JERUSALEM, FEB. 2 -- A Palestinian was wounded today in a clash with the Israeli Army, Arab reports said, and Jewish settlers threatened to carry out vigilante actions if the Army failed to protect them.
The Palestine Press Service and officials at Al Ittihad Hospital said soldiers shot a Palestinian, Said Yassin, 21, in the pelvis after protests in the West Bank city of Tulkarm. The Arab-run agency said 20 Palestinians were beaten by soldiers during a demonstration in the nearby village of Habla.
The Army said it could not confirm the reports of injuries.
Israeli authorities imposed curfews on Habla and Tulkarm refugee camp and on eight other towns and refugee camps in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip today and closed four universities for a month and 800 secondary and grade schools indefinitely to quell protests.
West Bank commander Maj. Gen. Amram Mitzna warned Jewish settlers at a meeting this week to stay out of confrontations with Arab rioters.
"We are the Army, and we have to provide security to the Arab and Jewish residents," Mitzna said on Israeli radio. "There are cases in which people are trying" to take action on their own. "We will deal with them."
But settlers have said they cannot guarantee restraint if Arabs continue to attack them.
The right-wing Gush Emunim settlement movement has formed a team to coordinate responses to the disturbances, one of its leaders, Benny Katzover, told Israeli radio.
Settlers have been involved in several clashes with Palestinian protesters since Sunday, when assailants threw a firebomb at the car of one settler, burning him badly.
Last night, settlers violated a curfew, drove into the center of the West Bank town of Anabta, and smashed the windows of two Palestinian cars, an Army officer said.
Settlers denied they vandalized cars, saying they only honked the horns. "The purpose was to tell residents that until now we have been restrained," a settler said.
The Army said the settlers entered Anabta despite a curfew because they arrived after soldiers had removed roadblocks.