JERUSALEM (Sep. 8)
Israel Foreign Minister Golda Meir was reported here today as demanding the resignation of the left-wing Mapam Party from the coalition government. At a Cabinet meeting she charged the Mapam with violating the “collective responsibility” principle by maintaining contact with foreign embassies and advancing foreign policy ideas which are not in line with the government policy.
Mrs. Meir specifically objected to the fact that the Mapam’s foreign language bulletins and other publications took an anti-government position, especially on the question of Arab-Israel relations within Israel as well as with regard to the Arab refugee issue. The “collective responsibility” principle adopted by the Cabinet imposes upon each party of the coalition government the duty of supporting government policies, unless the Cabinet specifically absolves the party from such responsibility. The Mapam holds two seats in the Cabinet.
The Mapam attitude was debated hotly at the Cabinet meeting last Sunday. It was further aggravated when Al Hamishmar, daily newspaper, published by Mapam, expressed public disagreement with the government’s Arab policy. Mapam called upon the government to ease its policy regarding Arab refugees by an offer to accept the return to Israel of some of those refugees. According to the Mapam argument, this move would form one of the bases for an Arab-Israel peace settlement.
Mapam also criticizes Israel’s treatment of the approximately 220,000 Arabs living in Israel. The party levels criticism against military rule in some of the Arab-inhabited areas in Israel, charging that such rule “gives the Arab states ammunition for agitation against Israel and the opportunity to misrepresent our desire for peace.”
Mrs. Meir declared today that the Arab refugee problem “could have been solved long ago, had not the Arab leaders used that issue as a political weapon which, they hope, would end the story of Israel.” Addressing a meeting here sponsored by the Mapai party, she stated that “Israel has repeatedly expressed its desire to sit around a table with its Arab neighbors and negotiate peace,” She declared firmly that Israel is ready now to negotiate peace.