TEL AVIV (Aug. 23)
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan said last night that he was satisfied with the recommendations of the Labor Party min- isters on policy toward the administered Arab territories but warned the Party that it must go into this fall’s national elections with “a clear cut program on such crucial issues.” Dayan, addressing former members of the Labor Party’s Raff wing, said that conditions now present Israel for the first time with the opportunity to “shape the country as we would like it. Today we are deciding on our future borders of our own volition,” he said.
Dayan had told the same group of his ex-Raft colleagues several weeks ago that he might bolt the Labor Party if he was not satisfied with its platform on the territories. He said that the policies recommended by the Labor Party’s ministerial forum still had to be acted on by the Labor Alignment Executive. He said he hoped that when Premier Golda Meir brings them before that body, “there will be no changes introduced.”
INTENDED TO HAVE AREAS ALL ALONG
The Defense Minister, who has taken an increasingly hawkish stance on the question of the territories, claimed in his remarks that Israel from its earliest days intended to have the Arab territories it now occupies and accepted the principle of partition only as an expediency.
During Israel’s 1948 war for independence, “we tried to capture Jenin, Gaza, Hebron and Bethlehem but failed,” Dayan said. “There was never a philosophy of partition of Palestine. Even when the Peel Commission suggested partition, it was Ben Gurion who said it would be only a tool and a springboard to achieve the true Eretz Israel.”. Therefore, Dayan said, “we should frame the future borders through settling–and without Arab labor.” He said there were sufficient candidates for settling.
Dayan called the Egyptian border the most important one. He referred to the wide, almost empty region between Raffah and El Arish in northern Sinai, known as Pithat Raffa, as one that will have to be populated by a concentrated Jewish settlement program. The Arabs now living there will have to be moved “in an honorable manner and with compensation,” Dayan said. “This must be faced and we have to tell it to the electorate. We cannot cheat the voter,” he said.