Israel Defense Ministry Cancels Ban on Communist Paper in Territories

The Defense Ministry has canceled the ban on selling and distributing the Israeli Communist Arabic daily Al-Ittihad in the administered territories.

The ministry explained that the decision to permit the sale is part of its policy of “improving the lives of Arab residents in the territories.”

The governing coalition of Yitzhak Rabin was formed partly thanks to the support of the Hadash Communist front — a largely Arab party — and the Arab Democratic Party. In return, the Labor Party promised the Communists and the Arab parties a series of measures designed to liberalize life in the territories and among the Arab population in Israel.

In another event, Palestinian prison inmates in the territories launched a hunger strike protesting prison conditions. But Israeli sources in the security and prison establishments claimed that the strike had nothing to do with conditions in the prisons but rather had other purposes.

They said it was part of efforts by the Palestine Liberation Organization to bring the Palestinian issue to the fore of the international agenda, after several weeks in which Israeli-Syrian negotiations and the future of the Golan Heights have occupied front stage.

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