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Monday, March 22, 2010     GET REAL

Increased 'organized violence' in West Bank following U.S. pressure on Israel

JERUSALEM — Palestinian attacks in the West Bank have escalated as U.S. publicly pressed for Israeli concessions.   

Officials said Palestinians in several areas of the West Bank have launched attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians. They said the attacks included the hurling of stones toward Israeli motorists, shootings and attempts to stab soldiers.

"We are seeing increasing signs of organized violence in the area," an Israeli official said. "We expect this to increase over the next few weeks."

Also In This Edition

Two Palestinians were killed during an attack on an Israel Army patrol south of the West Bank city of Nablus. A military statement said the attack, located near a Jewish community, was being investigated, Middle East Newsline reported.

"The IDF will not allow the existence of violent and illegal riots, which put human lives at risk," a military statement said on March 21.

Later, Palestinian gunmen opened fire toward an Israel Army patrol south of Hebron near the Jewish community of Adura. There were no reports of injuries.

In the Etzion bloc of Jewish communities south of Bethlehem, hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli soldiers on March 21. The military said Israeli troops used anti-riot equipment and tactics to disperse the Palestinians.

Officials linked the escalation in Palestinian unrest to U.S. pressure on Israel to agree to unilateral concessions to the Palestinian Authority. They said the PA, through the ruling Fatah movement, was organizing and financing attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians in the West Bank and Jerusalem area.

On March 22, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in the United States for meetings with the administration of President Back Obama and Congress. Netanyahu was reported to have agreed to a series of Israeli concessions to the PA, including a freeze in construction in much of Jerusalem.

"Our policy toward Jerusalem is the same policy of all Israeli governments in the past 42 years and it has not changed," Netanyahu told the Cabinet on March 21. "From our point of view, construction in Jerusalem is like construction in Tel Aviv. These are the things which we have made very clear to the American administration."

But a senior official acknowledged that the Israeli government would impose restrictions on construction in Jerusalem. In a statement on March 21, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon did not elaborate.

"Building in Jerusalem will not be frozen," Ayalon said. "This has not happened in the last 42 years. But we may have to exert greater supervision and coordination."


Civil dialogue works and leads the way to peace. Let's hope all parties keep that lesson in mind during the peace talks that must continue. Civility. Respect. Dialogue.

Pax101      3:28 p.m. / Monday, March 22, 2010

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