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Tranquility on the West Bank Due to Hard-line Policy on PLO

Military government officials declared today that a hard-line policy on any Palestine Liberation Organization involvement in the administered areas, including a total ban on contacts between residents of the territories and the PLO, had brought tranquility to the area. The hard-line policy was started 18 months ago.

Under the new policy, no public identification by residents with the PLO is permitted and, in what is considered the most important new rule, Israel no longer allows financial support from the PLO, directly or indirectly, to the residents. It was indicated that the policy was adopted as a preliminary step toward implementing an autonomy plan for the Arab territories after such a plan is worked out by Egypt and Israel as required by the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.

The policy cuts off many sectors of the territories from major funds. A joint PLO-Palestinian committee has injected substanial sums in the territories since the Six-Day War. Israel has consented to this flow of funds on condition that every project thus funded was approved by the Jordanian government.

Security officials said that if a local agency, such as a municipality or a public body, seeks financial did from an Arab country, each such request is considered individually but that any support involving direct PLO funding is banned. The officials said that the rationale for the hard-line policy is that it will encourage West Bank “moderates” who, at a later stage, might form the leadership for an Israeli-supervised autonomy plan.

Under the policy, Israel recently organized several agricultural cooperatives in the Hebron region, led by a former Jordanian Minister, Mustapha Doudin, known for his good relations with the Israeli Military Government. The Military Government officials said the hard-line policy had proved itself, declaring the territories had never been as quiet before the policy was instituted as they are now.

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