JERUSALEM (Jan. 9)
Former Foreign Minister Yigal Allon attacked the Likud government tonight for “surrendering” to the Gush Emunim and jeopardizing the peace negotiating process thereby. Allon, a Labor MK, was referring to widespread reports, and claims by the Gush, that the government has agreed to the establishment of a Jewish settlement near the Arab town of Nablus in the Samaria district of the West Bank. Government sources earlier had denied that any promise was given.
The sources conceded, however, that a group of 25 Gush families who ended an eight day vigil on the Kalkilya-Nablus rood last night, were given official recognition as a settlement group and that their request to erect a “Jewish town of Nablus” near the Arab town would be reviewed. Allon called this a “shameful surrender” and warned that by giving in to pressure from the Gush and their supporters, the government was “inviting further pressures.” From the point of view of negotiations with Egypt, expected to be resumed shortly, the “sell-out” to the Gush Emunim was ill advised, Allon said.
Earlier today, Labor MK Yossi Sarid, joined by members of the Shai and Sheli factions and backed by the Peace Now Movement, introduced urgent agenda motions in the Knesset protesting the “government’s surrender to the Gush Emunim.”
The 25 Gush families returned to their homes at “Elon Moreh” inside the Kadum army base last night on the strength of what their spokesman, Zvi Slonim, described as “satisfactory clarifications” from the government. Slonim claimed that the essence” of the government’s position is that they could settle anywhere they wished on the West Bank but he was not specific about what, if anything was promised. Other Gush circles said today that plans would begin immediately to build a Jewish town near Nablus.
STILL FAVORS ‘BORDER A SETTLEMENTS
Allan, interviewed on Israel Radio, said he still strongly favored Jewish settlements in the “border areas” of the West Bank, meaning the sparsely populated Jordan River valley. That was part of the so-called. “Allon Plan” that surfaced after the Six-Day Wars But, he said, the decision to plant settlements in the heart of Samaria would inevitably weaken the effort at the point where it should be focussed, homely the Jordan Valley.
When the reporter recalled that Allon was Foreign Minister when the original Gush group settled illegally at Sabastic in Samaria and was later shifted to the Kadum base under a compromise reached with the Labor government, Allon said he had no responsibility for those developments. He said he had strongly opposed the compromise in public statements and subsequently initiated a Cabinet motion to remove the settlers from Kadum. The motion was adopted but never implemented.