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Labor Zionist Sees West Bank Issue, Palestinian Problem As Dominating Israeli Politics in the Year a

Yehiel Leket, Secretary General of the World Labor Zionist Movement, said here today that in 1982 “politics in Israel will be dominated by the future of the West Bank and the solution of the Palestinian problem, both of which will come to a head with the planned Israeli withdrawal from Sinai in April.”

Leket, who is a member of Israel’s Labor Party Executive and a former member of Knesset, said he did not believe there would be national elections this year, nor would a national coalition be formed. He noted, however, that “there is a strong feeling in the Labor Party to come up with new initiatives regarding the West Bank. Labor’s alternative to Likud contains more justice and a stronger basis of negotiation regarding the West Bank.”

Leket, who is here for the 25th national convention of the Labor Zionist Alliance, which begins tonight and concludes Sunday, added:

“It is in Israel’s interests not to control heavily Arab populated territory and to propose territorial compromise as a basis of negotiations with the Arabs. Israel should be a state with a large Jewish majority and that is impossible if that state includes one and a quarter million West Bank Arabs, residing, living and working within a Jewish state.”

Leket, who is 40 years old, and is considered one of the “Younger Generation” leaders of the Labor Party, asserted that the “Labor Party will honor all international agreements, but our interpretation of autonomy is different than Likud which seeks to control all the Arab territories.”

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