16 West Bank Gaza Mayors Resign

Sixteen mayors and their municipal councils from the West Bank and Gaza Strip resigned today over the arrest and threatened expulsion of Nablus Mayor Bassam Shaka. Although other mayors threatened to resign too, a delegation of Arab leaders who met with Defense Minister Ezer Weizman today, said they hoped the crisis could be resolved.

The delegation, headed by Gaza Mayor Rashid Shawa, and including the mayor of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip and the mayors of Bethlehem and Hebron, asked Weizman to release Shaka pending a decision by the Israel Supreme Court on his expulsion. They said they wanted Shaka to be free to allow him to deny the charges against him. The military government on the West Bank and Gaza Strip has not accepted any of the resignations. They have asked the mayors to continue serving until the high court makes its decision.

Weizman had ordered Shaka deported after he reportedly said he supported the terrorist massacre on the Haifa. Tel Aviv coastal road in March, 1978: He has claimed that he said he understood the reason for such terrorist attacks.

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