TEL AVIV (Oct. 23)
Former Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, referring to himself as a “free man” after his resignation from the Cabinet took effect officially today, said he would continue to support the government of Premier Menachem Begin in the Knesset, though not necessarily on all issues. He said he had no intention of joining the Cabinet of any future government, of joining any other party or of starting a new party. He also said that when his present Knesset term expires, he will not stand for re-election.
He said his differences with the government were not over the principle of Jewish settlement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which he supports, but over the way the government is conducting the autonomy negotiations with Egypt and the expropriation of Arab-owned lands for settlement purposes, which he firmly opposed.
Dayan expressed his views and spoke of his future plans at a press conference at the Beth Garon Hall in Jerusalem jammed with reporters representing the Israeli and world news media.
He reiterated the reasons for his resignation he did not see eye-to-eye on autonomy with the majority of his fellow ministers–but what he said, and left unsaid created the impression in some circles that his health may have had something to do with his departure from the government at this time. Dayan, 64, underwent surgery last June for the removal of a malignant tumor from his intestines. He is said to have fully recovered. In his letter of resignation to Begin Oct. 2 explaining why he wished to resign, reasons of health were not included.
OUTLINES HIS VIEWS ON ISSUES
Dayan said he would support the government against the motion of no-confidence by the Labor Alignment and four other Knesset groups which was debated into the late hours to night in the Knesset. However, Dayan said, “I cannot commit myself as to the voting in the future.” He said “I am a Laborite”–he was a former before and after he became a soldier–but even as a member of Labor-led Cabinets, his views on the West Bank and Gaza Strip were closer to those of Begin than of some fellow Laborites.
“I am for continued settlement, even in the midst of dense Arab population,” Dayan said. “But there should be no land expropriation, even if the land is rocky and bare. Only government-owned lands should be used for settlement and there is an ample amount of such land.” Speaking of his differences with the government over autonomy, Dayan said:
“I was offered thrice or twice the chairmanship of the Israeli team to the talks. But I rejected and I had a feeling Begin understood me. It is not like the negotiations for a peace agreement with Egypt. The autonomy talks are something else. They concern the future life of Jews and Arabs side-by-side and my views are other than those of the Likud and the National Religious Party,” he said.
He stressed that Israel must remain loyal to the Camp David agreements. “There is no reason to leap out of the framework of Camp David. It provides everything that is needed now. We have to guarantee our essential interest–not the question of borders or sovereignty. We have five years of autonomy and only then should the question of sovereignty come up and then only with Jordan, not with anyone else. This is written and signed by Egypt, the U.S. and Israel,” Dayan said.
He admitted there will be difficulties because it will be the Palestinian Arabs who will implement autonomy. “But one should not underestimate the importance of the three signatories to the Camp David agreements that call for autonomy for a five-years period and only then would there be talks over sovereignty.”
Dayan noted that the Camp David agreements do not mention the settlements issue. There should be settlements, he said, but with one reservation. “Do not confiscate privately owned lands whether cultivated or bare. The same goes for water sources. No water of Arab villagers should be diverted to the Jewish population if it deprives the Arabs of water.”
He said that if the autonomy talks fail, Israel should unilaterally remove its military government from the territories and replace it by a civilian authority and allow the population to handle their own affairs through civilian channels. Israel would remain, however, the source of authority.
Dayan made it clear that should the Palestine Liberation Organization get control of the areas evacuated by the military, Israel would have the right to return to those areas with increased force. This, Dayan insisted, should be made clear in any agreement with Egypt or the U.S. or the Palestinians. “There will be no ‘no return’ clause. Israel will retain the right to return to the areas if the population turns to the PLO, ” he said.
He said he did not accept the view that the Palestinians will not join the autonomy negotiations because the PLO is opposed. He noted past instances in which the local population acted against the rulings of the PLO, such as taking jobs in Israel.
MAY WRITE A BOOK
(In an interview this morning from Jerusalem via satellite on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” program, interviewer Barbara Walters asked Dayan if he is tired of serving in governments and what he intends to do next. Dayan replied, “I think governments are tired of me.” He said he intends to write a book on the history of the Egyptian-Israeli peace negotiations and to visit Jewish communities.
(Dayan also told Walters that he opposed either a Palestinian state or Jordanian administration of the West Bank. He said, also, that Israel should withdraw its military administrators from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and “let the Arab people take care of themselves with their own policemen and their own technicians.” He said he disagreed with the Labor Party position on the West Bank and claimed that if Labor had won in the last election “part of the West Bank and Gaza would have been given to Jordan which eventually would have turned it over to the PLO.”).