Menu JTA Search

Friction Between Milson, Top Aides

Friction surfaced today between Prof. Menahem Milson, head of the civilian authority on the West Bank, and his top aides. A letter signed by 25 senior staff officials charged that his policy-making process was undoing everything accomplished by the Military Government in the past. Milson promptly retorted that the complaints were incorrect both in detail and general perspective.

The aides specifically accused Milson of failing to conslt with them before making decisions, dealing with local Arabs behind their backs and presenting them with faits accomplis. They demanded a meeting to discuss the situation.

Milson conceded that there had been several misunderstandings over the running of the civilian government in the occupied territories but said these have all been sorted out and he now enjoys the complete cooperation of his staff.

Milson, a professor of Arabic literature at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, was appointed by Defense Minister Ariel Sharon to head the newly formed civilian administration last year. The new administration took over civilian functions from the Military Government. Its main objective is to root out Palestine Liberation Organization influence in the territories and create a local Arab leadership willing to cooperate with Israel.

But the Village Leagues, established for that purpose chiefly among rural Arabs, met with stiff resistance from elected officials in the larger West Bank towns. In the past few months, four Arab mayors were removed from office for refusing to cooperate with the civilian government. But several other municipalities have since declared their refusal to cooperate.

NEXT STORY