Johnson, Nixon Favored United Jerusalem

The late President Lyndon B. Johnson and President Nixon before he took office in 1969, expressed the view to close associates that Israel would be foolish to give up East Jerusalem after the 1967 Six-Day War. The Israeli government was informed of those views by undisclosed sources and based its policies in East Jerusalem on that information, according to “Jerusalem–A City Without Walls,” by Uzi Benziman, which will be published shortly by the Schocken Publishing Co.

Johnson expressed his opinion to close advisors while in office and Nixon spoke about this issue before his first inauguration, but Israel knew he would stick to his view even afterwards, Benziman says.

Benziman is a member of the staff of Haaretz and is one of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondents in Jerusalem. His book, relating the story of united Jerusalem since 1967, is based on two years of research, interviews with some 130 people including government and military officials and Arab notables, and access to classified documents.

Benziman also discloses that Pope Paul VI refused to sign a pact with Israel to define the status of the Christian communities in the Holy Land because, as he said in a message to President Zalman Shazar, Israel is a state without boundaries.

Four Cabinet ministers opposed the annexation of East Jerusalem–Mordechai Bentov and Israel Barzilai of Mapam and the late Zalman Aranne and Eliyahu Sasson, of the Labor Party, while Premier. Levi Eshkol himself strongly supported the step, Benziman says.

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