusseirat and Moghazi, and that two seriously wounded patients were transferred to an Israeli hospital in Ashkelon.
Mosalem is the 25th Palestinian to die from army gunfire in the last month, and the 16th from the Gaza Strip. About 200 more West Bank and Gaza Strip residents have suffered gunshot wounds during what is generally accepted as the most widespread violence in the territories since Israeli troops captured them in the 1967 Six-Day War.
Another Gaza Strip youth was shot to death during a demonstration in Khan Yunis on Tuesday, and Israeli sources expressed concern that the latest deaths could trigger more violence after Muslim prayers today.
The Gaza Strip is known here as a hotbed of Muslim fundamentalism, and the Israeli sources described the mood in the territory as extraordinarily tense. During the Nusseirat clashes, the sources said, voices could be heard yelling over loudspeakers for a “holy war against the Jews.”
Never in Danger
A U.S. Consulate official who accompanied Chafee on Thursday said the senator was never in danger. When he arrived at the entrance to the Kalandiyeh camp, on the main road between Jerusalem and Ramallah, protesters hurled stones until an army unit on guard there dispersed the crowd, said consulate spokesman David Good.
“He waited until things seemed to calm down and wanted to go in, but the demonstration flared up again and he decided to leave,” said Good.
“The use of the violent force is counterproductive,” Chafee said, according to the Associated Press. “Today we had a little example of that. We just stopped at what is normally a peaceful camp, and the tear gas had been let go before we got there and the response was a barrage of stones. It just shows that, at least as of now anyway, this thing is not calming down.
“This was just one little incident, and we came in the middle of it. But it does indicate that they haven’t brought it under control,” Chafee said. “There has to be a long-term solution in the lives of these people. They’ve been 20 years in these camps. Unless there are negotiations . . . I don’t think we’ve seen the worst yet.”
Chafee, who was described as on a fact-finding mission, left Israel later Thursday for Jordan.
Police Close Off Roads
In Jerusalem, meanwhile, main roads near the walled Old City in the Arab part of the capital were closed by police in the morning as about 80 high school students threw stones and raised the red, black and green Palestinian flag in the area’s main business section. Police briefly detained several demonstrators as well as an editor for the pro-PLO Palestine Press Service, who reportedly refused to surrender his camera to officers.
Another Palestinian journalist later announced a boycott of Israeli cigarettes as a first step in what he described as a planned campaign of nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation.
“Gandhi started by boycotting salt; we are starting by boycotting Israeli cigarettes,” said Hanna Siniora, editor of the Arabic-language Al Fajr newspaper. He was referring to the late Mohandas K. Gandhi, who led the campaign of nonviolent resistance that eventually toppled British colonial rule in India.
Many Israeli and Palestinian experts expressed doubt that the campaign would evoke much of a following here. Several Palestinian activists who were originally expected to join in announcing the campaign reportedly changed their minds in part because of opposition to Siniora’s leading role.
The editor is considered pro-PLO but is more moderate than many of the younger Palestinian political activists here. Also, he was traveling abroad during most of the time that the current wave of unrest was under way, and some activists resent what they see as his effort to steal the limelight. Siniora returned to the country last Sunday.
Other Palestinians were reportedly waiting for indications of how the general public reacts to the campaign before committing themselves.
‘Nonviolent Civil Resistance’
“This is a nonviolent civil resistance campaign which we hope will succeed in ending the occupation,” Siniora told reporters. “Through such a campaign we will not alienate the Israeli public, and things will change.”
If the cigarette boycott is successful, the same strategy will be applied to Israeli soft drinks and other products, he said. Later, said Siniora, he hopes Palestinians will stop paying Israeli taxes and working in Israel.
Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian-American political activist who advocates nonviolence, has drawn up a list of scores of other techniques that people can use to protest the occupation, and he says the list will be distributed throughout the territories. The suggestions range from refusing to carry the required Israeli identification card to displaying the outlawed Palestinian flag.