Beging Responds to Carterr’s Letter on West Bank Settlements

The Cabinet today unanimously approved a letter drafted by premier Menachem Begin, replying to president Carter’s expressions of displeasure over the settlements on the West Bank. Carter’s in “tough language.” Government sources described Begin’s rejoinder as “determined,” which was. Neither of the messages was made public. Carter reportedly accused Israel of breaking and understanding reached at Camp David, thereby prejudicing the Israeli-Egyptian peace negotiations in Washington.

Sources here said Begin reminded Carter in his reply that Israel had not agreed to halt the development of existing settlements and reiterated Israel’s right to settle anywhere on the West Bank. Begin also reportedly expressed dismay over remarks made by Assistant Secretary of State Harold Saunders in meetings with local Arab leaders here a week ago.

Saunders, whose mission was to try to modify Arab apposition to the Camp David accords, angered Israeli officials by allegedly making statements at variance with Israel’s Understanding of the agreements variance with Israel’s understanding of the agreements reached at Camp David.

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