The Daily Quote
First, we worked out a detailed proposal for the complete administrative autonomy of the Palestinian Arabs in Judea, and Samaria and the Gaza district.
The administration of the Military Government will be abolished. The residents will, themselves, elect their own Administrative Council in a democratic, secret ballot. The departments of the Administrative Council will deal with all the problems of the daily lives of the inhabitants—education, religion, agriculture, industry, commerce, communications, housing, police, the administration of justice, social needs, etc. There will be no interference, whatsoever, in the conduct of daily affairs. Never before have the residents of these areas been given such freedom to run their own lives.
It has been said that what we are suggesting is a limited autonomy. Not so. In terms of responsibility of administering the daily affairs of the people, Israel is proposing an unlimited and uninhibited self-rule. The new concept we propose gives clear expression to the principle of equality of rights—a principle in which we believe with all our hearts. We suggest free option of citizenship, either Jordanian or Israel. Those who opt for the former will vote for the Jordanian parliament, those who choose the latter will vote for the Knesset. Free choice of citizenship is the hallmark and criterion of civil rights, of equality, of democracy, of human decency.
Yes, there is one thing along that we reserve—responsibility for security and public order. How could it be otherwise? Perhaps for citizens of a very large country it is difficult to grasp the decisive impact that security has on our lives. In our small country, most of our civilian population lives in the narrow coastal strip, nine to fifteen miles from the sea shore. Dominating that coastal plain are the mountains of Judea and Samaria.
Can we, therefore, allow or afford an enemy, with his bands or forces, to sit upon those mountain tops and threaten the lives of every woman and child in Israel?
This is the issue. It is not a theoretical one. It derives from a long and bloody experience. And the reminder of what it would mean to all of us in our daily lives was given Saturday, nearly two weeks ago. (a reference to the Haifa highway massacre by PLO terrorists).
There is one cardinal fact that Israel cannot ignore and which decent people must not forget.
The Jewish state is the only state on earth about which a modern document has been drawn up declaring that it should be destroyed, wiped off the map. It is the people who wrote that genocidal document and perpetrated that unspeakable atrocity who would be on those mountains overlooking our civilian population in the coastal plain below—in the towns, the cities and in the villages. Who controls that range of hills may be a matter of political importance to everybody else. Respectfully, I can say that, for us, it is a matter of life itself.
Hence, we conceived our plan for peace, which may be summed up in one sentence: complete administrative autonomy for the Palestinian Arabs, security for the Palestinian Jews.