Beigin Demands National Elections if Government Continues Commitment to Resolution 242

Menachem Beigin, chairman of the Gahal opposition party and leader of its Herut wing, today demanded national elections in three months unless the government withdraws its commitment to carry out the Security Council’s Resolution 242 of Nov. 22, 1967 “in all its parts.” Addressing a press luncheon here, Beigin said the government must “unequivocally declare itself incapable of making a prior commitment on withdrawal from the occupied territories.” Beigin, who led his party’s defection from Premier Golda Meir’s national unity coalition last summer when the government accepted the Jarring talks and cease-fire, said that if the government could not issue such a statement, it must suspend its participation in the Jarring talks pending new elections. “The world can wait for three months while the Jewish people takes council with itself,” Beigin asserted. “We cannot haphazardly decide our future.” The militant Herut leader claimed that only a government brought to power in new elections would have the moral right to decide either to withdraw or to refuse to yield. Beigin proposed meanwhile that the government launch an extensive “information” campaign in the United States with the aim of reversing current U.S. Mideast policy. He said Gahal would be prepared to participate in such a campaign. He also said that Gahal was ready to consider conditions that the government might offer it to rejoin the coalition.

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