The Jordan Times
March 17, 2008 - 6:49pm

Dozens of right-wing Jewish activists on Sunday stormed the Arab neighbourhood in East Jerusalem of a Palestinian gunman who killed eight Israelis at a Jewish seminary earlier this month, police and witnesses said.

Dozens of protesters broke through police barriers and hurled stones at cars and houses in the neighbourhood of Jabal Mukaber, where the family of the seminary attacker lives.

About 200 people had gathered outside the village and a number of protesters broke through the police barrier, said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

"Stones were thrown and 13 people were arrested," Rosenfeld said. No one was injured in the violence, police said.

The attacker, Ala Abu Dhaim, was buried at night on Thursday after about a week's delay because police feared a public funeral might trigger protests and violence.

The attack on the Jewish seminary earlier this month was the deadliest Palestinian attack on Israelis in two years and the first major attack in Jerusalem in four years.

Palestinian government will rebuild dead fighter’s house

The Palestinian government will rebuild the home of a West Bank military leader who was killed by Israeli forces last week, an official said Sunday, in an apparent response to similar offers from the Lebanese Hizbollah and Hamas.

Mohammed Shehadeh, the Islamic Jihad leader in Bethlehem, was killed along with three other gunmen in an Israeli raid there last week. His house was demolished by Israeli forces a week earlier.

Salah Haniyeh, spokesman for the Palestinian ministry of public works, said the death of Shehadeh "shook Palestinian society". He said rebuilding the family's home "must be a priority". The move appeared to be an effort by the government of President Mahmoud Abbas to preempt offers by others, including Hizbollah and Hamas, to rebuild the house. Abbas is concerned about the rising influence of the Lebanese group as well as Hamas, his main rival.

Shehadeh's wife told Associated Press Television News Saturday that she received a call from a man claiming to be from the office of Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, offering to reconstruct her house. She said she did not know if the call was legitimate, and Hizbollah officials in Lebanon declined to comment.

The Hamas rulers of Gaza also made an offer to rebuild his family home.

Israel used to destroy houses of members of armed groups frequently but stopped the practice after a 2005 study showed that instead of deterring others from anti-Israel activity, it spurred Palestinian attacks.

The military said in a statement Sunday that the house was not destroyed as a punitive measure. Instead, the military said, soldiers believed Shehadeh was hiding inside. However, there were no clashes at the site and no one was arrested, according to the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem.

Israel continues

attacks on Gaza

Three Palestinians were wounded in the Gaza Strip on Sunday when Israeli navy boats opened fire on a car, Palestinian medics said.

The army could not immediately comment on the incident.

An Israeli air strike on Saturday night killed three gunmen from the armed wing of Islamic Jihad and a tank shell killed a fourth Palestinian.

The army has carried out near-daily air and ground strikes on Gaza since the Islamist Hamas movement seized power last June in a bid to halt rocket fire on Israeli towns, but the last week had seen a relative lull in hostilities.

In the last three days Gaza fighters have fired at least 14 rockets in the direction of Israeli communities near the border, according to the army.

Palestinian, Israeli negotiators to meet this week

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are set to meet this week, an Israeli official said on Sunday, in what would be their first meeting since peace talks came to a halt after a deadly Gaza blitz.

"They are supposed to resume talks this week," an Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity, referring to negotiating teams led by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and top Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia.

But a senior Palestinian negotiator said nothing has yet been scheduled.

The two teams have not met since Abbas cut off contacts with Israel two weeks ago following a massive Israeli operation in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip that killed over 130 Palestinians.

During a subsequent visit to the region, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the two sides had agreed to resume negotiations, but new Israeli settlement projects in the occupied West Bank have heightened tensions.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and a senior Israeli defence ministry official met Lieutenant General William Fraser, a US envoy charged with overseeing the implementation of the 2003 roadmap peace blueprint.

The internationally drafted document calls on Israel to freeze settlement activity and the Palestinians to improve security in the territories, but on Friday both sides accused the other of shirking their obligations.

The latest round of peace talks has made little progress since it was relaunched at a US conference in November after a near seven-year hiatus.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017