WASHINGTON (Oct. 30)
The State Department said today that it was not aware of any plan by the Israeli government to annex the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the five-year period of autonomy for those territories now being negotiated between Israel, Egypt and the U.S.
The Department’s chief spokesman, Hodding Carter, made that comment when asked about Moshe Dayan’s assertion last Friday that he resigned as Israel’s Foreign Minister primarily because of a secret, unpublished understanding within the government of Premier Menachem Begin that the West Bank and Gaza Strip would be annexed to Israel.
Carter stated: “I am not aware of any plan such as that. What I am aware of is the commitment of Israel to negotiate on the status over the long term and short term of both the West Bank and Gaza. We are currently engaged in negotiations on the question of autonomy and the long range question is also up to the people and the parties in the area. I don’t know of any reason to doubt the sincerity of the Israeli government on this question.”