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August 02, 1974 - Image 42

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1974-08-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

West Bank Squatters Avoid Show down, Yield to Government
Demand to Abandon Settlement; Political Dispute Continues

TEL AVIV (JTA) — The
150 settlers who sought to
establish a settlement at
Sebastia near Nablus on the
West Bank averted a show-
down with the government
Sunday night by deciding to
leave their encampment a
few minutes before a govern-
ment deadline.
A spokesman for the set-
tlers, most of them Orthodox,
said they were not leaving
of their own free will but
that they did not want a con-
frontation with the Israel De-
fense Force.
Defense Minister Shimon
Peres had informed the 35
families, in line with a cab-

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inet decision Friday, that if
they did not leave the place
on their own volition, the
government would use its
authority to remove them.
The spokesman said they
did not return directly to
their homes but went as a
group to Jerusalem to press
their demand for permission
to create a settlement in the
Samaria section.
Although the cabinet acted
promptly in deciding that the
settlers had acted illegally
and could not remain, no
government action was taken
because of, first, the Sabbath,
and then Tisha b'Av. The
families had tried a similar
effort last month but failed.
On the second attempt they
managed to evade an army
cordon around the area, some
eight miles northwest of
Hebron. The settlers had
made no secret of their
plans, even informing Israeli
officials. Several of the set-
tlers met with Peres and
with Minister Israel Galilee,
but received only a repetition.
of the government position
that there could be no settle-
ments in the area without
approval by government.
The settlers recruited hun-
dreds of supporters who di-
vided themselves into four
separate convoys, each tak-
ing a different route. A fifth
convoy was the real one,
taking a route officials had
not expected and successfully
making their way to the
chosen site. One group of
settlers placed barbed wire
around their encampment.
Another erected tents for
themselves sand for the many
children in the group. They
then settled down for what

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proved to be a two-day stay.
Informal negotiations ini-
tially undertaken by Mena-
hem Begin, a leader of the
opposition Likud, with Peres,
brought a suggestion to the
settlers that they move to a
site more to the east, on a
slope leading to the Jordan
Valley. But the formal warn-
ing from Peres contained no
reference to the suggested
alternative. Two groups of
10 men each tied themselves
with iron chains to a tree to
bar any efforts by army
troops to remove them by
force. Then guests began to
arrive, some 2,000 support-
ers, who included 18 mem-
bers of the Knesset, among
them Begin, Arik Sharon,
Eytan Livni, Geulah Cohen,
Yosef Tamir and others of
the Likud, the National Re-
ligious Party and the Aguda
groups.
As the army moved in
equipment to evict the set-
tlers, Knesset members be-
gan entreating the settlers
to leave on their own volition.
The mayor of Nablus, Aziz
el Masri, declared there was
rising resentment in the West
Bank city against the settle-
ment. The mayor made a
formal protest to the military
governor who, the mayor
said, had given him assur-
ances previously that there
would be no settlement.
One of the most serious
clashes sparked by the un-
successful attempt to estab-
lish a settlement was at the
farm owned by Likud leader
Arik Sharon in the Negev
where groups of Mapam
youth and Moked members
congregated Friday night.
They set up a tent and put
up flags and posters against
the attempted settlement.
The demonstration w a s
quiet until Mordehai Levy,
who was Sharon's driver dur-
ing • the Yom Kippur War,
became involved in a fight
with demonstrators and his
right leg, which had been
broken during the war was
broken again, and he was
hospitalized. Later, more
Sharon supporters arrived,
and fights ensued until police
forcibly removed the demon-
strators from the farm. "
Earlier Friday, in Jerusa-
lem, a group of Hebrew Uni-
versity students affiliated with
the Labor Party were dem-
onstrating at a major shop-
ping area with signs such as
"Law Is Not a Joke," and
"Begin — the Negev Is
Empty," when they became
involved in a clash with re-
ligious youths who tore their
signs and poured water into
their megaphones.
Avraham Gal, secretary of
the Labor Party Students
Organization, was taken to
the hospital after being
kicked in the head. The stu-
dents had passed out leaflets
accusing Likud of introduc-
ing fascism into Israel and
trying to abolish democracy.
The students demanded that
the government act promptly
against the settlers and bring
them to court.
The writer Amos Oz, one of
the leaders in the demonstra-
tion at Sharon's farm, noted:
"This farm symbolizes the
contradiction between the
Sebastia act and the notion
of settlement. Here are thou-
sands of dunams owned by

one person who employs
Arab workers. Here there is
plenty of land, waiting for
Jews. They do not need to
look for land near Nablus."
The attempted settlement
raised political differences
which appeared likely to con-
tinue even after the settlers
decided to give up the at-
tempt under government
pressure.
Doves in the cabinet said it
was an illegal action which
should be dealt with severely.
Other s, particularly Rafi
ministers including Pere s,
agreed the settlers should be
forced out, if ne - essary, but
that action should be as deli-
cate as possible, to dampen
widespread differences
among Israelis.
Shulamit Aloni, head of the
Citizens Rights Party, asked
at the cabinet session Friday,
at which the decision was
made to force evacuation of
the settlement, how it hap-
pened that the army did not
prevent the settlers from
reaching the site, despite
clear advance notice of their
intentions.
Some observers said for-
mer Defense Minister Moshe
Dayan was partially respon-
sible for the settlement at-
tempt. He spoke in favor of
Jewish settlement in the
West Bank in the Knesset
last week, a statement con-
sidered as giving a green
light to the religious and
Likud forces. But there was
a general consensus among
Premier Yitzhak Rabin's
coalition partners that no
matter what any particular
minister thought about Jew-
ish settlement on the West
Bank in general, there was
no justification for partisan
settlements without govern-
ment approval.
A group of 15 professors
from universities throughout
the country urged Premier
Rabin to enable Jews to set-
tle in the Samaria region but
Mapam spoke out strongly in
opposition.

42—Friday, August 2, 1974

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Attacks on French Jewish'
Cemeteries Called Savage

PARIS (JTA) — A group
of unidentified vandals last
weekend desecrated the Jew-
ish cemetery of Fergersheim
near Strasbourg, destroying
nearly 80 graves.
It is the fourth attack on
a Jewish cemetery in the
region within the last two
months. The area is in east-
ern France near the West
German border.
The chief rabbi of the
Strasbourg region, Max War-
chawski, said he was con-
vinced the attack was a "con-
certed and deliberate action"
rather than the work of un-
organized hoodlums. The
president of the Strasbourg
Jewish community, Jean Ka-

David a Dwarf?

TEL AVIV (JTA)—A re-
sent study by a prominent
Egyptologist states that in
the biblical story of David
ar.d Goliath, that Goliath
was not a giant and David
was really a dwarf.
Omar Rau, author of the
study, said that the biblical
giant was actually 5 feet,
41/2 inches while David was
a dwarf. Rau explained that
those who described the two
biblical figures to the con-
trary might have been suf-
fering from "an optical. illu-
sion."
He said he made the study
in an effort to clear Goliath's
name.

hane, has lodged a formal)
complaint.
The police are investigat-
ing the incident, but thus far,
no trace of the perpetrators
has been found.
In one of the earlier at-
tacks, heavy machinery waf:,
used and the destruction was
so savage that 198 gray
out of a total of 264. w
destroyed beyond reco,
tion.

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