JERUSALEM (Mar. 13)
Premier David Ben Gurion served notice today that Israel reserves its freedom of action if there is any return of Egyptians to the Gaza Strip and, if the need arises, won’t announce its action in advance. He said concern expressed in the Knesset over the Gaza situation was not imaginary, but real.
The Israeli leader takes sharp issue with Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, over a statement attributed to him that the United Nations Emergency Force was in Gaza only with the consent of Egypt.
“It is not in the power of the Egyptian dictator to agree or disagree, since he was ignominiously expelled from the Strip.” Mr. Ben Gurion asserted. “I must add with regret that Dr. Bunche’s superiors in the United Nations have sometimes been more concerned with the prestige of the Egyptian dictator than with the fulfilment of Egypt’s international obligations and the preservation of peace in the Middle East.
“In accordance with the Foreign Minister’s declaration in the General Assembly.” Mr. Ben Gurion announced, “Israel reserves its freedom of action in case the Egyptians return to the Strip which never belonged to them and which was used by them only for the purpose of attacks or threats against Israel.
SAYS ISRAEL WILL NOT GIVE PRIOR NOTICE OF ITS ACTIONS
“If the time comes when action is appropriate and necessary,” Mr. Ben Gurion declared, the Government of Israel will not, of course, give prior notice of its actions.”
Two moves by opposition parties to subject the Government’s Gaza policy to Knesset review were defeated today. A General Zionist motion for debate was rejected by Parliament 51-24 and. Herut Party motion, 53-24. The rejections followed an unusual procedure in which Mr. Ben Gurion replied briefly only to the General Zionist motion and disdained reply to the Herut, merely asking the House to defeat the motion. The Achdut Avoda Party, a coalition member was not present for the voting.
In introducing the Herut motion, Menachem Beigin, who cut short an American tour to return to Jerusalem, called for full discussion of the “catastrophic policy of the Government.” He accused Mr. Ben Gurion of a “putsch by a dictator giving orders to abandon parts of the homeland.” In his brief reply to the General Zionists, Mr. Ben Gurion admitted that the situation was worse today than when he last addressed the Knesset.
ADMITS ISRAELI ARMY DEEPLY CONCERNED OVER GAZA WITHDRAWAL
In response to questions in Parliament today, the Prime Minister admitted that the Israel Army and the border settlements had been deeply concerned over the Government decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip. He said he had met with representatives of both elements in an effort to explain the Government’s motives and reasons.
Mr. Ben Gurion said an additional budget allowance of one million pounds had been made to strengthen the security of the border settlements. The Army, he said, had been instructed to prepare two detailed plans for ensuring the security of these settlements, one an “ideal” program and are based on the practical realities of the budget.
Mr. Ben Gurion, who also holds the portfolio of Ministry of Defense, announced that with the return to Jerusalem of Mrs. Golda Meir, the Foreign Minister, he would, in coming weeks, devote practically all his time to security matters. This concentration, he said, was particularly required to ensure that overall budget cuts do not affect the strength of the Army and its capabilities.
Meanwhile, the Israel Cabinet today recommended extension for another year of the special defense tax deducted from all salaries and business incomes. The tax extension is expected to bring in 55,000,000 pounds during the fiscal year. A like Gum will be saved through economies in the various government departments and cuts in civil service persuaded.
Reports reaching here from Gaza state that Communist elements in the Gaza population, who went underground during the Israeli occupation, were reported today to have re-appeared and begun intensive activity in collaboration with extremist elements. The Communists are said to oppose the presence of United Nations Emergency Forces in the Strip as a strengthening of United Nations States position in the Middle East.