TEL AVIV (Mar. 27)
The Gush Emunim campers at Shiloh on the West Bank were asked yesterday to evacuate the site by Deputy Defense Minister Mordechai Zipori. Although they have made no preparations to leave, the usually militant group offered no protest but asked the government to provide an alternative settlement site. The government will apparently consider their request at some later date.
Zipori said the Gush were asked to move because there obviously will be no archaeological excavations made at Shiloh, the original justification for the presence of would-be settlers at the site in the heart of Samaria. Prof. Zeev Yeivin, an archaeologist who was supposed to supervise the work, said last night that he had neither the budget nor the required permit from the authorities to undertake any digs at Shiloh.
The government’s contention that the Gush group, which includes families with small children, was an archaeological party was widely disbelieved in Israel and abroad and became a source of embarrassment in relations with the United States. It appeared that the Gush will obey the Defense Ministry’s order so as not to further aggravate Premier Menachem Begin’s strained relations with the U.S.