Clash breaks out in Palestinian refugee camp

KALANDIA REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank (AP) — Palestinians battered Israeli military jeeps with stones, and troops trying to rescue an officer trapped in an auto repair shop fired live rounds Wednesday in a clash at a refugee camp.
The incident in Kalandia broke out after Israel erected a yard-high wall of cement blocks Tuesday night to seal off the main entrance to the camp north of Jerusalem — prompting memories of the six-year Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule.
Meanwhile, Palestinian officials told reporters Wednesday they were expecting a new U.S. attempt to revive the stalled peace process. Cabinet minister Nabil Shaath said Secretary of State Madeleine Albright had sent a message to Arafat and the Palestinians hoped it would herald the awaited initiative.
“We hope it opens the door to quick movement,” Shaath said. “There is a desire to move quickly, and I expect the U.S. administration to move.”
Arafat spokesman Nabil Abourdeneh said talks until now had been a “dialogue of the deaf” that didn’t even reach the level of negotiation.
Israeli soldiers arrested six Palestinians Wednesday in the sweep of Kalandia and two other refugee camps in the West Bank: Jalazoun, north of the autonomous city of Ramallah and El Aroub, north of Hebron. The army said Israel was considering taking additional steps to stop the recent days’ stonethrowing.
Young Palestinians hurling stones at Israeli civilian and military vehicles driving through the West Bank was a trademark of the intefadeh against Israeli rule. After the 1993 autonomy accord, stone-throwing incidents decreased.
The Kalandia clash began with Palestinians jumping from roof to roof, pelting passing jeeps with stones. Israel’s paramilitary border police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. Some of the tear gas canisters landed near a girls’ school.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is expected to agree to such talks only after the promised Israeli troop withdrawal in the West Bank.
Arafat said Wednesday that the Palestinians insisted that Israel carry out its obligations under the peace agreements: “We are insisting that the commitments which we agreed upon be implemented very soon.”