Ramallah Mayor, Advocate of Separate West Bank Statehood, Escapes Assassins

Jerusalem police today made a number of arrests in the attempted assassination of Mayor Nadim El Zaro of Ramallah in East Jerusalem last night. The mayor of the West Bank town was fired on by gunmen but was not hit. Police believe the motive may have been El Zaro’s advocacy of a separate Palestinian state rather than reunification of the West Bank with Jordan.

A military tribunal will try 48 Arabs arrested in East Jerusalem during the past two months on charges of membership in the El Fatah terrorist gangs and complicity in a series of bombings and other acts of sabotage in the Jerusalem area and elsewhere in Israel.

Under the legal system which both Israel and Jordan inherited from the British mandatory regime, and which is virtually identical in both countries, persons accused of paramilitary activities may be tried either by a military tribunal or a civilian court. The Ministry of Justice decided on a military trial for the accused terrorists. Charges against the defendants include the Hotel Fast bombing, the attempted bombing of the Jerusalem power station and the abortive attempt to blow up the Zion Cinema.

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