TEL AVIV (Dec. 20)
As Israel moves toward a peace settlement with Egypt and, possibly, its other Arab neighbors, settlers on the Golan Heights and in the Jordan Volley are becoming increasingly concerned about their future. Deputy Defense Minister Mordechai Zipori faced a barrage of criticism when he visited several Golan Heights settlements this week.
The settlers demanded that he explain a published interview that quoted him as saying that it was not impossible that some Golan settlements would find themselves under Syrian sovereignty if a peace treaty is signed with Damascus. Zipori claimed his statement was not correctly interpreted. He said the government entertains no such ideas and, in fact, plans to invest large sums on the Golan Heights.
Zipori said a new settlement would be establishes shortly on Mt. Dov overlooking the old “Fatahland once a terrorist stronghold. He said it would be a Nahal (para-military) settlement under the auspices of Hashomer Hatzair, the Mapam settlement movement.
Meanwhile, Labor Party leaders called on Jordan Valley settlers to make sure they have a say in determining the fate of their region. They were told that they should follow the example of the Golan Heights settlers whose presence was a factor in establishing the present demarcation lines there.