30 Friday, March 7, 1986
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
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Maple At Lahse
Moderate Arab Mayor
Killed In West Bank
Jerusalem (JTA) — Zafer Al- along with Jordan in peace talks
Masri, the Israel appointed with Israel.
He accepted the appointment
Mayor of Nablus, was assas-
sinated there last Sunday two as Mayor of Nablus, the largest
months after he took office. The Arab town in the West Bank,
Palestinian moderate, who had • after it was governed for four
close ties with Jordan, was shot years by an Israeli army officer.
to death by an unidentified The latter had been, installed to
assailant as he stepped from his replace Bassam Al-Shaka whom
car outside the Nablus city hall. the Israelis removed from office
Two extremist terrorist groups because of his pro-PLO views.
have claimed responsibility for Nablus, a city of 100,000 has
his "execution" as a "traitor" to long been a hotbed of Pales-
the Palestinian cause. tinian nationalist sentiment.
Israeli forces clamped a Al-Masri was the first Pales-
curfew on the area of Nablus tinian to be appointed mayor of
where the killing occurred as a major West Bank town since
troops searched for clues to the the Israeli government dismis-
killer. Col. Ephraim Sneh, chief sed virtually all the elected
of the Israeli military admin- mayors in the territory in 1982.
istration in the West Bank said He was quoted as saying he saw
Al-Masri, 45, was targeted by his appointment as the first step
an extremist group but declined to restore Arab municipalities to
to identify it. Arab hands. He rejected crit-
An anonymous telephone icism that by accepting the ap-
caller to the French news agen- pointment he was collaborating
cy, Agence France Presse in with the enemy. He said he saw
Paris said Al-Masri had been it as serving the people.
The Israeli authorities con-
"condemned to death" by the
Fatah Revolutionary Council, a sidered Nablus as a successful
terrorist splinter group led by test and were said to be plan-
Abu Nidal, and that the execu- ning to install Arab mayors in
tion was carried out by "The Ramallah, El Bireh and Hebron.
Nasser Abdel Azzis Martyr Prime Minister Shimon Peres
has said on many occasions that
The caller, who spoke Arabic it would be advantageous to
with a Palestinian accent and Israel and the Arab populace in
said he was telephoning from the administered territories to
Beirut, warned the Masri family have Palestinians administer
to "cease at once all activities in their municipal affairs.
political affairs." A similar call The murder was discussed at
was made to a foreign news the weekly Cabinet session.
agency in Beirut. But credit for Peres sent condolences to the
the murder of Al-Masri was also Al-Masri family. He said the
claimed by the Damascus-based killing was a blow to the resi-
Popular Front.for the Liberation dents of • the administered ter-
ritories but would not deter
Both terrorist groups have them from leading their normal
broken with the Palestine lives. He pledged that the
Liberation Organization wing government would take every
headed by Yasir Arafat and possible step to track down the
fiercely opposed efforts by King killers and bring them to justice.
Hussein of Jordan and Arafat to Peres added that the murder
work out a formula to bring the "proved that Arab terror harms
PLO into the peace process with Arabs first."
Al-Masri was the third Pal-
Israel. Hussein announced re-
cently that he has abandoned estinian -mayor or ex-mayor to
the. effort. fall victim to an assassin in little
Al-Masri comes from a promi- more than two years. Fahed
nent Palestinian family which Kawasme, the former mayor of
has been active in Jordanian Hebron, was gunned down in
political life and in the Arab Amman on December 30, 1984.
Gulf states. His brother, Hi- He had lived there since being
kmat Al-Masri, is Deputy deported by Israel in 1980 for
Speaker of the Jordanian Parlia- pro-PLO activities. On Septem-
ment and a cousin, Taher Al- ber 4, 1984, Mayor' Abdul
Masri, is Jordan's Foreign Mahmoud Kishta of Rafa, in the
Minister. Recently, Hikmat, Gaza Strip, was fatally wound-
who lives in Nablus, joined with ed by bullets from a passing car
another West Bank Palestinian on a street in Rafa.
leader, Anwar AiHatib, to urge
Hussein and Arafat to resume '
their talks to find a formula for Film' Tribute
joint participation in peace To Astronauts
negotiations with Israel.
In tribute, to the astronauts of
Until last December, Al-Masri
headed the Nablus Chamber of the space shuttle Challenger,
Commerce. His appointment as the Detroit Science Center's
Mayor was approved by Joidan chief projectionist, Peter Herb,
and by relatively moderate has produced a five-minute
which traces the his-
elements of the PLO after some memorial
tory of America's manned space
18 months of indirect contacts program. The presentation pre-
between Israel and Jordan. His cedes each showing of the film
murder was viewed as a serious 'The Driam Is Alive, which de-
setback for moderate elements sCribes the space • shuttle mis-
seeking to involve Palestinians sions.