(JTA) — Newly rediscovered footage of a 1968 interview with David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, shows that he opposed West Bank settlements and instead favored returning most of the land Israel captured in the Six-Day War.
The six-hour interview with Ben-Gurion — segments of which appear in a new film called “Ben-Gurion Epilogue” — had been forgotten until filmmaker Yariv Mozer found them in the Hebrew University’s Jewish film archive, according to the Times of Israel.
At the time of the interview Ben-Gurion, a member of the Labor party, had left politics and was living on Kibbutz Sde Boker in the Negev.
Ben-Gurion said in the interview that Israel should immediately relinquish most of the territories it had taken a year earlier in the Six-Day War.
“If I could choose between peace and all the territories which we conquered last year, I would prefer peace,” he said, adding however that Israel should retain Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
Ben-Gurion also criticized efforts to build settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, saying Jews should instead settle unpopulated areas of the Negev.
Ben-Gurion, who was prime minister from Israel’s founding in 1948 until 1953 and again from 1955 to 1963, died in 1973 at 87.