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Arrest Two Arabs Seeking to Block Opening of Old City Schools

Israeli police today arrested Husni Ashab, the former Jordanian Inspector of Education for the Jerusalem area, and his deputy, Achmed Abdul Latif, charging them with try trying to prevent the opening of East Jerusalem schools and urging non-cooperation with Israeli authorities. However, Israel occupation officials indicated there would be no effort to compel the opening of west bank schools which had failed to do so on Friday, the first day of the new semester. The matter, they said, was entirely up to the residents of the west bank.

The schools which opened on schedule, located mostly in the southern part of the west bank, reported greatly increased attendance over the last school year. Arab teachers throughout the northern part of the west bank, however, refused to resume their classroom duties because of a “crisis of conscience.” A spokesman for the teachers reportedly told Brig. Uzi Narkiss, the west bank military governor, that they objected to Israel’s occupation of the area and the use of Israeli-censored textbooks (Israel has ordered replacement of anti-Israel material in the Arab classrooms.)

Failure of most northern area schools to open was attributed by an Israeli spokesman to the fact that a large number of refugees from the area had not returned from the east bank, where they had fled during the Six-Day War.

The public schools in East Jerusalem, which are scheduled to open on September 15, are governed by Israeli law which requires that all children of the elementary level must attend school. This does not apply to other areas of the west bank.

Israeli authorities expressed the belief that the teachers’ boycott may ease within the next few days, and that most of the closed Arab schools will resume classes.

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