Forty-eight hourse before Anwar Sadat was assassinated, the Israeli Cabinet and the World Zionist Organization were making policy statement in Jerusalem that could turn to be a time bomb for the slain Egyptian president's successor.
At the very time when supporters of moderation and compromise might hope for some Israeli "give" on the West Bank and Palestinian issues to smooth the path for an Egyptian government bereft of the commanding presence of Mr. Sadat, the Israelis and the Zionists find themselves committed more than ever to policies suggestive of the opposite.
Whether the changed circumstances in the wake of Mr. Sadat's murder will push the Israelis in the direction of flexibility remains to be seen.
Some Middle East specialists argue that if the United States had been more successful in getting the Israeli government to be more forthcoming on the issue of Palestinian autonomy, Mr. Sadat would have been less vulnerable to the assassins' bullets. Those same specialists speculate now about what may be needed from both the US and Israel to make it tolerable for his successor to continue to Camp David policy without immediately putting his life at risk.
The policy announcements of Oct. 4 directly affect the future of the occupied West Bank, widely assumed to be the site for the "full autonomy" for Palestinians promised in the Camp David accord. The declarations were by:
The Israeli Cabinet, to the effect that the proposed switch from military to civilian government on the West Bank will in fact fall short of what had originally been hinted. Military government will remain in control of the West Bank, but Israeli civilians will be brought in to take over from middle-ranking military officers in running housing, health, welfare, tax, and industrial programs in the occupied territories.
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