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Wednesday, 28 March, 2001, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Militants 'testing Israel'
tear gas
Israel forces throw tear gas in continuing violence
Israeli newspapers have accused Palestinian militants of trying to spur Israel into retaliation with a series of bomb attacks.

arafat
Yasser Arafat: Blamed for not halting violence
Two attacks in Jerusalem on Tuesday were followed by another near the West Bank border on Wednesday when three people, apparently including a Hamas suicide bomber, were killed.

Ha'aretz newspaper says: "The timing of the two attacks in the capital was not of course haphazard and provided another shock to a nation mourning the death of ten-month-old infant Shalhevet Pas in Hebron on Monday.

"Palestinian terrorism, which does not distinguish between Israel and the territories, or between soldiers and civilians, is putting a great strain on the tendency toward relative restraint which Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been inclined to adopt as his military retaliation policy.

"This appears to be precisely the intention of those who send the terrorists out on their attacks."

Wave of terror

The paper lays much of the blame on Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

sharon
Ariel Sharon: 'Refuses to take bait'
The paper says: "He is capable of bringing the current wave of terror under control but is not lifting a finger to do so."

The Jerusalem Post said the attacks were "clearly linked to Palestinian desires to provide an escalation of violence on the eve of the Arab summit, in the hope of provoking an Israeli response which would then result in further sympathy for the Palestinians".

It says: "Much to their surprise, and the dismay of some of his supporters, (Primer Minister) Ariel Sharon has so far not taken the bait.

"The prime minister, sensibly, is insisting that Israel will react in the time and place of its choosing and not be drawn into a tit-for-tat exchange with the Palestinians, an exchange that carries with it the danger of escalating out of control."

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See also:

28 Mar 01 | Middle East
Blast kills three in Israel
28 Mar 01 | Middle East
Day of violence in Mid-East
27 Mar 01 | Middle East
Assad and Arafat 'forget' past enmity
27 Mar 01 | Middle East
Israeli mistrust grows
19 Oct 00 | Middle East
Who are Hamas?
27 Mar 01 | Middle East
Israel's history of bomb blasts
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