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Israel Cabinet Hews to Previous Policies on Arab Refugee Problem

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The Israel Cabinet summed up at its regular session today a discussion of the Arab refugee problem started three weeks ago, and formulated directives for the Israel delegation at the United Nations for the forthcoming General Assembly.

While a strict censorship was maintained on the content of the discussion, a spokesman said that the directives did not deviate from the policies repeatedly set forth at sessions of the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, and by Mrs. Golda Meir, Israel’s Foreign Minister, at various international forums in recent years.

After the discussion, Mapam Cabinet members said they did not identify themselves with this policy, and that they felt their party was free to campaign publicly against it.

On another issue, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion told the session that he did not recognize the validity of a Cabinet vote of approval, last winter, for a recommendation of a Ministerial Committee decision clearing Pinhas Lavon of responsibility as Defense Minister for a security disaster in 1954.

Questioned about remarks he made at a special session of the Knesset last week, the Prime Minister reiterated what he said at the session, that the Cabinet had gone beyond its executive powers and assumed a Judicial role in absolving Lavon. Emphasizing that this was his conviction, he added that the Knesset, which may be reconvened next week especially on this issue, was not the proper forum for dealing with it. Last winter’s Cabinet decision led Mr. Ben-Gurion to resign on January 31, setting the stage for the elections to be held August 15.

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