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Arab Councils in Gaza Strip Ask for Economic Ties with Israel

Local councils in the Gaza Strip announced today that they had asked that the economic ties with Israel which were forged immediately after Israel troops occupied the territory be continued.

Meanwhile, Israel’s decision not to quit the Strip was made known to inhabitants of Gaza by loudspeakers mounted on cars cruising through the streets of the town. Also, an attempt has been launched to organize a democratic regime for the Strip and a consultative body of notables is contemplated.

In asking for continuing ties, the local councils said that they were aware of Gaza’s economic dependence and had watched Israel’s efficient process of bringing more families into productive employment. Israel authorities have already begun the planting of trees along the sandy areas of the Strip, have introduced mechanization for local agriculture and have reopened the fishing industry, permitting the sale in Israel markets of the excess catch and guaranteeing that all profits will be returned to the fishermen.

The Parliament of Israel last night endorsed the position of the government refusing to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and Sharm el Sheikh without acceptable guarantees of security and freedom of navigation. The vote was 54 to 17, with the opposition consisting of the 11-member Herut Party and the six-member Communist Party, each of which proposed its own motion of non-confidence. All other parties, including the centrist General Zionists who are not in the government coalition, voted for a resolution supporting the government stand.

The resolution said: 1. The United Nations resolution of January 19 does not advance peace in the Middle East and disregards the threatened danger to Israel through the declared refusal of Egypt and the Arab states to recognize Israel’s existence; 2. Israel will retain the Gaza Strip and the responsibility that Israel’s forces have for internal and external security, providing all services to the populace and recognition of the status of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency; 3. The Israel Army will not leave the Straits of Tiran without full guarantees of freedom of passage.

The resolution urged the United Nations to demilitarize the Sinai Peninsula; it requested a United Nations effort for a solution of the refugee problem in which Israel will cooperate and contribute to the fullest extent; and it stressed that Israel will insist on its full rights and non-discrimination in a Suez Canal settlement.

The Herut motion, which was rejected, demanded that no foreign power be admitted to the Gaza Strip, that there be no withdrawal from the area of the Straits of Tiran until a final peace settlement is reached and condemned both the government for its withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula and the United Nations General Assembly for its most recent resolution demanding full Israel withdrawal from Egyptian territory within five days. The rejected Communist motion called for complete withdrawal of Israel troops behind the 1949 armistice lines.

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