TEL AVIV (Apr. 4)
The Labor Party Bureau today flatly rejected proposals that it join a national unity coalition government, blasted Premier Menachem Begin’s peace plan and his Likud-led regime as not worthy of the nation’s confidence and set forth a peace program of its own based on territorial compromise on all fronts.
The idea of a national unity coalition was floated by Defense Minister Ezer Weizman prior to his latest visit to Egypt. He said that Israel needed a “peace government” embracing all parties in order to present a united front to the U.S.
But the Labor Party Bureau said a national unity government was no substitute for correct policy. It said the Begin government under the leadership of Herut has made grave mistakes in the foreign policy field and in economic and social policy at home that were endangering Israel and not leading toward a solution of political and other problems.
TOUGHEST ATTACK BY PARTY
The Labor Party attack was the toughest since it was relegated to the opposition ranks in the elections of last May 17. It was launched shortly after both the Democratic Movement for Change (DMC) and the Liberal Party wing of Likud came out firmly in support of Begin’s peace plan. It may have been encouraged by a mass rally by an estimated 25,000 people in Tel Aviv Saturday who demanded that the Begin government ease its territorial positions in the quest for peace. The demonstration was the largest public protest of Likud policies since the government took office.
Labor declared that Israel now needs a government under its leadership, in conjunction with other responsible parties, that could lead the nation toward peace. To do so, it must proceed along the lines laid down by the previous Labor government, based on Security Council Resolution 242 which, in principle, calls for peace within defendable borders agreed to in negotiations with all of the neighboring states and including territorial compromises but no return to the 1967 borders.
According to the Labor leadership, Begin’s policies increase rather than diminish the danger of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. They would substitute a policy that seeks peace with Jordan on the basis of territorial compromise which envisions a Jordanian-Palestinian state east of Israel in which Palestinians and Jordanians would find an expression of their national aspirations.
The borders of such a state must be determined in free negotiations with Jordan and with Palestinian Arabs who would be able to participate in deciding their own future within the framework of an Israeli-Jordanian peace agreement, the Laborites said.