Rioting Breaks out in Dehaishe; Drive Mounts to Reopen Schools

Rioting broke out Tuesday in the Dehaishe refugee camp south of Bethlehem. At least one person was wounded and the army clamped a curfew on the camp.

The incident ended a period of relative quiet around the camp and stirred passions in the Bethlehem area. The disturbances were attributed to news that a camp resident died of wounds suffered two weeks ago in a clash with Israeli troops.

Dehaishe has been one of the worst trouble spots in the West Bank. Located on the Jerusalam-Hebron highway, it is where local youths hurl stones at passing vehicles, most of them owned by Jewish settlers.

The Israel Defense Force has blocked the camp entrance and erected a huge fence around its perimeter to prevent rock-throwing. The camp is under constant surveillance. Heavily armed troops patrol its streets and the surrounding area.

Palestinian nationalist circles, meanwhile, have stepped up a campaign to force the Israeli authorities to reopen schools they recently shut down in the territory. They have the support of the teachers union of the Histadrut labor federation.

Union representatives met with Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin on Monday to try to persuade him to reopen the Arab schools.

Most grade schools and high schools in the West Bank were ordered closed indefinitely because they were allegedly used as bases for organized disturbances.

The nationalists accused the Israelis of keeping the schools closed in order “to raise a generation of young ignorant Palestinians.”

Leaflet No. 27 of the Palestinian underground command, which was distributed over the weekend, urged international intervention to end the school closures and called for sit-down strikes to protest Israel’s “policy of ignorance.”

Leaflet No. 27 is the same one that urged the Palestine National Council to declare an independent state in the administered territories.

It called on Palestinian educators to draft a program for alternative “popular education” in towns, villages and refugee camps. That had been the function of the local popular committees recently outlawed by Israel on grounds that they were extensions of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

The Israeli civil administration in the territories announced, meanwhile, it would pay Palestinian teachers a half month’s salary even though it considers them to be on leave without pay.

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