Two shot dead and two injured as Palestinians appeal for observers

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The Independent Online

An Israeli Arab was shot dead in the West Bank, an Israeli was gunned down in neighbouring Jordan and two Palestinian youths were hurt in clashes in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. But with the violence grinding on, no political initiatives appeared on the horizon.

The Palestinians again appealed for international observers to protect them from what they called Israeli aggression. But Israelis are opposed to outside intervention and no such contingent appears likely in the near future.

The circumstances behind the killing of the two Israelis were unclear. Wael Ghanem, an Israeli Arab, was shot and killed as he drove toward the Jewish settlement of Tzofin in the West Bank, not far from where an Israeli woman was killed on Sunday. Palestinian security sources said Mr Ghanem was a collaborator with Israeli security during the first Palestinian uprising, from 1987-93. He moved to Israel and received citizenship, they said, indicating he might have been killed because of his background.

But he was driving a car with yellow Israeli licence plates on a road where a similar shooting had taken place, raising the possibility that Palestinian gunmen thought they were targeting an Israeli settler.

In Jordan, an Israeli businessman, Yitzhak Snir, was shot and killed outside his apartment in Amman. Two radical Arab groups claimed responsibility, but Jordanian officials said the killing might have been criminal in nature.

In the Gaza Strip, clashes erupted near the Israeli army post on the border with Egypt. Palestinians threw grenades and fire-bombs at Israeli soldiers, who returned the fire. Two Palestinians, ages 12 and 13, were wounded.

Nabil Aburdeneh, an aide to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, said no international observers had been sent "because of the absence of the American role in the region".

Israel said Palestinians were to blame for the violence, with the Defence Minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, saying Mr Arafat was in full control.