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Mrs. Meir Expresses Approval of Jewish-arab Partnerships in Occupied Areas

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Premier Golda Meir told the Knesset yesterday that she did not think there was anything wrong with Jewish-Arab partnership ventures in the occupied territories or with the establishment of all-Jewish projects to promote the economic development of those regions. Mrs. Meir spoke in the course of a Knesset discussion of the activities of the Prime Minister’s Office.

She said efforts were being made to increase employment opportunities for Arabs in the occupied territories but until next year 20,000 Arab workers from those regions will be employed in Israel through the labor exchange offices and trade unions.

Mrs. Meir said that new settlements would soon be founded in the occupied areas in locations that the Government considered appropriate from security and development points of view. She said there was no reason to establish settlements in other locations which would only increase the burden of the Israeli Army. She expressed regret that the Security Council compelled Israel to ignore its decision when it voted unanimously last week to censure Israel for activities changing the status of East Jerusalem. She said there was no international force that could compel Israel to divide Jerusalem once more. The Premier said that Israel has not “budged an inch” from its position since the Six-Day War that only direct negotiations with the Arabs will bring peace to the Middle East. She said that apart from Israel’s sworn enemies, there is no nation in the world that demands Israel’s retreat without a secure peace. She said that despite different approaches, Israel has convinced world opinion of its keen desire for peace through negotiations.

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