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February 02, 1996 - Image 68

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-02-02

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

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Israel

ELECTION page 67

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majority of Israel's electorate is
to be found. For the three years
he's been at the Likud's helm,
Mr. Netanyahu has not only
subjected Labor's peace policy to
a flood of acid criticism (as be-
fits the leader of the opposition),
but has identified his party with
the protests of the settler move-
ment and the parties on the far
right.
Yet, despite insistent probes
by journalists and biting mock-
ery from Labor's leading lights,
he has always managed to wrig-
gle out of producing any concrete,
viable alternative to the govern-
ment's program.
Now, clear evidence of a
change in tactics (if not wholly of
heart) has come in the tantaliz-
ing news that Mr. Netanyahu
may move forward in the end-of-
March session of the 300-mem-
ber Likud Central Committee to
deliberate a detailed proposal (re-
plete with maps) for negotiating
a permanent settlement with the
Palestinians.
Though he has refrained from
publicly revealing details, leaks
indicate that his proposal will ex-
press a willingness to recognize
and negotiate with the newly
elected Palestinian Authority—
provided, of course, that the
clauses of the Palestinian
Covenant calling for Israel's de-
struction are rescinded and that
the Authority changes its
"rhetoric toward Israel."
While conveying the sense
that the Likud has reconciled it-
self to the interim agreement, the
proposal is expected to assure

voters that, if elected, Mr. Ne-
tanyahu will conduct future
talks, but will absolutely block
the establishment of a Palestin-
ian state. The purpose of reveal-
ing maps is to hamstring Labor
(whose platform likewise oppos-
es the creation of a Palestinian
state) by daring it to do the same.

A long awaited
"final status"
alternative proposal
from Likud could be
in the works.

Most observers expect that the
central committee will accept Mr.
Netanyah's approach, though not
without a bitter fight from such
populsr figures as Mr. Begin and
perhaps former Prime Minister
Shamir.
If Mr. Netanyahu succeeds, a
closing of the gap between Labor
and the Likud on the Palestinian
issue will mean that although the
most strident opposition to gov-
ernment's policies has come from
of the settlers in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip, the key question
in the upcoming election may be
the future of the Golan Heights.
Unless, of course, the wild card
in the race — Syria's President
Hafez el-Assad — also has an at-
tack of flexibility and reaches an
agreement with Israel before the
elections.



9:er mos



EViN

opitk,

My Neighbor-Terrorist
Raises An Old Question

Why is Naif Hawatmeh, the revolutionary, welcoming
an invitation to Palestine-controlled lands?

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I

srael is preparing to allow
radical Palestinian leader,
Naif Hawatmeh, to move
from Damascus to the Gaza
Strip. This is despite the fact
that his gunmen carried out one
of the most notorious massacres
of Israeli civilians — the raid on
the northern town of Maealot in
May 1974 in which 24 school-
children were killed.
After the recent Palestinian
elections, the Israeli Prime Min-
ister, Shimon Peres, announced
that all members of the Pales-
tine National Council would
be free to return to territory un-
der Palestinian jurisdiction. Un-
der the 1993 Oslo agreement,
Israel still controls the border
crossings from Egypt and Jor-

The 483-member council, the
old parliament in exile, is due to
vote within two months on an
Israeli demand to annul claus-
es in the 1964 Palestinian Char-
ter that advocate the destruction
of the Jewish state. It will meet
in Gaza, and the Palestinian Au-
thority President, Yassir Arafat,
has promised to do his best to
have the offending passages re-
pealed. Mr. Peres does not want
to be accused of rigging the vote
by keeping out Mr. Arafat's crit-
ics.
Mr. Hawatmeh, alone among
left-wing rejectionist leaders, is
eager to take up the offer. In a
series of telephone interviews
with the Israeli media, the head
of the Democratic Front for the
Liberation of Palestine has an-

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