TEL AVIV (Jul. 26)
The Israeli Government today proclaimed Jerusalem as “Israeli-occupied territory” and announced that it will appoint a military governor for the city. An official statement said:
“The Israeli Government, at a meeting yesterday, discussed the legal status of Jerusalem and decided to determine Jerusalem as Israeli-occupied territory, and a military governor for Jerusalem will be appointed. The authority of the laws of the state of Israel shall henceforth apply to Jerusalem and the administration for Jerusalem will take account of the special needs of the Holy City.”
Commenting on the announcement, a government spokesman said that the “change in Jerusalem’s status, as announced by the government, is merely changing a de facto situation into a de jure situation.” He said the decree affects only the Jewish-held area of Jerusalem, and not the Old City, which is in the hands of the Arabs.
Political observers here interpreted the government’s action as an answer to the U.N. mediator’s proposal to demilitarize the city. There are at present 100,000 Jews residing in the new city of Jerusalem.
The decision creates a major question for the Irgun Zvai Leumi and the Stern Group, which act independently of the Israeli Government in Jerusalem. These groups will now be subject to the authority of the state of Israel as extended to Jerusalem by the decree. They are expected to refuse to recognize the decree since they previously announced that they would recognize Israeli’s authority in Jerusalem only if the city were proclaimed the Israeli capital.