TEL AVIV (Sep. 4)
The Labor Party Secretariat gave overwhelming approval yesterday to a series of proposals by Defense Minister Moshe Dayan that will open the way to private land purchases by Jews in the administered territories, increase Jewish settlement in the territories and reduce the Arab labor force presently working in Israel.
The plan, which is bitterly opposed by Labor’s alignment partner, Mapam and by a minority with- in the Labor Party itself, will be incorporated in the Alignment’s election platform. (See separate story for plan details.)
The various facets of the plan originated with Dayan and were drafted into document form by Minister-Without-Portfolio Israel Galili. It has the full blessing of Premier Golda Meir, but Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir is known to be opposed to parts of it. Aryeh Eliav, the Labor Party’s former Secretary General, an outspoken “dove,” declared that he could not support the Dayan plan in any forum. But he did not vote against it.
PLAN APPROVED BY 78 VOTES
The document was approved a week ago by the Party’s Executive and its endorsement yesterday by the Secretariat was considered a mere formality. Approval was by 78 votes. There were several abstentions but no hands were raised against it. Mapam leaders were furious that they were excluded from the discussions of the plan held by the Labor Party leadership during the past few weeks. Mapam is expected to have a platform document of its own to submit to the Alignment Secretariat at a later stage but no alterations of the Dayan plan are expected.
The temper of the Labor Party majority was manifested in the crushing 65-13 defeat yesterday of a suggestion by former Transport Minister Moshe Carmel that the question of land purchases in the territories undergo further discussion. The issue is probably the most controversial aspect of the Dayan plan with arranging implications for the future of the administered territories.
Only three months ago, the government upheld the current ban on purchases of land in the territories by individual Jews and private corporations. Dayan adamantly refused to accept this and threatened to leave the Labor Party before election day if its platform failed to satisfy his approval.
CABINET ACTS ON ARAB WORKERS
In a related move, the Cabinet agreed Sunday to give the military governors control, over how long and how many Arab workers may be employed in Jewish agricultural settlements in the administered territories. A resolution to that effect was submitted jointly by Dayan, Galili and Justice Minister Yaacov Shimshon Shapiro. It followed recent visits to the Pithat Rafiah area by Dayan and Premier Meir. Both expressed opposition to the employment in local settlements of the same Bedouins evacuated from the area for security reasons.
At the Cabinet meeting, Mrs. Meir and Dayan argued that employment of the Bedouin evacuees by Jewish settlements in the region not only defeated security purposes but had an adverse effect on Jewish settlers who would become used to Arab labor. Under the Cabinet decision different limits will be set in different regions to determine if and how long Arab workers may be employed in Jewish settlements in the administered territories.
The Cabinet voted down protests by two Mapam ministers and Moshe Kol of the Independent Liberals who agreed in principle to the idea of limiting Arab labor but objected to placing control in the hands of the military governors. The Cabinet agreed unanimously to call on the Agriculture Ministry and the Jewish Agency’s settlement department to take all possible measures to ensure self-labor in Jewish settlements.