Villagers are confronting Israeli rule in a way long familiar to the townspeople. Because elected officials in both towns and villages have solidly sided with their own people and supported the intifada, there is an official Israeli desire to reduce them to bearers of bad news, mouthpieces of policies they oppose. A bad situation got worse on Saturday 17 February 1990 with the first meeting between the Israeli military authorities and the Mayor of Bethany, in over a year and a half. The only reason for the Israelis to meet with the sole symbol of local authority was to expose an escalation of the pressure on the village people aimed at breaking their will to resist and demonstrating Israel's determination to stop all support for the intifada. A related allegation, purporting to show how the Israelis were trying to force the Arabs out of the West Bank, had to do with visits by West Bankers to other Arab countries.