ploMayor Rash-ad Shawa of Gaza called on the Palestine Liberation Organization yesterday to recognize Israel. He was the second prominent mayor in the occupied territories to do so over the weekend. Earlier, Mayor Elias Freij of Bethlehem urged the PLO to extend recognition to Israel and thereby “challenge it and the United States to peace.”

Shawa, interviewed by Israel Radio, said that “the PLO are not all Palestinians” but the people of Israel must recognize the Palestinian people, which includes the PLO and the PLO must also recognize Israel. Shawa has been under limited arrest by the Israeli authorities for the past several weeks and is prohibited from leaving the town of Gaza.

Other Arab Mayors Reject Freij’s Call

Meanwhile, however, other West Bank mayors rejected Freij’s urging. Mayor Bassam Shaka of Nablus, considered the leader of PLO supporters on the West Bank, said Freij was “surrendering to the pressures of Israel and the United States.” He said Israel and the U.S. should recognize the PLO first. A similar view was expressed by the mayors of Kalkiliya, Tulkarm and Ramallah.