Officials Indicate No Immediate Plans to Deport Activist
JERUSALEM (AP) _ Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian-American who has urged non-violent resistance to Israeli occupation, defied a government order to leave the country today.
The 44-year-old activist said he would seek temporary refuge alternately in a mosque, a synagogue and a church during sabbath services of the city’s three religious communities this weekend.
Awad is here on a tourist visa that expired today. The Ministry of Interior, which handles visas, had sent him a letter ordering him to leave before the visa expired.
A spokeswoman for the ministry indicated the government had no immediate plans to take action against Awad. But she said that despite U.S. pleas to allow Awad to stay, the order has not been rescinded.
″We just refused to extend his visa,″ Tova Elinson said in a telephone interview. ″For the moment, there is no decision to deport him.″
Ms. Elinson added that if Awad believed in obeying the law, as he said he did, then he should leave the country.
Awad has homes in both Jerusalem, where his wife, Nancy, is a teacher, and in Wapakoneta, Ohio, where he runs a counseling clinic for delinquent teen- agers.
In a book entitled ″Non-violent Resistance: A Strategy for the Occupied Territories,″ he urges the 1.4 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to refuse to pay taxes, to lie down in front of bulldozers to prevent land confiscation and to boycott Israeli products.
Awad, a Christian born in Jerusalem, attended Friday prayer services at the Al Aqsa mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites. He said he was taking a pair of handcuffs to chain himself to the mosque if police tried to arrest him.
″I’m not leaving,″ said Awad, when asked if he would comply with the government order to leave.
″I don’t think they want to arrest me in a house of worship and involve the religious aspect,″ he said, adding he had support from Jews, Moslems and Christians.
Israeli supporters of Awad demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Interior to protest ″capricious visa and residency policies.″
Awad said supporters planned to surround his home at night to block any attempt by authorities to arrest him. He also said he had asked former President Jimmy Carter to intervene on his behalf.
U.S. Charge d’Affaires Arthur Hughes raised U.S. concern about the Awad case Thursday in a meeting with Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
An Israeli official quoted Rabin as asking Hughes if an Israeli who entered the United States on a tourist visa would have his visa extended if he called for civil disobedience by American blacks. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Israeli official also challenged Awad’s claim that he advocated non- violence, but declined to give any details to support the assertion. U.S. Embassy spokesmen declined comment.
Awad left Jerusalem in 1969 to study in the United States and lived abroad for more than 15 years before returning in January 1985. His Israeli-issued identity card was confiscated in May, and an application to extend a three- month tourist visa was rejected despite U.S. government pleas.