Israel on its 41st anniversary still faces hate-crazed violence from Arabs who refuse to accept its existence, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said Wednesday.
Two Palestinians were killed and at least 13 others were wounded in scattered confrontations in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip despite harsh measures imposed on Independence Day, according to Arab reports.
Throughout the day, the military maintained curfews on roughly 1 million Palestinians, including the entire Gaza Strip, and prohibited West Bank Palestinians from entering Israel in an effort to prevent violence.
Israelis jammed parks celebrating their national holiday with picnics and barbecues after a night of revelry, street festivals and fireworks. In Jerusalem, President Chaim Herzog hosted the foreign diplomatic corps, and Mayor Teddy Kollek held a reception at the newly opened Citadel museum near the walled Old City's Jaffa Gate.
In interviews aired on Israel Radio, Shamir said the Israeli army is handling the 17-month-old Palestinian uprising with courage and integrity but at the moment "without complete success."
"Israel is under many pressures and threats especially related to her security," Shamir said. "I would say to ourselves--'Let's keep things in proportion.'
"The truth which we have to see and come to terms with is that the Arabs have not yet reconciled themselves to our existence and our independence. The expression of this is the violence and the insane hatred we have to stand up against," he said.
Shamir's comments were made in interviews recorded before he was hospitalized Wednesday afternoon for medical tests at Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital. Shamir, 73, struck his head in a fall at his home Tuesday night and later complained of discomfort, an aide said.
"He felt weakness a little bit, and his doctors decided he should be hospitalized for checks," the aide said. "There appears to be nothing serious."
Shamir aides said they expect him to be released by Friday. A hospital spokeswoman said the prime minister was resting comfortably, receiving guests and working in his room.