Washington Star Report Says West Bank Arabs Cool to Israel Overtures

Israel’s efforts to woo the support of Arab leaders in the occupied West Bank have struck “a stone wall of suspicion and defiance” and “produced no tangible hope for a breakthrough,” the Washington Evening Star reported today in a dispatch from Jerusalem by its correspondent, Andrew Borowiec. Mr. Borowiec reached his conclusions after interviewing Arab leaders on the West Bank.

“Arab intransigence and bitterness are growing and the gap between the occupation authorities and the local population is as wide as ever,” he wrote. “The key to the problem is the annexation by Israel of the Arab sector of Jerusalem with its mosques and Moslem shrines. Israel considers the city’s re-unification final, but no Arab can accept this. Hence all Israeli efforts to win the support of the Arab elite appear doomed,” he said.

(According to a Jerusalem report, a group of Jewish settlers in Hebron, on the West Bank, have taken steps to avoid what Arab notables in the town have feared would be “hostile interference.” The Hebron Arabs, who have continuously expressed opposition to a Jewish group who have rented a hotel there, complained that each morning the Jews march to the Tomb of the Patriarchs for prayers, carrying arms and singing martial songs. The settlers today went to prayers without marching or singing.)

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