Settlers Raid Arab Village To Avenge Stoning Injury
JERUSALEM (AP) _ Dozens of Jewish settlers went on a rampage in a West Bank village and smashed windows of Arab houses after their bus was stoned and a passenger was struck in the eye by flying glass, news reports said today.
Residents of the village of Bidya she violence ″before it’s too late.″
″We will not sit quietly while you commit terror acts against us,″ the leaflet said. ″We are calling on you and stretching out our hand for peace, for the sake of our children and yours.″
Palestinians have routinely attacked Israeli civilian cars with rocks and firebombs during their 13-month uprising. At least 368 Palestinians and 15 Israelis have been killed since the revolt against Israeli occupation began on Dec. 8, 1987.
Also today, a Jerusalem court convicted four Israeli journalists of membership in the banned Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, headed by Palestinian radical Nayef Hawatmeh.
Yakov and Ronnie Ben-Efrat, Asaf Adiv and Michal Shwartz of the Marxist Derech Hanitzotz newspaper were sentenced to prison terms of up to 30 months. Authorities closed the paper last year.
The four struck a plea bargain, confessing to membership in the Democratic Front in exchange for the court’s dropping the more serious charges of contacts with foreign agents.
In other developments, the army said it demolished or sealed the rooms of three suspected Palestinian activists from the Jabaliya refugee camp in the occupied Gaza Strip.
The army demolished the room of Mohammed Khader, allegedly a member of a ″popular committee″ responsible for organizing anti-Israeli protests. Khader was suspected of attacking fellow Arabs seen as cooperating with Israel.
Two other rooms, belonging to suspects in firebomb attacks, were sealed, military officials said. The measure is a frequent punishment used by the army.
The army also sentenced a 30-year-old reserve soldier to 18 days in military jail for refusing to serve in the occupied lands.
Sgt. Arnon Ronen was the 54th soldier sentenced to a jail term for such refusal since the uprising began, although an estimated 500 troops have requested and received transfers out of the territories without facing disciplinary action.
Israel radio and the daily Yediot Ahronot newspaper said about 100 settlers raided Bidya late Tuesday after a 16-year-old girl from Ariel was hit in the eye by broken glass when a passenger bus was stoned.
Yediot said the settlers arrived in 50 cars, parked them on the main village road leading to Bidya and jammed traffic, then marched into the village carrying Israeli flags.
Arab villagers hid inside their homes and the settlers smashed windows of houses until soldiers came and stopped them, Yediot said. A military spokeswoman said she was checking the reports.
An Arab reporter who spoke to Bidya residents said the settlers distributed a leaflet calling on villagers to stop the violence.
″We used to live together and we respected each other,″ the leaflet said. ″We are sorry to say the relations fell apart in recent months, when individuals on your side started stoning cars and throwing firebombs at our women and children.″
About 70,000 settlers, who live in the occupied lands amid 1.7 million Arabs, have frequently blamed the army for being too soft on the Palestinians and not putting an end to the rebellion.