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Four Arabs Killed; Palestinians Mount General Strike

March 16, 1988

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Four Arabs were reported killed Wednesday, bringing the total to 100 since battles with Israeli soldiers began in the occupied lands Dec. 8, and Palestinians shut their cities and towns in a general strike.

The strike was a message to U.S. and Israeli leaders that the Palestine Liberation Organization must have a role in peace talks. The PLO had ordered it in a leaflet, saying the purpose was to show there is ″no alternative to an independent state led by the PLO, our sole representative.″

President Reagan said after meeting in Washington with Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir of Israel that he would not revise or abandon the U.S. plan for Middle East peace talks.

Shamir expressed ″strong reservations″ about some aspects of the plan. It does not envision PLO participation.

Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin defended sanctions on Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which Israel captured from Jordan and Egypt in the 1967 Middle East war. He said cutting telephone lines, banning travel and imposing curfews prevent activists from preparing attacks on Israelis.

Guerrillas in Lebanon fired several rockets into northern Israel, causing slight damage in one community, the army said.

The settlement’s name was withheld for security reasons but its secretary, Zvi Zmora, said on Israel radio some residents were alarmed by ″a feeling of gradual escalation″ in attacks from Lebanon.

Police detained an Arab-American advocate of non-violent rnd the Arab-run Palestine Press Service said.

Hundreds of Palestinians built roadblocks, set tires ablaze and hurled stones at soldiers, who responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition.

The army reported seven Palestinians wounded and two dead near Tulkarm but the press agency said there were three dead. It identified them as Salim al Yehyeh, 60, who died after soldiers threw tear gas into his home, and Ashraf Mahmoud Ibrahim, 15, and Hisham Daoud Alush, 23, both killed by gunfire.

Army spokesmen confirmed the deaths of Yehyeh and Alush and said the circumstances were being investigated. They said the report of a third death was being checked.

Soldiers shot 25-year-old Omar Yassin Hamarshi dead in Yabad, a West bank village 50 miles north of Jerusalem, hospital officials in nearby Jenin reported. The army confirmed the death and said it was investigating.

Fourteen other Palestinians were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza, hospital officials told The Associated Press.

According to U.N. figures, at least 100 Palestinians have been killed in more than three months of ″the uprising,″ as the Arabs now call the violence, nearly all of them by Israeli bullets or beatings.

The general strike paralyzed the occupied territories for the second day. Stores were closed, public transport stopped and most of the 110,000 Arabs who work in Israel stayed home. Palestinian flags, which Israel has declared illegal, fiew from utility poles.

Israel closed the Hebron Bus Co., which serves about 100,000 Palestinians, until next week. Army officials said it violated a contract with Israel’s military government that forbids striking.

Rabin told a high school audience in Jerusalem the nightly 10 p.m.-3 a.m. curfews in the Gaza Strip were needed to ″reduce their (Arab activists’) capability to move by night, to prepare explosives ... to obstruct roads that carry workers to Israel.″

The Israelis have cut telephone lines connecting the occupied territories to foreign countries, forbidden travel and kept gasoline supplies from reaching the West Bank.

″We will use fuller and more sweeping measures to create an atmosphere encouraging the silent majority to restrain the extremists,″ he said.

Awad, a Palestinian with homes in Jerusalem and Ohio, is accused of attending an illegal gathering on the main road between Jerusalem and Nablus in the West Bank, police spokesman Rafi Levy said. He had no further details.

Jonathan Kuttab, Awad’s lawyer, said his client was questioned about taking two foreign television crews to a women’s sit-in in Isawiya, an Arab village incorporated into Jerusalem after the 1967 war.

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