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Arab Nations Criticized on Support for Palestinians

February 02, 1988|CHARLES P. WALLACE | Times Staff Writer

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Last week, an Arab nationalist journal observed caustically that some Arab governments were trying almost as hard as Israel to quell the unrest among Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

"This uprising has become a terrible danger not only to the Zionist entity (Israel), but to more than one Arab regime," said Al Talia, a Kuwaiti weekly.

The criticism was aimed mostly at Egypt, which has proposed a halt in the violence in the occupied territories. But it also touched a nerve in a number of other Arab states, which have supported the Palestinians but are keen to prevent the uprising from spilling over into their countries.

Resolution of Support

Arab support for the Palestinians in the occupied territories was expressed in a resolution approved by Arab foreign ministers who met recently in the capital of Tunisia. They pledged to support the Palestinian people materially and politically.

The foreign ministers appointed a special committee, composed of the foreign ministers of Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Algeria and Tunisia, to coordinate with the Palestine Liberation Organization on events in the occupied territories.

At the same time, the Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine issued a statement accusing Jordan of arresting 33 members of the group for supporting the Palestinians on the West Bank.

Shows 'Regime's Discomfort'

"This campaign reflects the regime's discomfort with movement by the masses in some campuses and universities in Jordan to support the uprising in the occupied territories," the Palestinian group said in a statement.

The Palestinian front's criticism followed a statement to a closed session of Parliament by Jordanian Prime Minister Zaid Rifai disclosing that 23 members of the front have been detained for trying to incite violence.

He read from a document addressed to local groups from the organization's base in Damascus urging them to organize demonstrations, to upset what it called the "Jordanian agent regime" and to create a "revolutionary atmosphere."

In Egypt, Interior Minister Zaki Badr disclosed that a number of people were arrested in Cairo after demonstrations at Ein Shams University.

'Few Extremists' Involved

Badr said that "a few extremist Communists and religious groups" were involved. He said the police used tear gas to break up the demonstrations, which were called in an effort to free 20 students arrested the previous week.

In Morocco, one person was said to have been killed when the police broke up a student demonstration in support of Palestinians in the occupied territories.

In Jordan, Egypt and Morocco, as well as in most other Arab states, public gatherings and demonstrations are forbidden without the approval of the authorities.

In Syria a week ago, an estimated 3,000 people gathered under the auspices of the ruling Arab Baath Socialist party to demonstrate support for the Palestinians in the occupied territories.

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