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400 Hebron Arabs Will Petition Premier Eshkol to Remove Town’s Jewish Settlers

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A meeting of 400 Arab notables of Hebron has decided to submit a protest to Prime Minister Levi Eshkol over the refusal of the military government to remove 80 Orthodox Jews who have indicated their intention to settle in the West Bank town. Hebron is sacred to Jews as the site of the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

The Arab group, village heads and mukhtars, who met under the chairmanship of Hebron mayor Sheikh Muhammad al Jabari, decided to ask that the Jewish settlers leave the Hebron area on the grounds that until a diplomatic settlement is achieved in the Middle East, the population status quo on the West Bank should remain unchanged. The meeting was called after the military government informed the mayor that it had no intention of removing the Orthodox Jews. The settlers moved into Hebron’s Park Hotel several weeks ago and later moved to a military government compound. Prefabricated houses are scheduled to be erected for them by authorities, who initially had indicated that the Jews would not be allowed to settle in the community.

(Mayor Jabari says he represents a group of West Bank Arabs which is ready to open direct negotiations to form a West Bank Arab Government if the peace mission of special United Nations envoy Gunnar V. Jarring fails, the London Jewish Chronicle has reported. Jabari was interviewed by Chronicle editor William Frankel.)

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