Tanks in Gaza and West Bank as Conflict Spreads

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JERUSALEM: The Israeli Defense Force moved tanks, troops and helicopters into the Gaza Strip and West Bank on Thursday as clashes with Palestinian police and demonstrators continued in the bloodiest exchanges since 1993. After three days of gunfire, at least 42 Palestinians and 11 Israelis are dead, and some 400 Palestinians and 32 Israelis have been wounded. Thousands of stone-throwing Palestinain demonstrators in the Gaza Strip attacked the small Jewish settlements of Netzarim and Kfar Darom. "There's been violence in Jerusalem's old city and at checkpoints all along the West Bank," reports TIME's Jean Max from Jerusalem. "It's not just rock-throwing anymore; it's shooting and it's getting worse. It is very widespread, and there are thousands of people involved on both sides. One commentator here said the violence has obliterated all gains of the peace process, and we're basically back to square one, before former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Arafat signed the peace accord." Israel has sealed off Gaza and the West Bank in the wake of the new clashes and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is cutting short a trip to Germany to return to Israel. He reportedly will meet with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat today. The violence follows Netanyahu's decision to open a second entrance to an archeological tunnel under Temple Mount. Al Aqsa, one of Islam's holiest mosques, sits atop the site, but the new entrance also seems to violate an Israeli promise not to expand its activities in disputed parts of Jerusalem until the city's fate was decided in negotiations. Alarmed Clinton Administration officials are turning up the heat on Netanyahu to restore peace. "We believe there is no recourse but to return to peaceful discussion of the problems that separate Israel and the Palestinians," said State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns. -->