Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Money Approved for Settlements

January 18, 1979
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Knesset Finance Committee today approved a government request for an appropriation of IL 710 million for settlement projects in the administered areas. Most of the sum–some IL 500 million — is earmarked for building permanent homes at the West Bank settlements of Haress and Kamei Shomron and for laying some six kilometers of road across the Samaria district.

Labor Party members of the committee voted against the funds for settlements in the heart of Samaria but supported those sums directed at settlement efforts in the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights. But Likud Whip Pessach Grupper energetically rallied Likud members and stand-ins to ensure a majority for the government’s request.


In a related development, American sources here were quoted by Israel Radio as denying that President Carter has sent a letter to Premier Menachem Begin protesting recent settlement decisions Reports from Washington today said that such a letter would be sent. Israeli government sources said this evening that no such letter had reached Jerusalem.

(In Washington, the State Department chief spokesman Hodding Carter, asked about the letter said his queries at the White House for information indicated “misapprehension” there over the reports from Israel about new settlements. Later, an official who asked to be identified as a “U.S. source” told reporters it was “not the case” that a “strong protest” had been sent to Israel. But he acknowledged that he was not certain of his facts. Emphasizing that “our position has not changed” in opposition to settlements, the source said, “We are obviously going to pursue this matter at the appropriate Israeli level.”)

There were angry Israel reactions to the reports of the anger in Washington. Officials pointed out that the decision which reportedly had raised Washington’s ire concerned Nahal paramilitary, settlements, not civilian villages.

According to Cabinet Secretary Arye Naor, the decision was taken by the Cabinet “several weeks ago.” It provided, Naor said, for the establishment of three Nahal outposts: one near Jericho, one in the north of the Jordan Valley, and one in the south of the Gaza Strip.

Naor said the decision came after the three month freeze following Camp David had ended. He pointed out that a Nahal site did not necessarily mean that a civilian settlement would eventually rise on the spot but this has happened in the past in many or most instances.

Meanwhile, U.S. special envoy Alfred Atherton held an unscheduled meeting this evening with Begin at the Premier’s Jerusalem home. Also present was Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan.

After the meeting, Atherton said he had taken no formal message from President Carter to Begin. “But I did convey the President’s personal good wishes to the Prime Minister, “he said. The envoy also stated, in reply to a reporter’s question, that his request for a meeting with Begin was “perfectly natural and unrelated to either development or lack of development in our meetings with the Israeli team.”

Atherton said that the question of Israeli settlements in the occupied areas was not discussed. He said “I simply wanted to see Mr. Begin” and that he had used the opportunity “to review the general Mideast situation” with Begin and Dayan. The meeting came after a second, hour-long working session between Atherton and State Department legal aide Herbert Hansell and an Israeli team of specialists led by Begin’s political aide, Dr. Eliahu Ben-Elissar. The two teams had first convened in the morning for what was described as an initial survey of the state of the negotiations.

Atherton then lunched privately with Dayan at a Jerusalem hotel. Sources said the two men reviewed Iran and other regional and world events and had not entered into the minutiae of the negotiating issues that Atherton is here to try and resolve.

The afternoon working session was believed to have marked the beginning on detailed examination of the disputes over Articles IV and VI of the draft peace treaties. Another working session has been scheduled for tomorrow morning, and the envoy’s schedule is said to be flexible. He is expected to travel on to Cairo some time over the weekend.

Recommended from JTA