Ben-gurion Willing to Ease Military Rule in Areas in Israel

The Israel Government is prepared to ease some of the restrictions embodied in the military government in border areas inhabited by Israeli Arabs, but will not countenance complete abolition of the military rule in those areas, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion reportedly asserted here today.

Mr. Ben-Gurion met today with representatives of the parties that are members of his coalition government, as well as with members of the Opposition parties–except the Communists–in an apparent effort to head off five bills on the issue of military government scheduled to come up before the Knesset (Parliament) next week.

The Premier was accompanied to the meeting by Gen. Zvi Tsur, chief of staff of Israel’s defense forces; Deputy Defense Minister Shimon Peres; and his personal adviser on Arab affairs, Uri Lubami. Details of the discussion were considered secret security affairs, but it was known that the experts spelled out to the meeting participants the reasons for the need to continue the military government in force.

It was understood that Mr. Ben-Gurion’s appeal for a non-partisan stand on the issue made no impact on some of the party leaders attending the meeting. It was feared that, unless the Government agrees to more far-reaching modifications than it has proposed, the dispute may lead to a Cabinet crisis.

Achdut Avoda, one of the parties represented in the coalition, reserved its right, when it entered the Government, to drop its “collective responsibility” agreement when and if this problem of the military rule in Arab zones should come up for discussion. Under the “collective responsibility” principle agreed to by the coalition partners, all members of the coalition must abide by Cabinet decisions- -unless they are given permission to oppose a Government decision.

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