The minister of defense held responsibility for administration
and security of the Arab population of the occupied territories.
Until 1981, actual command passed from the minister of defense
to the Department of Military Government, a functional command
within the general staff, and from this department to the regional
commanders of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in their roles
as military governors. The military governors exercised primarily
a coordinating function because day-to-day operations in the territories
were carried out not by military officers, but by civilian representatives
of the various ministries.
In 1981 Israel established a separate civilian administration
in the territories to exercise the civil powers of the military
government. This administration lacked authority to enact legislation.
The civilian officials who carried out these executive functions
nominally drew their authority from the military government; in
fact, they were part of the permanent staff of Israeli ministries
and received directives from their ministerial superiors. This
relinquishment of responsibility by the Ministry of Defense and
its assumption by Israeli civil authorities gathered momentum
under governments controlled by the right-wing Likud Bloc, whose
policies sought to achieve de facto annexation by subordinating
all civilian matters in the occupied territories to ministries
of the government in Jerusalem.
A civilian "coordinator of activities" in the Ministry of Defense
acted in the name of the minister of defense to advise, guide,
coordinate, and supervise all government ministries, state institutions,
and public authorities in the occupied territories. In 1988 the
coordinator was Shmuel Goren. Neither the minister of defense
nor the coordinator of activities, however, had veto powers over
officials answerable to civilian ministries in Jerusalem.
Local government in areas of the West Bank occupied by Palestinians
consisted of twenty-five towns having municipal status and eighty-two
village councils operating under the Jordanian Village Management
Law. After 1981, when the Israeli civil administration deposed
nine West Bank mayors, Israeli officials ran most municipalities.
Under them, Arabs held the vast majority of government administrative
and staff positions. Until the latter part of 1988, when King
Hussein cut off all funds to the West Bank, Jordan paid the salaries
of about 5,000 of these civil servants. The remaining 16,000,
who were mostly teachers, had their Israeli salaries supplemented
by a Jordanian bonus averaging US$100 monthly.
Jewish settlements in the West Bank were incorporated into fourteen
local authorities. These authorities functioned under special
military government legislation identical to the local authorities
legislation that applied in Israel. The Ministry of Interior supervised
their budgets and in general the West Bank settlements functioned
as though they were in Israel proper.
Data as of December 1988