Arab Town in Israel to Refuse to Let President Visit
The Arab municipality of Taibeh in Israel will refuse to receive Israeli President Moshe Katsav on his planned visit Sunday, Mayor Isam Masarwe told AFP.
Katsav is due to visit several Arab towns, but Masarwe said Saturday that his town will not welcome any Israeli official during the Eid el-Fitr celebration which marks the end of the Muslim fast month of Ramadan.
"The celebrations are officially over, but the rule still applies to Moshe Katsav since his visit's purpose is to present his wishes for Eid el-Fitr," Masarwe said.
He added that this decision was in light of the deaths of 13 Israeli Arabs, killed by the Israeli police during pro-Palestinian demonstrations in the first few weeks of the Intifada, or Palestinian uprising, which erupted on September 28.
"It is also a way of protesting against the government's policy on Israeli Arabs," Masarwe said.
However, the Israeli Arab municipalities of Tira and Qalensuwa announced they were willing to welcome Katsav, Israeli public radio said.
Israeli Arabs are the descendants of Palestinians who stayed on their land when the Jewish state was created in 1948.
The one million-strong Israeli Arab community's standard of living is far superior to that of Palestinians in the territories, but they are the victims of various forms of discrimination, as recognised in July by the Israeli Supreme Court.
Although they make up 18 percent of Israel's population, they are represented in parliament by only 10 MPs out of the Knesset's 120 -- JERUSALEM (AFP)
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