Tension remained high in the occupied West Bank today as three members of Israel's parliament demanded an official inquiry into the shooting yesterday of nine Palestinian students who were demonstrating against the closure of an Arab university.
[In Washington, the State Department, in a statement, said it "deeply" regretted the bloodshed on the West Bank. "We are . . . troubled by what appears to be the policy of the Israeli armed forces . . . to fire live ammunition at the legs of demonstrators who refuse to disperse," the statement said. "The use of potentially lethal force to disperse unarmed demonstrators can lead to grave and far-reaching consequences."]
The West Bank's four Arab universities remained closed -- two by order of the military government and two because of student strikes -- and a number of high schools on the West Bank were boycotted by pupils.
In Shoufat, in northern Jerusalem, Arab youths pelted Israeli Army and civilian cars with stones and attempted to overturn one vehicle with several Jewish occupants inside. Israeli Army troops dispersed the crowd of several hundred Arab youths and rescued the occupants of the car.
The call for an investigation of the Army occupation troops came from Knesset members Yosi Sarid and Haike Grossman, of the opposition Labor Alignment, and Mordechai Virshubsky of the newly renamed Center Party.
Israeli troops opened fire on protesting students yesterday in Ramallah and Bethlehem, wounding nine, one seriously. Army officials said the soldiers were under orders to shoot the students in the legs if they did not obey orders to disperse.
The Israeli Army chief of staff, Gen. Rafael Eitan, in an Israeli television interview tonight, said his troops were "provoked to the limit" by the students. Despite that, Eitan said, there were no fatalities. He said troops were under orders to "use other elements of deterence" when possible, and fire in the air before shooting at demonstrators' legs. He did not say, however, why the soldiers did not use tear gas, as is normally done in demonstrations.