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Defense Committee Agrees to Demand to Review Decision to Establish Four New Settlements on West Bank

September 10, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Ministerial Defense Committee agreed today to a demand by Deputy Premier Yigael Yadin and the two other Democratic Party Ministers that the Cabinet review the decision to establish four new settlements in Judaea and Samaria. The committee also agreed to allow Defense Minister Ezer Weizman to appeal the decision to establish the settlements before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee.

At the same time, the committee rejected a charge by Yadin that Agriculture Minister Ariel Sharon, chairman of the Ministerial Committee on Settlements, had misled the government on the new settlements. Yadin, a member of the committee, said last week that Sharon had used the government’s earlier decision to only “thicken” existing settlements for the present as a means of establishing the new settlements. He said Sharon used the names of existing settlements such as Karnei Shomron and Rehan and added a “Bet” to them to make it appear they were the second stage of the settlement rather than a new one.

The committee acted today after Premier Menachem Begin, at a meeting earlier today with Yadin, rejected his demand that the matter be fully discussed by the Ministerial Defense Committee. Yadin said he would not attend Cabinet meetings until there was such a review and was backed by his party colleagues, Justice Minister Shmuel Tamir and Social Betterment Minister Yisrael Katz.

Begin hurriedly called Sharon into his office but the Agriculture Minister reportedly accused the Democratic Party Ministers of trying to sabotage the settlement efforts. He said he would not make it easy for them. Yadin and his two colleagues agreed to return to the Cabinet meeting after Finance Minister Simcha Ehrlich said that Yadin’s complaints would be discussed today. The discussion resulted in the decision to review the establishment of the settlements while clearing Sharon of misleading the Cabinet.

Meanwhile, construction work presently being implemented at the site of the four settlements will continue until the appeal is discussed. Yodin’s appeal is expected to be debated in the coming week, but foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Moshe Arens said today that it will most likely be rejected with a considerable majority.

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