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Israel frees prisoners, to no avail

Israel freed 400 Palestinian prisoners Thursday in an effort, so far fruitless, to stop violence ignited by the Hebron mosque massacre.

Despite releasing 1,000 prisoners the past three days, there has been no sign that outraged Palestinians in the occupied territories would stop protesting and return to stalled peace talks.

"This release won't change the hatred between us and the settlers," said 19-year-old Yasser Sharabati, a Palestinian activist freed Thursday.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is also facing growing defiance from extremist Jewish settlers in the territories. The army has disarmed 18 settlers and banned them from Palestinian areas.

In other news:

Israeli authorities are considering barring Jewish worshipers from Judaism's holiest site, the Wailing Wall, during Muslim prayers Friday to try to prevent clashes with Muslim worshipers at the adjacent al-Aqsa mosque.

Syria's dwindling Jewish community has been threatened with revenge by a Syrian Muslim group for the Hebron massacre, according to a leaflet made public Thursday by a U.S. Jewish organization.