West Bank Mayors React to Victory of Likud

Ramallah Mayor Karim Khallaf warned yesterday that as a result of the Likud election victory “the fifth war is on the way….We must tell President Sadat to bring back his regiments from Zaire….” Khallaf referred in particular to Likud leader Menachem Beigin terming the West Bank and Gaza “the liberated areas.”

A Gaza leader, Zuhair rel-Rais, was quoted in the Jerusalem Post as saying that “the extremists” victory blocks the way to real peace. But we hope that even the Israeli right will understand that there is no point to extremist policies that deny the existence of the Palestinian people under the sole legitimate leadership of the PLO.”

But Gaza Mayor Rashad Shawa took a more optimistic view. Outside pressures, he believed, would force Beigin’s hand. A similar view was expressed by Hebron’s popular Mayor Fahd Kawassma: “I think Likud may be forced to change its stand by American, Arab and internal pressures,” he said. Jerusalem’s Arab-language newspaper, Al Kuds, which inclines towards the Hashemites, commented sourly that there was in fact little change. “Is there a difference between Beigin and (Moshe) Dayan?” the paper asked.

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