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Labor Party Forges Platform

The Labor Party may go to the polls in the 1981 elections with a foreign policy platform calling for a solution of the Palestinian problem within the framework of a single Jordanian-Palestinian state to which Israel would cede portions of the West Bank not essential to its security.

The platform plank, complete except for final touches, was unveiled over the weekend by Israel Galili, the veteran Laborite who heads the political committee which drafted the plank. It does not deviate from Labor’s long-standing position rejecting a separate Palestinian state between Israel and the Jordan River.

The only surprise was Galili’s statement in a radio interview that “We will not dictate to this Jordanian-Palestinian state what form of government it ought to have or who should head it. That would be the business of its citizens and they would have to choose between (King) Hussein, (Yasir) Arafat or someone else,” Galili said. His remark was the first by a prominent Israeli implying that Israel could live at peace with a neighbor headed by the Palestine Liberation Organization chief.

The platform was drafted by Galili; former Foreign Minister Abba Eban, former Justice Minister Chaim Zodok and former Police Minister Shlomo Hillel. Galili said it does not rule out an interim arrangement whereby a small area of territory would be ceded in exchange for a commensurate advance toward peace on the part of Israel’s eastern neighbor.

SECURITY PRESENCE ON WEST BANK

In a final settlement with the Jordanian-Palestinian state, Israel would cede parts of the West Bank. The Labor Party has long maintained that once a peace agreement is signed, Israel should retain a security presence on the West Bank while the heavily Arab-populated regions would revert to Arab sovereignty. That, in essence was the plan advanced by the late Yigal Allon who envisaged on Israeli security belt along the Jordan River and Arab sovereignty in the central highlyands.

Galili said the plan emphatically rules out a separate Palestinian state. He said the basic fact is that Jordan is Palestine and the majority of its citizens are Palestinians.

The platform insists that Jerusalem remain Israel’s united capital under its full sovereignty with free access to the holy places of all faiths. It provides no clear cut answers to the problem of control of the holy places. It allows no more than symbolic territorial concessions on the Golan Heights because anything more would endanger Israel’s security. (By Yitzhak Shargil)

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