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December 10, 1993 - Image 56

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-12-10

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

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Likud On Capitol Hill
Stirs Controversy

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Washington (JTA) — In a
move stirring controversy,
officials of Israel's former
Likud government have
been making the rounds
here, voicing a less-than-
optimistic view of the Middle
East peace process and the
way the Labor government
is handling it.
Among the Likud officials
meeting recently with mem-
bers of Congress was Yossi
Ben-Aharon, who served as
director-general of former
Prime. Minister Yitzhak
Shamir's office.
"We came to the United
States to present views
critical of the government's
policy on the agreement"
with the Palestine Libera-
tion Organization, Mr. Ben
Aharon said.
"We believe that, contrary
to impressions, there is a
groundswell of opposition to
the government's policy," he
The visits of Mr. Ben-
Aharon and other opposition
figures have revived a
longtime controversy in the
American Jewish commun-
ity about whether and to
what extent Israeli political
debates should be exported
to the United States.
In previous years, when
the Israeli government was
controlled by the Likud,
members of the Labor Party
tended to show up in Wash-
ington to offer their opi-
nions, which often differed
from the positions of the
Likud government.
And the Likud govern-
ment was known to com-
plain bitterly about such ac-
The recent flurry of
meetings on the Hill and
elsewhere here represent a
turning of the tables.
The Likud has, for the
most part, expressed pes-
simism and skepticism
about the Israeli-Palestinian
accord negotiated by Israeli
Prime Minister Yitzhak
Rabin's government.
Mr. Ben-Aharon said he is
aware the current Israeli
government is concerned
about the Likud visits.
But, he said, the times de-
mand such meetings.
The situation "is so critical
and vital to Israel's security
that political considerations
are overshadowed by the
need to explain our view-
point," both in Israel and in
the United States, Mr. Ben-
Aharon said.

Israeli officials in Wash-
ington note that it is not un-
precedented for opposition
figures to hold meetings in
But once the opposition
figures start talking about
bringing down the govern-
ment, or saying that the
government's policies will
lead to disaster, the level of
concern at the embassy
starts to rise, as has been the
case recently.
The former Likud officials
stressed two major points on
which they would like
American help, Mr. Ben-
Aharon said.
The first is their belief that

Yossi Ben-Aharon:
The visit revived controversy.

the United States should not
grant waivers to the PLO.
Since the Sept. 13 signinc,
of the Israeli-PLO accord,
Congress has approved tem-
porary waivers allowing
some U.S. money to go to
international organizations
financing the PLO and
allowing the PLO to reopen
its office here.
The second point concerns
the issue of American
security guarantees on the
Golan Heights.
Reports indicate that if
Israel and Syria agree on
some sort of Israeli wall
rawal from the Golan,
American troops could be
deployed there.
Mr. Ben-Aharon and his
colleagues think it would be
a mistake for Israel to
withdraw from the Golan,
and a mistake to depend on
American troops.
He said the response from
the members of Congress
was "sympathetic."

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