Three Deported West Bank Officials Prevented from Returning Home
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Three Deported West Bank Officials Prevented from Returning Home

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Three West Bank Arab officials, who were deported the day after the May 2 terrorist attack on Jews in Hebron, were prevented today by the Israeli army from returning to their homes across the Allenby Bridge over the Jordan River.

The three, Mayor fahed Kawasme of Hebron, Mayor Mohammed Milhim of Halhoul and Kodi (Moslem judge) Rajeb Buyud Tamimi arrived in Amman yesterday after a week in Beirut where they had been hosted by the Palestine Liberation Organization. They said they intended to cross the bridge today to implement last Thursday’s United Nations Security Council resolution declaring their deportation illegal.

The resolution, adopted by a 14-0 vote, with the United States abstaining, called on Israel, “as occupying power to rescind these illegal measures” and make possible “the immediate return” of the expelled Palestinian leaders. The U.S. had criticized the deportation but William Vanden Heuvel, the U.S. deputy chief delegate, said the final draft locked balance because it made no reference to the terrorist attack which killed six Jewish students and wounded 16 others.

Yehuda Blum, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, called the resolution “an act of hypocrisy and selective conscience.” He declared that the deported Arab leaders had been “actively and systematically engaged in inciting the local Arab population to acts of violence” and that they were expelled “only after their words and activities led to bloodshed.”

The PLO representative, Zehdi Terzi, said that if Israel bored the three deported leaders from returning, the Council should meet again on the issue.


Israel had notified Jordan in advance that it would not allow the three deported leaders to cross the bridge into Israel but Jordan did not prevent the deportees or a large crowd of supporters accompanying them from going to the span. Many carried signs demanding that Israel allow the three to return. One sign called for a Palestinian State from the River to the Sea.”

Israeli troops lined up across the bridge prevented the group from crossing the narrow bridge. Some of the group spit on the soldiers but the Israelis did not react. Milhim warned Israel of a possible holocaust in which the Zionist State would be buried in the same way that ancient Rome collapsed. Kawasme spoke chiefly about the difficulty of being away from his family.

Reporters on the Israeli side were barred from the bridge area but were able to interview eyewitnesses later. Meanwhile, a group of some 100 Arab and Jewish demonstrators were kept behind a roadblock some two miles from the bridge. Nihod Milhim, wife of the deported Halhoul Mayor, said she hoped to see her husband soon because of the Security Council resolution. The mother of nine children, she said she had not heard from Milhim since he was deported.

The demonstration was peaceful but when a policeman tried to arrest an elderly demonstrator who had insulted him, Knesseters Uri Avneri of Sheli and Charlie Biton of Rakah (Communists), rushed to the man’s aid and a brief scuffle ensued which was calmed down by another policeman.

Meanwhile, relatives of Kawasme have asked Mustapha Natshe, Hebron’s Deputy Mayor, not to replace the deported mayor. The family argued that if the post is filled it will hurt chances for Kawasme’s return.

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