JERUSALEM (May. 16)
No strikes or demonstrations occurred in East Jerusalem or in any West Bank towns yesterday despite widely circulated leaflets exhorting Arabs to protest on the 20th anniversary of Israel’s independence, according to the Gregorian calendar. In Ramallah, where a protest strike was organized on May 2, Israel’s anniversary according to the Hebrew calendar, businesses opened earlier than usual and the town council held its regular session. Ramallah Arabs who temporarily lost their travel privileges as a result of the May 2 demonstration were apparently eager to show that they had no intention of violating the rules this time. In some West Bank towns, however, large numbers of students stayed out of school.
(But if the situation was virtually normal in the occupied regions, it was not so in the various Arab capitals. The Times of London reported from Beirut today that some 5,000 students paraded through the streets, demanding that Lebanese Prime Minister Abdullah Yafi provide arms for villages near the Israel border. Yafi told the demonstrators that “we are ready to sacrifice ourselves for Palestine,” the Times dispatch said. In Amman, according to the newspaper, lawyers took five-minute recesses in courts as a gesture of protest. In all Arab countries, citizens observed minutes of silence and Israel was denounced in special radio programs, in school lectures and in newspapers which appeared with black borders. In Baghdad, the Times said, commando organizations held rallies. In Amman, Premier Bahjat Talhouni called for unity and sacrifice in an “historic confrontation” with Israel. Most Arab commando organizations issued proclamations rejecting a peaceful settlement with Israel. El Fatah pledged to continue the struggle until the “Zionist occupation” was liquidated, “militarily, socially, politically and economically.” The Times reported.)