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Peres Says Labor Ready to Give Up ‘important Portion’ of Territories

Shimon Peres, in Belgium to address an Israel funding dinner, has drawn the sharpest possible distinction between his opposition Labor Party and the Likud bloc that governs Israel.

“We are ready to give land for peace, which means to give up an important portion of the West Bank and Gaza Strip,” the Labor Party chairman said Sunday in an interview on Belgian state television.

Likud rejects territorial concessions out of hand.

According to Peres, the “time is ripe to solve the conflict between us and the Palestinians by political negotiations and not by military means. We must make a compromise,” he said.

He envisioned the West Bank and Gaza Strip in confederation with Jordan, “a state with a Palestinian majority.”

“The Jordanian and Palestinian people are the same. The division is artificial,” he said.

Peres came to Brussels to address the opening of the annual Keren Hayesod campaign.

He came here from Bonn, where he met with the German foreign minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, and with the leadership of the German Jewish community.

In his talks with the foreign minister, he expressed thanks for Bonn’s assistance to Jerusalem during and after the Persian Gulf war. They also discussed the prospects for peace in the Middle East.

(JTA correspondent David Kantor in Bonn contributed to this report.)

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