Rabin Holds Frank Talks with Golan Heights Settlers

Proctor Yitzhak Rabin visited this tiny village on the Golan-Heights in freezing weather today for a frank discussion with the local settlers and those from adjacent settlements about the problems of terrorism, finances and–what seems to obsess Israelis most on the Golan–more Jewish settlements in this barren and dangerous region.

The Premier, accompanied by Defense Minister Shimon Peres and Chief of Staff Gen. Mordechai Gur, toured military outposts and talked with officers and soldiers before coming to Ramat Magshimim. He chose this particular settlement for his meeting apparently because it was the scene last month of the murder of three student soldiers by terrorist infiltrators from the Syrian lines. The people jammed inside the community center to meet the Premier kept on their heavy overcoats and woolen caps against the cold.

The recent terrorist assault was the first topic on the agenda. Replying to settlers who demanded retaliation, Rabin who commanded more than a few retaliatory raids during his military career, intimated that there were international political considerations that dictated Israeli restraint. The seventies are not the fifties, he said. What was correct policy then is not necessarily correct now, he observed.

NOT SATISFIED WITH GOVERNMENT DECISION

The Golan settlers were clearly not satisfied with the recent government decision to build four new settlements on the Heights. They demanded at least a fifth to close the defense gap between Eln Zian and Keshe. But Rabin was firm. “I have only one reply for you and that is that the government has decided to set up four settlements on the Golan and the settling on the Golan will be carried out according to the government’s decision.”

His remarks were apparently a reminder that the government would tolerate no illegal settlement activity despite its controversial compromise with the Gush Emunim squatters in Samaria this week.

It was learned, meanwhile, that Tel Phares, the first of the four new Golan settlements is already inhabited and two others in the southern Golan will be settled next week as soon as water supplies, electricity and pre-fab houses are completed. Preparations are underway for the fourth settlement near Har Odem in the northern sector of the Heights.

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