TEL AVIV (Mar. 5)
Surprisingly little attention was given here over the week-end to Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan’s proposal that Israel abolish the military government on the West Bank and Gaza Strip and unilaterally implement Premier Menachem Begin’s peace plan offering “self-rule” to the Arab inhabitants of those territories.
Dayan made the suggestion at a political forum, known as “Bama,” which met here Friday. He insisted he was not announcing a new government plan but was merely offering food for thought. Dayan will accompany Begin to Washington next week for meetings with President Carter.
The Foreign Minister said that his proposal was intended to give the Arabs freedom to administer their own affairs as long as it did not threaten Israel’s security. He said it stemmed from the basic conception that Israel does not want to rule 500,000-600,000 Arabs on the West Bank and 400,000 in the Gaza Strip indefinitely as on occupying power. “We want to abolish the military government and find some kind of framework which will meet our basic security and ideological needs,” he said.
According to Dayan, Israel’s security demands the continued existence of military bases in both territories and measures against terrorist activities. However, he said, the Arabs should be allowed to administer their own health, education, agriculture and other systems. Israel should offer them assistance, he said, adding: “We should tell them, if you want the Agriculture Ministry’s aid we’ll gladly help you. If they say no, let them grow their own sesame seed and that’s that. The same attitude should be applied to health services and others.”
Dayan said the plan should be implemented in accordance with the clause in Israel’s peace plan that concerns self-rule. “But, since we cannot force election of an administrative body by the Arabs, we can alter basically, if not abolish, the military government’s rule. The Arabs would then have more freedom than they had under the Ottoman rule, the British rule, the Jordanian regime or the Israeli military government,” Dayan said.