JERUSALEM (Jul. 9)
Premier David Ben Gurion, in his capacity of Defense Minister, today made a statement in Parliament on the police-military search of two Arab villages on the slopes of Mt. Tabor, in central Israel, last month. The issue was first raised last week by Communist deputies whose attack on the Army’s handling of the search brought sharp charges of “lies” and “treacherous allegations” from the Premier.
Mr. Ben Gurion today denied that tanks or other heavy weapons were used, declaring that they were not needed. He said that the Army and the police had cooperated in the hunt for smuggled goods at the villages of Sablich and Shabli because they were a center for smuggling and infiltration from nearby Jordan territory and because a “nest of robbers” in the villages were attacking and robbing Jews and Arabs in the vicinity.
He said that only two complaints of property turning up missing during the search were brought to the attention of the authorities. In one case a watch was found on the scene of the search and in the other a woman’s headdress is still missing. He also reported that the goods of one Arab merchant were confiscated on suspicion that they had been smuggled into the country. He stated that a representative of the local villagers accompanied the police and soldiers during the hunt.
It was reported in the Hebrew press tonight that 33 smugglers and infiltrees were apprehended and a huge quantity of smuggled goods was confiscated during a search yesterday of the Arab village of Manda, near Nazareth. A curfew was imposed on the village during the police search.