Prime Minister Menachem Begin and his Cabinet today dropped plans to put to a parliamentary test a resolution that would prohibit the dismantling of Jewish civilian settlements in any future peace negotiations.
Faced with a bare majority, at best, for such a measure, the Cabinet decided that if it could not demonstrate a broad national consensus for the resolution, there would be no point in bringing it before the parliament Monday, as planned.
Instead, a Cabinet spokesman said, Begin will emphasize Israel's refusal to give up settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip when he makes a policy speech Monday to mark the opening of the parliament's summer session.
The plan to gain a parliamentary stamp of approval on the government's refusal to dismantle settlements in the future, as it did when Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula last week, began to unravel when opposition Labor Party leader Shimon Peres refused to support the measure. Begin's Likud coalition has only a one-vote parliamentary majority.
Peres had told Begin that while his party also opposes dismantling settlements, the resolution would tie Labor's hands in any future consideration.
Meanwhile, nearly all of the Arab mayors of the West Bank today warned that if Israel continues its crackdown against Palestinian nationalism, municipal services in all West Bank towns will be suspended.
In a letter, 26 of the West Bank's 28 mayors called on the Israeli government to reverse the summary dismissal of West Bank mayors and to cancel the imposition of a civil administration in the military government of the occupied territory.
The threat was largely symbolic since in most of the towns in which the mayors have been dismissed, municipal workers have refused to cooperate with the Israeli officials who replaced the mayors, and municipal services have continued.
Meanwhile, in the village of Arub, a 12-year-old Arab girl was critically wounded when an Israeli opened fire on rock-throwing demonstrators. Police said they were looking for the Israeli, who drove away after the shooting.