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July 14, 1989 - Image 35

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-07-14

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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which has issued harsh war-
nings to the Israeli leaders —
both privately and publicly —
to get their joint act together.
One such warning came
from Secretary of State James
Baker, who raised the specter
of an international peace con-
ference -- which Shamir bit-
terly opposes — if the pro-
posal for Palestinian elections
in the territories was
undermined.
"Our calculus all along has
been that if things totally bog
down — if you can't make pro-
gress with this election pro-
posal — then we would have
to look a bit more closely at
the prospects for an interna-
tional conference," he
reportedly told journalists
who accompanied him on a
visit to Brunei and Oman this
week.
"There is a lot of support for
that from other countries, and
we have always said that an
international conference —
properly structured, at the
right time — might be
useful."
The prospect of such a con-
ference, with the implication
of an imposed settlement,
cannot have brought any
cheer to Shamir — or indeed
to Peres, who favors some
form of international, though
non-intrusive, "accompani-
ment" to peace talks.
Given the high-risk poten-
tial for a major showdown
with the Bush administration
and the dire personal conse-
quences of fresh elections,
Peres and Shamir are unlike-
ly to sever the tie that binds
them and take their chances
— either with their own
political parties or with the
Israeli voters.

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Shimon Peres: On the brink?

vincing nor justified. A
responsible party does not act
in this way."
Labor leader Shimon Peres
would be particularly grateful
to be let off the hook. He has
suffered considerable political
damage as finance minister
since the formation of the new
government and has largely
abandoned the center stage to
his own long-time party rival,
Defense Minister Yitzhak
Rabin.
After consistently failing to
produce a clear-cut Labor vic-
tory since assuming the par-
ty leadership in 1977, Peres is
considered unlikely to head
the party at the next election.
Shamir, too, knows that his
political days are numbered.
At 73, the dour former in-
telligence executive has sur-
vived as party leader since
Menachem Begin's abrupt
retirement seven years ago
through a combination of
waiting out his opponents,
cunning rhetoric and periodic
displays of fancy political
footwork.
However, he was grievously
wounded by last week's
humiliating public showdown
with Sharon, who is riding
the crest of the radical right-
wing wave and who is losing
no opportunity to portray
Shamir to his natural consti-
tuency as "soft" on the
Palestinians and
"vulnerable" to pressure from
Washington.
Fresh elections now could
dramatically alter the
political complexion of Israel,
with potentially serious im-
plications for the entire
region.
This point has not been lost
on the U.S. administration,

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

35

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