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Rabin Asserts Kadum Settlers Must Go; the Questions Are How and when

Premier Yitzhak Rabin reaffirmed yesterday that the government’s decision of last June, that the settlers at Kadum must leave, is irreversible. He told the Cabinet, which was involved in a tense exchange between several ministers over this issue, that there is no room to appeal the government’s decision. Kadum, he said, will not remain as a settlement. The only question, Rabin added, is when it will be evacuated and whether the evacuation will be by agreement or by enforcing the law against illegal settlements.

The Gush Emunim settlers took over a site on the West Bank last December and a group of 30 families were permitted to remain at Kadum in a compromise move between the government and the National Religious Party which threatened to bolt if the families were forcibly evicted. Rabin said they rejected all alternative sites which the government offered them in June.

During yesterday’s Cabinet session the Kadum settlement issue was not officially on the agenda but it was discussed, nevertheless, and sparked a clash between Rabin and Defense Minister Shimon Peres and between Peres and Health Minister Victor Shemtov of Mapam.

SEVERAL MINISTERS CLASH

Shemtov, who raised the issue, wanted to know if it was true that the government was subsidizing the settlers despite the government decision that Kadum will not be a permanent settlement. Rabin replied that he was informed by the respective government bodies that not one government office is investing any money in Kadum. It was noted, however, that a Defends Ministry subcontractor has set up a small workshop in Kadum but this, it was explained, began before the government adopted its policy on Kadum and did not signify a eviction in that policy.

The clash between Peres and Shemtov began when Peres, who has been a vocal supporter of the Kadum settlers, said he did not engage in illegal activity. Shemtov retorted by demanding to know if the Defense Ministry workshop was in violation of the government decision. “You are not my investigator.” Peres responded. “I have a right to ask.” Shemtov said.

Education Minister Aharon Yadlin described Kadum as a political time bomb. Religious Affairs Minister Yitzhak Raphael insisted that the existence of Kadum is not an impediment to peace efforts but that the discussions over Kadum cause unrest in the administered territories. Interior Minister Yosef Burg urged the Cabinet not to waste the beneficial consequence of the rescue mission at Entebbe Airport by bringing differences over Kadum to the fore. He suggested, instead, that the unity continue between the different factions in the government that prevailed during the mission.

(By Yitzhak Shargil)

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