JERUSALEM (Jun. 9)
Israeli security forces used tear gas today to disperse rock throwing, tire-burning youngsters in Nablus. Although Israeli vehicles were stoned, the latest disturbances were aimed at Syrian intervention in Lebanon rather than at the Israeli occupation. Anti-Syrian demonstrations also took place at the nearby Balata refugee camp. Nablus merchants staged a partial strike but the local chamber of commerce persuaded them to reopen their shops and cooperated generally with the Israeli authorities.
Today’s outbreak was the latest manifestation of the rising tide of anti-Syrian sentiment on the West Bank since Damascus began its drive against Palestinian terrorists in Lebanon. The demonstrators shouted pro-PLO slogans, denounced Syrian President Hafez Assad and waved black flags, symbolic of the “Black September” six years ago when King Hussein launched an all-out drive to oust Palestinian terrorists from Jordan.
The anti-Syrian demonstrations were initiated by high school students and other youngsters. Is- raeli authorities said they would not intervene unless public order was threatened–which was the case in Nablus. Meanwhile, West Bank leaders have prepared a petition condemning the Syrian intervention. The petition, to be submitted to the Arab League, warns that Syria’s acts could spell disaster for the Palestinian cause. The signatories include West Bank mayors, town councilmen and members of the local chambers of commerce.
An Israeli military spokesman, meanwhile, denied as absolutely groundless reports from Beirut that Israeli planes had attacked refugee camps and other targets in Lebanon. No Israeli plane has been engaged in any action in Lebanon, the spokesman said.