Three expelled Palestinian leaders today attempted to cross the Jordanian border in the occupied West Bank but were turned away in a peaceful confrontation with Israeli security forces.
At the same time, a group of Israeli peace activists who attempted to greet the exiled Palestinians at the Allenby Bridge across the Jordan River were prevented from getting close to the frontier and had to settle for a symbolic demonstration at an Army checkpoint more than a mile from the border.
Despite the frustrated efforts on both sides of the Jordan River, the Israeli demonstrators said the proteset represented the first time that opponents of Israel's occupation of the West Bank had successfully coordinated a peace march in Israel and Jordan, which technically are still at war.
The three exiles -- Hebron Mayor Fahd Kawasme, Halhoul Mayor Mohammed Milhem and Hebron religious leader Sheik Rajab Tamini -- were expelled to Lebanon on May 3 following a Palestinian guerrilla attack in Hebron. Six Jewish settlers were kill and 16 others were wounded. The three were accused of making inflammatory statements allegedly precipitating the attack.
Trailed by Amman-based journalists, the West Bank Arabs approached the Allenby Bridge and said they intended to implement last week's U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the expulsions.
Arajab Tamini, the Moslem leader, told an Israeli colonel they had been deported without trial and asked to be allowed to return, to face charges if necessary.
With some 500 supporters from Amman chanting slogans of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Arabs pointed out that they were unarmed. "Our weapons are the Security Coucil resolution and our rights," one said.
The Israelis on the bridge also were unarmed. Mayor Milhem said he warned them, "If you insist on your policies we will burn the ground under your feet. We have spoken reason but you did not listen." On return to Amman, they said they planned a speaking tour of Europe and the United States on behalf of Palestinian independence.