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Palestinians and Israelis Clash on the Issue of Time

The Interior Ministry has decided to advance the scheduled date for the introduction of summer daylight-saving time to this weekend. The ministry announced Tuesday that the clocks will be put forward one hour at midnight Saturday.

But Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have already adjusted their clocks and watches, creating a new source of friction with Israeli authorities.

The latest leaflet issued by the underground command of the uprising called on Palestinians to move their watches forward one hour on April 15 to mark “Summer Time in the State of Palestine.”

Palestinians in various parts of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip are said to be following “Palestine Summer Time.” Arab municipalities, East Jerusalem schools, shops, mosques and churches are reported to have adopted the new time schedule.

According to Palestinian reports, there have been more than a dozen incidents during the past 10 days in which troops used clubs to break the watches of Palestinians found to be observing “Palestine Summer Time.”

West Bank residents have complained that troops and border police have stopped them and asked for the time. When their watches showed the new time, the owners were allegedly beaten and their watches destroyed.

NO POLICY OF SMASHING WATCHES

A resident of the East Jerusalem suburb of Silwan reported that when he told a policeman the time was 4:00 by his watch, he was ordered to stand at attention for an hour until he caught up with Israel Time.

Military officials said that the Israel Defense Force would investigate any specific complaints filed by Palestinians who had their watches broken. The officials asserted that there is no military policy of smashing watches as punishment for following “Palestine Summer Time.”

The issue will, in any case, become moot as of Sunday, when Israel Time and “Palestine Summer Time” will again coincide. Summer Time will be in force for 122 days, ending on Sept. 2, when the clocks will be put back one hour.

Orthodox elements have for years been fighting a losing battle against Summer Time, claiming that altering the clocks puts an unnecessary burden on religious Jews, who rise early to recite their daily morning prayers.

But the electric company says the 122 days of longer evening light will save the country some $8 million.

Starting Sunday, Israel Time will be three hours in advance of Greenwich Mean Time and seven hours in advance of Eastern Daylight Time in the United States.

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