Menu JTA Search

90 Arrested in East Jerusalem

At least 90 persons, including 30 school girls, were arrested in East Jerusalem today as pro-terrorist high school students continued to clash with Israeli police. Altogether, 470 demonstrators have been arrested since disturbances began on the West Bank last Wednesday and spread to East Jerusalem yesterday. While the unrest appeared to have abated somewhat on the West Bank, police were forced to use high pressure water hoses to dislodge students at the Al Mamuniyah girls school inside the Old City walls who were hurling rocks from the roof and windows. About half of the shops in the Old City were closed today but most shops in the modern sections of East Jerusalem were open after authorities warned the merchants that they would be shut down indefinitely if they obeyed the rioters’ protest call. (By Gil Sedan) received in the General Assembly the PLO is stepping up its terror campaign simultaneously with its political drive to achieve international recognition.

Apparently the PLO terrorist leader and his colleagues feel certain the resumption of raids of the Maalot and Kiryat Shemona-type, would not affect the support they hope to win. They interpreted the UN’s recognition of the PLO as a permit to escalate raids against Israel under a cover of “legitimacy.” Thus, Arafat himself announced the diplomatic and political activity can be regarded by the PLO only as a supplementary, auxiliary action to the main effort–armed struggle.

Only ignorance or hypocrites will fail to see the facts as they are. The raids are being staged now by the Arafat wing of the PLO and not by its rivals as was previously suggested by the French and others. The Achziv raiders–one killed and one captured after landing on the beach close to the Lebanese border–were Fatah members. The three terrorists killed today in Beisan after attacking a civilian suburb were members of the Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The “Democrats” headed by Nayef Hawatmeh are now Arafat’s closest allies within the PLO. The use they make of pseudo-Marxist terminology led many observers to consider them as Arafat’s “left-wing.” Hawatmeh supports Arafat’s moves and policy and wants him to lead a Palestinian government-in-exile. The Fatah, in return, grants the “Democrats” means of survival as a small organization of no more than 400 members.

SOVIET ENCOURAGEMENT SUSPECTED

It is worth noting that Dr. George Habash’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the only group to suspend its participation in the PLO, has abstained for more than a year now from mounting any terror raids. The attack on Beisan by Hawatmeh’s disciples came shortly after their leader, accompanied by several of his aides, returned from Moscow.

In view of the Soviet role in increasing the tension along the Golan frontier, one is also tempted to suspect Russian encouragement for the Beisan raid. It is indeed possible that Arafat and Hawatmeh were counting on pouring oil on the blaze. According to one theory, the raiders may have tried to create the impression that they began their journey to Beisan from Syria, thus hoping to force Israel into a retaliatory strike against Syria.

At any rate the PLO leadership gave its official blessing to today’s raid, hailing its “humane nature.” and claiming that it was directed against a “house serving Israeli intelligence.” The identity of the victims clearly refuted this.

NEXT STORY