"The driver had an accident and the car crashed into a power pole about 30 minutes before the time set for the bomb to explode," the communique said. ''The driver deserted the vehicle and managed to escape."
As Palestinian violence continued yesterday in the territories, the Israeli army barred journalists from large parts of the West Bank, saying the presence of the media incited Arabs "to riot for the cameras" after Friday prayers.
Two more Palestinians died in riots yesterday, the army reported, bringing the death toll since the unrest broke out Dec. 9 to about 75.
A Defense Ministry official told AP "there is no policy" to bar journalists from the occupied territories. An Army spokesman said closures were up to the discretion of local commanders and indicated some areas had been closed because noon prayers often end in violent demonstrations.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported today that former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger privately urged last month that Israel ban TV cameras and reporters from strife-torn occupied territorities.
The remarks were outlined in a memorandum by Julius Berman, a former chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, one of eight people at an off-the-record breakfast in early February.
"Israel should bar the media from entry into the territories involved in the present demonstrations, accept the short-term criticism of the world press for such conduct, and put down the insurrection as quickly as possible - overwhelmingly, brutally and rapidly," the memo said, in summarizing Kissinger's points.
Paraphrasing Kissinger, the memo also said: "The insurrection must be quelled immediately, and the first step should be to throw out television, a la South Africa. To be sure, there will be international criticism of the step, but it will dissipate in short order."
Meanwhile in Shannon, Ireland, Shultz said he has given Israel and three Arab countries an "ambitious" U.S. proposal for Middle East peace talks and requested a response within 10 days.
Under the plan, talks on granting some self-rule to the 1.5 million Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip would begin May 1 through an international conference.
The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - the Soviet Union, China, Britain, France and the United States - would all take part, but none could have veto power over the outcome of the talks, a U.S. official said.