JERUSALEM (Oct. 23)
The government said today that it would not try to circumvent the Supreme Court’s ruling that Elon Moreh on the West Bank must be removed in 30 days from the seized Arab lands on which it was built-Nevertheless, Premier Menachem Begin continued intensive consultations today with other ministers and government aides in an attempt to find a way to comply with the court order but avoid a confrontation with the Gush Emunim.
One proposal, advanced by Matityahu Drobless, co-chairman of the Jewish Agency’s Settlement Department, was to convert Elon Moreh into a military outpost just beyond the land the high court ordered returned to the Arabs of Rujeib village. The court’s decision was based on its finding that Elon Moreh was established to satisfy a political constituency, the Gush Emunim, rather than for security reasons as claimed by the government.
Agriculture Minister Ariel Sharon, reportedly furious over the court decision, was said to be the driving force behind the efforts to preserve Elon Moreh in one form or another. Sharon has avoided making comments to the press. He conferred with Begin yesterday and again today. He also toured the settlements on the West Bank, including Elon Moreh, today.
REPORT SHARON THREATENS TO RESIGN
According to Israel Radio, Sharon has threatened to resign if the settlement is dismantled. He reportedly told Begin today in a private meeting that he could not be a member of a government which would uproot settlements in Samaria. Begin, according to Israel Radio, asked Sharon to find a solution to the problem the government was facing as a result of the court decision, saying the Elon Moreh affair has placed the government in a difficult situation. The conversation between Begin and Sharon could not be officially confirmed. Sharon himself declined to talk to reporters and sources close to him said all the details regarding the conversation were “speculations”
Meanwhile, Begin has also been consulting with Justice Minister Shmuel Tamir, Attorney General Yitzhak Zamir and State Attorney Gavriel Bach. Bach represented the government in its unsuccessful attempt to have the Supreme Court reject the appeal of the Arab land owners of Rujeib against the seizure of their land for Elon Moreh.