Bookstore Glossary Library Links News Publications Timeline Virtual Israel Experience
Anti-Semitism Biography History Holocaust Israel Israel Education Myths & Facts Politics Religion Travel US & Israel Vital Stats Women
donate subscribe Contact About Home

Conversation between Israeli FM Dayan and Israeli DM Weizman,
with US Sec. State Vance US Sec. Def. Brown

(September 7, 1978)



Cyrus Vance

Zbigniew Brzezinski

Harold Brown

Roy Atherton

Walter Mondale


Moshe Dayan

Ezer Weizman

Aharon Barak

Abraham Tamir

Elyakim Rubinstein

Vance: On the issue of “self-rule” the first questions of the President are: what does Israel want with regards to the number of refugees, and what kind of arrangements do you wish to have on that issue?

Dayan: Do you mean refugees in the context of an autonomy plan?

Weizman: How many will be permitted to enter?

Vance: And in what process?

Dayan: There are two groups. One is the displaced persons that came from the West Bank, and if they want to reunite with their families it will occur in the West Bank and Gaza (About 25,000 left Gaza). The second group includes the refugees of 1948. When they are talking about the return of the refugees they mean to what is now the State of Israel. Their reunification can be done in the West Bank and Gaza. These are the two groups. And we thought more about the first group. That part of it may wish to return and live with their families and the other part may wish to return to the places that they left – and both are in the West Bank.

After 1967 their numbers were estimated to be 130,000 and since then 40-50 thousand returned and re-united with their families. This number refers to those who left 11 years ago. We thought that if they wished to return we shall do it jointly the Autonomy Council, and we shall approve of it. We are talking about a logical number. I don’t talk now about the final stages, but I don’t foresee big problems on that issue. Our approach is that if they can be absorbed economically and pose no security threat, there are no reasons to prevent it and we shall take a positive approach. When we discussed it, we intended not have a limit on the Israeli settlements, and both these subjects appear in our plan and it seems that there should be a link between the two.

Vance: In principle what you wish is that during a certain period of time, all displaced persons will be permitted to return to the West Bank.

Dayan: I can’t give you a final answer, but it seems that we will not object, unless it will be used for negative purposes. There will be a screening and the condition is that there will be no new refugee camps and as long as it is concurrent with our plans for settlements.

Vance: How will it be decided if it is all or part, and who will be allowed to return?

Dayan: There is a committee.

Barak: This is Clause 21 of the plan for self-rule. They should address their request to the committee and if there will be no objection they will be allowed to return.

Vance: According to your proposal it has to be unanimous.

Dayan: It also has to reflect on the working forces in the country. We cannot flood our working forces…We can let them come to Nablus for example and then find them in the following day working in Israel. That is why there should be certain supervision. If for some reason they left their land, or homes, and their families can absorb them, we will not object.

Brzezinski: Then it means a unanimous decision and each side has the veto power.

Vance: Are we talking about refugees in a large spectrum? Moshe Dayan referred to displaced persons.

Barak: Refugees do not include displaced persons, because it is not restricted only to the West Bank.

Weizman: Only the refugees of 67’. 1948 is altogether a different story. I can give a broad declaration, or we can get close to a broad declaration that ’67 refugees could return. The people in the administration in Nablus, Jenin and other places will not favor for all to return, because they don’t have room. This is why Moshe Dayan said that there should not be new refugee’s camps. If they will be absorbed in the economy of the West Bank – it is good. But if in other places they build small shacks, then no. In my opinion the refugees of ’67 will be allowed to return on the condition that they will be absorbed in the normal life of the region.

Brown: That’s the principle, but subjected to a veto of either side.

Vance: What about the refugees of 1948?

Dayan: When they talk about returning, it means returning to Israel, not to the West Bank. And this presents a variety of issues. Here, there is not a question of re-uniting with a family, and it has no connection to the West Bank and Gaza. As for Gaza, it is estimated that the number is around 190,000, though in my opinion not more than 150,000. This is a significant number of people who live in refugee camps. I do not think that someone would suggest adding more refugees. The principle idea and it also related to the Egyptian paper, that the UN resolution grants the right – between compensation and return – to Israel and not the West Bank. Those of the refugees of ’48 who wished to go to Gaza or the West Bank could have done so during the 20 years before ’67. They have not done so when it was under Arab control and I doubt that after 11 years (since ’67) they will choose to do so now.

Vance: In the past, we discussed the question of whether it is possible to convene a special meeting on the subject of the refugees prior to the ’67. Is it feasible?

Dayan: In my opinion there is room to discuss it, and there should be a body that can deal with this issue. It is essential to find a place to settle them so that they will cease to be refugees and return to normal life. The majority of them reside now in Jordan (except for those in Lebanon) and though I cannot speak for Jordan, many of them are citizens, they have work, maybe not with the right equipment, and Jordan has to decide whether it wishes to accept them and solve the problem. The most difficult cases are with those that are in Lebanon.

Vance: Who should be the body that will deal with the refugees of ’48?

Dayan: It was discussed last year. It may have to be in the countries where they live. For example, the refugees in Lebanon should be represented by the Government of Lebanon. From what I hear, many have work in a variety of occupations – taxi drivers etc. – and they can settle in the countries where they reside now. Many may want to receive compensations and remain in their places. It requires having the permission of their respective governments.

Weizman: It is obvious that the problem of 1948 is much more difficult than that of 1967. The latter is easier to solve. As for 1948 there are new realities. The majority of the refugees were not born during the British Mandate, but rather in the refugee camps and it is difficult for them to return to Israel. Such is the case with Jewish refugees in Iraq, Syria and North Africa, who cannot return to Israel. Prime Minister Menachem Begin said that the sum of the compensations should be $130 billion and that we have to be as practical as possible.

There is a solution for ’67 but ’48 cannot be solved in old Palestine which is now Israel. If Anwar Sadat were to tell me that there would be a water pipe from the Nile River to the Negev, and to the Sinai that will turn the desert into flourishing areas, then there might be a partial solution. The Yamit-Raffah region was a desert 10 years ago and now it is flourishing. That’s why there is no simple and direct answer, but the Arab countries should take a stand.

Vance: Are you referring to Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria?

Weizman: Anyone who will accept an arrangement with us and will accept the compensation. The majority dwell in various countries. There is not that many in the refugee camps.

Dayan: It is difficult for us to be specific because we did not think much about it. If a proper institution will be established, Israel will be part of it. The compensation to Jewish refugees should also be considered…

Vance: How would you deal with the problem of A, B, or C that does not reside in the West Bank or in Gaza, but wishes to live there? Would it be possible for such a person, or a family to come? How would you solve the whole issue of immigration? Is it going to be based on Clause 21?

Weizman: I think that it would be the same.

Dayan: There are issues that I am sure we have to deal with together with the representatives of the Arabs who live in the territories and in Israel. For example, how to distribute the water resources? Every drilling in Nablus will draw water from the same reservoir that we are using in Israel’s Plains Region and therefore it affects us directly. What we do has an impact on Gaza. Therefore, there should be co-operation as to how and where to drill and how to distribute the water to the population. This is preferable over one country imposing its will on the other. Otherwise it will end up in chaos.

(Vice President Mondale enters)

Barak: When we wrote Clause 21 of the plan we considered the refugees of 1967 and I don’t think we particularly focused on someone who wishes to purchase a house…But the first part of Clause 21 relates to the whole subject of immigration and its second part encompasses the norms of logical numbers with regards to the refugees. It is covered from a legal perspective, not political, in that clause and the committee will discuss both.

Vance: Indeed, it poses political problems for you.

Dayan: No, there are millions over there. More Arabs are leaving than coming in. They go to study in Egypt and other places. Certain Arab countries offer employment, but Gaza is an exception. In my opinion the issue here is immigration. We don’t anticipate that there will be great pressure except for this defined group that left the region – totaling one million. I have no idea how many have settled down in other places.

Vance: Regarding security matters: The point raised by the President has to do with the interim period. What are your demands for military camps and facilities in the West Bank and Gaza? What would you want?

Weizman: To be honest, I do not wish to say today, 10 battalions, and so many cannons etc. the issue that I’m interested in is what will happen after five years.

Vance: I began with the easy matter.

Weizman: What we have now is good for five years. The question is what will happen in the future?

Vance: During the five year period will there be more locations, or would you reduce the number of the bases?

Brown: Not all are operative now.

Weizman: Some of them are instructional centers with operative capabilities as Engineering and infantry bases. Some can be re-deployed in Israel proper during the five-year period. But I do not wish to talk here and now about quantities. We need alert stations, first and foremost for the Air Force, the deployment of forces in cross-roads, and mapping roads from East to West. There will be things that we will have to build and others that will have to be evacuated. I can say that we will need the two-three divisions that are currently deployed in the (Jordan) Valley on the road to Jerusalem, and to Nablus – forces that include a mixture of tanks, artillery and something else that is crucially important concerning the use of our reserves. There are also armored divisions in the West Bank and we plan to relocate them, so that they could be activated in a time of emergency.

Brown: We have the same thing in Europe.

Weizman: I do not wish to say exactly what our demands are.

Vance: When would you be able to do so?

Weizman: You mean while we are at Camp David? We will be able to. We shall discuss it with Moshe Dayan who was in charge of capturing of the West Bank in 1967.

Brown: You can present it roughly now and refine it later.

Weizman: It could be done while we are here. We now have 20 strongholds along the Jordan Valley. We control the bridges. Then, when you proceed a few miles we have pre-set trenches that are not manned, but need to be. I will not provide more details now.

Vance: If we talk about the termination of the military occupation there should be redeployment of positions and a reduction of their numbers. Otherwise there is no such thing as an ending of the military occupation.

Tamir: As long as there is an imminent threat from the East it is necessary to defend the Jordan River. As long as we do not have peace with Syria, Jordan and Iraq, we have to maintain the same deployment that we now have on the Eastern Front.

Vance: Is it not possible to change their disposition?

Weizman: I don’t think so. We are talking about an interim period, while we are still confronted with Syria, Jordan and Iraq. Now we think that we should deploy additional forces in the West Bank, but we have not done so because of budgetary considerations. We wish to expand our prepositions around Jerusalem, in Anatot.

Dayan: What we think is that if we are to execute our plans our forces, we will not interfere even indirectly, in the daily lives of the Arabs as long as they do not pose a threat to our security. I’m referring to the cancellation of the military administration, and evacuating it from inside the cities. And from a psychological perspective, if there are military camps inside populated areas, it is possible to remove them.

Weizman: No problem. Once we are done, the Military Administration exits the cities – from Nablus, Gaza, and Ramallah. The military governors are now situated in the cities and their removal will have psychological and visual effects – there are currently 15 such governors. The problem of redeployment in the West Bank is very similar to the current situation. Training camps can be removed…we now conduct all our trainings in the West Bank and the Sinai. If we remove the military it may pose a physical problem. We have not spoken about aviation and we have to talk about it. F-15 and F-16s will fly all over Israel within 5-6 years, so we have to determine whether our military presence in the West Bank is essential. We have to stay along the Jordan River, we need warning systems and to discuss numbers and locations. Once there is an agreement, the Military Administration exits.

Dayan: If there is a camp in the middle of the city, will it be removed?

Weizman: Yes, like in Chuarah.

Dayan: I’m asking so that they do not suspect us of doing otherwise.

Brown: I know how the area looks. I checked it yesterday. For your military purposes, you need a series of points along the Valley on the West and then quick access and control on the east-west road, but all this can be done in unpopulated areas.

Weizman: A few words on that issue. If I’m pressured, I can present you with a map – I have a map detailing all our deployments in camps, roads and valleys etc. I think that we need certain concentrations of pre-set forces, electronic devices and accessible roads and there is a difference between what happen in the next five years, and afterwards. Much depends on the situation in Syria, because today, Syria poses a real threat. The Syrians are in a better position than our Egyptian friends. And this is a threat.

Vance: How much of a threat – if in the meantime there will be a peace agreement with Syria?

Weizman: Gammasi and Anwar Sadat once told me something when we discussed what forces will the Egyptians need in the Sinai. He said: ‘Airfields here and there for defense.’ And I replied: From Whom? And he said: ‘From you.’ There is a psychological awakening. If there is peace with Egypt and there will be a couple of divisions stationed there, we will be less worried about Syria, because she will also know that she is on her own, similar to Iraq.

Brown: Over there you need a warning system, because it might take 48 hours.

Weizman: I am not willing to submit a map today.

(The meeting resumes at 5 PM with Lewis)

Brzezinski: This morning we spoke about those elements in your proposals for the West Bank with some modification, so it will enable Anwar Sadat to relate to issues of authority, security, settlements and the subject of sovereignty beyond five years. Is there a way to structure it in such a way so that Anwar Sadat will receive what he needs in order to reach a solution and pave the road for an ongoing negotiation process? I have the feeling that we are becoming too specific a little too early. I have to find an accepted concept for the interim period so that you and the Egyptians will be able to accept it– one political and the other one military. There should be a presumption that there is some kind of an arrangement for the interim period that is plausible. The basis should be a proposal for the short-term and create the preliminary conditions for the long-term. Maybe it should be based on the premise that an arrangement for the five-year period will be appetizing enough to allow it.

In the meeting this morning, we have talked about four subjects that are in dispute.

However, they might pave the road for an Israeli-Jordanian agreement that is related to the five years; the source of authority, security issues and the question of withdrawal, the settlements, sovereignty and what are the indications for having a solution after five years are. I propose to discuss those issues.

Mondale: The subject should be the security issue in the West Bank that the Egyptians are willing to discuss at length and it might be the easiest one. The question of territorial sovereignty is the most difficult one. The settlements are a slightly easier subject. The Sinai could be the key that is required now. I can’t speak for the Israeli delegation, but I assume that you might be interested in results. The issue here is the connection between the Sinai and the West Bank.

Weizman: The military issue is the easiest one. I don’t think that we should go into details or generalizations on this issue. We start at the Jordan River and proceed westwards to the bridges. We need positions along the River that can be discussed. I do not know who will discuss this issue; the Egyptians?

Mondale: My impression is that the Egyptians are ready to take long strides on reaching an agreement on security measures in the West Bank. They may find some difficulties in discussing the issues of sovereignty and of withdrawal. I may be mistaken.

Brzezinski: The Egyptians suggested privately that they are willing to go a long way regarding an agreement on the security points along the River. If we could agree on a general formula on security, then the Egyptians will discuss it, if the Jordanians do not join…Jimmy Carter wanted to know what Israel’s conception on security is. I do not know how specific we could be.

Brown: It is possible to say that they will not be in populated areas – but there is still a need to discuss how many with regards to the military outposts and the roads. We should not overlook one point and this is the political dimension. This requires a visible reduction of the military presence; maybe exit the cities.

Weizman: The issues that we discussed before are sufficient from our stand point. Namely, we need lookout posts along the Jordan River, buffer zones, radar stations and roads.

Mondale: Do you want the West Bank to be demilitarized for other forces?

Weizman: That’s a prerequisite. It’s inconceivable to have one regiment of ours and one of Jordan’s.

Brzezinski: So it has to do with determining the scope of the military occupation.

Weizman: Administration.

Brzezinski: O.K. so be it. For the Arabs it is a retreat according to 242.

Tamir: There was such a problem in the last agreement and we wrote: Redeployment.

Mondale: Is it possible to discuss settlements as security measures by establishing them in critical spots?

Weizman: I would stick to purely military posts and even remove one of the camps and redeploy rather than mixing with settlements, even if it seems semi-military.

Dayan: We have to discuss this issue openly and sincerely. There are two points: One includes settlements and security forces and the other – military units that are assigned to the military administration. As for the latter it should be cancelled and left to let them establish their own local police and deal with their own security problems, as long as they can assure us that there will not be terror attacks against Israel. If they can’t, then there will be a problem. But if they can, our military will not interfere in any way by entering into towns and villages, impeding on their lives. There is the question of our security and the defense of Israel and Weizman already discussed it in the last meeting. The basic points include the electronic facilities, the deployment along the Jordan River, dealing with the borders and protecting us against infiltrators and along the Gaza Strip. I do not wish to do anything with the settlements so that we will not be blamed of a cover-up. Whatever is agreed upon has to be fair and clearly understood by all. There is an additional basic question as to whether we can receive a concession from you and all that the Prime Minister and I understood yesterday from the President.

(Cyrus Vance enters)

Brzezinski: We discussed redeployment.

Dayan: We don’t want to have a misunderstanding and we will be blamed as if we tried to deceive anyone as if it is a military facility, but in reality it is a settlement. Everything should be defined according to its truthful purpose. If I know your take on the four points – I do not believe that the Egyptians will easily change what is already written in their paper that is entirely unaccepted by us; unless you bring your own proposal for an agenda that will be accepted by the Egyptians. It is very difficult for me to propose anything and persuade the Egyptians.

Brzezinski: The subjects are: The source of authority, security, withdrawals, settlements and sovereignty.

Vance: With regards to the source of authority, we were thinking that it should not derive from the Military Governors but from the two sides, namely – Israel and Jordan. An agreement should make sure that the military administration ceases to exist.

Barak: What will happen until Jordan enters?

Vance: There will be the Egyptians, you and an invitation for the Jordanians, and if they do not arrive, you shall derive your authority from an agreement with the Egyptians. With regard to settlements, we have to distinguish between the West Bank and Gaza. As for the West Bank, the construction of the new settlements should be frozen in the interim period and their numbers will be discussed by the participating parties. As for the Sinai, in my opinion it is different and the Egyptians and Anwar Sadat will be firm.

Weizman: I proposed to Anwar Sadat to expand the Gaza Strip – after all, the Sinai is a large area and there are settlements in various places – between Sharem and Eilat and in the Raffah Region.

Vance: There are some settlements…

Weizman: We will take the Raffah Region which includes Yamit and the airfield. I proposed it once and it was not rejected by the Egyptians so that every solution on Gaza will include those elements as well. It was raised today in the meeting between Jimmy Carter, Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin. It will be a problem. I reiterated to Anwar Sadat that this question poses a principle matter.

Vance: Yes.

Weizman: Because this is a small part of the vast Sinai area.

Vance: This is a matter of principle, a real principle and the return to the 1967 borders.

Brzezinski: We were talking about the West Bank.

Weizman: There are different settlements that existed for 8-10 years. We spoke about making changes in the international borders. After what happened between us and the Egyptians is it so difficult to find a solution for 6-7 settlements that will remain under a certain arrangement?

Vance: What is the security concern about those settlements in the Sinai?

Weizman: It is not just a security mater. Now, more than before, if Anwar Sadat speaks about principles and mysticism, that is the last thing that we wish for. There is a need to have faith, within Israel’s public, that we are not neglecting them after we had wars three times in the past 30 years. With all due respect to Anwar Sadat, it can be regarded as a token of understanding. From a security perspective, if we wish to live together, sometimes the proximity of the two peoples helps. For example, in the Jordan Valley, the more the Jordanians develop projects; we are less worried, because no one will start something stupid. Take a bigger subject such as the Suez Canal. It is necessary to think twice. Nothing illogical is expected. The fact that we have settlements between us and the Egyptians serves a civilian buffer zone of sorts. It will not stop tanks. If the tanks move, I’ll tell them to dismantle.

Vance: If you had joint patrols with the Egyptians along the border of Gaza will that provide sufficient security?

Brown: From the perspective of terrorism?

Weizman: Jerusalem, too, is in danger of terrorism. Is the question of where we are and where we live going to help in better controlling the region? This is not a pure military issue. My question is – will it serve as a buffer zone to other areas in Israel? In Gaza you have 400,000 Arabs. (Aharon Barak in Hebrew to Weizman: Give them more substance regarding the importance of security.

They were not convinced).

Vance: I referred to the West Bank – in our opinion there should be a freeze and it should be discussed. With regards to the Sinai, we see no justification for the remaining of the settlements there.

Dayan: I will ask about the West Bank. When we say freeze – does it relate to settlements or to number of settlers? If the settlement plans were to grow, would there be restrictions on additional settlers?

Brzezinski: There are 51 settlements and it is possible to place 100, 200, 300 people in each and the problem persists.

Dayan: If it is based on agriculture, then we are talking about 100 families, but usually we don’t reach that number. But if you talk about a place like Kiryat-Arba, or Ma’aleh Adumim that are not designated as villages, I do not want it to be understood that I agree with your concept and I’m ready to answer all questions so that our position is clear.

Vance: The President has not arrived at a final conclusion. But for the moment it can be said that we are relating both to settlements and people. This is an ad referendum for the President.

Barak: With regards to settlements in the West Bank – when freezing is talked about for five years, what happens if there is no agreement after five years? Will the freeze continue until an agreement is reached, or after that period there won’t be freezing?

Vance: There will be a freeze until an agreement is reached.

Brzezinski: If everything continues – so will the freezing.

Dayan: There are three points that are tied to the settlements. I have mentioned one. First – the immigration of additional Arabs, 50-60-100 thousand will flock to the region from the other side, form Jordan. The meaning of it is that on the one hand we agree that there will be no more settlements, and on the other hand, we will agree to have additional Arabs who enter the West Bank to unite with their families. When we presented our proposal, we were thinking about economic absorption without a freeze. But if you are going to enforce a five-year freeze, then everything should be frozen – why would the Arabs be allowed to join the current population? There is a link between the two: Arab immigration and the continuation of the settlement enterprise.

Vance: First, because we are trying to resolve the problem of the misplaced people, and that’s a step in that direction. Second, people will be free to come and purchase land on an individual basis. The problem is the increasing numbers of the settlements.

Dayan: It is necessary to see what happens if there is a small town like Kiryat-Arba that is not allowed to live normally. We will create a problem, not solve one. I understand what you are thinking, but to freeze settlements and limit its population, while 10 thousands Arabs will be permitted to enter Nablus and forbid an additional 10 families to Kiryat-Arba?

Brzezinski: This is an effort to solve the problem of the Palestinian Arabs. If we don’t grant them an independent state, it is necessary to give the feeling that they have a place that they can control and that we are not providing a modest plan that in reality is an act of colonization.

Dayan: I’m aware that I will not be able to convince them on the issue of the Gaza Strip. But, maybe by combining your efforts with the efforts of international institutions, it will be possible to solve the problems of these refugees by housing and by new villages. Let us create new Arab settlements, housing and solve the refugee problem, but without limiting us. I cannot believe that you will expect Israel to deal with immigration and not deal with Kiryat-Arba.

Brzezinski: To increase the area of Gaza. Does it mean to expand the Sinai? (Points to a map); include the settlements near Raffah, in autonomy? We suggested it to Anwar Sadat and Gammasi. Anwar Sadat told me that he does not object to increase the Gaza Strip by a certain area. He did not say so with regards to the relations with the existing settlements.

Weizman: Whatever happens there will be after five years.

Brzezinski: Does it include Yamit?

Weizman: Yamit is a settlement that is a miniscule part of greater Egypt and after 30 years, it is necessary on their part to contribute something.

Brzezinski: What about the idea of giving Egypt a small part of the Negev?

Vance: (nervous) The Egyptians rejected it. (Weizman points to it on the map). Anwar Sadat is against it.

Weizman: When we talked about settlements in the Sinai, including air force – they have two old air fields that we used. We have altogether six airfields: In Al-Arish, Sharem and Bir-Gafgafah.

Vance: to Barak: Anwar Sadat said no to the idea of land exchanges.

Weizman: We have aviation problems. People do not perceive how small Israel is. If they have two air fields with Migs…

Brown: We talked about demilitarization.

Weizman: I am talking about the Egyptian air fields in Central Sinai. If they come with fighting planes we have to do something about it, or demilitarize all of the Sinai. If we leave the Straights, the only close-by military force is the air field. The closest one of them to Eilat is the one we call Etzion. And theirs is in Ras-Al-Naker. You most definitely have photographs.

Brown: These are modern air fields.

Weizman: We have 200 airplanes there.

Brown: If your air force wasn’t so big, you wouldn’t have needed it (smiling).

Dayan: Three points against freezing: One, regarding immigration; second, absorbing refugees in an area in Gaza and its vicinity; third, we do not intend to colonize the West Bank – we shall say what are the settlements, then show a plan for 16, 17 and it will not be unlimited. These are our thoughts for five years and if all agree, we will consent to immigration and dealing with refugees.

Brzezinski: On Clause 21 you suggest that the joint authority will decide on the return of refugees and by unanimous agreement, these people will have the right to be there. This can be applied to Israelis by unanimous consent, and if all four agree, that’s fine. This is a way to solve the issue and it is more acceptable than freezing.

Dayan: I wish to clarify – no ambushes and no coming out of the woods – but to agree before the official agreement. What are you afraid of? But we should not postpone it so that it will be ratified later on by a joint authority, but rather agree on it right now.

Brzezinski: This constitutes a stabilizing impact on what will happen. And if it can be symmetrical, there should be a unanimous agreement both on the refugees and the settlements. It might work.

Dayan: I am talking about the current situation. If we arrive at an agreement we will say O.K. We will accept the criteria and all we will have to decide later will be on its essence.

Brzezinski: You spoke of 50-100 thousands. What is number regarding the settlements?

Dayan: There were about 150 thousand that left in 1967. Most of whom left out of fear before the war even started. 40-50 thousand returned in the ensuing years. No one knows how many of the 100 thousands will return.

Barak: He asked about settlements.

Dayan: I’m talking now about the five years, and this is not my specific area (Zbigniew Brzezinski with a smile: ‘Whoever deal with that I do not wish to hear his opinion’). I spoke with the Minister of Agriculture and it is around 15-20 settlements in the Jordan Valley.

Brzezinski: How many people?

Dayan: 100 families per settlement.

Brzezinski: Altogether, 5,000 people.

Weizman: Let us observe it in a theoretical perspective. Not 10-15-25. After so many years – take the Hebron and the Etzion Regions – there were settlements there before 1948 and they were ruined by the Jordanians after the war of 1948. The Jews purchased lands in a very-legal fashion during the ‘40s, and that’s why the West Bank is different from the Sinai. The West Bank and Israel are economically one entity. As for drilling for water, Moshe Dayan referred to italready. Geographically, the Israeli Arabs are the same as those of the West Bank. Would we be able to find a solution that all can live together? With regards to the refugees our government decided not to confiscate land.

A previous government has done so. We have made a decision either to purchase land or regard the Jordanian’s government as ours, but we could still discuss it. That is why it is important to understand the necessity of finding a solution for Israelis and it is impossible to prevent Israelis from doing so. And if there is a settlement in Etzion or the Valley we cannot refuse to allow people to join it. It is the same as if an Arab buys land in Israel and is able to settle in the Galilee that is under our sovereignty. If people want to build a Jewish settlement they need to purchase land. We do not confiscate. There are 350 thousand Arabs and this is a problem of two people who live in the same region. Therefore, instead of looking for a way to divorce, we can live much better together. Consequently, it is not just a security issue if the West Bank joins Israel. Israel’s borders are the result of successful battles. This is the difference between the West Bank and the Sinai and I do not think that Anwar Sadat understands it.

Mondale: Can you think of devising a formula of freezing the settlements in the West Bank that will grant you some flexibility and that they will be able to accept, so that the negotiations will continue?

Vance: That’s what Moshe Dayan is proposing.

Dayan: The key will be a proposal made by you. Not a single Arab will take upon himself to accept one additional settlement. If I were you, and the interests of the Arabs would guide me, I’d put three plans on the table: Let the Israelis say how many settlements they wish to have, and where, in the five-year period. This should be done side by side with the right of absorbing additional settlers and this cannot be frozen – after all, you cannot put a policeman at the door of every settlement. Second, it is essential to relate to the issue of the refugees, or the displaced persons that can add up to 50, or 100 thousand. Third, the situation of the refugees in the Gaza Strip. It is necessary to decide on all three. As an Arab, I would have jumped at this proposal. 150 thousand Arabs that are in camps in Gaza will be provided with what is necessary. The Palestinian Arabs wish to reunite with their families – we do not know how many – but they want to have that chance. We want to be able to tell them that they have the right to return and join their families. If we agree on the returning of the displaced people; on a political arrangement for Gaza and on a clear program regarding the Israeli settlements for the next five years…(and I can’t accept the freezing of the settlement because it is unrealistic) I would recommend it. It is a matter of semantics.

Brzezinski: Is it not in reality a unilateral agreement to freeze by Israel for the benefit of joint arrangement with regards to settlements and settlers, and the refugees, etc.?

Dayan: If we wish to reach an agreement we have to understand their concerns, and I will try to accommodate them. We are not trying to purchase the West Bank, but have a parallel issue in motion. This is putting a limitation on the road as we know it, but without it, all the negotiations will fail and we will see ourselves free to have as many settlements as we want, and there will be no agreement.

Weizman to Mondale: I will follow the road that you mentioned in addition to what Moshe Dayan has said. But the other side has to comprehend the Israelis’ feelings and the political forces that are in play. If Anwar Sadat wishes to have an agreement he has to read the political scene of Israel.

Vance: We shall think about what you said.

Dayan: I cannot speak for the government.

Weizman: Somewhat…

Vance: With regards to security arrangements, we think that you need what is necessary for your security. As for the withdrawal and the military occupation, we hope that there will be a retreat into limited encampments.

Dayan: Maybe it should not be said: “into”, but “out of”. When you want to cancel the military administration it is necessary to take people out.

Barak: Cancelling the military administration means, not only the governor, but the entire personnel. There are about 500-600 persons, and their positions will be eliminated. This is why we are discussing a solution that would entail the withdrawal of the military administration.

Weizman: Personally, the people I consulted with maintain that it is not difficult to have redeployment. It’s not mathematics.

Vance: It seems to me that we are talking about the same things.

Dayan: Once we withdraw we shall keep the forces necessary for security, but they will not interfere and will be taken out of the populated areas. Would this be satisfactory with regards to withdrawal in the West Bank?

Vance: Yes.

Brzezinski: We made progress on two points – the source of authority and security.

Vance: I expressed my opinions about sovereignty.

Mondale: I believe that the solution about the settlements in the Sinai will not be entirely accepted by you.

Vance: I agree.

Dayan: I’ll take a wild shot and say that if you – the U.S. – had bases in the Sinai and they were located near Yamit, it is possible that Yamit and its vicinity would be included in an agreed upon region by the Egyptians and us. If there will be an American air field that will include Yamit and the settlements and the Arabs too, and the commander will have two deputies – one Egyptian and one Israeli – would that be feasible under American command?

Brown: (Laughing) An American base commander who’ll command Arabs and Israelis?

Weizman: How serious is the issue of an air base?

Dayan: We will not do it unless it will be appealed and accepted by both sides.

Brown: As part of a comprehensive settlement and a key to it.

Vance: It has to be linked to the agreement and strengthen it. It is a complicated political problem.

Dayan: If Anwar Sadat seeks a solution…

Mondale: You need the Sinai for training. If a base would be designated as a training facility, would you and the Egyptians be willing to use it for training…?

Brzezinski: It is still too early.

Mondale: We could talk until Christmas.

Dayan: The key to the situation is that if you do not come with your recommendations, the Egyptians will be able to say that they were requested by the Americans.

Vance: We will do it. We will submit our recommendations because I think that they want us to do so.

Weizman: The West Bank is not just a military issue. The military aspect is relatively easy.

Vance: Easier than the political, most likely.

Weizman: Every military commander could present a solution.

Brzezinski: There was some progress.

Notes taken by: Elyakim Rubinstein

Source: The Center for Israel Education.