Monday, August 27, 2012

Cabinet protocols, mid-June 1948

On June 11th 1948 all sides to the war agreed on a month without fighting. You'd expect that the cabinet protocols from the first week of Israel's existence without major fighting on all fronts would deal with lots of civilian matters, especially so as the meetings of the previous weeks had managed to deal with many such issues in spite of the fighting.

But no, surprisingly. There were two meetings that week, on June 14th and June 16th, and they mostly dealt with security and war-related matters; since the protocols don't give details on these topics, these two particlar ones are rather frustrating. This series, remember, presents the protocols, not the stenograms, and they compress what may have been long and fascinating meetings into one- or two-page summaries. (Someday we'll start a series of putting the stenograms online, but today isn't that day).

So what non-security matters were discussed? David Remez was tasked with ensuring that Israel woud join the international mail protocols. And the minister of justice was tasked with preparing two draft  versions of laws to protect plants and to regulate citrus crops. On the edge of the military-civilian divide, Ben Gurion told about efforts to promote various matters whle the guns were silent: paving a road to Jerusalem and bringing in food (the populace was on the verge of starvation), while preventing mass departure from the city. Improving the army's organization and training. Setting up new settlements. In addition, various subcommittees were set up to deal with various sensitive topics.

During the meeting of June 16th a number of ministers posed questions about various things that troubled them - equality of food distribution in Jerusalem, and who is doing what in empty Arab villages; fascinating as the questions might be, Ben Gurion responded that he'd have to find out and the protocol supplies no answers.

No comments:

Post a Comment