Dayan Warns Gaza Town Councillors on Protest over Israel Electricity Link

Defense Minister Moshe Dayan read the riot act to the Arab leaders in Gaza yesterday. He reminded the town council members, headed by Mayor Ragid el-Alami, that they constituted a local body subject to central authority and that the legal and lawful authority in the Gaza Strip was Israel. Speaking in fluent Arabic, he told Mayor el-Alami that if the mayor felt under greater obligation to the Egyptian authorities who occupied Gaza prior to the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel was ready to arrange his transfer to Egypt.

The issue that brought Gen. Dayan before the Gaza municipal council was the link-up of the Gaza Strip’s electric power system with Israel’s national power grid. The switch-over represents a major improvement for the residents of the Strip, whose electric supply has been provided by inadequate local generators. But the Mayor and councilmen objected loudly. They said the power link-up was a political act that changed the status quo. Observers here suggested that their protest was largely a facade to impress the local populace with their refusal to recognize Israeli authority. Most Gaza residents however appeared to welcome the new power system which is far more reliable than the old one. Gen. Dayan told the councilmen that it was necessary for security reasons to have better lighting for streets, highways and installations.

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