TEL AVIV (Oct. 20)
Israeli foreign policy was sharply criticized by Menahem Beigen, leader of the now dissolved Irgun Zvai Leumi, who last night addressed the opening session of the first national conference of the new Irgun-sponsored Freedom Movement.
Five hundred delegates and 1,000 guests attended the session, while several thousand persons stood outside the hall to hear Beigin’s address over loudspeakers. The entire audience stood in silence while Beigin paid tribute to the Irgun, Stern and Haganah fighters who fell in the fight for freedom.
Lashing out at the government’s foreign policy, the former Irgun leader accused it of “blundering” on three counts: by accepting partition and the “conversion of the Jewish homeland into a ghett;” by not preparing a sufficient military force to seize all of Palestine May 14; and, by “political blindness” in relying on an international force plus an orientation toward the United Nations. “The fact that the U.N., itself has disregarded the partition decision relieves us of any duty in respect to it,” Beigin declared.
Rejecting any treaty “with Abdullah end Bevin,” he urged that the Israeli Government serve an ultimatum on the Arab invaders to withdraw or face a general offensive by the Jewish forces. “There is no law in the world which denies self-defense against invasion, even the U.N. Charter allows it,” he emphasized. “There is no contradiction between a war of liberation and espousal of an international peace policy,” he added. “Humanity will see how the Jews will contribute to the cementing of world peace, after victory comes here.” He also condemned acting mediator Ralph Bunche for first “posing” as a friend of Israel, then backing the “Marshall-Bevin plan” for further partitioning the Jewish state.
Turning to internal policy, Beigin denounced the government as a concentration camp administration, particularly attacking the retroactivity provisions of the emergency defense regulations which, he said, have no precedent in Jewish law. He outlined a social and economic program for the new political party and suggested that it sponsor specific safeguards for the civic and religious rights of Israeli citizens. Finally, he urged the holding of elections at the earliest possible opportunity.
The conference is scheduled to last through tomorrow. It will decide on the leaders to guide it through the forthcoming national elections, scheduled for December 15.
PREMIER’S OFFICE NOTIFIES ATTORNEY FOR STERNISTS OF FORTHCOMING TRIAL
The office of Premier David Ben Gurion today informed Max Seligman, attorney for a group of detained Sternists, that some of the Stern Group members will be brought to trial on charges of membership in a terrorist organization. Several other detainees, who the government believes will not renew their association with terrorist organizations, the communication to Seligman said, will be released.
The Israeli Government decided that no terrorist will be punished for any crimes committeed prior to the establishment of the state, if it is found that the extremist “now respects law and order.”
A small arms workshop allegedly belonging to the Sternists was discovered during a policy search in one of Jerusalem’s suburbs, it was reported here. The cache included rifle butts, parts of Sten and Bren guns and the like. The owner of the workshop was arrested, but later released on bail pending further investigation.