JERUSALEM (Jun. 11)
Arye Eliav charged today that a conspiracy was underway to establish Jewish settlements on the West Bank without the legal authorization of the government. He claimed that a number of Cabinet ministers, Knesset members, army officers and other officials were participating in the conspiracy while the government and the Knesset as a whole was kept in the dark about this illegal activity.
Eliav, an outspoken “dove” who quit the Labor Party last March over policy differences with the Rabin government and was recently one of the founders of the new leftist Ya’ad faction, charged at a meeting of the Knesset Finance Committee that the conspiracy was being carried out in stages–first by establishing military settlements, work camps and other sites of that nature in the Judaea and Samaria regions and gradually converting them into civilian settlements. He said this was being done covertly to by-pass the decision-making process the government must follow before any new settlement can be established in the administered territories.
Eliav said the latest of the clandestine settlements was Ofra, in the Samaria region, which was set up without any prior decision by the government and was in fact unknown to the public until its existence was exposed by Yossi Sarid, a Labor Alignment Knesset “dove.” Amnon Lin, of Likud, denied there was a conspiracy. He said the settlers of Ofra were to be praised and that Jewish settlements throughout the West Bank should be supported.