JERUSALEM (Feb. 24)
The possibility of a Cabinet crisis hung heavy in the atmosphere here today while in Washington Israel Ambassador Abba Eban was presenting Israel’s new conditions for withdrawal from the Gaza and Akaba areas to Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. It was reported here that prior to his departure from Jerusalem with new instructions. Mr. Eban received from Premier David Ben Gurion authorization for considerable flexibility in his talks with Secretary Dulles.
The left-wing Socialists of the Mapam and Achdut Avodah groups intimated their concern lest an impression be gained in Washington that Israel is willing to make major concessions. These political parties urged the Premier to give Mr. Eban clear instructions leaving no doubt that Israel will not retreat from the Gaza and Akaba areas unless effective guarantees are given for free passage of Israeli ships through the Gulf of Akaba and Egypt is not allowed to return to Gaza. A resolution on the issue will be presented in Parliament tomorrow and the possibility is not excluded that Premier Ben Gurion’s Mapai Party would find itself in a minority if no agreement is reached before a vote is taken.
The extreme nationalist Herui Party today opened a nationwide campaign against further retreat by the Israel Government from the Gaza and Akaba areas. Youngsters threw big bundles of leaflets into theatres while others distributed them on street corners and from one house to another. At the same time, loudspeakers in central streets and squares blared out the rightists’ demands.