JERUSALEM -- Israeli soldiers shot and killed four Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip yesterday during protests on the anniversary of an anti-Israeli action by the Palestine Liberation Organization.
In Gaza, soldiers shot two masked Palestinians painting anti-Israeli slogans, army and Arab reports said. The army said both victims had failed to heed orders to halt and were found to be carrying knives and toy pistols.
Troops in the West Bank killed two Palestinians during demonstrations marking the 26th anniversary of the first attack in Israel by Fatah, the mainstream PLO faction.
Meanwhile, two left-wing Israeli legislators -- Ran Cohen of the Citizens' Rights Movement and Amnon Rubinstein of the Shinui Party -- proposed a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Gaza, seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, is home to 750,000 Palestinians, and its squalid refugee camps have been centers of opposition to Israeli occupation.
The proposal calls for Israel to turn the area over to the United Nations or a governing body of Palestinians. The ruling right-wing Likud bloc is expected to strongly oppose such a measure.
Cohen said "continued rule over the Gaza Strip is causing tremendous damage to the state of Israel, militarily, economically and also from a standpoint of preserving Israeli democracy."