TEL AVIV (Jul. 24)
The Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley area of the West Bank were set up on the assumption they would remain there and continue under Israeli control in any settlement with Jordan, Premier Yitzhak Rabin said today. Rabin made that statement to members of one of the settlements, Mechora, who asked him about radio and television reports that the settlements would be handed over to Jordan in a peace settlement. The Premier urged the settlers not to believe in rumors.
He described himself as “an optimist” because he recognized “our strength and ability to stand up to difficult situations.” He said that efforts toward peace might bring further wars but that peace was possible “because we are convinced of what we want.”
Rabin visited Israeli military installations and units as well as the Jewish settlements. He also visited the Damya Bridge, north of the Allenby Bridge on the Jordan River and watched the crossing of summer visitors to Israel from Arab countries. He was accompanied by Chief of Staff Mordechai Gur and Gen. Yona Ephrath, commander of the central command.
PREPARED FOR DIALOGUE WITH JORDAN
Also focussing on Jordan, Defense Minister Shimon Peres said that “Israel is prepared for a dialogue with Jordan” on the future of the West Bank which would include “a political compromise” enabling the people living there “to develop a national life of their own.” Speaking at a meeting of the Working Mothers Association in Haifa, Peres said the dialogue would be conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect and not dictated by King Hussein, who is himself in conflict with the terrorist organizations.
It is the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) not Israel that threatens Jordan, Peres declared. He said Israel would not negotiate with the terrorists because she did not want a PLO takeover of much of Jordan or Soviet infiltration there.
Commerce and Industry Minister Haim Barlev told agriculture students in Rehovot that any political grouping in the West Bank which aims at creating another Arab state between Jordan and Israel is in contradiction to the government’s policy and the Israeli government will have no dealings with such a group. He said that Israel will be ready for another step toward peace with Egypt when she is convinced that Cairo really wants peace.
(Egyptian President Anwar Sadat yesterday criticized both Israel and some Arab nations in an address at a Cairo rally marking the 22nd anniversary of the revolution which overthrew King Farouk. Sadat said that Israel was trying to abort results of the October war by stalling over withdrawing from Arab territories and attacking Lebanon.
(He warned Israel that the “resumption of hostilities is always the inescapable solution if the right path is not genuinely opened for peace and if all Arab rights are not restored within an acceptable time.” In his remarks to the Arab nations, Sadat stressed the need for Arab unity. Otherwise, he warned, Israel can make use of the differences among them.)