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>Israel Faxx
>PD Dec. 13, 1996. Vol.4, No. 226

Israelis Grieve as Tzurs are Buried

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Thousands of Israelis Thursday attended the funeral at a settlement on the West Bank of a woman and her son killed Wednesday in a drive-by shooting. Israeli and Palestinian officials condemned the attack and pledged to find and punish the killers, and to continue the peace process -- although with different ideas in mind.

An emotional Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told thousands of mourners at the funeral of 42-year-old Etta Tzur and her 12-year-old son Ephraim their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

Netanyahu promised Yoel Tzur his late wife and son will be remembered through every new road and house Israel builds in the West Bank. He said Israel will respond to the shooting by devoting more resources to ensuring that Jews will continue to live and be secure in Palestinian areas. He also pledged to find the attackers and punish them.

Netanyahu also said his right-wing government will continue to pursue what he called "a true peace" in which the Palestinian Authority is forced to live up to its commitments. Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai says such attacks could be avoided if the Palestinian Authority took more decisive action against terrorist groups. But Palestinian officials say they are doing all they can and no one can guarantee absolute security.

The official Palestinian news service issued a statement blaming the attack on "suspicious elements," adding that the shooting hurt the interests of the Palestinian people and the negotiating stance of the Palestinian Authority. The statement says the incident will give Israel an excuse to further delay implementation of the peace accords.

Some Israelis complained that the Palestinian statement did not come directly from the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat. But Arafat's media adviser, Nabil abu Irdeineh, says the statement does reflect the leader's views, and that the Palestinian security services have been ordered to make every possible effort to find the killers. And abu Irdeineh says Israel also has a role to play in reducing Palestinian anger and frustration over the slow pace of the peace process.

The gunmen who took part in Wednesday's killings are believed to have fled into autonomous Ramallah, but the Palestinian Authority says if they are caught, they will not be extradited. Rather, officials say, the men will be punished through the Palestinian justice system.
Israeli officials say that is not acceptable. Netanyahu ordered Ramallah closed, and placed a curfew on a nearby village. Israeli security officers are working with the Palestinian police to try to find the killers.

Settler leaders and right wing Israeli politicians have called for an expansion of settlements in response to the killings, and say they might take some action toward that end in the next few days.

Surviving Children Still Hospitalized

By Arutz-7

Five of the Tzur children, wounded in the Palestinian terrorist attack, are still hospitalized in Jerusalem's Hadassah-Ein Karem Hospital. Their status is now off the seriously wounded list. The father, Yoel Tzur, called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to immediately allow the building of a new neighborhood in Bet-El. He said, "the distance between the Oslo Accords and peace is as the distance between the earth and the sun."

Defense Ministry Blames PFLP for Terrorist Attack

By Arutz-7

Defense Ministry officials say that it was terrorists belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) of George Habash (members of the PLO) who are responsible for the terrorist attack near Bet-El.

Arutz Sheva's correspondent points out that in recent years, Israeli Security Forces have been unable to capture even one PFLP terrorist who has carried out terrorist attacks in the areas of Binyamin and Samaria. According to Israeli intelligence reports, a number of the murderers are located in Jericho, another city under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority; to date, none have been extradited, despite repeated formal requests by Israel.

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