Israel fears new Palestinian uprising could erupt
By Noah Browning
SE'EER, West Bank (Reuters) - Masked Palestinian gunmen fired in the air on Monday as thousands marched at the West Bank funeral of a prisoner whose death in an Israeli jail has raised fears in Israel of a new uprising.
Arafat Jaradat's death on Saturday and a hunger strike by four other Palestinian inmates have raised tension in the occupied territory after repeated clashes between stone-throwers and Israeli soldiers in recent days.
Israeli troops, on high alert, took up positions outside Jaradat's home village of Se'eer, in likely earshot of the bursts of automatic fire from the half-dozen masked Palestinians in full battle dress.
"We sacrifice our souls and blood for you, our martyr!" mourners chanted.
The sounds and fury were reminiscent of the seven-year Intifada, or uprising, that started in 2000 after Israeli-Palestinian peace talks failed.
Israeli Homeland Minister Avi Dichter cautioned that another uprising could begin if confrontations with Palestinian protesters turned deadly.
The Israeli military said dozens of Palestinians had thrown stones at soldiers in various parts of the West Bank on Monday. Troops responded with tear gas and stun grenades, and no serious injuries were reported.
"The previous two Intifadas ... came about as a result of a high number of dead (during protests)," Dichter told Israel Radio. "Fatalities are almost a proven recipe for a sharper escalation." Continued...