JERUSALEM (Mar. 6)
The government and the opposition were united in the Knesset today in condemnation of the United Nations Security Council resolution calling for the dismantling of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories and Jerusalem. Premier Menachem Begin indicated that he accepted President Carter’s explanation that U.S. support for the resolution was on error due to “a failure of communications” but he urged the U.S. to repudiate the resolution in its entirety.
(Meanwhile, it was announced in Washington that a Congressional hearing will be held next Thursday to investigate the U.S. “out-up” in the UN. See separate story.)
In a political statement to the Knesset, the first since the latest crisis in U.S. Israeli relations erupted, Begin repeated his claim that Israel has an undisputed right to settle anywhere in “Eretz Israel” and that the settlements are on integral part of the State’s security. He denounced the Security Council’s call for dismantling Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem as “barbaric.”
Begin disclosed that he had received a cable from Carter explaining that the American vote had been cost in error on the assumption that a paragraph referring to Jerusalem had been deleted from the resolution. “It goes without saying that we regard the words of the American President with all due respect,” Begin said.
But, he added: “A question must be asked whether this single error that Carter pointed at was the only expression of animosity in the resolution toward Israel and her vital interests. What about all other paragraphs which repeatedly mention Jerusalem and contradict the Camp David accords?”
Labor Party chairman Shimon Peres supported the government’s stand against the American vote which, he said, went against “U.S. Mideast policy.” He also expressed opposition to the supply of sophisticated weaponry to the Arab states by the West, including the U.S. He said this limited Israel’s technological advantage over its neighbors.
However, the opposition leader had strong criticism for Begin’s government. “We think that it caused, in a way, a deterioration of the Israeli position in the world,” he said. Referring to the controversial Hebron issue, Peres declared, “We are surely against settling Hebron with Jews as well as other settlements in the middle of densely populated Arab areas. “He said the only solution is to hold new elections to replace the present government with one that will adopt a clear policy.
DAYAN ATTACKS SETTLEMENT POLICY
Former Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, on independent MK, surprised the Knesset with the vehemence of his attack on the government’s settlement policy, especially in Hebron. The settlement of Jews in Hebron is completely unnecessary, Dayan declared. If, indeed, the government believes the return of Jews to Hebron is so vital, why did it wait for a Jew to be murdered there before initiating such a step, he asked. He charged that the government was taking reprisal actions rather than adopting a clear policy in the occupied territories.
Dayan also criticized the evacuation of the last Arab family from the Jewish quarter in East Jerusalem, Ayub Hamis Toutanji, his wife and six children, left their home overlooking the Temple Mount last Tuesday after on unsuccessful eight-year legal battle to retain ownership of the property that has belonged to his family since 1935. The neighbor-hood was taken over by the government after 1967 for conversion into on exclusively Jewish quarter.
Dayan said the decision against the Toutanjis disturbed him both as a politician and a Jew. “Why? Why? What do we want, how do we want to live? Let us assume that an Arab would live in the Jewish quarter. So what?” Dayan asked.