JERUSALEM (Feb. 2)
Israeli officials reported today that there has been some hoarding by some residents of the West Bank, apparently in anticipation of possible shortages in the event the current cease-fire is not extended after its expiration on Friday. One report from East Jerusalem indicated heavy purchases in wheat, flour, rice and sugar during the past two days. A brisk business also has been reported in trade in Jordanian dinars with the black market price soaring. However, most observers were reported to believe that most West Bank Arabs are not greatly worried about the future and that life appears to be going on normally in the main population centers in Judea and Samaria. They said Arab “intellectuals” in the West Bank consider Friday a kind of “turning point” in Israel-Arab relations, that it will either be a move toward peace or the beginning of a new chapter of conflict. Other sources suggested that the increase in purchase of foodstuffs by West Bank Arabs may have been done in connection with the Moslem holiday of Yif El Adha.
On the Israeli street, there appeared to be a general belief that there would not be a resumption of warfare. A public opinion poll published yesterday indicated that 45 percent of Israelis believe there will not be a renewal of shooting, 20 percent said they felt there would be more fighting and the rest expressed the hope there would not be a resumption of warfare. An East Jerusalem newspaper columnist, Mohammed Abu Shelbaya, writing in today’s issue of “Al Quds,” criticized the Jordanian Information Service for allowing the broadcast of songs calling for the extermination of Jews. He said this was a repetition of the pre-1967 activities of extremist Arab leaders, led by Ahmed Shukairy, the former head of the Palestine Liberation Organization.