JERUSALEM (Oct. 14)
A proposed interim plan to give West Bank Arabs a large measure of “home rule” as a step on the road to a final peace settlement was unveiled by Deputy Premier Yigal Allon here yesterday. Mr. Allon introduced the suggested program during a question period at a meeting of the Foreign Press Association. He stressed that the plan was his own concept and did not represent a Government view. He conceded that it had drawn mixed reactions from his Cabinet colleagues. Arab leaders to whom he had spoken about it had made favorable comments, he said.
Under the proposal, Arab mayors and village chiefs in the occupied Judaea and Samaria districts would function within the framework of the military government but would be responsible for all municipal affairs. The Arabs would also be responsible for education, religious affairs, commerce, international trade, and local police, Mr. Allon said. Israel would retain decisive responsibility in security matters. The 650,000 West Bank Arabs presently handle some of these affairs, but in close liaison with officials of the pertinent Israeli ministries.
Mr. Allon stressed that the initiative for his “home rule” plan must come from the Arabs. He acknowledged that Arab leaders are fearful of criticism or worse from the Arab states and Arab guerrilla groups if they cooperate too closely with the Israelis. But, he said, he did not see how any Arab rulers could logically object to the concept of Arabs under occupation taking responsibility for their own affairs. He said the plan did not represent a permanent solution but was merely a stage on the road to peace.