Israeli Prime Minister Menachen Begin on Monday (1 December) banned an Israeli Arab congress scheduled for Saturday (6 December) in Nazareth.
GV AND SV Demonstrators with placards outside building in Haifa where Israeli Arabs are meeting (3 shots)
SCU INTERIOR Secretary of Preparatory Committee of Nazareth Congress of Israeli Arabs, Doctor Emil Touma speaking in Arabic
CU Wall posters, including one of Lenin
SV Speaker reading government order banning Congress, in Arabic, and audience listening (8 shots)
CU Doctor Touma speaking in English
TRANSCRIPT (SEQ 5): TOUMA: "We have met here as representatives of the Arab national minority. We have received the order of the Minister of War which forbids the Congress of the Arab National Minority. We shall not breach the order, but we shall continue our struggle against the order, in order to cancel the order. And we continue our struggle to defend the right for the Arab National Minority to practice its rights and (indistinct) action and (indistinct)."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Israeli Prime Minister Menachen Begin on Monday (1 December) banned an Israeli Arab congress scheduled for Saturday (6 December) in Nazareth. He said it would contravene an emergency defence regulation. Mr. Begin said the arrangements for the congress were subversive, because its organisers identified with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). The israeli Defence Ministry said the PLO is a "murderous organisation whose clear goal is the liquidation of the State of Israel". Congress organisers have said that the government has misrepresent the meeting's intentions.
SYNOPSIS: The ban has provoked strong protests from Israeli Arabs. They met in Haifa on Tuesday (2 December) to voice their opposition to what they call a clear violation of democracy and an attempt to restrict the political freedom of Israeli Arabs.
Secretary of the Preparatory Committee of the Nazareth Congress, Doctor Emil Touma, a prominent Israeli Communist, addressed them. He has blamed the government's policy towards the Arabs, who represent 16 percent of the Israeli population, for their increasing resentment.
Doctor Touma has explained although Israeli Arabs consider themselves historically part of the Palestinian people, the are citizens of Israeli. He says they are not calling for self-determination for the Arabs of Israel--but for greater equality and the settlement of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. The official announcement of the ban was read to the demonstrators, and Dr. Touma explained their reaction.