London (Dec. 16)
Israel’s juridical annexation of the Golan Heights was criticized here by Yitzhak Rabin who, as Chief of Staff, led its capture by Israeli forces in June 1967.
The former Labor Premier who arrived here on a private visit Monday, said yesterday he had no idea that the Begin government was planning to rush legislation through the Knesset later the same day and that if he had been present in the Knesset he would not have supported the government move.
Rabin made clear, however, that while he opposed the timing of the move, he did not quarrel with it in principle. “As a former Premier,” he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “I say that the Golan Heights must be part of Israel and that even in a Syrian-Israeli peace treaty Israel should not go down from them.”
However, annexing them now was not a priority especially in view of the “question marks over the Reagan Administration’s attitude towards the Camp David accords as the sole basis to a solution of the Middle East dispute,” Rabin said.
Instead of antagonizing both the U.S. and Egypt, Israel should have called for a tripartite summit with them in February to discuss what would happen after Israel completed its evacuation of Sinai in April, he said.
The timing of this week’s move did not help to strengthen the Camp David accords, even though there was a “national consensus” for Israel to keep control of the Golan Heights, Rabin stated. He added that the result would be that “Egypt and the United States might be angry and will have to swallow it.”