Arabs Rebuff Peace Now Gesture

A good will gesture by members of the Peace Now movement was rebuffed by Arab farmers on the West Bank yesterday. They uprooted vines and olive tree saplings that were planted by the peace advocates on the slopes of Jaabari Hill near Hebron Friday-to replace groves vandalized two weeks ago by Jewish militants.

According to an Israel Radio report, the farmers understood the nature of the gesture but feared that if Jews planted the slopes they would later claim ownership of the land. They were also quoted as saying “Jews don’t know how to plant vines.” About 1000 Peace Now demonstrators came to the Hebron area last Friday to redress the damage done earlier by unknown vandals, believed to be residents of Kiryat Arba, a Gush Emunim stronghold adjacent to Hebron. They destroyed more than 500 trees and vines with power saws, apparently in protest against the government’s refusal to recognize Kiryat Arba’s claim to the Jaabari Hill where the Orthodox township wants to expand. Meanwhile, Kiryat Arba residents were elated last night because the Cabinet yesterday declined to discuss the possible eviction of some 40 Kiryat Arba women and children who have occupied the old Hadassah clinic in Hebron for the past two weeks.

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