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Eshkol Sees Direct Arab-israeli Talks As Only Solution to Present Crisis

Prime Minister Levi Eshkol told the Israel Cabinet yesterday that direct peace negotiations with the neighboring countries offered the only solution to the present crisis. He said that, with peace and cooperation among the nations of the area, there would be the opportunity for both international and regional solutions to the problem of the refugees from Israel’s War of Independence.

The Prime Minister’s statements came in the course of a Cabinet discussion on developments during the current emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly. Mr. Eshkol informed his colleagues that life on the west bank of the Jordan — the Palestine area occupied by Israeli forces in the fighting against Jordan — was returning to normal with unprecedented speed. He reiterated Israel’s readiness to maintain access for all to the holy places and to safeguard their character.

Gen. Moshe Dayan, the Defense Minister, reported to the Cabinet on proposals for speeding up the return to normal civilian life in the Israeli-held territories. The specific plans were not disclosed publicly, but it was learned that they included freedom of movement in part of the area, including most of the holy places, and further relaxation of the curfew in the remaining territory. The Cabinet approved a series of steps proposed by Gen. Dayan which will be put into effect tomorrow.

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