RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) —

At the United Nations yesterday, the United States vetoed a
Security Council resolution that would have condemned
Israel’s assassination of Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin, because
it made no mention of “terrorist atrocities” committed
by Hamas.

Also, 60 prominent Palestinians urged their people yesterday not
to retaliate for Israel’s killing of the Hamas founder, but
instead to transform the 3 1/2-year-old violent uprising into a
peaceful protest for statehood.

A call for restraint came from a second direction yesterday
— relatives of a Palestinian youth caught with a suicide
bomber’s vest at an Israeli roadblock demanded that militants
stop recruiting children.

In the most serious incident since the assassination of Hamas
founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin on Monday, Israeli forces killed three
Palestinians who opened fire on a civilian car and an Israeli
outpost at a Jewish settlement in Gaza late yesterday, the military
said.

After the shootings, Israeli tanks and bulldozers entered the
area late yesterday. Palestinian security officials said 15 Israeli
vehicles, including tanks and bulldozers, moved about 400 yards
into areas next to the town of Deir el-Balah. Two Israeli
helicopters were hovering over the scene, they said.

Despite the appeals for restraint, the Hamas military wing
yesterday issued a rare videotaped statement, threatening
retaliation against Israelis in graphic terms, after marking
Israeli Prime Minster Ariel Sharon as a target.

The statement pledged “a strong, earthshaking response to
make the sons of monkeys and pigs taste a painful death.”

In the videotape, given to the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV
channel, a masked man declared, “We say to the pig Sharon
that we will pound your fortresses and make you curse yourself
1,000 times for merely thinking of assassinating our leaders and
symbols.”

However, some Palestinians are questioning whether violent
resistance has done them more harm then good. Their economy has
been decimated. Israeli checkpoints, closures and other
restrictions, which Israel says are necessary to stop attackers,
have made their lives miserable.

Since violence erupted in September 2000, 2,762 people have been
killed on the Palestinian side and 942 on the Israeli side —
but Palestinians are hard pressed to show any accomplishments.

Yesterday, a group of respected Palestinians put a half-page
advertisement in the PLO’s Al-Ayyam newspaper calling on
Palestinians to lay down their arms and turn to peaceful means of
protest toward ending Israel’s occupation of the West Bank
and Gaza Strip.

Similar calls in the past have had little impact on public
opinion, and yesterday’s ad was greeted with little
enthusiasm by many Palestinians.

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