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Begin Suggests Moving Some Ministries to East Jerusalem

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Israel Radio reported this morning that Premier Menachem Begin has suggested that the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry be moved to East Jerusalem. He made the proposal in the course of the 17 hours of Cabinet debate on the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty draft.

Informed sources confirmed to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency later that the Premier indeed is considering the shift which would reinforce Israel’s claim that a united Jerusalem is its capital in perpetuity. The leak from the Cabinet session is believed to have been deliberate and a none too subtle hint to the U.S. which has refused to recognize Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem.

According to the radio report, Begin’s proposal was well received by the Cabinet and may, in fact, have been intended to influence some ministers who were wavering over support for the treaty draft. The proposal is also expected to affect the future course of peace negotiations.

Sources here conceded that if the two key government offices are shifted to East Jerusalem, complications could arise. Many foreign diplomats may refuse to conduct their duties at the new location just as many had refused to officially visit Yigal Allon when he was Deputy Foreign Minister in a Labor-led government and lived in East Jerusalem.

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