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In another of its spectacular election tactics, the National Union yesterday airdropped thousands of leaflets over the Israeli Arab villages in Wadi Ara.

The Cessna laight airplane, specially hired by the right-wing faction for the operation, was piloted by National Union Knesset member Colonel (ret.) Eliezer "Cheetah" Cohen, a former Air Force pilot who entered the knesset at the last election.

The leaflets, like the newspapers that the party handed out at checkposts in the West Bank and Gaza yesterday, include information on "corruption in the Palestinian Authority."

Cohen told Ha'aretz yesterday that Wadi Ara was selected as the target since the towns and villages in the area, particularly Umm el-Fahm, were becoming a world center for Islamic culture, that would one day be bigger than Mecca.

The National Union's leaflets explained to Israel's Arab citizens that, while they are being sent to carry out suicide attacks on Israel, leaders of the PA are living an opulent and affluent lifestyle, financed by money that should be used to improve living conditions.

According to senior National Union officials, the operation was designed to highlight the absurdity of the israeli Arabs' demand for a Palestinian state, given the manner in which the PA is being run.

`Bon voyage' to Palestinians

In a previous operation, National Union activists handed out flowers and wished bon voyage to Palestinians crossing the Allenby bridge over to Jordan, to highlight the idea of population transfer.

Residents of Umm el-Fahm and the surrounding villages were furious at the airdrop yesterday, saying that it was reminiscent of Kach founder Meir Kahane's attempt to enter the town and hold a demonstration there.

Some residents went as far as to challenge the National Union Knesset members to enter the town.

"Just let them try and come here," was a much-expressed sentiment.

Umm el-Fahm mayor, Dr. Sulleiman Ajbariya, struck a more conciliatory note, however, saying that "one should not get angry at the people, or even give them any measure of importance. We were born right here, this is our homeland, and we will be here for many more generations."

Ajbariya claimed that the airdrop was nothing more than a "cheap election gimmick that will neither intimidate nor influence us."