JERUSALEM (Dec. 27)
Premier Menachem Begin reassured West Bank settlers today that Jews have the right to buy land, live and settle all over the Judaea and Samaria districts and, in fact, there was no part of the West Bank barred to Jewish settlement.
Begin Upheld that position in a speech at Maale Adumim, east of Jerusalem. He reminded his audience that in Samaria there are now 21 settlements where there had been only one when his Likud-led government took office in 1977. He conceded that one Samaria settlement — Elon Moreh — will have to go because the Supreme Court’s order to remove it “must be obeyed.”
However, he noted that the government is working hard and fast to build an alternative settlement at Djebil Kebir a short distance away. Djebil Kebir and Elon Moreh are close to Nablus, the largest Arab population center on the West Bank. Begin stressed that Jews can settle in the Nablus area.
(Egypt reacted sharply to Begin’s remarks. A Foreign Ministry official in Cairo said today that they were “contrary to the rules and texts of the Camp David accords and the spirit of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty” and “an open violation to those agreements.”)
HECKLERS BERATE BEGIN
According to observers, Begin had intended to make his strong pro-settlement speech yesterday at Kiryat Arba, the Gush Emunim stronghold adjacent to Hebron. But he had hardly begun to speak there when hecklers, reportedly from Rabbi Meir Kahane’s “Kach” movement, hooted him off the platform.
As soon as he entered the yeshiva auditorium in the Orthodox township, Begin was greeted with cries of “traitor” by militants who oppose the peace treaty with Egypt and demand that Israel annex the occupied territories. As he began his speech, there were shouts of “liar” and other epithets from the audience. The hecklers were removed by security men but Begin soon gave up the attempt to deliver his address and left.