TEL AVIV (Feb. 5)
Disorders broke out today in the West Bank towns of Nablus. Tulkarem and Ramallah as high school students attempted to demonstrate against Israeli authorities and shopkeepers went on strike.
In Nablus, school boys set up road blocks in narrow lanes of the old quarter after being prevented from demonstrating in the main part of town. They ignited gasoline-filled tires. Israeli troops promptly tore down the roadblocks, and nine students were detained for questioning.
A school strike was in full swing in Ramallah where students, mostly girls, congregated in a school yard, shouting abusive slogans against Israel and praising HI Fatal, the Palestinian terrorist organization. Some stoned passing vehicles but were stopped by soldiers. Four were held for questioning. A demonstration in Tulkarem was aborted when Israeli troops appeared.
Meanwhile, Mayor Hamdi Kansan of Nablus sent a strong letter to Defense Minister Moshe Dayan protesting the arrest of students for shouting “Yitbah el Yahud” (“Let’s slaughter the Jews”). He said the Nablus merchants’ strike was a spontaneous protest against the Israeli occupation and warned, “We are losing our patience.” He said he himself might take up arms against Israel if necessary.
The current unrest appeared to stem from recent disorders in Gaza where more than 100 high school girls rioted last Sunday. Israeli authorities attributed their action also to inflammatory radio broadcasts from neighboring Arab states and the exhortations of terrorist leaders.
A Jerusalem Post editorial today castigated terrorists who “use high school girls as their secret weapon.” The paper quoted a captured HI Fatal leader who admitted at his trial, “We send girls to demonstrate because we know the soldiers won’t hurt them.”