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October 06, 1989 - Image 21

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-10-06

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

71t the New

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71Z10 MI05

beginning of a process."
Over the years, Likud has
replaced Labor as Israel's
dominant party, points out
Sarid. "The image of Labor
has not been clear. It speaks
with two voices, Likud and
Ratz, but with no voice of its
own."
The government's composi-
tion reflects Likud's ascen-
dancy. In the coalition agree-
ment, Shamir is to hold the
Prime Minister's office for the
full term of the government,
instead of rotating with Labor
leader Shimon Peres as in the
previous government. With
Likud's Moshe Arens as
Foreign Minister, foreign
policy is firmly in Likud
hands, and out of the hands of
Peres, who accepted the, post
of Treasury Minister, a power-
ful but politically unpopular
portfolio. Labor's Yitzhak
Rabin remained defense
minister, a highly pro-
blematic portfolio due to the
ongoing intifada (uprising on
the West Bank in Gaza).
Ben-Elissar says the part-
nership is an uneasy one. "It
can't function well because
the main partners are tradi-
tional adversaries and don't
trust each other. Both are try-
ing to score points, to do bet-
ter for themselves at the
other's expense?'
Municipal elections in Feb.
only enhanced Likud's
dominance and Labor's
decline. The landslide includ-
ed Likud victories in major
centers as Beersheba, Petah
Tikva, Ashdod and Ramat
Gan. Labor-affiliatd
Jerusalem Mayor Teddy
Kollek captured 64 percent of
the vote, but his One
Jerusalem city council list
lost ground to the religious
parties and the Citizens'
rights Movement-Shinui list.
Another upset occurred in the
Israeli Arab town of Urn el
Fahem, where an Islamic fun-
damentalist list swept the
tradition communist led local
government from power.
Despite agreement on some
issues, like the economy,
Likud and Labor are divided
by fundamental ideology.
Regarding the disposition of
the administered territories,
Labor favors returning them
to Arab control in exchange
for a peace treaty, while the
Likud believes the lands must
remain in Jewish hands.
The national unity partners
skirted these disagreements
when Shamir and Rabin drew
up their peace plan that calls
for elections for Palestinians
in the territories. Shamir
presented this plan when he
visited Washington, D.C., in
April.
In addition to the election
scheme, the four-point plan

calls for a reconfirmation of
the Camp David Accords by
its signitories; the Arab
states to enter into bilateral
peace negotiations with
Israel and for a solution to the
Palestinian refugee problem.
Both Labor and Likud are
able to agree to the plan
because it refers only to a
short-term transitional period
of autonomy for the ter-
ritories. "The minute we ap-
proach the final status we are
sure to disagree immediate-
ly," Ben-Elissar says.
According to Sarid, both
Shamir and Rabin would
have preferred the status quo
but were forced into issuing
the peace proposals out of per-
sonal considerations. "They
had no choice but to present
something," Sarid says.
"Rabin doesn't want to be
known as the main oppressor
of the intifada and Shamir
had to take something with
him to Washington to avoid
problems with the
Americans?'
While the Israelis and the
Palestinians each have differ-
ing ideas of the way to peace,
Sarid believes that all parties
will accept the government
peace plan. "We are all more
realistic than we used to be.
This is the only key now to
the peace process," he says.
The strongest Israeli op-
position to the plan came
from three Likud ministers,
Ariel Sharon, David Levy and
Yitzhak Modal Their opposi-
tion sparked a coalition crisis
in July that lasted several
weeks. Sharon convened the
Likud's Central Committee
which voted that the govern-
ment peace plan should be
altered with the following
amendments: that the in-
tifada must end before
Palestinian elections can, be
held; that Palestinian
residents in East Jerusalem
may not take part in the elec-
tions; and that elections must
not lead to a Palestinian
state.
Following this vote of the
Likud rank and file, Labor
leaders met and recommend-
ed that the party leave the
coalition. In July, however,
the crisis was overcome when
the cabinet adopted, by a
large minority, a statement
that the government does not
favor amending its peace
plan.
The U.S. is now expected to
increse its efforts to secure
PLO and Palestinian agree-
ment to the government's
diplomatic initiative, which
many people, including depu-
ty U.S. Secretary of State Dan
Kurzer, feel is "the only
realistic option" in the peace
process. ❑

World Zionist Press Service

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