JERUSALEM (Jun. 29)
A move to establish more Jewish settlements in the occupied Golan Heights of Syria was announced this weekend in the wake of Defense Minister Moshe Dayan’s declaration Friday that Israel considered the future status of the Heights “un-negotiable.” Haoved Hatzioni, the settlement movement of the Independent Liberal Party, immediately announced plans for establishment of a new moshav (small-holders village) in the Heights. Dr. Raanan Weitz, head of the Jewish Agency’s settlement department, said that the number of settlements in the Golan Heights could be doubled from the present 10. Dr. Weitz said the Heights contained some 40,000 acres of arable land of which one-third was under cultivation.
Gen. Dayan’s remarks, made before a gathering of Western businessmen at the World Economic Conference for Israel, were seen as a direct rebuff to American diplomats who have spoken about “minor rectification” of Israel’s pre-June, 1967 borders in the context of a general Mideast peace settlement. He declared that Israelis must regard the Heights as much a part of Israel as the Jezreel Valley. He said that Israel also must retain control of the Sharm el Sheikh strong point overlooking the Straits of Tiran even if it means holding half of the Sinai Peninsula.
Gen. Dayan said that Israel wants major changes, “not minor ones,” in the 1967 lines on the West Bank. He urged Jews in Israel and abroad to regard the West Bank as “our homeland, from the Jordan to the sea, including Nablus and Jericho.” However, he added, “we must treat the Palestinians living there as a Government treats its citizens. They will be our citizens for a very, very long time.”