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Labor Party, Mapam Talks on Future of Alignment End Inconclusively

The talks between Labor Party and Mapam leaders to seek, a common basis for continuation of the Labor Alignment ended inconclusively over the weekend. As a result, the Mapam leadership has come under mounting pressure from the faction’s younger elements to break off from the Alignment and stand alone in next year’s national elections.

A decision is expected at Mapam’s convention early next month. A group representing the younger generation adopted a resolution stating that there would be grounds for Mapam’s continued cooperation with Labor only if the latter agreed to a policy of far-reaching territorial compromises in the Judaea-Samaria regions, halted settlement there and embarked on a program of economic and social equality at home.

Another faction of Mapam. Dor HaHemshech, agreed that the party should prepare to submit a separate list to the electorate. There were differences of opinion, however, as to whether Mapam should announce the break forthwith or wait until after the Labor Party convention in December.

Veteran Mapam leaders, headed by Yaacov Hazan, are opposed to any precipitate action. They are urging continuation of the Mapam-Labor partnership if only to resist a possible onslaught and take-over of the government by the right-wing opposition.

The last in the series of Mapam-Labor talks ended Friday. Mapam was unable to elicit any promise from the Labor Party leadership to prepare proposals in line with the Mapam approach to foreign and domestic issues. The Labor Party is not ready to make declarations. Premier Yitzhak Rabin told the Mapam leaders. He observed that the Alignment agreement is broadly based and is distinctly different from that of Likud with respect to territorial concessions in exchange for peace.

Finance Minister Yehoshua Rabinowitz, urging Mapam to remain in the Alignment, said he would be prepared to accept the Mapam view on territorial concessions for peace. But the question is where and with whom can Israel negotiate peace, Rabinowitz said.

FUTURE COURSE UP TO CONVENTION

The future course of Mapam will be decided at the party’s convention. A majority is believed to favor a statement of Mapam’s willingness to remain in the Alignment if a common denominator can be found acceptable to both partners. However as long as Labor is unable to give Mapam clear cut replies to the questions it has raised, preparations should be made for a separate election list. In any case, the Alignment would continue until the Labor Party convention at the end of the year.

Another proposal, favored by the older Mapam leaders, calls for “possible” preparations for a separate election list, contingent on the outcome of the Labor Party convention Meanwhile, Labor MK David Koren said in an article in the Labor Party bulletin, Migvan, that considering the situation confronting Israel today, the attainment of national goals is more important than preserving the Mapam-Labor Alignment.

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