Work began on the site of a new Jewish village near Jericho in the Jordan River valley today, and in Jerusalem about 500 right-wing demonstrators called on Prime Minister Menachem Begin to cancel his upcoming meeting with President carter and annex the Israel-occupied West Bank.
After a day of West Bank unrest meanwhile, Israeli authorities began investigating allegation that a prominent Palestinian nationalist incited anti-Israel actions, a military spokesman said.
Military sources said the new settlement that began construction today was to be called Mitzpe Jericho "B" and that the government had authorized a settlement at the site in Israel-occupied territory more than a year ago. Jewish settlement in Arab territories is a controversial issue in the Palestinian autonomy talks and the United States has called them an obstacle to peace.
Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat are to go to the United States this month in an attempt to inject new life into the stalled autonomy talks. Israeli analysts predict that Carter will apply heavy pressure on Begin too make concession that might revive the negotiations.
The Jerusalem demonstrators, from the ultranationalist Gush Emunim movement, gathered outside the government press headquarters carrying signs saying, "Begin, don't go to Washington," and "American Jews don't trust Carter, why should you?"
Meanwhile, Israeli authorities called Dr. Ahmed Hamzi Natshe to the military police headquarters in Bethlehem after he allegedly made an anti-Israeli speech at a Palestinian rally in the West Bank town of Hebron yesterday.
A spokesman for Israel's military government in the West Bank said troops fired several shots into the air to disperse the crowd at the Hebron rally. The spokesman said police were investigating the allegation that Natshe has incited the crowd, but that he was allowed to remain free.
Natshe, 54, a physician and leading West Bank Communist, was exiled in 1976 for anti-Israeli activities, and readmitted in 1978 on the condition that he stay out of politics.
Despite the expected pressure to make concessions on Palestinian autonomy -- which has been intensified by the latest West Bank unrest in reaction to an Israeli decision to establish a religious school in Hebron -- Israeli officials said Prime Minister Begin will not alter Israel's basic position in his upcoming talks with President Carter.
The officials were reacting to published remarks by U.S. special envoy Sol Linowitz, who was quoted as saying that unless significant progress were made in the Palestinian autonomy negotiations by the May 26 target date, Israel would come under heavy international political pressure.
Meanwhile, in neighboring Lebanon, U.S. Ambassador John Gunther Dean today formally handed over eight 155 artillery guns to the Lebanese Army as part of a $100 million military aid agreement.