In Jerusalem, the coalition government of Prime Minister Menachem Begin survived another vote of no confidence in the Knesset on Wednesday (2 January).
GV PAN From troops patrolling road to bulldozer at work at Kiryat Arba
CU & SV Bulldozer clearing ground (3 shots)
SV Road signs between Kiryat and Jerusalem
GV EXTERIOR Knesset
TV INTERIOR Knesset called to order
TV Prime Minister Menachem Begin rises and walks to speaker's rostrum
GV AND CU Prime Minister Begin speaking in Hebrew, and members listening (4 shots)
CU AND TV Moshe Dayan speaking (2 shots)
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Background: In Jerusalem, the coalition government of Prime Minister Menachem Begin survived another vote of no confidence in the Knesset on Wednesday (2 January). The vote arose out of the Cabinet's decision to extend its deadline for the evacuation of the Elon Moreh settlement on the West Bank. Now, residents there have a further five weeks to move to a new site, although an Israeli court had ordered the present site to be dismantled. At the same time a new dispute broke out on the West Bank as the Mayor of Hebron held a protest meeting as work began on an extension to the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba. The Mayor said local villagers had proof of ownership of the land on which the new extension was to be built.
SYNOPSIS: Israeli troops were on patrol as tractors began working on the site overlooking Hebron. Israeli officials said the 150 acre (60 hectare) site was not private land. It had been fenced off several years ago under a plan to convert Kiryat Arba into a Jewish town.
Kiryat Arba has about 4,000 residents. They claim they do not have enough flats for the many Israelis who want to live there. But as work went ahead, the protests grew at Hebron. The town's mayor said he would appeal to the israeli Supreme Court for an injunction to stop the development work.
When the vote of no confidence in Mr Begin's government came on Wednesday (2 January) coalition deputies usually critical of the Government's land settlement programme closed ranks to keep the government in office. Mr Begin replied to his critics who accused him of ignoring the High Court decision calling for the evacuation of the Elon Moreh settlement.
The Prime Minister said there had been no contempt of court. He said the alternative site for the settlers could not be made ready in time, because of unexpectedly difficult ground clearing problems and heavy rains. The deadline had therefore been postponed for five weeks. He denied that his government had given in to pressure from Gush Emunim extremists who make up most of the settlers at Elon Moreh.
The coalition was also supported by Mr Moshe Dayan, the former minister who had earlier resigned from the government. He said he opposed the Elon Moreh settlement, but feared a vote against the government might be seen as one against the principle of Jewish settlements in the territories. The vote was 60 to 43 in support of the government.