JERUSALEM — The official Palestinian news agency called for an end to armed attacks against Israel in a statement published Friday, an unprecedented appeal for restraint in the 10 months of Mideast violence.
The Wafa news agency, which is controlled by Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority and reflects official Palestinian positions, said Palestinians could achieve their goals "only by political means" and "not (by attacks) inside Israel, and not using firearms."
The statement, printed Friday in the Palestinian newspaper Al-Hayat al-Jadida, said symbolic acts of resistance, such as throwing rocks and shoes, are "more effective than mortar shells fired at Israeli settlements."
Throughout the current conflict, the Palestinian leadership has blamed Israel for the violence. Israel has repeatedly accused Arafat of failing to rein in militants, including members of the Palestinian security forces.
The Wafa editorial was the strongest statement to date calling for Palestinians to refrain from attacking Israel. While the editorial was presumed to have the approval of the Palestinian leadership, the statement was not issued in Arafat’s name.
It was not clear whether radical Palestinian groups would heed the statement, and hours after the editorial was published violence broke out.
Palestinians fired mortar rounds at a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip, lightly injuring a 6-year-old boy, the Israeli army said. Palestinians have fired hundreds of mortar rounds at Jewish settlements and army posts in Gaza and at Israeli villages just outside the territory.
In Tel Aviv, a Palestinian woman tried to carry a bomb into the central bus station, police said, but security guards challenged her and she dropped the bag with the bomb. Police arrested the woman, cleared the area and defused the device.
Also, Palestinian gunmen shot and killed a Palestinian suspected of collaborating with Israel in Bethlehem. Abdullah Abu Alhawa, 56, who was gunned down in a public square, was the fourth suspected collaborator killed by Palestinians this week.
Palestinian officials have urged a halt to such killings, and a statement issued Friday said the Palestinian Authority alone was responsible for dealing with people "trying to violate the national interest of the Palestinian people." The statement said officials "condemn any attempt by any party to take the law into his own hands."
Palestinian security courts this week have sentenced four Palestinians to death for helping Israel’s army carry out deadly attacks on suspected Palestinian militants.
Sixty suspected collaborators have been arrested in the West Bank town of Jenin, Palestinian security officials said.
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