Facing Internal Strife, Herut Central Committee Blasts Peres

Premier Yitzhak Shamir and other speakers at the Herut Party Central Committee meeting here delivered scathing attacks on the Labor Party and its leader, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.

Shamir barely stopped short of accusing the Labor bloc of giving comfort to Israel’s enemies. He insisted he wanted the Labor-Likud unity government to continue. If it breaks up, Likud “will go to the people and ask its support in elections,” Shamir said.

The central issue in the dispute between the coalition partners is an international conference for Middle East peace which Peres advocates and Shamir opposes. As long as Likud is in the government, there will be no international conference, Shamir declared to applause.

He described Labor as a “political camp within us which tells our enemies that we are sick and tired of Judaea and Samaria and we should return to the Green Line,” a reference to the demarcation line between Israel and the administered territories.

Another speaker, Minister of Commerce and Industry Ariel Sharon, demanded that Peres should be fired if he continues to press for an international peace conference.

But despite the fire-eating rhetoric of its leaders, all is not well within Herut ranks. Sharon and Housing Minister David Levy have emerged as rivals to Shamir for party leadership. Their differences have prevented the Herut Central Committee from electing an executive.

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