End-of-war Effort Debate Continues
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End-of-war Effort Debate Continues

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The Labor Alignment continued its vigorous debate last night over the government’s assent to explore the possibility of ending the state of war with the Arabs–non-belligerence–as a goal of Middle East diplomacy at the present time. The debate, expected to continue for two weeks, has arrayed “doves” against “hawks,” the former supporting the government’s move and the latter sharply critical of it.

Justice Minister Haim Zadok strongly defended end-of-war diplomacy which, it successful, he said, would be tantamount to “passive peace.” a worthwhile basis upon which to go on to build an “active peace” replete with human, diplomatic and economic ties. Zadok, regarded as a leading Cabinet “dove.” chided other Labor “doves” such as Yitzhak Navon and Aharon Yariv, for their criticism of the end-of-war policy on grounds that it compromised Israel’s search for a full, formal peace. They must surely know, Zadok said, that Israel’s demands for full peace on Israel’s territorial terms is doomed to deadlock.

Informed sources said that Zadok’s defense of the search for non-belligerence last night may have hinted at the contents of Attorney General Aharon Barak’s report on the legal definition of end-of-war which has been submitted to Premier Yitzhak Rabin and will be discussed by the Cabinet this Sunday.

Barak, like his predecessor, Meir Shamgar, who studied the subject in 1974, is believed to have concluded that an end-of-war pact would produce a state of peace, albeit a “passive” peace bereft of positive political content. Barak, the sources said, holds to the legal view that there is no intermediate stage in international law. Once the state of war is ended, a state of peace ensues.


In his remarks last night, Zadok implied that the U.S. was justified in proposing an end-of-war initiative because neither Israel nor the Arabs was ready at this time to pay the price which full peace would entail.

The end-of-war policy was attacked, however, by Police Minister Shlomo Hillel and Mordechai Ben Porat. the latter a member of Labor’s Rafi wing. Hillel, a “hawk” recalled that the U.S. and Israel had agreed, in the Sinai accord package concluded with Egypt last September, that the next diplomatic moves between Israel and Egypt should be directed toward a full peace settlement.

The interim agreement was supposed to provide at least a three-year interlude, Hillel said, but now, a mere five months after it was signed, the U.S. is pressing ahead for further. “progress” involving further Israeli withdrawals. The government’s position was supported by the veteran Mapam leader, Yaacov Hazan.

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