Israel has stopped work on five proposed new Jewish settlements on Arab land in the Jordan Valley.
Israel has stopped work on five proposed new Jewish settlements on Arab land in the Jordan Valley. Announcing the decision on August 15, Prime Minister Menachem Begin said the halt to the settlements was to give a psychological boost to the Middle East summit in the United State on September 5 which both Egypt and Israel will attend. But Mr. Begin told reporters that he considered Israel still had a right to put up such settlements.
SYNOPSIS: Since 1967 some 80 Israeli settlements have been established in the occupied territories. Haris is one of the newest. Agriculture Minister Ariel Sharon - Who keenly advocated mass Jewish settlement on Arab land - would like to see an ultimate population her of 100,000 people. But for the time being only soldiers, settlers and their relatives can pass into the young township. The barbed wire blockade serves for security, and to keep out as yet unwelcome news-cameramen.
Security is just as tight at nearby Tapuah, but her journalists are encouraged, for the settlers are celebrating the changeover in status for the township from a military to a civilian settlement. There are new gardens to be established and homely decorations made. Mr. Begin has describes such settlers as Israel's "pioneering, fighting youth" who are settling the land as security outposts. Israeli Foreign Minister General Dayan has endorsed the need for such townships, claiming they are essential to Israel's security.
The ceremonial arrival of the Torah scroll at Tapuah calls for celebratory dancing. These families belong to the ultra-nationalist Gush Emunim movement and have no hesitation in condemning the decision to halt settlement activity in the Jordan Valley. Their spokesman has already warned that they will fight what they see as an " Anti-Zionist trend".