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Arab Villages in Israel Return to Normal After Three Days of Mass Demonstrations and Riots

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Arab villages throughout Israel returned to normal today after three days of mass demonstrations and riots. Municipal and village employes were clearing up and repairing roads, and removing roadblocks and burned tires. Shops and schools reopened today, and cafes were filled with Arab men playing their traditional and seemingly endless backgammon games.

According to senior police sources, 146 instances of breaking the peace were registered in the three days of demonstrations and riots which reached a peak yesterday. Most of Israel’s 680,000 Arabs staged a general strike to protest the massacre in Beirut. The strike, called by Arab mayors, was one of the worst the country has known since its establishment.

Unlike previous eruptions of political violence, this time the demonstrations spread like wild-fire from northern villages all the way down to the politically low key Bedouin areas in the Negev. The worst demonstrations were in Nazareth. At least 130 persons were wounded, some of them by police fire, in the various demonstrations. A total of 46 policemen were wounded by rocks thrown at them by youths, and nine police vehicles and 27 civilian vehicles were wrecked by rioters, and 91 rioters were arrested.

Many Jewish settlements which depend on Arab labor were affected by the general strike. Plants and businesses were forced to slow down their operations or halt them altogether because workers failed to show up.

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