TEL AVIV (Oct. 6)
A majority of Likud’s Central Committee would trade territory for peace, a formula sharply at variance with official party policy, according to a secret poll taken six weeks ago.
The surprising results, published Sunday in the Israeli daily Ma’ariv, were based on a survey of 730 of the Central Committee’s 3,000 members.
Presumably they are a representative sampling of the governing party’s central body, which elects the leadership and is called on to approve or reject its policies.
The poll showed that 53 percent would be ready to give up parts of the Golan Heights for a peace treaty with Syria, provided the surrendered area was demilitarized; 42 percent would oppose any territorial concessions there and 4.3 percent would return all of the Golan to Syria in exchange for peace.
The poll showed that 44 percent was willing to cede parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip for peace with Jordan and the Palestinians.
Political observers pointed out that if the body of Likud opinion favoring concessions was added to similar views in the Labor and left-wing opposition parties, it would command a large majority in the Knesset.
The poll disclosed further that 48 percent of the Central Committee members questioned said they would be willing to accept a freeze on new settlements in the administered territories during a Middle East peace conference, though only 4 percent said they would accept a freeze on moving new settlers to existing settlements.
While 58 percent of the respondents opposed any form of Palestinian state, 20 percent were prepared to accept such a state in the administered territories, after a peace treaty.
Another 34 percent favored some form of confederation with Jordan.
SHAMIR REMAINS MOST POPULAR
The poll also indicates that Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir remains far and away the most popular leader. Of the Central Committee members polled, 71 percent said they would support him should he seek another term as prime minister.
Only 11 percent would support a bid by Foreign Minister David Levy, who was followed closely by Housing Minister Ariel Sharon with 10.8 percent backing.
Defense Minister Moshe Arens polled only 5 percent support if he were to stand against Shamir. But if Shamir decided not to run, Arens would be backed by 34 percent, Sharon by 27 percent, Levy by 25 percent and Deputy Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu by 3 percent.
Support for other Likud figures was negligible, even with Shamir our of the race.
Moshe Nissim, the minister of industry and trade, drew 7 percent support; Binyamin Begin, son of former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, 5 percent; Justice Minister Dan Meridor, 3 percent; and Netanyahu, 1 percent.
Asked to name the Likud personalities the committee members would most like to see in the next Knesset, the first 10, in descending order, were Netanyahu, Arens, Shamir, Eliahu Ben-Elissar, Levy, Begin, Police Minister Ronni Milo, Economic Planning Minister David Magen, Transport Minister Moshe Katsav and Sharon.