Clashes in Gaza Continue As Rabin Returns From US
THE violence that forced Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to cut short a visit to the United States this week showed no signs of abating yesterday as Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian teenager and wounded at least 25 people, the Army and Arab sources said. It was the third day of clashes in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip.
The worst violence has been in the southern Khan Yunis refugee camp, where three Palestinians have died in Army gunfire since March 16. Israeli media reports said the flare-up resembled the large-scale demonstrations that kicked off the Palestinian intifadah (uprising) in December 1987.
A terse Army statement said soldiers using "means to disperse demonstrators wounded 25 people." Nasser Hospital officials said 45 were treated for wounds from live ammunition.
The rioting began in Khan Yunis shortly after the Army lifted a three-day curfew imposed after Palestinians killed an Israeli woman in the Gaza Strip. The latest death raised to 1,054 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers or civilians since the intifadah began. An additional 708 Palestinians have been killed by fellow Arabs, most on suspicion of collaboration with Israel. At least 124 Israelis have died in the violence. Syria Rejects Bilateral Deal
Syrian President Hafez al-Assad said this week he would insist that any peace accord with Israel cover the interests of all Arab parties to the Middle East talks, and he said Syria had no intention of signing a separate treaty with Israel.
In an apparent reaction to statements by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that Israel was prepared to compromise to bring about peace with Syria, Mr. Assad said a bilateral deal was out of the question. Damascus would not abandon the goals of the Palestinians, Jordanians, and Lebanese, Assad said, adding that Syria would make no concessions on its territorial rights but would insist on the return of all of its territory occupied by Israel. Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967.
In order for the peace process to proceed, he said, a solution must be found to solve the crisis caused by Israel's deportation last December of 415 Palestinians it alleged are connected to radical Islamic groups.
Mr. Rabin reiterated March 16 after his first meeting with President Clinton that he was prepared to compromise to reach peace with Syria.
The foreign ministers of Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon will meet with Palestine Liberation Organization representatives in Damascus March 28 to discuss a common stand on participation in the next round of talks, scheduled to resume in Washington April 20. Turkish Kurds Call It Off
Kurds in Turkey once again have suspended their struggle for independence. Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), declared in Lebanon March 17 that he is calling a 25-day cease-fire in his guerrilla war for an independent state and is ready for peace talks with Turkey. The Marxist party had fought the Ankara government for nine years.
If Mr. Ocalan does find some sort of accommodation with Ankara, it could be the final blow to the long-held dream of an independent Kurdistan in the mountains where the borders of Syria, Iraq, and Iran meet. The Kurds, a people of Indo-European origin, have lived there for 4,000 years.
The effect of the announcement on autonomy-seeking Kurdish minorities in Iraq and Iran remains to be seen. Like Ankara, Baghdad and Tehran are bitterly opposed to having self-ruling minority enclaves on their territory.
About 25 million Kurds live in the Middle East. They are a distinct national group, mainly Sunni Muslim, with their own language and history, living in a region that was sliced apart when the victorious World War I allies carved up the Ottoman Empire.