West Bank Arab Leaders Ambivalent over Possible Jordan-israel Peace

West Bank Arab leaders interviewed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today expressed mixed feelings today about the possibility of a peace agreement between Israel and Jordan. None of them would agree to be quoted by name and their tension was evident as they spoke to the JTA reporter and debated among themselves.

Most West Bank leaders agreed that a peace settlement was desirable and thought it would relieve them of the possibility of making decisions. But there was considerable fear expressed that in the event of a settlement, West Bank Arabs would find themselves in the middle of an inter-Arab conflict between the Jordanian authorities and the Palestinian terrorist groups like El Fatah which have sworn never to accept a settlement with Israel. Some of the Arabs were worried about dual loyalties should portions of the West Bank remain permanently under Israeli control.

Meanwhile some schools in the West Bank towns of Ramallah and Jenin were closed yesterday by a student strike. A demonstration by Ramallah high school girls was dispersed peacefully by Israeli authorities. Asked by the JTA why they were demonstrating, one girl said it was because of Jewish prayers at Moslem holy sites. Another said she was protesting “the torturing of Arab prisoners.”

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