Israeli troops surrounded the municipal building here in the occupied West Bank yesterday and prevented a vanload of ultranationalist Jewish protesters from bursting in on the town Arab mayor to serve him with "deportation" orders, Washington Post correspondent William Claiborne reported.
Rabbi Meir Kahnae, head of the Jewish Defense League, and five of his followers, showed up in a van at the Ramallah municipal building to demand that Mayor Karim Khalif be arrested and deported to Jordan. Khalif is one of the West Bank's most nationalistic mayors and supports the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The Army already had positioned troops around the building before the van arrived. As the Jewish protesters and Arab municipal employes shouted slogans at each other, a group of Arab students carrying sticks arrived. The soldiers separated the two groups and pushed the Defense League protesters away.
Referring to four Jewish settlers arrested in connection with a vandalism spree last Wednesday in which dozens of windows were smashed in Arab homes on the West Bank, Kahane said: "We came to let them know we support fully the four Jews who are incarcerated. What happened in Ramallah will happen again."
In many West Bank towns yesterday, residents conducted commercial strikes to protest the Ramallah incident. Authorities arrested several Arab youths for throwing stones at Israeli vehicles and for erecting road barriers.