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Aug 15, 2016
Secret 1970 Document Confirms First West Bank Settlements Built on a Lie
In minutes of meeting in then-Defense Minister Moshe Dayan’s office, top Israeli officials discussed how to violate international law in building settlement of Kiryat Arba, next to Hebron.
by Yotam Berger
It has long been an open secret that the settlement enterprise was launched under false pretenses, involving the expropriation of Palestinian land for ostensibly military purposes when the true intent was to build civilian settlements, which is a violation of international law.
Now a secret document from 1970 has surfaced confirming this long-held assumption. The document, a copy of which has been obtained by Haaretz, details a meeting in the office of then-Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, at which government and military leaders spoke explicitly about how to carry out this deception in the building of Kiryat Arba, next to Hebron.
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and Prime Minister Golda Meir in the Knesset, July 26, 1972. Credit: AP Photo
The document is titled “The method for establishing Kiryat Arba.” It contains minutes of a meeting held in July 1970 in Dayan’s office, and describes how the land on which the settlement was to be built would be confiscated by military order, ostensibly for security purposes, and that the first buildings on it would be falsely presented as being strictly for military use.
Aside from Dayan, the participants include the director general of the Housing Ministry; the Israel Defense Forces’ commander in the West Bank; and the coordinator of government activities in the territories.
‘Construction will be presented as…’
According to the minutes, these officials decided to build “250 housing units in Kiryat Arba within the perimeter of the area specified for the military unit’s use. All the building will be done by the Defense Ministry and will be presented as construction for the IDF’s needs.”
A “few days” after Base 14 had “completed its activities,” the document continued, “the commander of the Hebron district will summon the mayor of Hebron, and in the course of raising other issues, will inform him that we’ve started to build houses on the military base in preparation for winter.”
2015 map of West Bank settlement Kiryat ArbaPeace Now