Tel Aviv (Apr. 16)
– The Arab National Coordinating Committee, an umbrella organization of a number of nationalist groups among Israeli Arabs, was today declared illegal by Premier Menachem Begin in his capacity as Minister of Defense.
The Committee was established at a meeting of Israeli Arabs in December 1980 and its charter was ratified last February. That charter declares that the Israeli Arabs are part of the Palestinian people, whose sole representative is the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Begin’s Arab affairs adviser, Binyamin Gur-Arye, said that although the committee called itself a political group it used terrorist methods to help the PLO aim of destroying Israel and replacing it with a Palestinian state. Gur-Arye noted that one of the groups within the committee had sent its members to Spain to make contact with extremist PLO groups, from where they had gone to Iraq to train. After their return to Israel they had carried out two terrorist acts and were now serving prison sentences.
Another committee member, Salah Baransi, had been a member of the extremist El-Ard movement declared illegal by Israel’s Supreme Court in 1964. He had carried out terrorist activities in 1969 and had been sent to prison for 10 years but since his release in 1979 had continued terrorist activities.