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Israel Lifts Restrictions on Three Prominent West Bank Palestinian Nationalists

Israeli military authorities on the West Bank have lifted restrictions imposed more than two years ago on three prominent Palestinian nationalists alleged to have been members of the National Guidance Committee which Israel outlawed as a front for the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The three men who had been confined to their home towns and denied the right to travel elsewhere on the West Bank or abroad are Bashir Bargouti, editor of the Communist periodical Ataliya; Samikha Khalil, chairman of a welfare organization in El Bireh; and Ibrahim A-Tawil, the former Mayor of El Bireh deposed by the Israeli authorities. Bargouti has been living in Ramallah.

The Israeli authorities said the men were originally put under town arrest for “security reasons” and cited “security reasons” in their decision to lift the restrictions. The three were warned by the military that if they reverted to “their old ways” they would be subjected to new restrictions.

Tawil told reporters today that the restrictions were lifted because of pressure on Israel by the United States. Seventeen other reputed members of the National Guidance Committee along with several journalists and other Palestinian activists remain under town arrest in various parts of the West Bank.