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Mapam Convention Ends, Will Remain in Alignment for Now

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The Mapam convention ended last night with a decision to remain within the Labor Alignment for the time being. At the same time. Mapam will prepare for a separate election list next year should the partnership with the Labor Party prove to be incompatible with its foreign and domestic political goals. That will be determined by the course Labor charts at it’s own convention in December. Mapam will reconvene afterwards to decide the Alignment’s future.

The three-day convention here closed with the adoption of a series of resolutions that were tantamount to a warning to the Labor Party that the Alignment could founder if no common denominator is found between its constituents. The resolutions reiterated Mapam’s policies with respect to the administered territories which call for major Israeli withdrawals consistent with national security and recognition of Palestinian national rights in a state of their own.

MAPAM PAYS HIGH PRICE

A resolution calling for an immediate break with Labor was not brought to a vote during the convention. Its proponents were persuaded that a vote could have exacerbated divisions within Mapam. But Mapam Secretary General Meir Talmi agreed that the party was paying a high price by subordinating itself to its much larger Alignment partner. The price was necessary, he said, because of the consolidation of right-wing factions in Likud. But it would be a mistake to think that Mapam will maintain the Alignment at any price, Talmi warned.

The resolutions adopted included a demand that the government prepare an overall peace plan that would ensure Israel’s security while not adding any territories. Israel was urged to announce its willingness to carry out large scale withdrawals from the Sinai, West Bank and Golan Heights. The evacuated area on the Heights should be permanently demilitarized, Mapam said. Freedom of navigation on the Red Sea should be assured by some form of Israeli presence at Sharm el-Sheikh. Mapam would not return the Gaza Strip to Egyptian control but would determine its future status by Israel’s security needs and the wishes of the local population.

Mapam proposed that negotiations be conducted with Jordan on the assumption that two, sovereign independent states–Israel and a Palestinian Arab entity–will exist once the Palestinians have made their political choice. Mapam stated that the development of Jerusalem and its suburbs was of primary importance to Israel. It expressed total opposition to the illegal settlement attempts by the Gush Emunim.

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