JERUSALEM (Apr. 7)
A conference of leading Arab educators in the West Bank town of Ramallah have taken the first steps toward establishing an Arab university on the West Bank. They elected a committee to study the matter and report back within a month when a final decision will be made. The meeting, held with the approval of Israeli civil and military authorities, brought together district supervisors appointed by the Israel Education Ministry, high school headmasters and teachers. The only non-educator attending was Sheikh Muhammad Ali Jaabari, the Mayor of Hebron. Israeli authorities were criticized for not permitting the former Jordanian Defense Minister, Anwar Nusseibeh who is a resident of East Jerusalem, to attend. The Israelis apparently wanted to avoid anything that would give the meeting a political complexion and embarrass the Hussein regime in Amman. Some of the participants in the Ramallah conference, who still receive salaries from the Jordanian treasury, were reportedly under pressure from Amman to abandon the university idea. While most Arab states are said to support it, Jordan fears that a West Bank university would become the center of a separatist movement.