Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank town of Nablus were stoned by Palestinian students on Wednesday (20 September) in a wave of protest against an illegal Jewish settlement nearby.
Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank town of Nablus were stoned by Palestinian students on Wednesday (20 September) in a wave of protest against an illegal Jewish settlement nearby. The Arab demonstration coincided with the opening of a summit meeting in Damascus by the anti-Egyptian bloc of Arab nations. They are trying to counteract the Egyptian-Israeli agreements arising from the Camp David talks in the United States. On Monday (18 September), ultra-nationalist Israelis had also denounced the Camp David accords, and had set out in darkness to create a new settlement in captured Arab territory on the West Bank. About two hundred members of the Gush Emunim, or Faith Movement, established a camp near the Arab town of Nablus, and announced they planned a make homes there in defiance of Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin's commitment not to establish any new settlements in occupied areas while peace negotiations are in progress.
SYNOPSIS: The group's action angered Israeli leaders, and Mr. Begin was reported to have telephoned Jerusalem from the United States to order his Government to chase the settlers away. A special Cabinet meeting decided to send troops to force the settlers out. But supporters managed to break through the cordon, carrying food, water and equipment. Scuffles broke out, and a Gush Emunim spokesman said one member was wounded. Israeli Radio reported some arrests.
The movement's members are mostly religious young people who believe in the inalienable Jewish right to settle all of the Biblical land of Israel. They have announced they will oppose any attempts to remove them by force. At one point, the settlers were reported to be short of essential supplies, and some women and children were said to have evacuated because of rough conditions. But the group's spokesman said they had gone down the mountainside for water.
Acting Prime Minister Yigal Yadin said on Tuesday (September 19) the army had drawn up a timetable for removing the settlers, but declined to elaborate. A Knesset (Parliament) debate will begin on Monday (September 25) on whether to evacuate official Jewish settlements in North Sinai under the peace treaty with Egypt.