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Defense Ministry Dissociates Itself from West Bank Guidelines

The Defense Ministry has dissociated itself from guidelines recently issued by the West Bank civil administration instructing regional governors to undermine the political influence of pro-Jordan Arab leaders in the territory. The document raised angry protests in the Knesset Tuesday from coalition as well as opposition MKs.

A statement released yesterday by the office of the Coordinator of Activities in Judaea and Samaria, a Defense Ministry bureau, said the guidelines had no validity. They were issued by Col. Yigal Karmon, acting head of the civil administration. But according to the Coordinator’s office, neither it nor the Defense Ministry as such had any part in drafting the orders or knowledge of the discussions which led to them.

Karmon’s initiative was widely interpreted as a measure to counter a perceived rapprochement between Jordan and the Palestine Liberation Organization. But it was learned here that the Jordanian government has failed to collect sufficient signatures on a petition in support of such a rapprochement from PLO supporters.