JERUSALEM (Dec. 27)
The Cabinet decided today not to appoint a commission of inquiry to reopen the Lavon affair as requested by former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.
It is understood that no vote was taken. Instead, Premier Levi Eshkol followed the procedure whereby any proposal before the cabinet required support of at least four Ministers to be included on the agenda. The proposal–which would have probed the responsibility of the ten-year-old security mishap–was presented by Justice Minister Dov Joseph and was supported only by Housing and Development Minister Yosef Almogi. Failing to receive the required minimum, the proposal was not included in the agenda.
Anticipating that the Government would not reopen the inquiry, Mr. Ben-Gurion had said that he would nevertheless bring the matter up before the Mapai convention scheduled for February and that he would publish the new material which he submitted to the Justice Minister on the case after getting censorship clearance.
The Cabinet heard a report by Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin on details of the incident on Mount Scopus last Wednesday in which three Israeli border patrolmen were wounded by Jordanian gunfire while guarding a group of Arab women who were permitted by the Israeli authorities to harvest an olive grove in the Israeli enclave.
Prime Minister Eshkol reported to the Cabinet on his meeting with Gen. Odd Bull, chief of staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in which the Premier told the UN official that the Israel Government took “a grave view” of the incident and that the “deliberate attack greatly increased tension on the border at a season of particular significance to the Christian world.”
It is under stood that the Premier stressed to Gen. Bull that the harvesting of the olives had been allowed by the Israel authorities as a humanitarian gesture at the request of the United Nations and that the United Nations ought to react to the shooting. Gen. Bull expressed his regrets at the incident.