Clashes in West Bank to protest deaths of workers

HEBRON, West Bank (AP) — Stone-throwing protests swept the West Bank for the third straight day since three Palestinians were shot to death at an Israeli army roadblock. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed sympathy to the victims’ families Thursday and said “mistakes” were made.
Eighteen Palestinians were wounded by rubber bullets in clashes with Israeli soldiers in five communities, including the victims’ village of Dura. Another Palestinian was seriously wounded when an armed Israeli motorist opened fire when protesters stoned his car near Dura.
In Hebron, posters of the three slain Palestinians emblazoned with the inscription “Martyrs” were plastered on shop doors. Dozens of Palestinian youths hurled rocks and firebombs at Israeli soldiers, who responded with rubber bullets and tear gas.
In Bethlehem, Palestinian youths took cover behind a parked bulldozer, darting out to throw stones at Israeli soldiers 100 yards away. Some youths picked up rubber bullets from the ground and flung then back at the soldiers. Others broke up larger rocks into smaller pieces to throw.
In both Hebron and Bethlehem, Palestinian police stepped in after several hours and broke up the protests.
The protests were sparked by the deaths Tuesday of three Palestinian construction workers killed at an army roadblock west of Hebron. Israeli troops opened fire when the van they were riding in speeded up at the roadblock and tried to cut in front of other cars.
The shootings have fueled passions already running high over the deadlock in the Israel-Palestinian peace process.
In an unusually conciliatory address, Netanyahu said he understood the Palestinians’ pain, and said it was time to resume peace talks.
The army opened an investigation into the shootings, but has rejected Palestinian demands for a joint inquiry. Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai told Arafat on Thursday that the results would be passed on to the