Likud’s La’am Faction Votes 54-16 to Support Begin’s Peace Proposals
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Likud’s La’am Faction Votes 54-16 to Support Begin’s Peace Proposals

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The La’am faction of Likud voted 54-16 last night to support Premier Menachem Begin’s peace moves even if it means a split in its own ranks. La’am is composed of the former State List and members of the Greater Israel Movement who bitterly oppose Israeli withdrawal from any of the occupied Arab territories and reject Begin’s offer of self-rule to the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The vote was taken after a prolonged, heated debate during which the Greater Israel people threatened to break away from the faction. But Minister of Commerce and Tourism Yigal Hurwitz said that while it may have been a mistake for the State List to merge with the Greater Israel Movement, there is now one faction and it must reach common decisions. If some want to demonstrate outside the Prime Minister’s home, let them split from us, he said. He accused Greater Israel leaders Moshe Shamir and Tzvi Shiloah of trying to stir opposition to the government’s plan.

Shamir charged that the government’s plan was the beginning of a “third exile” for the nation and he warned that it may precipitate large-scale emigration from Israel He claimed that “we can already witness moral, spiritual and security decay.” He said one sign of “moral disintegration” was Begin’s invitation to Suzy Eban, wife of former Foreign Minister Abba Eban, to accompany him to Ismailia to “re-visit the scenes of her childhood.” Mrs. Eban was born in the Egyptian city.


Meanwhile, former Foreign Minister Yiqal Allon criticized Begin for not using the settlements established in the Rafah salient, Sinai and the Jordon Valley by the previous Labor Alignment administration as factors in his negotiations with Sadat. Addressing on emergency meeting of the Labor-oriented Kibbutz Hameuchad movement. Allon denounced Begin’s plan to allow the Sinai settlements to come under Egyptian sovereignty.

He was also critical of the offer of autonomy to the West Bank and Gaza Strip Arabs. He urged the kibbutz movement to speed up the establishment of new settlements in the administered areas and to increase support for the existing settlements. Spokesmen for the Jordan Valley settlements said they had difficulty recruiting new settlers because of the uncertain future of the region.

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