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Dayan Says Palestinian Refugees Should Become Citizens of Those Countries in Which They Now Reside

September 12, 1977
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan outlined his own ideas for a solution of the problem of 1.6 million Palestinian refugees living outside of territories occupied by Israel. They should become citizens of the countries in which they now live, he told nearly 1000 supporters attending a policy forum at Kfar Hamaccabiah near Ramat Gan last night.

Dayan said Israel was prepared to offer a choice of citizenship to the 300,000 Palestinian refugees now living in the Gaza Strip and would negotiate a modus vivendi with the 700,000 on the West Bank “once these (other) refugees have been absorbed into the Arab lands.” But he categorically rejected the creation of a Palestinian state or any negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

He was sharply critical of the United States which he accused of failing to quash any possibility of the PLO participating in Middle East peace talks He charged that the U.S. was fostering the illusion among Palestinian refugees that they could one day return to their places of birth in Israel.

Dayan claimed that “Jordan is already prepared to integrate the 500,000 refugees in its territory and Kuwait could do the same for the 120,000 Palestinians now earning good wages there.” He said “Israel is prepared to absorb the 300,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip who are formally stateless at present because Egypt has denied them citizenship. They can choose what nationality they want to have–Israeli or Jordanian. Once these refugees have been absorbed into the Arab lands, Israel will be able to negotiate with the 700,000 Palestinians on the West Bank, most of whom are not refugees, in order to find ways of living together,” Dayan said.


He said, however, that while it was possible for Israel to initiate talks with local Arab leaders on the West Bank, there was no room for such talks at the Geneva conference which will be reserved for negotiations between states. The PLO, he said, is a terrorist organization and has no right to attend a peace conference. With respect to Israel’s position at Geneva, Dayan asserted, “We are prepared to listen and discuss any and every suggestion but under no circumstances will we agree to a settlement which lays the basis for Israel’s destruction.”

Dayan said that Israel would be prepared to give up certain occupied territories within the framework of a peace settlement. But “if the Arabs do not want peace, the alternative will be to continue to live as we do now,” he said.

The forum addressed by the Foreign Minister was organized by friends and supporters from various political factions, including the Labor Alignment and Democratic Movement for Change (DMC) as well as Likud. Dayan, a former Laborite, has no party affiliation at present. Last night’s gathering marked the inauguration of a “debating society” which many Israeli politicians fear may be the launching pad of a new political movement headed by Dayan. Dayan himself denied this. It is neither a new party nor the basis for one, he said last week.

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