JERUSALEM (Feb. 19)
The Israel Parliament overwhelmingly voted down today a motion by the right-wing Herut that it debate the recent Arab states mergers. The Knesset’s action upheld Foreign Minister Golda Meir who insisted that no useful purpose would be served by such a debate at this time.
Mrs. Meir revealed further that the matter had been discussed earlier today in the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Security Committee. That unit, she said, had decided to continue the discussion next week. At that time it will hear from Premier David Ben Gurion who will take over as Acting Foreign Minister while Mrs. Meir is on a tour of France and Africa.
The demand for a debate was introduced by Herut leader Menahem Beigin who criticized the government for keeping silence and thus indicating its assent to the separate unions of Syria and Egypt and Iraq and Jordan. He insisted that Syria and Jordan were being annexed by enemies of Israel and that this action held great danger for Israel.
Mrs, Meir dwelt in Knesset today on the profanation by Jordan of Rachel’s Tomb and the Jewish cemetery on the Mt. of Olives, both in Jordan-held territory. Speaking on motions introduced on this subject by Herut and Mizrachi deputies, the Foreign Minister said that the Israel Government had repeatedly sought intervention by the United Nations with regard to access to the Holy Places in the Old City and in the Jerusalem area. The government had also asked the United Nations to obtain Jordan accession to the provisions of the Israel-Jordan armistice agreement which calls for Israeli entry to the Holy Places, Mrs. Meir told the Knesset. She regretted the inability of the UN to achieve results.
The motions urged that the issue be brought before the International Court of Justice. They also suggested the rallying of world support against the desecrations. However, Mrs. Meir proposed that the subject be discussed in the Parliamentary Committee on Security and Foreign Affairs in order to formulate recommendations. The Knesset unanimously adopted her proposal.