JERUSALEM (Aug. 16)
While demonstrations of support for Iraq continued in the administered territories Thursday, Israeli Arabs were reported to be stocking up with food, in preparation for a possible war with Iraq.
They are also demanding to be issued gas masks in light of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s threats to attack Israel with chemical weapons.
The authorities have responded by assuring the public that there are sufficient gas masks and anti-chemical-warfare kits in stock for the entire population, including the Arab community.
Arab citizens will get them when the rest of the population does, civil defense authorities said.
The official timetable calls for distribution to start near the end of the year, first in the Tel Aviv area and in the Galilee town of Safed, and then in the rest of the country.
Police Minister Ronni Milo assured the public Thursday that there was no cause for alarm over events in the Persian Gulf, because Israel is prepared for any eventuality.
The police are ready for the possibility that “hostile elements” may attempt to exploit the situation, Milo said.
Soldiers meanwhile fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a pro-Iraqi rally by hundreds of Palestinians in the Nablus casbah Thursday.
The Nablus residents, some armed with knives, burned Israeli flags and waved Palestinian and Iraqi flags in a rally of support for Saddam Hussein of Iraq.