PLO Anniversary Surprisingly Quiet As IDF Exhibits Massive Presence

Only scattered incidents Wednesday marked the first anniversary of the proclamation of an “independent Palestine” in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The massive presence of the Israel Defense Force in the territories, and various protective measures, were credited for the relative quiet.

The IDF placed more than 20 cities and towns under what it called preventive curfew, affecting more than 350,000 residents. Troops erected roadblocks to keep the news media out.

But casualties were reported.

An 18-year-old Arab youth, identified as Odah Hussein Ziyad, was shot to death Tuesday night when, according to the IDF, a group of youngsters attacked a military patrol in the Kalandiya refugee camp near Ramallah.

At least 13 Arabs were reported wounded by army gunfire in the Gaza Strip, which has been a closed military zone since the ambush killing of an Israeli soldier Monday night.

There were a few stone-throwing incidents and demonstrations by Palestinians. An Israeli was slightly injured when his car was stoned at Halhoul, near Hebron in the West Bank.

The authorities arrested seven young Palestinians — five boys and two seven young Palestinians — five boys and two girls — for stoning troops in Shuafat north of Jerusalem.

20 ARABS ARRESTED

Border police used tear gas to disperse Arab doctors and nurses from the Augusta Victoria and Mokassed hospitals in East Jerusalem, who demonstrated with Palestinian flags.

Twenty Arabs were arrested in East Jerusalem on suspicion of stone-throwing, illegal marching and painting proscribed slogans on walls.

But the police expressed satisfaction that there were relatively few incidents in the eastern part of the city.

“Independent Palestine” was declared by the Palestine National Council at its meeting in Algiers on Nov. 15, 1988.

The PNC is a forum of the Palestine Liberation Organization, sometimes referred to as the Palestinian “parliament in exile.” It is dominated by the PLO mainstream, headed by Yasir Arafat.

Arafat marked the anniversary at his headquarters in Tunis Wednesday by issuing a statement that the PLO has “an appointment with victory.

“The dawn is breaking and the (Palestinian) state is a stone’s throw away,” the statement declared.

He criticized the United States for continuing to support Israel. “It is the still unlimited U.S. assistance which adds to Israel’s arrogance,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, a Labor member of the Knesset, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, maintained in a radio interview Wednesday that it was up to Israel to initiate a peace process with the Palestinians.

Ben-Eliezer, a former commanding general in the West Bank, warned that any delay in proposed Palestinian elections in the administered territories would result in an outcome similar to the recent elections in Jordan, where 34 “fanatic Moslems” were elected to parliament.

He was referring to the success of Moslem fundamentalists in Jordan’s elections Nov. 9, the first held in 22 years.

Ben-Eliezer warned that the intifada was gaining strength, which advanced fundamentalist tendencies among the Palestinians in the territories.

If elections are held soon, there is still a chance to block that trend, he said.

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