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Palestinians in West Berlin Believed to Be Source of Potential Political Violence

About 500 Palestinians of the estimated 2,000 who live in West Berlin are believed to be a source of potential political violence. But officials of the Interior Ministry of the governing municipality admit they can do little to prevent them from crossing over from East Berlin, claiming the status of refugees.

According to the officials, the Palestinians who are considered security risks come from the eastern sector where they participated in military training programs run by the Communist regime under an agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organization. They belong to various organizations affilated with the PLO or which cooperate with it.

Two Palestinians whose flat was searched recently for explosives were suspected of making bombs to attack the local Jewish community which is labled by Palestinian publications as “an arm of the Zionist enemy.”

DIFFICULTY IN PREVENTING INFILTRATION

The difficulty in preventing Palestinians from infiltrating into West Berlin from the East stems from the reluctance of the Western Allies to check the personal papers of visitors from the eastern part of the city. They wish to avoid recognizing the division of Berlin but this allows the East German authorities to “plant” anyone they want in the Western sector, the officials said.

Palestinians in general come to West Berlin to qualify for State aid in the form of cheap housing and free food stamps. “Formerly, they used to go back to Lebanon after having taken military courses near Weimar,” one official said. “Now they refuse to go to Tunisia or to other PLO centers” because of the generous treatment given alleged political refugees from the East.

The Palestinian community in West Berlin is the target of political agitation by the PLO office in Bonn. The head of that office often visits West Berlin.

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