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Knesset Adopts Resolution by Vote of 92-4 with 6 Abstentions Opposing Any Negotiations with PLO

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The Knesset adopted by a near unanimous vote today a resolution putting it on record against negotiating with the Palestine Liberation Organization. Although the resolution was introduced by the Democratic Movement for Change, it achieved what Premier Menachem Begin has been seeking–a consensus statement of the government and the major opposition parties against the PLO.

The resolution was adopted by a vote of 92 in favor–the Likud coalition, the Labor Party, the DMC, the Independent Liberal Party and Samuel Flatto-Sharon. Four members of the Communist Democratic Front cast the only negative ballots. There were six abstentions, four Mapam MKs and the two Sheli representatives. A stronger Likud-sponsored resolution was also adopted but only by a vote of 57-4 with 40 abstentions.

The DMC resolution said: “The so-called PLO aspires openly, and according to its covenant, for the destruction of the State of Israel. The murder of Innocent civilians is part of the ideology of that organization which it implements in practice. This organization is not a partner for negotiations with the State of Israel in any peace negotiations in the Mideast.”

Earlier, Begin described the PLO as a murderous organization which practices genocide and the worst such group since the Nazi era. “Enough with hypothetical questions such as–what if the PLO decides so and so?” Begin declared in an obvious reference to the American efforts to have the PLO recognize United Nations Security Resolution 242. “Recent resolutions by this organization prove time and again that there is no change on its part.” He said rejecting the PLO and its scheme to establish a Palestinian state was the “positive way to peace.”

A large part of Begin’s speech was devoted to his recent five-day trip to Rumania. Referring to the verbal clash between him and Rumanian Premier Manea Manescu over recognizing the PLO and Israeli territorial withdrawals, Begin said that he stressed “in a Communist capital” (Bucharest) that the Soviet Union and Poland hold certain territory “justly” as a result of Nazi aggression in World War II.

When Communist MK Tawfik Toubi said the Palestinian people are not Nazis, Begin responded that the Six-Day War was a defensive war against genocide.

The vote on the DMC resolution came after a seven-hour debate on foreign affairs called by the government. Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan surprised the Knesset when he said that if the Arabs would suggest a partition of the West Bank, Israel would consider it.” Labor Alignment leader Shimon Peres retorted that this was not a new Likud policy since Likud repeatedly stated it would never consent to any “foreign rule” on the West Bank.

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