West Bank Underground Seen Growing Desperate
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West Bank Underground Seen Growing Desperate

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A new series of instruction leaflets circulated in the West Bank and Gaza Strip Friday by the clandestine Palestinian underground were seen by Israeli observers as a desperate effort to retain the momentum of the uprising.

According to the Israelis, the Arab population in the territories is weary and in financial distress. Increasing numbers of Arab day laborers are reporting for work in Israel proper each day despite threats and exhortations by the underground leadership.

Meanwhile, a tense quiet prevailed in the territories Monday after a weekend of violent disturbances in several areas. East Jerusalem merchants continued to circumvent police orders to maintain regular business hours or shut down altogether.

Six Palestinians have been placed under administrative detention. One of them is Dr. Zakaria al-Agha, 45, president of the Gaza Medical Association, who was arrested over the weekend. The other five are residents of the Nuseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. All may be held in custody for six months without trial or formal charges.

The latest instructions to the West Bank and Gaza Strip Arabs contained in Leaflet No. 15 issued Friday demands the immediate resignations of the mayors of Hebron, Ramallah, El-Bireh and Jericho, all of them appointed by the Israeli authorities.

It also repeats calls for Arab policemen to leave their jobs and warns those who have done so, not to return.

The leaflet ordered students at the Arab colleges and schools to return to classes on May 5 in defiance of military closure orders. It also called for a general strike on May 9 and 10, to mark the start of the sixth month of the uprising and to commemorate Palestinians killed in the unrest.

The East Jerusalem merchants, whose strike has become a test of wills between the Israeli authorities and the Palestinian underground, opened their shops in the morning hours Monday as ordered by police. But they shut down two hours before the official closure time.

They were thus obeying both the police and the underground. They explained the morning hours as an accommodation for the month-long observance of Ramadan, the Islamic holiday.

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