TEL AVIV (Jul. 17)
Defense Minister Gen. Moshe Dayan suggested in Nablus yesterday that, “on the assumption that there will be no political changes in the near future,” West Bank workers should seek employment In Israel instead of going abroad for jobs. Gen. Dayan made the suggestion to Mayor Hamdi Cannaan, of Nablus, in connection with Arab requests that Israel stop stamping the passports of Arabs entering the West Bank from other Arab countries.
Gen. Dayan said that he thought about 1,000 Nablus workers could be absorbed daily by the labor market in Natanya, He also said that the Israel Government was prepared to extend aid for any constructive suggestions but would not tolerate subversive activities. About a dozen Nablus high school youths have been arrested for training with firearms and distributing anti-Israel posters.
Mayor Cannaan used the occasion of Gen. Dayan’s visit to appeal for an end to the passport stamping, which has apparently become a major issue among West Bank Arabs. Mayor Mouhammad Jabaari, of Hebron, made the same appeal to Minister of Religious Affairs, Zerah Warhaftig who visited that town yesterday. Mayor Cannaan said that Kuwait does not recognize passports bearing an Israel stamp. Many West Bankers work in the Kuwait oil refineries and return home once a year to visit their families.
The stamp issue arose when Israel authorized Arabs from abroad, particularly students, to spend their summer vacations with relatives in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Many Arabs stayed away, however, for fear of losing their passports when they returned home. The Israeli stamp, printed in Hebrew, Arabic and French, is similar to stamps affixed to passports at frontiers all over the world. Jordanian authorities announced earlier this week that they would issue new passports to all West Bank visitors.