Israeli forces fired tear gas and warning shots to quell violent demonstrations in the West Bank against the expulsion of two prominent West Bank mayors, military sources said.
The area around Bethlehem College was put under curfew after about 200 students clashed with Israeli soldiers when a youth hoisted the illegal Palestinian flag in the compound and the students began pelting Israeli Army patrols with stones.
Incidents also were reported in several other West Bank towns as protests against the banishing of Mayors Fahd Kawasme of Hebron and Mohammed Milhem of Halhoul continued for the third day. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin defended his government's decision to expel the mayors, meanwhile, telling a European Parliament delegation that to allow them to return to their towns would have put Israeli Jews and Arabs in danger.
The U.S. Senate Department, however, expressed regret at the expulsions.
Spokesman John Trattner said the department also is "disturbed by reports . . . that legitimate activities of the press are being interfered with" by the Israeli military government. This was a reference to restrictions on television camera crews and reporters covering West Bank disturbances. Several crews have had their film confiscated and one journalist was detained after interviewing Palestinians at a protest.