JERUSALEM (Oct. 18)
Israeli authorities are considering a request from the family of Abdel Weil Zuaiter, a purported El Fatah member slain under mysterious circumstances in Rome Monday night, to have his coffin brought to Nablus for burial. The matter is regarded as a delicate one inasmuch as the arrival of the coffin In the West Bank town could lead to pro-Fatah demonstrations.
Zuaiter, 38, an employee of the Libyan Embassy in Rome, was shot dead outside his suburban apartment by two men who eye-witnesses said escaped in a waiting car. The El Fatah press agency in Beirut described Zuaiter as its representative In Italy and alleged that he was “assassinated” by Israeli agents “as part of the Zionist terrorist campaign.” (A Jordanian Embassy official in Rome said yesterday that Zuaiter was the nephew of the Jordanian Ambassador in Beirut but declined to confirm reports that he was a second cousin of El Fatah chief Yasser Arafat.)
In Nablus, where Zuaiter was born, his family described him as a “peace-loving man” who didn’t want bloodshed. But they couldn’t reconcile that with his apparent El Fatah connections. Zuaiter’s aunt, Mrs. Faiza Abd el Majid of Nablus, told reporters that “he loved his country.”
She described him as an Intellectual who abhorred violence and pursued studies In art and music in Rome since 1966. But neighbors In Nablus indicated that Zuaiter was an ordinary man with no outstanding traits. His brother, Wahid Zuaiter, who spoke to reporters In Nablus last night, was among the Palestinian Arabs expelled from West Germany last month following the Munich killings.
Zuaiter’s widowed mother has asked Israeli authorities for permission to bring back her son’s remains for burial near the grave of his father who was a well-known attorney and author and who held posts in the Jordanian diplomatic service. Abdel studied at the El Najach College in Nablus and at Baghdad University. He worked in Kuwait before going to Rome.
Rome police have described Zuaiter as a contributor to “Palestina,” a pro-Palestinian periodical issued there until last year, and as an organizer and leader of Italian leftist, pro-Arab, and rightist anti-Jewish movements. He was also said to have helped raise funds for a hospital in a Palestinian terrorist camp.