JERUSALEM (Oct. 13)
A group of West Bank Arab leaders decided yesterday to send a five-man delegation to Amman to plead with terrorist leaders to halt their activities on the West Bank. The decision was taken at a meeting of some 200 elders of Hebron and surrounding villages, chaired by Hebron’s mayor, Sheikh Mohammed Ali Jaabari. The meeting was called in the aftermath of last week’s grenade explosion at the Patriarchs’ Tomb which injured 47 Jewish visitors and worshippers. Israeli soldiers have blown up seven buildings in Hebron used by terrorists believed to be implicated in the grenade incident. The Arab leaders said in a resolution adopted at their meeting that they were caught “between hammer and anvil” and feared that further acts of terrorism and Israeli reprisals would make it impossible for peaceful Arabs to live on the West Bank. Schools at Nablus, a West Bank town north of Hebron, went on strike yesterday in protest against the demolition of the buildings in Hebron.
The Hebron meeting was attended by Moslem religious and civic leaders, among them former Jordanian senators and members of Parliament. Only three present opposed the idea of an appeal to the terrorist leaders but many others doubted that it would have any effect. The assembly condemned the grenade attack on civilians and the reprisals taken by Israel. They also voiced disapproval of the new security measures instituted by Israeli authorities around the Patriarchs’ Tomb which is located inside the compound of the Ibrahimi Mosque. These call for opening a separate entrance for Jewish worshippers on the east side of the Mosque where there is more open space than on the west side. The stairway on the west side, used by both Moslems and Jews, was the scene of the grenade blast. In order to clear the east entrance, Israeli authorities have ordered several home owners nearby to leave. They were promised housing in buildings abandoned by Hebronites who fled to Jordan.
Meanwhile, 11 more Arabs were detained in Hebron and one in East Jerusalem in the continuing investigation into terrorist tactics which have led to planting of explosives in major Israeli cities. Police announced the arrest of the last of the four Arabs who took part in a bombing of the Tel Aviv central bus depot last month. Police said that the 17-year-old Hebron high school youth arrested in the tomb blast, Addin Rashid Geit, told them he had been employed as a saboteur for 20 Jordanian dinars ($60) a month plus 50 additional dinars ($150) for each act of sabotage.