Begin Refuses to Meet with Elon Moreh Settlers

Premier Menachem Begin is refusing to meet the Elon Moreh settlers, it was learned today. Instead, Begin suggested that they talk to Defense Minister Ezer Weizman as was originally arranged. The settlers previously turned down a meeting with Weizman, who was to propose alternate sites for the Gush Emunim settlement that the Supreme Court ordered removed from seized Arab lands.

They demanded to speak to Begin instead, but by this evening it seemed that they were about to change their minds. The Gush Emunim was reportedly working on a new proposal to solve the crisis, based on a narrow interpretation of the Supreme Court ruling. It would evacuate only those plots of land specifically mentioned in the injunction order, leaving in place the greater part of the settlement which, according to the Gush, is not located in the areas ordered to be evacuated.

According to the Voice of Israel Radio, the new plan had four clauses. The evacuation of all the plots specifically mentioned in the court order; leaving the settlement on plots not included in the court order; the ###tment of legislation which would allow seizure of land for the purpose of Jewish settlement, not necessarily for security purposes, issuance of new seizure orders for Elon Moreh lands not specifically ordered to be evacuated by the high court.This is the plan the settlers are expected to present to Weizman and which he is expected to reject. Weizman is determined to carry out the court order, even at the cost of an all-out confrontation with Gush Emunim and Agriculture Minister Ariel Sharon, their most outspoken supporter.

Weizman won support for his stand today from the Liberal Party Executive. The Executive encouraged the government in its decision to evacuate the Elon Moreh settlers. The party called on the settlers to honor the court order and evacuate the place of their own free will. Executive members sharply criticized Sharon and some called for his resignation.

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