JERUSALEM (Dec. 18)
Premier Golda Meir told a meeting of the local Labor Party branch last night that Israel must be prepared to give up the populated parts of the administered territories in return for a peace settlement and in order to ensure the Jewish character of the State. She said she strongly opposed the prospect of adding some 900,000 Arabs from the West Bank and Gaza Strip to Israel’s permanent population. “I do not want us to reach a situation in which we are forever counting ourselves to make sure that the large majority of the State is still Jewish,” Mrs. Meir said.
However, she stated, in any peace agreement areas of the West Bank essential to Israel’s security must remain in Israel’s hands and there was “no law on earth” that could cut off the Golan Heights from Israel. The United Nations can decide what it likes, but Israel will see to its own security, the Premier declared.
Mrs. Meir also discussed the problem of Israeli investments on the West Bank and the employment of Arab labor; the recent exposure of a Jewish-Arab spy ring; the problems of religion and the recent votes at the United Nations. Her remarks were billed in advance as a major speech and were clearly intended to steal the limelight from the opening session of the Herut Party’s 11th national convention which took place here last night.
BEIGIN RAPS GOVERNMENT POLICIES
Herut chairman Menachem Beigin repeated his call for early elections and accused Mrs. Meir’s government of endangering national security by its willingness “to re-divide the western land of Israel.” Beigin claimed that territorial concession would not bring peace but only pressure for more concessions, and opposed an interim accord with Egypt to reopen the Suez Canal.
The Herut leader also proposed the creation of a special task force of former underground fighters and security experts to combat Arab terrorism. He took the government to task for Israel’s social ills, accused it of wasting public funds and urged compulsory arbitration of all labor disputes as a remedy for the deteriorating labor situation.
WARNS AGAINST ACCUSING HASHOMER HATZAIR
But Mrs. Meir’s speech captured the headlines today. Referring to the revelations of a Jewish-Arab spy ring that has shocked Israelis, she cautioned her countrymen to “beware of generalizations about our youth and accusations against Hashomer Hatzair which are the worst kind of demagogic slander.” She was referring to the fact that one of the Jewish suspects Ehud Adiv, came from Gan Shmuel, a kibbutz of Mapam’s Hashomer Hatzair movement, “I grieve to learn that there are Jews whose ideal is to see here a State run by Yassir Arafat. These are individuals and to a certain extent we should pity them their instability,” she said.
Referring to the recent UN votes, Mrs. Meir said that what troubled Israel most was the trend among friendly nations to abstain on anti-Israel votes rather than oppose them. On religious problems, she remarked “In the old days in Eastern Europe, rabbis had hearts as big as their brains and mamzerim (illegitimates) were unheard of.”
Mrs. Meir said she supported Israeli investments to encourage industries in the occupied territories that would employ local, people but was opposed to Israelis themselves opening plants in the territories. She also said she would prefer to see most of the inhabitants of the territories employed locally. “I am not pleased with the fact that tens of thousands of Arabs work in Israel. This will get us used to easy living” she warned.