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The BBC's Jim Fish in Ramallah
"The violence has reached new peaks"
 real 56k

Friday, 10 November, 2000, 23:25 GMT
Violence spreads as Arafat seeks help
Mourner at funeral of Hussein Abayat
Thousands attended the funeral of Hussein Abayat
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has appealed in person to the United Nations Security Council to send a UN force to protect Palestinians on a day when four more Palestinians, an Israeli Arab and an Israeli soldier were killed in clashes.

The move to have Palestinian civilians protected has been opposed by Israel and the United States.

Yasser Arafat
Arafat failed to persuade Clinton of the need for a peacekeeping force
Violence intensified on Friday as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak warned that the deliberate killing of a West Bank militia commander on Thursday was not just a one-off.

He said that Israel would go after other gunmen if shooting attacks on Israeli enclaves did not cease.

An Israeli soldier died on Friday night after skirmishes in the West Bank town of Bethlehem where the funeral of militia commander Hussein Abayat was taking place.

Mr Abayat was killed - along with two elderly women passers-by - when an Israeli military helicopter fired a missile at his vehicle.

Gun salute

Thousands of mourners gave Mr Abayat a hero's burial. They made their way from Bethlehem's main square out on to the slopes of the West Bank where, in a makeshift cemetery named after the gunman, members of his militia squad fired their weapons into the air.

The BBC Jerusalem correspondent says that six weeks ago, almost no-one, Israeli or Palestinian, had heard of Hussein Abayat.

Hussein Abayat
Hussein Abayat: Buried as a hero
But his recent exploits, and now his death, have turned him into a Palestinian national hero and a martyr.

In further violence a policeman was wounded by a bomb blast in Jerusalem's old city.

The four Palestinians that were killed, including a 14-year-old boy, died in fighting in the West Bank town of Jenin, and in Gaza.

The Gaza deaths included two Palestinians shot by Israeli soldiers at the Karni and Erez crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Israeli troops sealed off the West Bank cities of Bethlehem and Ramallah and Palestinian jetties near Rafah and Khan Younis.

'Lower expectations'

Father weeps for his son
A Palestinian father weeps for his son killed in Thursday's confrontations
Nearly 200 people - about 90% of them Palestinians - have been killed in clashes that began at the end of September.

Further violence is likely to overshadow Mr Barak's meeting with US President Bill Clinton at the White House on Sunday.

The Israeli leader said it would be "a little too far-fetched" to expect the talks to bring about a resumption in negotiations.

"I would like to lower all our expectations," said Mr Barak.

Mr Clinton - who met Mr Arafat hours after the gunship attack on Thursday - has called on both Israelis and Palestinians to end the violence.

Mr Arafat has said he was ready to attend another Middle East summit, provided it was well planned and success was guaranteed.

The unrest broke out after the right-wing Israeli politician, Ariel Sharon, made a high-profile visit to a site in Jerusalem sacred both to Jews and to Muslims.

The visit came at a time when Palestinians were frustrated at lack of progress in the Middle East peace process.

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