JERUSALEM (Aug. 19)
Palestinian terrorism is Israel decreased significantly since Jordan closed the PLO offices in Amman, Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin said Tuesday during a tour of the Jordan Valley.
He told reporters that he welcomed Jordan’s action against the terrorist organization as well as the financia aid Jordan was giving to West Bank Arabs for developmental projects. Rabin noted that as the standard of living rose on the West Bank, the possibility of terrorist groups retaining allegiance of the local population diminished, because the terrorists could no longer count on disgruntled West Bankers for support.
Regarding peace negotiations, Rabin said he was ready to talk to any Palestinian “from inside the region or elsewhere, provided they were not declared members of the PLO.” After his tour, the Defense Minister met with a number of West Bank notables, among them Jami Sabri Khalef, the Mayor of Jericho.
NEW POLICY FOR TERRITORIES OUTLINED
Rabin’s remarks coincided with an appeal by Absorption Minister Yaacov Tsur on Tuesday for a new policy toward the administered territories. Speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem, Tsur outlined a six-point plan he had prepared which calls for Jewish settlements in the territories to be limited to the Jordan Valley, the Etzion bloc near Jerusalem, and the northern Dead Sea region. He also proposed increased financial and political independence for residents of the territories.
Tsur said the purpose of the plan was to lessen the impact of Israeli rule in the territories and “to regain the Jewish and Zionist character of the State of Israel. Israeli rule, he said, should be limited to security matters. He warned that the large degree of economic interdependence between Israel and the territories is harmful to the citizens and to the values of Israeli society.
Tsur also suggested that the powers of the local Arab authorities in the territories be broadened and that an effort should be made to raise capital, including Arab capital, to develop the local economy.