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Hebron Area Village League Group Says Israel’s Civil Administration is Interfering in Its Affairs

March 3, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Village League Committee in the Hebron area has accused the Israeli civil administration on the West Bank of interfering in its internal affairs. Telegrams were sent yesterday to Premier Menachem Begin and Defense Minister Moshe Arens urging them “to put an end to the interference.”

The episode is the first in which differences have emerged between the Israeli administration and the Village Leagues which Israel arms and finances as a counter-force to Palestine Liberation Organization influence in the occupied territory. It coincided with a new dispute over land between Arab villagers and the government elsewhere on the West Bank and a serious deterioration of relations between Jews and Arabs in the Hebron area.

The complaint by the Hebron Village League is over a demand by the civil administration that League chairman Mohammed Nasser resign and be replaced by his deputy, Jamil Al-Amle. The Village League Committee, at a meeting yesterday rejected the demand and decided to appeal against it to Israel’s Supreme Court.

Nasser has been, in the past, one of the strongest advocates of a dialogue between the Israel government and local representatives of the Palestinians on the West Bank. As a result, he incurred the wrath of PLO supporters in the territory and his followers were branded “Quislings” for cooperating with the Israeli authorities.

Nasser apparently got along well with the former head of the Israeli civil administration, Menahem Milson, who resigned last September. But personal differences arose with Milson’s successor, Gen. Shlomo illia. These led to the demand that Nasser resign.


Observers say the personal differences were of little importance. What is significant is the fact that a Village League, for the first time, has clashed openly with Israel which is the sole source of its weapons, money and political support.

The demand for Nasser’s resignation by the civil administration also indirectly confirmed charges that the Village Leagues are, in effect, puppet organizations established by Israel, the observers noted. The Leagues were originally set up by former Defense Minister Ariel Sharon and were purported to be a spontaneous reaction by West Bank residents against the PLO.

The land dispute, which was also the subject of an appeal to the Supreme Court yesterday, involves the Arab villages of Rujeib and Azmout. The villagers are protesting against the civil administration’s acquisition of Arab-owned land to build a road to the Jewish settlement of Eilon Moreh, near Nablus. They argue that the road is a prelude to the settlement’s expansion by illegal means.


Meanwhile, police are continuing their investigation of recent attacks on Arab targets in the Hebron area, apparently by Jewish settlers. Three Jews have been detained as suspects, all reportedly residents of Kiryat Arba, the religious township adjacent to Hebron.

The recent spate of shootings and a bomb attack on a Hebron mosque last Friday were believed to be in retaliation for the stoning of Jewish vehicles by Arabs. The Council of Jewish Settlements on the West Bank threatened yesterday that if the rock attacks did not cease, they would take measures to stop them. The Council did not specify what those measures would be but their statement implied that Jewish settlers would take the law into their own hands.

A group of residents from the Jewish township of Beit El demonstrated outside of the Prime Minister’s Office last night after a vehicle belonging to one of them was attacked with rocks.

Arab students demonstrated in Ramallah and Nablus yesterday, burning tires on the roads and throwing stones at Israeli security forces. Those incidents are believed to be linked to the growing tension in the Hebron area.

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