Jerusalem (Jan. 5)
Thousands of Nablus residents and Arabs from nearby villages turned out to welcome Mayor Bassom Shaka who returned home yesterday after an extensive stay abroad for medical treatment. Shaka lost both of his legs in a car bombing last June 2, believed to have been in reprisal for the ambush slaying of six yeshiva students in Hebron a month earlier.
Throngs bearing wreaths of flowers and waving Palestinian flags massed outside the municipal library as Shaka was driven into the West Bank town. They chanted the traditional slogan, “In spirit and blood we shall save you Abu-Nidal” (Father of Combat). Shaka, surrounded by local dignitaries and foreign newsmen, vowed that he would continue to strive for a Palestinian state headed by the Palestine Liberation Organization.
He said that he would renew his efforts to revive the National Guidance Committee the central nationalist body of West Bank Arabs which has been moribund since the attacks on Shaka and other Arab mayors last June 2 and the deportations of the mayors of Hebron and Halhoul. One of Shaka’s colleagues, Mayor Karim Khalaf of Ramallah, who was also crippled in a car bomb attack that day, returned to a hero’s welcome in his home town a week ago.