Sharon doesn't want annexation
Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon said Sunday Israel does not want to annex the West Bank and Gaza strip, but he declined to specify what legal status he was offering these Arab territories occupied by Israel in 1967.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
It was not clear whether Mr. Sharon's statement in a television interview with CBS Face the Nation was at variance with the mainstream of Prime Minister Menachem Begin's government which holds that the territories are a God-given part of Israel.
Mr. Begin himself has said that during the five-year transition period of Palestnian autonomy envisaged in the Camp David peace agreements between Israel and Egypt, the areas would have a quasi-government. But he has also said that Israel would afterwards claim sovereignty over the area.
Mr. Sharon's comments came after he and the Reagan administration clashed Friday over the future of Jordan, considered one of America's staunchest allies in the Middle East.
In an uncompromising statement after Mr. Sharon's meeting with Secretary of State George Shultz, Mr. Sharon said Jordan was the Palestinian state long demanded by the Arabs, and Israel never would accept a second one on territory it now occupies.
King Hussein of Jordan, when asked on ABC television about Mr. Sharon's statements, replied: ''I believe Jordan has always associated with the Palestinian hopes and aspirations. . . . That does not mean in any way the issue is resolved.''
''We have given Palestinians awaiting resolution of their problem on their legitimate soil a chance to feel at home here in Jordan,'' he added.
But King Hussein said: ''The issue has been, and will be until a resolution is reached, that of legitimate Palestinian and Arab rights on Palestinian soil under occupation by Israel in the West Bank and in Gaza.''