Peres Supporter Shot in Legs in Campaign Poster Fight
HERZLIYA, Israel (AP) _ In the most violent incident of Israel’s election season, a supporter of Prime Minister Shimon Peres was shot in the legs Wednesday while plastering campaign posters.
Arthur Yarutsky was shot twice by assailants driving a car rented by the opposition Likud Party, police said.
Labor activist Shai Tal told Israel Radio that he was putting up posters with Yarutsky and others when four men drove up in a car.
``One took out a knife and said: `If you don’t stop, we will do something bad to you,‴ Tal said. ``We said we are not afraid of knives. Then one of the four pulled out a gun and shot Arthur.″
Police spokesman Eric Bar-Chen said three people were arrested. The suspects’ names were not released, but radio reports said they were known Likud supporters.
Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the attack and issued a statement calling on all parties to ``expel elements that act in violent or inciting ways.″
Peres called for restraint in the campaign for the May 29 election.
``We have already lost a prime minister, and I call upon all people to do whatever we can″ to calm spirits, Peres told reporters at a campaign stop in the coastal city of Ashdod.
His predecessor, Yitzhak Rabin, was shot in November by a Jewish militant opposed to his peace policies. Labor Party officials blamed Likud for inciting tension during the period leading up to the assassination.
Israel’s election campaigns in 1981 and 1984 were marred by frequent clashes, including fistfights, between Likud and Labor supporters.
The May 29 vote is seen as crucial to the future of the peace process that Peres and Rabin set in motion by signing an autonomy agreement with the PLO in 1993.
Netanyahu bitterly opposed that accord. He now says he accepts limited Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza as a fact but will resist any PLO efforts to upgrade its status to statehood.