Dayan Agrees to Permit West Bank Mayors to Hold First Political Meeting Since 1967

Defense Minister Moshe Dayan has given permission for the first political meeting of West Bank Arab notables since the June, 1967 Six-Day War. Dayan was reported today to have informed the mayors of towns in Judaea and Samaria that they may convene a large gathering to discuss “whatever it deemed fit.” Sheikh Mohammed Ali Jaabari, the Mayor of Hebron, has confirmed that a gathering “will be held” though the time and place have not been decided. The projected meeting will be an outgrowth of the first conference of West Bank mayors held at Beit Sahur two weeks ago. The agenda of that meeting was limited to the Arab League’s threat to boycott products from the West Bank and Gaza Strip exported to neighboring Arab states. Jaabari has scheduled a luncheon next Sunday for the same mayors who participated in the Beit Sahur conference. Nothing has been said about the topics that might be raised but Jaabari has been stressing recently the necessity to work for an “end to the military government” on the West Bank. He said yesterday that the local population cannot accept the present situation indefinitely. But he dismissed a recent warning by President Anwar Sadat of Egypt that this year would be the decisive one. Jaabari noted that he had “heard similar statements in the past” and added, “Even 1972 will not be decisive.”

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