NEW YORK (Jan. 28)
Simha Flapan, a leading member of Mapam (United Workers Party) in Israel and founder and editor of the Middle East monthly “New Outlook,” told the JTA that he opposes permanent annexation by Israel of the territories it occupies since the Six-Day War and expressed opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state on the West Bank.
Mr. Flapan, an international Socialist-Zionist leader and former director of Arab Affairs for Mapam, has been touring the United States to complete research on Middle East problems for a book he is writing on the Israel-Arab conflict. He is scheduled to speak here Monday night at the Park Sheraton Hotel on “Is Peace Possible in the Middle East? What Should Be Israel’s Peace Policy?” The meeting is sponsored by the Jewish Liberation Project which is described by its spokesman as a Socialist-Zionist group devoted to the building of Israel-Arab friendship in the Middle East and support for this policy within the American Jewish community, and New Outlook Associates.
Focusing on his opposition to a West Bank Palestinian Arab State, Flapan said, “I don’t think this would solve the problem either for the Arab people or the State of Israel. It would artificially dismember the Arab people who live in more than just this area.” He said such a state would be an artificial attempt to unify the Palestinian Arabs on the basis of geography rather than on the basis of historic rights and economic and political needs. “Such a state would not be viable,” he told JTA, “but rather, dependent on Israeli economy. It would not enjoy full sovereignty because Israel would have to set conditions upon it for its own protection, such as ascertaining that this state would not be used as a base for foreign armies.”
ISRAEL’S RIGHT TO EXIST IS NOT NEGOTIABLE; ARABS HAVE RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION
Flapan noted that an uncritical attitude by American Jews toward Israel’s government policies in the form of “my country right or wrong, strengthens the most conservative elements there.” He emphasized that Israel’s right to exist is not negotiable but “she has no right to territories and populations against their wishes.” The Arab people, he added, also have a right to self-determination. “What needs desperately to be discussed is how both rights can be achieved without denying the rights of either people.” Flapan, whose scheduled address here will be his first in the area, was instrumental in organizing the visit of Jean Paul Sartre and Mme. Simone de Beauvoir to Egypt and Israel early in 1967. In 1962, he visited Cuba and initiated an agreement between the cooperative movement there and the kibbutz movement in Israel for the exchange of exports and trainees. This agreement continues today.