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Israel Keeps Gaza, West Bank Calm : Show of Force Coincides With PLO Wing's Anniversary

January 02, 1988|DAN FISHER | Times Staff Writer

JERUSALEM — A massive show of Israeli police and army force in mostly Arab East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip kept civil disturbances to a minimum on Friday's anniversary of the founding of the Palestine Liberation Organization's dominant Fatah wing.

However, the PLO apparently celebrated over the airwaves with lengthy broadcasts by what an Israeli expert termed "the most powerful (radio) station the Palestinians ever had."

"I presume it's a PLO station in Sidon" in Lebanon, said Mickey Gurdus, who monitors broadcasts throughout the region for Israel radio and other clients.

On Air for Two Weeks

Gurdus said the new station had been broadcasting Palestinian nationalist songs for about two weeks but had not identified itself until Friday's Fatah Day anniversary.

"This is Al Quds, the Palestinian Arab broadcasting station for the liberation of land and man," a female voice announced in English during one transmission heard clearly in Jerusalem on a standard, medium-wave radio. Al Quds, which means "The Holy," is the Arabic name for Jerusalem.

"For the liberation of land and man" is a common Palestinian slogan that has been used by a number of organizations, according to West Bank sources.

Gurdus said the station broadcast music for several hours Friday, pausing periodically to identify itself in a number of languages, including Arabic, Hebrew, French, English, Russian, Spanish and Italian. He said it was being received strongly throughout northern Israel and the occupied territories.

The Fatah anniversary had been seen as a major test of the army's success in maintaining the relative calm which returned to the West Bank and Gaza Strip several days ago. The calm followed more than two weeks of the most widespread violence since Israeli troops captured the territories in the 1967 Six-Day War.

The military said 22 Palestinians were killed by army gunfire during the unrest and more than 160 others wounded. About 1,100 Palestinians were arrested during the trouble, including about 300 in the last few days before Friday's anniversary.

Marks Guerrilla Raid

Fatah Day marks the first guerrilla raid by Yasser Arafat's dominant PLO wing on Israel, which was launched Jan. 1, 1965. (Arafat marked the day in Baghdad. See picture, Page 12.)

Israeli security sources said three times the normal number of troops were on guard in the Gaza Strip, where the latest wave of violence began Dec. 9, and double the normal forces were patrolling the West Bank.

In Jerusalem, a spokesman said 650 police officers were in the city, which is more than double the usual contingent. Also, four armored cars were stationed in East Jerusalem "to handle stone throwers and firebombers," according to Police Commissioner David Kraus. It was believed to be the first time in years that armored vehicles have been used here.

Security sources pronounced the preparations a tentative success Friday evening after only scattered disturbances in the occupied territories, which are home to about 1.5 million Palestinian Arabs. However, they cautioned that there could be trouble today.

In Friday's most violent clash, stone throwers were dispersed by tear gas and rubber bullets in the old section of Nablus, the West Bank's largest city. Security sources suggested that new, non-lethal riot control tactics may have averted bloodshed in the incident.

Tear gas was reportedly used at the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza City, as well. And curfews were slapped on three other camps: Nusseirat, south of Gaza City; Balata, on the outskirts of Nablus, and Al Amari, near Ramallah.

Journalists Barred

The army prevented journalists from entering Jabaliya and also stopped them from using the main road from Gaza City south to a series of refugee camps in the middle and the southern end of the 28-mile-long stretch of Mediterranean seacoast.

In an inducement to keep the residents quiet, Israel's army commander for the West Bank, Gen. Amnon Mitzna, in an interview broadcast by Israel radio's Arabic language service Friday morni1852255264releasing prisoners if Fatah Day passed without trouble.

"If the area continues to function as it has been, and events won't make us change our minds, we intend to begin releasing detainees," Mitzna said.

However, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir said Friday that Israel will deport an unspecified number of Palestinians despite strong and repeated protests by the United States, which said it would consider such an action a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention protecting civilians in occupied territory.

Informed Israeli sources said the military is expected to announce early next week the deportations of at least 10 Palestinians. The sources said files are being prepared to defend the action against anticipated appeals, which could take a month or more. At least three of the Palestinians said to be on the list for expulsion have been in jail since before the latest demonstrations began, the sources added.

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