Israeli raid fails to derail West Bank calm ... so far
Palestinian militants vow retaliation after this weekend's killing of three suspected militants in the West Bank city of Nablus, but residents there say that economic revival will curb the desire for revenge.
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At the mourning tent for Annan Soboh, relatives recounted how soldiers ordered women and children out of their homes before they went into the house this weekend to kill the man they suspected of weapons dealing. Israel claims Mr. Soboh was given a chance to surrender. Soboh was part of the amnesty program with the Israeli military.Skip to next paragraph
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"The PA insisted that everyone stop the resistance," against Israel, Soboh's brother Fareed said. "Now they are the ones in an awkward situation."
The PA put its stamp on the mourning reception, whch was held at a union hall where a gigantic poster of Abbas was draped down the side of the building. Hamas and rival Fatah politicians embraced one another at the tent.
Fareed Soboh says that with settlers targeting Palestinian towns for vigilante attacks and a stalemate in peace talks, economic prosperity alone won't satisfy Palestinian aspirations.
"Last week the PA was talking about making a better economy," he said. "But during the funeral people were calling for revenge."
A 'grave' incident
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the Thursday shooting attack a "grave" incident, and warned of a potential escalation. And yet Israel's military did not tighten up barriers to travel in the region.
Earlier this year, the Israeli army agreed to lift barriers to Palestinian movement around the West Bank, a decision that gave the Palestinian economy some flexibility and contributed to growth of 7 percent. But after the attack, many Jewish settlers are arguing for a tightening of travel restrictions.
The attacks come at a vulnerable time for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is trying to enforce a settlement freeze unpopular with his ideological backers. If Palestinian warnings of an escalation in violence comes to pass, the 10-month settlement freeze demanded by the US could be suspended.
But a Jewish settler resident in the area said that he was satisfied with the Israeli response. The retaliatory killing have calmed the atmosphere on the Israeli side, said the settler, who refused to give his name.
A group of four former members of the Al-Aqsa Brigades sit on the step of a storefront in downtown Nablus. They have given up their weapons and taken a job with the Palestinian security forces. The talk of a new outbreak of violence is bluster, they agree.
Their former militias do not exist any more after the Palestinian Authority cracked down on gunmen.
"In this age, we do nothing," said former militant Abu Bohorein. "We have gone legit. People are angry, but the talk about revenge is just talk."