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December 01, 1995 - Image 63

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-12-01

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

GIVE THE GIFT OF HEALTH • • AND SAVE
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UNTIL JUNE 1996
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Party, the standard-bearer of the
Land of Israel movement.
In return for Labor's commit-
ment not to sign further peace
treaties before the upcoming elec-
tions and to coordinate with the
NRP the redeployment in the
West Bank, the NRP would halt
its struggle against the Oslo ac-
cords and pledge not to support
no-confidence votes against them.
Apprised of Beilin contacts
with that group, Meretz Envi-
ronment Minister Yossi Sarid
went ballistic. He announced that
if Labor signed such a deal,
Meretz would leave the coalition.
It appeared that Mr. Peres was
up to his old, dubious tricks,
pledging both to continue the
peace process and to accept terms
that would hamper it.
Were this pact signed, Mr.
Peres's would then seek a simi-
lar "truce" with the right-wing
five-deputy Tsomet Party. Labor
is also exploring supporting the
religious "status quo" (upset by
the recent High Court ruling rec-
ognizing Reform conversions per-
formed in Israel), in exchange for
a parallel understanding with the
ultra-Orthodox parties.

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Second glance

A closer look suggests that
Meretz simply overreacted.
Clearly the prime minister be-
lieves that a peace treaty with
Syria — to say nothing of a per-
manent settlement with the
Palestinians — is unlikely before
the elections. In giving the NRP
a say about the next summer's
redeployment, Labor has little to
lose.
In a single stroke, Mr. Peres
spruced up Labor's image as
striving for reconciliation and
managed to tarnish — as rash
and vindictive — the image of La-
bor's chief rival for votes from the
left.
But the real boon is the effect
on Labor's chief rival for votes
from the broad political center,
namely, the Likud.
Unable to get its own con-
stituents to protest the govern-
ment's policies, the Likud joined
forces with the parties to its right
and tended to be lumped with
them.
Now, if even the NRP — the
very bastion of the Land of Israel
movement — is prepared to live
with the Oslo accords, the Likud
is in a spot. It must moderate or
finally produce a cogent, credible
alternative to Labor's policy. Ilk
does neither, it runs the risk of
being isolated on the right and/or
in company of the extreme and
eccentric Moledet Party at a time
when extreme and eccentric are
definitely "out" in Israel.
In short, Mr. Peres, in his
opening days as prime minister,
has reshuffled the deck of the
coming election campaign. Few
doubt that it will be fascinating
to watch how he plays out his
hand. ❑

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