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>Israel Faxx
>JN April 9, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 63

Three Palestinians Killed in Hebron Fire Fight

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

An Israeli student opened fire with an automatic weapon near the "Cave of the Patriarchs" in the West Bank city of Hebron Tuesday. A Palestinian was killed, sparking riots in which Israeli troops killed two other Palestinians -- including a 15-year-old boy -- and more than 100 others were injured.

Two Israeli students were walking along a Palestinian market street on their way to the Cave of the Patriarchs when, they say, a group of Palestinians sprayed tear gas at them. One of the Israelis, aged about 20, responded by firing his automatic weapon, killing one of the Palestinians and injuring four others. Palestinians say the student fired without provocation. Israeli troops and angry Palestinians rushed to the scene with predictable results.

The Palestinians chanted for revenge and pelted the soldiers with stones and firebombs. The troops fired in response, killing two more Palestinians and injuring dozens of others. Several soldiers were also injured.

The series of incidents lasting some five hours took place in the part of Hebron Israel retained when it gave most of the city to the Palestinian Authority in January. It was exactly the kind of event people on both sides fear could spark large-scale violence in the city.

Early Tuesday, an Israeli colonel accused the Palestinian police of losing control of crowds forming on their side of town. But later, an Israeli general praised the Palestinian police after they blocked roads with vehicles and formed a human chain to prevent protesters from entering the Israeli zone, drawing volleys of stones for their efforts.

The atmosphere in the Israeli-controlled area eased toward evening, as more than a thousand Palestinians gathered on the other side of the dividing line for the funeral of Tuesday's first victim. The 20 percent of Hebron Israel controls is home to about 400 Israelis and more than 20,000 Palestinians -- and to the synagogue and mosque at the biblical cave. The area is one of the most tense in the West Bank and is frequently the site of attacks by both Palestinians and Israelis.

The latest clashes took place as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was flying home from his meeting in Washington Monday with President Clinton, which produced no apparent progress toward ending the crisis in the peace process. Also on Tuesday, Israel's Supreme Court denied an appeal that could have stopped the east Jerusalem construction project -- a project that sparked the last three weeks of Palestinian unrest. The Israeli who owned most of the land said he should have been allowed to develop it, rather than having it confiscated by the government. But the court ruled against him.

Non-Aligned Movement Agree to Freeze Israeli Relations

More than 100 developing countries have agreed to freeze relations with Israel in response to a call from Palestinian Chairman Yasir Arafat. The Non-Aligned Movement countries took the action at a meeting in New Delhi. The 113-nation Non-Aligned Movement adopted the declaration unanimously. It calls on members to freeze relations with Israel until the Jewish state fully implements Middle East peace agreements.

Swiss Banks Closed Thousands of Pre-War Accounts

Newly-uncovered records show Swiss banks, already in trouble over the lost money of Jewish Holocaust victims, closed thousands of bank accounts without holders' knowledge after World War 2.

The records, discovered in archives in Lausanne, show the names of account holders and their savings, worth millions of dollars at current values, which may open the way to fresh claims against Swiss banks.

Swiss banks have repeatedly stated that they were missing many of their old archives and documents. But the records belonging to the Credit Foncier Vaudois Bank list thousands of people, mainly Swiss but including many foreigners, their bank account numbers, their towns and the times when they first deposited the money.

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