JERUSALEM, DEC. 9 -- Israeli internal security agents have arrested one of the occupied West Bank's most prominent Palestinian journalists, using an administrative detention order under which he can be held for six months without charge or trial.
Radwan Abu Ayyash, 37, a senior editor at the Palestine Press Service, was arrested late last night at his home in Ramallah under an order signed by Gen. Amram Mitzna, commander of Israel's West Bank forces, military authorities said today. He is being held in a military prison in Nablus.
The press service is an East Jerusalem-based news agency sympathetic to the outlawed Palestine Liberation Organization. Abu Ayyash is a key Arab contact with many western diplomatic missions and foreign correspondents here and was reportedly instrumental in organizing the boycott by moderate Palestinian leaders of Secretary of State George P. Shultz during Shultz's September visit here.
In the occupied Gaza Strip, meanwhile, Israeli soldiers shot dead a 17-year-old Palestinian high school student and wounded 10 others after a crowd of students allegedly threw rocks and a gasoline bomb at an Army patrol.
Israeli security authorities have long alleged that Abu Ayyash and the Palestine Press Service get funding and guidance from Fatah, the main wing of the PLO. But a security official contended that the detention of Abu Ayyash had nothing to do with his activities as a journalist.
"He is one of the senior Fatah activists in the area, and he maintains connections with other Fatah activists both in the area as well as abroad," said the official, who declined to be identified. "He gets directives from Fatah, reports to it and gets money from it."
The official said Abu Ayyash had not been directly involved in violent activities and would not specify what other illegal acts he is alleged to have undertaken.
Abu Ayyash has always denied working for the PLO, although he has expressed solidarity with it. His press service has been a major source of information on events in the occupied territories, and its accounts usually vary widely from official Israeli military reports.
About 55 people from the West Bank and Gaza Strip are under administrative detention, and another 18 have been deported from the territories since August 1985, when Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin initiated a security crackdown, according to Israeli statistics.
Law in the Service of Man, a Ramallah-based Palestinian rights organization, contends that since then, 292 detention orders have been issued by Rabin, a leader of the left-leaning Labor Alignment. It puts deportations at 44 because it includes a number of released prisoners who Israel claims were not legal residents of the area. These numbers are at least double those of Rabin's predecessors, who were leaders of the supposedly more hard-line Likud bloc.
Rabin told the parliament yesterday that there was "no limit" to the number of detentions and deportations he was prepared to order in Israel's fight against "terrorism."