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October 01, 1993 - Image 156

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-10-01

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Jerusalem (JTA) — The
Knesset's approval of the
historic Israeli-Palestinian
accord on self-rule in the
administered territories is
being seen here as a vote of
confidence in the govern-
ment, as well as a mandate
to pursue the peace process.
Prime Minister Yitzhak
Rabin made a similar asser-
tion himself shortly after the
Knesset vote.
After more than 30 hours
of emotionally charged
debate, the Knesset approv-
ed by a vote of 61-50 the ac-
cord signed in Washington
by Israel and the Palestine
Liberation Organization.
The vote of the 120-
member Knesset included
eight abstentions, with one
member absent from the
Five of the abstentions and
the one absentee were mem-
bers of the ardently religious
Shas party, whose spiritual
leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef,
had instructed them not to
vote against the "possibility
of peace."
Although Benjamin
Netanyahu, leader of the op-
position Likud party, had
called on his party to stand
firm against the accord,
three Likud Knesset mem-
bers broke ranks and abs-
tained: Ronnie Milo, Meir
Sheetrit and Assad Assad.
Their action prompted calls
by some Likud politicians
that they be ousted from the
Mr. Rabin said after the
vote that he was satisfied
with the margin of victory
and that it gave the govern-
ment the confidence it needs
to begin implementing the
He also made it clear that
he still considered Shas a
part of the governing coali-
tion, despite its failure to
endorse the accord. Shas has
threatened to pull out of the
government but has not yet
done so.
Mr. Rabin criticized Likud,
saying it had failed to show
the same "attitude" that
Labor had demonstrated
when ratifying the 1978 ac-
cord with Egypt, when it was
in the opposition and the
prime minister was
Menachem Begin of Likud.
Although that earlier vote
had involved some painful
decisions, said Mr. Rabin,
"we said we would not be an
obstacle to peace."
Likud Knesset member

Eliyahu Ben-Elissar, former
chairman of the Foreign Af-
fairs and Defense Com-
mittee, warned that Thurs-
day's vote had in effect cre-
ated a Palestinian state. He
told Israel Radio it was a vic-
tory for the PLO and a defeat
for Israel.
But Mr. Sheetrit of Likud
said there were many in the
party who wanted to vote for
the agreement but did not do
so for fear of political reper-
cussions from within the
He warned that Likud
would have to move away
from the right and toward
the center or risk losing- its
The vote came following a
fiery exchange of insults and
accusations between Foreign
Minister Shimon Peres, who
was the last to speak before
the vote was taken, and op-
ponents of the agreement,
who repeatedly interrupted
Mr. Peres' fellow Labor
Party members were
brought to their feet in pro-
test when Knesset member

Mr. Rabin was
satisfied with the
margin of victory.

Uzi Landau of Likud went
up to the foreign minister at
the podium and began poin-
ting his finger at Mr. Peres
in anger.
Before Mr. Peres spoke,
former Prime Minister Yit-
zhak Shamir accused the
government of weakening
the country by returning it
to its pre-1967 borders.
Former Foreign Minister
David Levy said the
government was leading the
nation to bankruptcy by
relinquishing its essential
strategic and security assets.
Following the vote, Police
Minister Moshe Shahal said
the government would pro-
ceed quickly to implement
the agreement.
In Tunis, Yassir Abed
Rabbo, head of the PLO's in-
formation department,
termed the Knesset vote a
"positive step."
During a telephone inter-
view with Israel's army
radio, Mr. Rabbo expressed
confidence that the percen-
tage of Israelis supporting
-the accord was higher than
the margin of victory

achieved in the Knesset. 0

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