Eshkol Bars Arab Military on West Bank of Jordan River Security Line

Prime Minister Levi Eshkol indicated yesterday that Israel may be prepared to return portions of the West Bank to Jordanian political sovereignty but made it clear that Israel will never allow the military forces of Jordan or any other nation west of the Jordan River. Mr. Eshkol, speaking in reply to questions in the Knesset (Parliament), drew a destination between what he called “security boundaries” and “political boundaries.” He said the Jordan River must remain the “security boundary” of Israel whatever political boundaries might be drawn up in the future. He added that he could not envisage a state of affairs in which military bases of one state would lie within the sovereign territory of another state.

Observers here believed Mr. Eshkol was alluding to a plan attributed to Deputy Prime Minister Yigal Allon which would partition the West Bank between Arab areas and Israeli security zones along the West Bank of the Jordan.

Defense Minister Gen. Moshe Dayan, in replying to Knesset questions, said progress in Arab-Israeli relations was being made on the West Bank despite Arab demonstrations and business strikes. He said that local Arab leadership has made clear its opposition to public demonstrations which he described as “merely school-boy processions.” He said local leaders were in control of the demonstrators in all West Bank towns except Nablus.

The Knesset yesterday rejected a motion to debate plans to send a Parliamentary delegation to West Germany. The vote, which cut across party lines, was 27 to 17. The issue was raised by Mapam, Achdut Avodah and the Gahal (Herut-Liberal alignment) which announced that they would not participate in the delegation as a matter of principle.

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