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Jordan Won’t Pay West Bank Salaries; in Israel, New Calls for Annexation

Some 16,000 Palestinian civil service employees will not receive their August salaries from the Jordanian government, according to a senior Jordanian official in the West Bank.

He warned that Jordan’s King Hussein is firm in his stated resolve to sever ties with the territory.

Dr. Yasser Obeid, health officer for the Jerusalem district, told the English-language service of Israel Radio that among those who will not be getting their salaries this month will be doctors and teachers, who had been receiving up to $200 a month from Jordan.

Their salaries were included in a $1.3 billion, five-year development plan for the region that was the first casualty of Jordan’s new policy to cut ties to the West Bank.

Whoever thought Hussein’s speech Sunday announcing the divorce was just rhetoric had “better think again,” Obeid said.

But the official said another 6,000 workers, appointed prior to the implementation of the redevelopment plan, will continue to receive full salaries from Amman.

Obeid did not rule out further steps in the coming weeks, and said he assumed that Jordanian authorities are likely to issue Palestinians separate identity cards identifying them as residents of the West Bank. Most Palestinians in the territory now hold Jordanian passports.

On the Israeli side, Commerce and Industry Minister Ariel Sharon of the conservative Likud bloc proposed Wednesday that Israeli law be extended to areas of Jewish settlement in the West Bank, as well as areas with few inhabitants and those included in the Labor-backed Allon Plan.

INNER CABINET SESSION

Speaking at a meeting of the Inner Cabinet, Israel’s 10-member, senior policymaking body, Sharon said that in the wake of Hussein’s speech, it will be possible to enlist wide support for these steps among the Israeli public.

Another Likud minister, Yitzhak Modai, proposed the abolition of Jordanian law in the West Bank, which currently is in force, and the replacement of the Israeli military government there with Israeli civilian law.

“We should stop behaving like an occupying power now that King Hussein announced he is giving up the West Bank,” said Modai, who holds no portfolio.

Leaders of the ultranationalist Tehiya party held a news conference Wednesday in the West Bank town of Jericho, and demanded a total annexation of the West Bank to Israel.

Jordan’s King Abdullah chose Jericho to announce the annexation of the West Bank to Jordan 38 years ago.

Knesset member Geula Cohen of Tehiya warned Hussein that if he engaged in war with Israel in the future, Israel would penetrate the East Bank of the Jordan River and make it part of Eretz Yisrael.

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