JERUSALEM (Nov. 4)
Israeli security police and paratroopers armed with batons and shields patrolled the streets of East Jerusalem as a protest strike by local Arab merchants went into its third day. The strike was originally called as an Arab protest gesture on the 51st anniversary of the Balfour Declaration which was celebrated Saturday. It continued Sunday and Monday in protest against the confiscation of 15 Arab-owned shops and restaurants which Israeli authorities said were needed for police billets while tensions ran high in the city.
Police foot patrols were out in force, particularly in the narrow, winding lanes of the Old City which are impassible to armored vehicles. They dispersed small crowds wherever they gathered and stood by as owners of the confiscated shops removed their merchandise. Four of the shops were emptied by their owners. One owner failed to show up and his premises were forced open and his goods taken into police storage. Crowds watched but no incidents were reported.
Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem visited the Arab quarters several times today. While he refrained from open disapproval of the police measures he was clearly angered by the confiscations. Mayor Kollek is a strong advocate of leniency toward the Arab population of East Jerusalem which he has often said would lead to peaceful co-existence between Jews and Arabs if not complete reconciliation. Police sources said today that the confiscations were not final and that they might consider returning at least some of the premises to their owners if the latter pledged cooperation to prevent further strikes and to return life to normal. No official statement was issued to that effect however.