Archives Reveal What Israeli Left-wing Leaders Truly Thought About Early Settlement Efforts

While Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin warned about the settlers, Shimon Peres pushed to negotiate with them

Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet
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Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet

Before Hanukkah 1975, 46 years ago, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin told his ministers at an otherwise routine cabinet meeting that “according to our reports” ... “there are preparations for settlements” next week. He explained the effort would “take place on a large scale” in both Judea and Samaria.

Eight years after the conquest of the West Bank in the Six-Day War, only a handful of settlers were living in the area, in Gush Etzion and Kiryat Arba. The Samaria region, which today is home to tens of thousands of settlers in dozens of communities, was empty of Jews at the time. The purpose of the discussion was to decide how to deal with the attempt by members of the Gush Emunim protest movement to settle in Samaria, even before the government had decided on an official policy.

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