Israel Retaliates with Sharper Actions Against Arab Hostility in Occupied Territory

Israeli authorities and military courts took sharp actions this weekend against Arab resisters in several of the areas occupied by Israel as a result of the Six-Day War, Various Arab groups forced Israel to retaliate against shootings, a strike in Gaza, and other increased hostile acts by Arabs.

In Gaza, yesterday, the military tribunal meted out jail sentences ranging from eight months’ imprisonment to 10 months against five prominent Arab merchants who conducted a strike there Friday night and yesterday. Additionally, the men were fined 1,500 Israeli pounds ($500) each.

The Gaza trouble flared after a group of Arab youngsters distributed leaflets claiming that an Israeli soldier had killed a resident of the town. What had happened, actually, was that a group of Arabs had attacked an Israeli soldier who had been forced to fire his rifle in self-defense. In the process of restoring order, three Arabs were wounded.

The Israeli military governor issued an order forbidding businessmen to close their stores. When some of them did shut down, they were arrested immediately and taken before the military court. Some of the youngsters who had distributed the leaflets were also tried and sentenced to jail terms.

At El Arish, in the northern Sinai, an Israeli military tribunal this weekend sentenced four local Arabs to two-year prison terms each for participating in an anti-Israeli demonstration. The four had confessed to having spread nails on highways leading into the city and on principal thoroughfares in El Arish, so that Israeli civilian and military motorcars had their tires punctured. Several of the Israeli cars had been damaged as a result of that action.

At Abu Dis, in occupied Jordanian territory east of Jerusalem, an Israeli border patrol including policemen and paratroopers drew fire from a sniper in an Arab house Friday. A little earlier, a Hebrew University student’s automobile had been fired upon at the same location. The student escaped uninjured, but three members of the patrol were wounded.

The Israelis fired back, wounded the sniper, then arrested the man’s father and a brother in the house. Finally, they blew up the house, and followed through by arresting six more Arabs and razing five more houses that had been centers of violent resistance. The village is on the west bank of the Jordan River and overlooks a principal highway to Jerusalem, just east of the capital.

ARAB RESISTERS IN EL ARISH RAISE EGYPTIAN FLAG; ERECT BARRICADES

The various incidents of Arab resistance, all the way from this capital city to various places in the occupied areas, were seen here today as signs of deterioration of the relations between the Israelis and the Arabs. There seemed to be two causes. One was that the Arabs are uneasy because they don’t know what Israel’s plans are in regard to the various occupied areas such as the west bank of the Jordan and the Sinai Peninsula or Gaza. The other factor is undoubtedly due to the inciting propaganda broadcast by the Egyptian and Jordanian radio transmissions beamed into the occupied areas.

During one of the Arab demonstrations at El Arish, the resisters were bold enough to hoist the Egyptian flag, which was promptly brought down by the Israeli troops there. Barriers had also been erected against Israeli troop movements in that area. Resistance seemed more subtle on the west bank. An Arab judge had refused to sit in his court, while Arab school teachers have announced they would not cooperate with the Israeli education authorities.

The reprisal actions taken by Israel in the last few days indicated that more stringent security measures may be necessary, some Israelis here said. On the other hand, some Israelis felt that clearer indications must be given of Israel’s future plans for the occupied areas.

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