Coalition Formed by Eshkol Appears Certain to Continue As Gahal Gives Assent

The continuity of the national unity government put together by the late Prime Minister Levi Eshkol on the eve of the Six-Day War appeared assured today as its second largest faction, Gahal, announced that it favored preservation of the present coalition line-up. But Gahal (Herut-Liberal alignment) insisted on and won Israel Labor Party agreement to a formalization of the Knesset (Parliament) decision of Nov. 13, 1967 that the present cease-fire situation will be preserved until a permanent peace is achieved.

The Gahal ministers, in conferences with their Labor Party colleagues, demanded that a cabinet committee be set up to write a new basic platform reflecting the cease-fire situation and stressing that permanent peace can emerge only from direct negotiations between the parties concerned.

Such a peace, the document will state, must include a formal treaty and secure and agreed borders. The Gahal leadership exacted this move as a guarantee that the will of the Knesset will be observed. They pointed out that the previous platform of the Eshkol Government had reflected the pre-June, 1967 situation. The Labor Party ministers agreed and none of the other coalition partners raised objections.

The Gahal move in effect also endorsed the candidacy of Mrs. Meir who was nominated by the Labor Party leaders to serve as interim Prime Minister, at least until the Oct. 28 national election. Mrs. Meir was expected to accept the nomination at Friday’s meeting of the Labor Party’s central committee and to have a government ready for Knesset approval within two weeks.

NEXT STORY