Arab Communists in Israel Issue Call for Anti-government Rebellion
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Arab Communists in Israel Issue Call for Anti-government Rebellion

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Arab nationalistic aspirations promoted by the Israel Communist Party seem to have gotten out of hand and backfired on the party leadership, it was indicated here today after the publication in the Communist newspaper Kol Haam of a statement by an Arab leader which amounted to an open call on the Israeli Arabs to resist the government in the manner of the Algerian rebels.

Authoritative sources foresee an open split among the Jewish and Arab leadership. In recent weeks the Arab leadership of the party, concentrated chiefly among the educated Arabs of Nazareth, has grown in strength. Today’s statement in Kol Haam was signed by Emile Habbibi, Communist deputy in Parliament and secretary of the Nazareth section of the movement.

The group headed by Mr. Habbibi has distributed pamphlets in Arab villages calling for "Algerian-like rebellion" to be initiated by a campaign of passive resistance to the Israeli authorities chiefly through the discontinuance of tax payments. The group has also called for Arab boycott of Knesset elections.

This new line developed after a visit by Communist Party leaders Shmuel Mikunis and Tewfik Toubi to Moscow where they were apparently told to increase Communist Party activity in Israel and include in their demands the return of Palestine to the Arabs. These instructions have caused friction within the party with Dr. Moshe Sneh, Meir Wilner, Mr. Mikunis and the moderate Mr. Toubi being opposed by activist Habbibi.

Reportedly the Jewish leaders have agreed to demands for shrinking Israel’s borders but not its elimination while Mr. Habbibi has called on them to adhere to Moscow’s plans for an Arab state in Palestine. If the majority of the Communist Party opposes Mr. Habbibi, he is still in a position to form a dissident group ultra-nationalistic in character.

In a recent speech in the Arab village of Araaba, Mr. Habbibi told the villagers that "no force will prevent (the realization of) Palestine Arab rights of self-determination." He also asserted that "in view of the union reached between Egypt and Syria it is very natural that the Arab masses should increase their struggle for national and civil rights against the oppressors of the Arab populations, the looters of their lands and those who oppose their rights of self-determination."

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